By Nourhan Dakroury
Lansing Township News staff writer
On March 21, Lansing school board voted 8-2 to sell the Genesee School building for $ 1 to a non-profit organization called Zero Day.
The building will be the headquarters for Zero Day and a training facility to teach veterans construction sciences with the help of the National Center for Construction Education and Research.
Zero Day puts veterans to work on revitalizing neighborhoods and communities, said Chuck Embs, co-founder of the non-profit, founded in October 2012.
“It helps them feel that they are part of something that is purposeful and honorable,” Embs said.
Charles Ford, Lansing school board member, disapproved the sale.
During the discussion, Ford mentioned his concern that the organization will refurbish the building and then sell it for profit.
The board was taking the matter too hastily, Ford said.
“(They) should have given it some time to put it up for sale or for a bid,” he said.
Another concern was that the non-profit has slim chances to survive in the community, said Board Member Amy Hodgin, who was at first with the sale, but then changed her mind.
Other local non-profits had expressed interest in the property, but they never put an offer on the table, said Sam Sinicropi, assistant superintendent for operations.
This probably came form the fact that the building needed a lot of upgrades and the Lansing school district was not willing to make these upgrades, which would have cost the district $100,000.
Another controversial issue mentioned during the meeting is the layoff of music, arts and physical education teachers.
Teachers and a student came to the meeting to support those teachers and complain about the situation.
“The teacher’s union agreed to cut those programs at schools because of the $6 million deficit the district is facing,” said Ryan Ward, illiteracy elementary teacher.
Instead of laying off such qualified teachers, the administration should take a bigger cut and older buildings, which aren’t being used for teaching, should be sold to cover part of the deficit, Ward said.