Cuts Looming at Lansing's Hill Academy

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In an effort to save money, the Lansing School Board is considering cutting four vocational programs at Hill Career Academy. Electronics, construction trades, pharmacy technician, and cosmetology classes have been targeted due to low enrollment. It's a plan that has some parents angry.

"I think we will continue to lose more students," said district parent Bettye Gilkey. "We've already lost a significant number of students."

The programs being considered have fewer than 25 total students enrolled in the morning and afternoon sessions... board members say those 25 students cost the district roughly $400,000 to educate.

"It's money we don't have," said board vice president Hugh Clarke. "Is it something you do for that or do you buy books?"

Cosmetology could be eliminated, but the other three would be available to students through a partnership withLCC. Some parents argue losing cosmetology at Hill would have a negative impact on the region.

"I see business owners and friends who have opened up their own shops and it's an important and portable skill, cosmetology<' said concerned resident Linda Lee-Williams.

But Clarke says the board has no idea how many students pass the state certification exam each year and he has and will continue to ask the program's director for that information.

"This board is data driven. If he can bring data that shows how many pass the state exam and it's a high percentage then it's something we'll have to look at."

Clarke says the board is exploring all options at this point and will meet again in two weeks to determine a course of action.

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