Lansing school board member questions value of meetings

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By Derek Nesbitt

LANSING – – Lansing School Board member Amy Hodgin expressed frustration about the lack of items on the board’s agenda at the Sept. 18 meeting, calling the meetings “a waste of time and money.”

Hodgin asked board President Peter Spadafore to not schedule any more meetings until there were topics and issues to cover.

This question came as Spadafore began wrapping up the 30-minute meeting and called for public remarks.

This question has also concerned a few individuals in the Lansing community who may be affected by decisions made within the Lansing school district.

“I feel as if the comment should not have been made. It made me feel as if the children of this community aren’t a priority to the Lansing School Board of Education and with children, there is always a topic,” said Dekendra Fuller, 23, a 2014 Michigan State University graduate with a 3-year-old daughter who will be attending school in the Lansing school district next year.

Fuller said in an interview she will reconsider having her child attend Lansing schools after hearing about the Hodgin’s comments.

After Hodgin made the comment, Spadafore dismissed the issue without giving a decision as to whether or not there will be future board meetings with nothing on the agenda.

Neither Hodgin or Spadafore could be reached for comment on the issue.

Several citizens did raise issues with the board during the public comment session. Among the concerns raised were a lack of school teachers, longer school days, neglect of Hispanics, and the need for School Board members to spend more time in the schools.

Other citizens  such as 20-year-old Robin Cross, junior at MSU who has a younger sister attending the Lansing school district, felt as if there were multiple different topics that the board could have addressed.

“There are many topics to be addressed at school board meetings such as tutoring programs, more after school activities, better teachers, more books and school supplies, and many more. We are to work towards the success of our children and not the failure,” said Cross.

Lansing Schools Superintendent Yvonne Caamal Canul included a few different ways to continue working towards the success of their students.

“I would love to be able to give students 21st century learning environments with brand new buildings and access to total open space access internet,” Canul said in an interview.

Canul has been superintendent of the Lansing School District since 2012. She said she sends out a memorandum every Monday to each faculty member that she also posts on  every website connected to the Lansing School District.

Canul also said there should be ways to get parents more involved with the school district any way possible so they become 100 percent active and not just when a problem occur.

“Parents have a tendency to become involved when there is a problem, but when there is good news, I don’t see too many people,” said Canul.

The next Lansing school district Board of Education meeting is scheduled for Thursday October 2, 2014, at 519 W. Kalamazoo St. Lansing, MI 48933 6:30 p.m. in room 106.

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