by Laina Stebbins
Bath-DeWitt Connection Staff Reporter
DEWITT — At a time in American society when gun violence has become familiar news and mass shootings dominate the media circuit, many communities across the United States have changed their gun safety policies to better respond to a possible threat. In DeWitt, it’s mean no guns in schools. In the Administrative Guidelines for DeWitt Public Schools, it is stated that “The Board of Education prohibits professional staff members from possessing, storing, making, or using a weapon in any setting that is under the control and supervision of the District for the purpose of school activities approved and authorized by the District.”
Adopted by the Board in February, this policy provides just a few exceptions for this ban, including weapons under the control of law enforcement. Bruce Ferguson, police chief for the City of DeWitt, sees a need for these gun-free zones. Even more so, Ferguson sees a need for preventative measures and education to stop violence before it starts.
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.
A new co-ed tennis team at Williamston Middle School was approved this month by the Board of Education. The idea was pitched by Tom Hampton, Williamston Community Schools’ athletic director, on Jan. 18 at a Williamston Board of Education meeting and was approved on Feb. 1. “Last year some other area coaches and I met during the season to discuss the possibilities of having a middle school tennis league,” said Nathan Schwarzbek, high school varsity coach.
Mark Twain wrote in his novel “Huckleberry Finn” that “God made the idiot for practice, and then he made the school board.” Bath’s Board of Education’s meeting on Monday, Feb. 26 at Bath High School, took on the tone of Twain’s statement. The meeting focused on appreciating the school board by distributing gift bags to each board member and displaying thank you cards from students in the Bath School District. Video appreciation
Bath first-graders shared their thanks in a video in which they sing “we appreciate you.”
The Holt School Board gave informal approval to a plan by the district that would delay major changes to Holt High School and the Holt elementary schools until the 2014-15 school year. The plan would turn the ninth-grade campus at Holt High School into a twelfth-grade campus to create an environment like that of a college, board member Lori Zajac said. The plan would also close Midway Elementary School, turning it into a center for early childhood development, with students transferring to the closest elementary school. Zajac said the change would consolidate the early childhood system and make things easier for everyone. The plan would also move Sycamore Elementary School to a “balanced,” full-year schedule, Director of Curriculum Dean Manikas said.
MASON—The Mason School Board announced Monday that this fall, students will be able to learn college credits while studying at Mason High School. The agreement would allow high school students to earn community college credit while completing their graduation requirements at the high school. According to Mason School District Trustee Peter Curtis, this agreement is meant to help create a more seamless transition between education levels. “This is a great opportunity for students to get a running start for college,” Curtis said. Curtis said juniors and seniors will be able to earn credits at the high school and won’t have to travel to the college.
By Marina Csomor
Ingham County Chronicle staff writer
MASON — When Mason resident Deb Wantor heard the Ingham Intermediate Board of Education approve the motion to eliminate her job as student assistance secretary at the Capital Area Career Center, she said she knew the decision was made unfairly. “I really don’t think they give an awful lot of thought to anything that they go and grunt and say, ‘The motion’s passed,’” Wantor said. At 6:30 p.m. March 20, the board met at Thorburn Education Center, 2630 W. Howell Road, in Mason, for its monthly meeting, where members discussed and approved issues including the elimination of seven jobs beginning in the 2012-2013 fiscal year. The elimination of these positions — which include a career assessment and work-based learning specialist, director of instructional initiatives, instructional technologist, business/banking finance instructor and two night custodian jobs as well as Wantor’s position — will save the district $600,000, said Board President John Wolenberg, an East Lansing resident. The layoffs had been in the works by board members since last fall, Wolenberg said.
The Lansing Board of Education held a regular meeting to discuss the music programs offered at local schools among other issues. Deputy Superintendent Jim Davis reported on the district-wide music program at the local elementary, middle and high schools and said that the quality is not what he would like to see in certain schools. Jack Davis, treasurer of the board, said the board had previously voted to cut the budget. However, he did not realize the impact that would have on some music programs. “I’d like them to reinstate the programs,” Davis said. “We need to revisit band and strings of the elementary program,” said Myra Ford, the secretary for the board. Nicole Armbruster, a member of the board, asked about the program.
Grand Ledge Gazette Writer In early November, Grand Ledge teachers reached a tentative agreement as part of an attempt to settle the teachers’ contract situation in Grand Ledge. Parents of the Grand Ledge community and members of other institutions and establishments weigh in on the state of education in Michigan. In October, several Grand Ledge teachers stood in front of the GLPS Board of Education fighting, pleading, and imploring the Board to reconsider removing “steps” from their contracts. Steps are negotiated incremental pay increases in the union contract based on teacher performance, years of experience and educational levels. The possible elimination of steps was a major stumbling block in the negotiations between the teachers and the school district.
By Daniele Owens
Entirely East Lansing staff writer
Citizens of East Lansing pleaded to the school board Wednesday night to keep their neighborhood schools open.
The room packed with parents, grandparents, expectant parents and residents that live in the area; they each took turns explaining to the school board why they should keep the neighborhood schools open. Many residents would like for the school board to choose Option C of the K-8 Reconfiguration possibilities. Option C involves renovations to the K-8 facilities. Some residents felt that by choosing Option C, not only are the kids going be in a technology and updated school environment, the city can keep its historical feel while defeating the stem of a disposable culture. “I live eight blocks away from Glencarin Elementary school,” said Bob Fish, resident of the city and father of one child.