School Board Approves New School Boundaries in 4-3 Vote

Tuesday, December 11, 2018, 10:13 am
By: 
Karessa Wheeler

The East Lansing Board of Education approved 4-3 new boundaries for Glencairn and Pinecrest students at their final meeting of the year Monday night.

After several revisions, Superintendent Dori Leyko submitted a proposal on Friday to relocate the students in the neighborhoods of Spartan Village, the Flower Pot and Ivanhoe neighborhoods and 1855 Place to Red Cedar Elementary after Red Cedar serves as swing school during reconstruction of the District’s other five elementary schools.

The proposal also moves about 50 students on the southern border of Pinecrest Elementary School, south of Woodingham Drive, into Glencairn Elementary School in Fall 2020. Students who wish to can move directly into Glencairn for the 2019-20 school year while the rest of the school moves to Red Cedar during reconstruction.

“I just wanted to applaud the Superintendent for listening to the parents at the last Board meeting in terms of how the boundaries can affect parents and students and their development,” said parent James McCurtis Jr. “As a parent, I show full support of it.”

Voting in favor of the move were retiring Boardmembers Karen Hoene and Nell Kuhnmuench, as well as Trustees Erin Graham and Terah Chambers. Voting against were President Kate Powers, and Trustees Hillary Henderson and Nichole Martin.

“I don’t believe this is the correct proposal to vote on this evening for this District,” Martin said. She and the other nay votes voiced concerns over the need to redistrict at this time, before future programming has been decided for Red Cedar, and before it is determined where Marble Elementary students will be housed during their reconstruction. They instead suggested redrawing all the boundaries after school construction is complete.

Resident Mark Becker agreed that deciding any boundaries now would hem in the District in the future as they consider the populations in the east side of the District.

“It would make more sense to have a decision about all the boundaries at once,” Becker said. “By making some decisions about boundaries now and delaying ones later, you lose degrees of freedom of how you can adjust.”

But all Board members as well as members of the public who spoke out agreed that the proposal on Monday was far better than the original proposal by Leyko which would have kept around 70 students at Red Cedar Elementary while it serves as a swing school for Pinecrest and possibly Marble populations. She also proposed allowing approximately 58 children living in the Glencarin-Pinecrest boundary-shift region to attend Glencairn in the upcoming fall, if their parents wish, as the rest of Pinecrest moves to Red Cedar during construction.

Parents from all three neighborhoods protested those suggestions.

In response, Leyko had offered additional considerations, including possibly keeping Woodingham Drive within Pinecrest boundaries, reducing the number of currents students impacted from 58 to 53. She also suggested keeping the Glencairn population together at Red Cedar for another year and moving Pinecrest to the new Glencairn during their year of construction.

The latest proposal also keeps Woodingham Drive residents in Pinecrest and addresses the concern that many parents had about the risks of keeping the Red Cedar catchment students in the building while two or possibly three different school populations cycled through.

As for the future of Red Cedar, the Board – including newly elected members Chris Martin and Kath Edsall – will begin discussions on what type of educational programming will take place in Red Cedar when they reconvene next year.

 

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Note: This article was corrected at 1 p.m on the day of publication to clarify the dates of boundary shifts and that families in the northern boundary-shift area may elect (but are not required) to send children to Glencairn starting in Fall 2019. In the last sentence, we also removed a reference to a date when Red Cedar would commence its long-term programming model, as that will depend on various factors.

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