Proposed Millage Would Help Repair Lansing Schools

By: Sherene Tagharobi Email
By: Sherene Tagharobi Email

1937. That's when Otto Middle School was built, and much of the building hasn't been touched since.

Lansing School District Chief Operations Officer Brian Ralph says facilities are aging, and current systems are obsolete.

Otto Assistant Principal Anthony Greenburg says the school's ancient heating system doesn't always do its job.

"It can be too cold if the heat's not working," he said. "Students can't succeed in that kind of environment."

But the temperature isn't their only complaint. There's also a leaking problem.

"Some of these things are safety issues when you have rain literally pouring in buckets in the classroom," he said.

That's why the distrcit has a millage on the November ballot that'd create a building site and sinking fund. The district says it would cost the average household about 75 dollars a year.

"That's the kind of small investment we're asking people to make for the future of Lansing, most important, for the students of Lansing," Ralph said.

The district's pitch might sound familiar. That's because you've probably seen it in the mail. Some voters are getting up to three fliers a day.

The district says it spends four million general fund dollars a year on energy--costs the millage would offset.

"You can reduce that cost and have all that kind of money channeled back into the classroom where it is most deserved," he said.

The money would also fix parking lots and classrooms.

"She literally has holes in the tiles of the floors where on a regular basis, students are tripping, falling down in the classroom," Greenburg said, describing the situation in one classroom.

Otto Middle School isn't the only one that needs repair.

The district says there are 31 buildings that would benefit from the fund.

By law the money could only go toward repair--not teacher salaries, balancing the budget, or anything else.


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