East Lansing School Board Approves New Boundaries Despite Parent's Concerns

By: Josh Sidorowicz Email
By: Josh Sidorowicz Email

Having to switch to a new school could be a tough transition for any kid.

And it's soon going to be reality for many of the kids in East Lansing Public Schools.

The school board voted Monday night to approve a proposal drawn up by former superintendent David Chapin before he departed from the district to redraw boundaries for the elementary schools.

It was standing room only Monday night with the several parents coming out to raise concerns about the proposal before the board took a vote.

"The loss of community for our children is a huge concern for me," said Tara Klotz. "They're losing friends, they're losing a sense of community, they're losing a building they are familiar with..."

Meanwhile, others expressed concern over whether the boundaries even needed to be redrawn to begin with.

"There may be a different way to configure schools that makes more sense that avoid some of this disruptive change that's affecting everybody," said Amie Kovitvongsa.

The proposal to redraw the boundaries comes in the wake of the district's recent decision to close Red Cedar Elementary along with the move to bring the sixth graders under the middle school's roof.

It all comes down to numbers, according to Superintendent Clifford Seybert.

"In terms of trying to balance class size between schools so there's a balance across our district in terms of our attendance areas," he said.

Seybert said the redrawn boundaries would also allow more students to walk to their neighborhood school and a large chuck of the transition will include students currently attending Red Cedar Elementary.

"Generally speaking those school boundaries that have been drawn by the board do tend to mitigate the issue of not being close to where your home school is," he said.

With the closure of Red Cedar Elementary coming in June 2014, the district will have five K-5 buildings: Pinecrest, Donley, Glencairn, Marble, and Whitehills.

Sixth graders will move to MacDonald Middle School.

Students who live within boundaries of their neighborhood school will receive first priority followed by families who live in East Lansing but attend a school outside of their neighborhood.

Those families will be able to request a 'permeable boundary request' to get grandfathered into the school of their choice.

Non-resident school of choice families will be last in line in terms of priority.

The district didn't have exact numbers yet of how many students will be affected by the move.

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