eastern high school

(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

Lansing schools will undergo a major overhaul during the next two years, if a plan released last night is eventually adopted.  

The plan calls for closing three elementary schools and one high school during the next two years. Twenty other schools would also see major changes.  

Brian Ralph is the district’s COO. He says the plan would save two million dollars over the next two years. Ralph chastised those who suggest closing schools will help the district close its estimated $20 million deficit.  

“If we’re going to sit here today and say we got to close schools to balance the budget…we got to close everything down in Lansing," says Ralph.

District officials concede closing or changing schools is an emotional issue. Guillermo Lopez is a school board member. He says it will be important to put emotional connections aside. 

"Let us no waste a lot of time…fighting for something that is….not the best for our students," says Lopez. The school board plans to hold several community meetings over the coming months to get input on the plan. Key decisions may not come until August.

(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

The Lansing School Board will be talking about closing schools tonight. Supporters of two city high schools are trying to keep them off the list.  

The Lansing School District is looking at a budget deficit that could be as high as $20 million.

Tonight, district officials will outline their plan to pare that number down, and closing some school buildings and reconfiguring other schools is part of that plan. 

Bill Morris is a member of ‘Save Our Sexton’, which is trying to keep Lansing’s Sexton High School off the closure list. He says they’ve been working with the Eastern High alumni group fighting its closure to get district officials to delay any decisions for a year.

"They do share many of the same goals, in terms of the future of the district," says Morris, "The only thing we really differ on is the building to close.  If a building has to be closed in this matter for the obvious reasons. School Board president Myra Ford says she’s been briefed on part of the plan. She expects no action will take place for a month because the plan may be more broad and effect more schools than most people expect.

(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

The Lansing school district may decide in two weeks whether it will close schools to save money.

The school district is considering ways to restructure to deal with a declining enrollment and diminishing state aid.

Last night, the Lansing school board heard from people opposed to any plans to close schools. Lansing resident Richard Kibbee  says the school board should not take the recommendations for which schools to close from a superintendent who is retiring in a few months.