East Lansing's City Council and School Board tackle school updates

By Danielle Chesney
Entirely East Lansing

EAST LANSING – During a joint meeting of the East Lansing City Council and East Lansing Public School Board this past Monday, three residents advocated to update the city’s neighborhood schools and reopen Red Cedar Elementary at 1110 Narcissus Drive, which closed June 2014. “You get the sense that when people voted to close the school, or supported to close the school or opposed the reopening of the schools, they did it because they don’t believe in neighborhood schools,“ said resident Fred Jacobs, accounting professor at Michigan State University. “The actual reason they support closing a school is because they do value neighborhood schools and it’s not their school that’s being closed…It’s a self interest thing.”

Fred Jacobs’ wife, Kathy, said that since schools like Red Cedar and Central began to close, families have started to move out in search a home that could give them the “very safe, friendly and unique” feeling that the Flowerpot Neighborhood could no longer provide. “This has changed the dynamic of the neighborhood,” said Kathy Jacobs, East Lansing resident. “I’m afraid this trend is saying to families who especially care about the environment that no, you can’t live in the city, you must move to the suburbs and drive a car.”

The School Board agreed, with Board of Education President Nell Kuhnmuench immediately turning to Mayor Mark Meadows so they could discuss their approach.