Lansing Public School District receives $15 million grant

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LANSING, MI – The Lansing School District will use a federal grant of nearly $15 million to fund equipment and resources for a new 4-year career and technical education program. 

Superintendent Shuldiner said they will be accepting ninth graders into this program starting next school year. 

“This is an effort to create a school system that allows for children to learn in a multiplicity of ways,” Shuldiner said.

Another portion of the federal grant will go toward an environmental education track available to K-12th graders at Forest View Elementary School. 

“These are the kinds of things that the district should expect from us.  We need, as a district, to do great things for our children, and we think we’re on that right path,” Shuldiner said.

In response to concerns about transportation to and from schools, the district is providing gas cards to families.  This began last year due to a shortage of bus drivers. 

 At the time of the update, 2,000 families had been receiving $50 monthly per student.   However, this did not fully solve the issue.  That’s why this year, the district is providing high school students with cards for the CATA service in Lansing.

Superintendent Shuldiner reports positive feedback from students on the use of the CATA system

Students can also utilize the CATA cards to get to and from after-school activities such as work and sports events.  Shuldiner noted that after only a month, he is already impressed with the outcome, with only one negative incident reported and promptly rectified with the affected student and their family. 

Interested students and families can find more information about gas cards and CATA bus routes at Transportation – Parents – Lansing School District Home

Students have told Shuldiner that they are pleased with the CATA buses because they have air conditioning and power outlets–two features traditional school buses lack. 

  Although the district has distributed 2,860 gas cards, and 715 CATA cards so far,  there remains a waitlist of  270 students for the school buses that the district does still utilize.  

Shuldiner said the waitlist is due to transfer students that can’t be immediately routed, and that although these new practices have relieved the issues of not having enough buses, it has not completely eliminated them.  He also added at the same time last year, the waitlist was in the thousands.

Former substitute teacher fired for allegedly pushing a student

During the public comments portion of the meeting, a former substitute teacher, Mr. Dimaggio, spoke on an incident from May 2019. 

 Dimaggio said that security escorted him from the building while he was working after parents filed a complaint that he allegedly pushed a student.  This was Dimaggio’s second visit to a board meeting since the incident, the first being last June.

“I spent a good portion of the summer clearing my name with the Lansing Police Department, the Ingham County Prosecutor and Attorney’s Office, and your own department of public safety.  I did this without any help from Lansing School District, in fact, they have refused to help me on more than one occasion, ” Dimaggio said,

 Dimaggio expected an apology letter from the district, but he instead received an email from the Human Resources department terminating his employment.  After Dimaggio’s time was up, the board did not respond, which is their usual protocol for public comments.

Board members at a Lansing School District board meeting listen to public comments from local residents.

Teanna Barnes

Board members listened to Dimaggio uninterrupted for a total of 3 minutes.

 In his public comment, Dimaggio said, “I spent a good portion of the summer clearing my name with the Lansing Police Department, the Ingham County Prosecutor and Attorney’s Office, and your own department of public safety.  I did this without any help from Lansing School District, in fact, they have refused to help me on more than one occasion.” 

 Dimaggio expected an apology letter from the district, but he instead received an email from the Human Resources department terminating his employment.  After Dimaggio’s time was up, the board did not respond, which is their usual protocol for public comments.