Five Lansing Schools on the Chopping Block

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Lansing's superintendent Dr. E. Sharon Banks made these recommendations based on a study by an independent consultant and a team of members of the school board using birthrates, housing patterns, neighborhood demographics, and school facilities. They chose five schools to cut: Allen Elementary, Walnut Elementary, Verlinden Elementary, and Maple Grove Elementary, and a magnet middle school, the Center for Language, Culture, and Communication Arts.

The magnet program is being cut entirely because Lansing lost grant money. The other magnet school, Riddle Middle School, would be converted to an elementary school under the proposal.

The Lansing School District says these buildings are among the oldest in the district. The closing would effect over 1,000 students, and about 100 staff. Lansing Schools Education Association president, Jerry Swartz, estimates only half of those employees could be relocated within the district.

There are other "bricks in the wall of the budget" that Banks' proposal may touch. One idea is an incentive program for early retirement to help move the top-paid teachers off the payroll. The LSEA is interested in the plan, according to Jerry Swartz.

Also, three properties will be put up for sale: Holmes Street, Northwestern, and Maplewood elementary schools. They are not currently being used.

Banks suggested administrators may take some days without pay, and other creative solutions may end up on the table.