Breaking the Budget Deficit Cycle at LSD

By: Jamie Edmonds Email
By: Jamie Edmonds Email

Another year, another budget deficit for the Lansing School District. This time it's $18 million.

"We are in uncharted waters," Superintendent TC Wallace said. "We have never had to deal with the financial crisis like we've had to deal with today."

And next years budget looks like more of the same....decreasing students and funding. Some say now is the time to make fundamental changes to get out of this cycle.

Changes many thought would come from the CATFR Committee's recommendations -- which the superintendent originally accepted in its entirety -- until new high schools, elementary schools and a strict discipline academy were taken off the table for financial reasons.

"We didn't back off," Wallace said. "Those things were so far out into the future, we couldn't reasonably guess with the economy changing every year, what it would look like five years out."

Plus relieving confusion in the community Wallace said.

"What we said was we didn't want them to be confused, a lot of the time it's like overload," he said.

So the repositioning idea, it seems, is put on the back burner for now.

"We didn't accept the closing of two schools," Lansing School Board President Hugh Clarke said. "The board didn't want to put 4,000 kids in one high school. No one has told me how that would help."

But make no mistake, Clarke said, the administration and the board did accept some recommendations and did make changes for next year.

"If you look at the aligning of the curriculum, making them title one buildings -- which means some more funding now will come from the government. That's a big deal," Clarke said.

There's no right answer, they said, when everyone is in uncharted territory.

The district hopes the curriculum changes will improve test scores.
All three Lansing high schools have not made "adequate yearly progress" for the past five years.


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