Not Enough Room in Lansing Magnet Schools

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Heather Paris is sending her oldest son to pre-school next year. She wants him in a Montessori school, and it just so happens that Lansing magnet schools offer that for free.

"We wouldn't be able to afford Montessori on the budget that we're on, so public Montessori is an option I want to look at," Paris says.

Monday kicks off the application process for students who'd like to join magnet schools next year. Parents like Paris came to Eastern High School Saturday to observe Magnet programs in action. Many liked what they saw.

"The kids are learning a lot, and I don't see them getting that anywhere else at that level," says parent Sonya Anthony, whose child will enter high school next year. He goes to Holt schools for now. "These [skills] are really things they can apply to the job market or college."

Skills like engineering, science or performing arts-- magnet schools are centered around academic themes. And an increasing number of students think theme-teaching is the path for them.

"Just two years ago, we probably had 1,400 or 1,500 students. As of today, we have 2,800," says magnet schools and programs director Worsie Gregory.

Even though enrollment has doubled, very few of the students who apply to the magnet schools this year will be accepted.

"We have very few openings at any of the schools," Gregory says.

And this year, those few openings will be offered first to Gunnisonville students. This week, the district announced the school is closing; those students will need to find new schools.

"They will go to the top of the list if they apply for magnet schools," Gregory says of the Gunnisonville students. "They'll be given first choice.

Gregory doesn't yet know how many spots they'll have open, and she expects a record number of applications. The admissions board will have their work cut out for them as they choose the new faces of Lansing's magnet schools.