Holt considers adding middle college, moving ninth graders

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By Sally Zimmerman
Holt Journal staff writer

Savings, Holt school board

The school board will have to make more cuts, along with repurposing the ninth grade campus.

Wrestling with budget cuts, the Holt School Board is looking at turning the ninth grade campus into a middle college. Students of senior status would be able to take college credits as electives. The board is collaborating with Lansing Community College and Olivet College.

“Olivet College or LCC will be providing their courses here,” said Dean Manikas, executive director of curriculum and staff development. “Maybe some of their faculty will be here, too.”

The goal is to keep students in Holt schools longer and save money.

“Students who have an earned status as seniors will be put on a campus where they have greater responsibilities,” Manikas said.

Another part of this plan is to incorporate blended learning labs at the new middle college. The blended learning labs will help students who pursue computer-assisted learning. The labs would have highly qualified teachers heading them, according to Executive Director of Finance and Business Services, Kim Cosgrove.

Repurposing the ninth grade campus would save $200,000 during the 2013-2014 school year. The blended learning labs would save $280,000 during the 2014-2015 school year.

“We might be able to turn a situation where we have to make $2 million worth of cuts into an actual savings approach,” said Trustee Lori Zajac. “This could give us alternatives to cutting things that have an impact in this district.”

The ninth graders would be moved across the street to the high school.

John Malatinsky, the president of the school board, said the number of freshmen has been limited because of the size of the ninth grade campus. Moving ninth graders to the high school would eliminate this problem and bring in a considerable amount of money.

The school board hopes the middle college will benefit Holt in more ways than one.

“It will hopefully be attractive not only to our own students, but also to students from other areas that want that type of program,” Malatinsky said.

The district will still have to make cuts to offset the $2 million budget cut.

“We’re much more like a business now than school districts have been in the past,” Malatinsky said.

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