Opinion

Vote YES on Lansing school bonds on May 3 for a better tomorrow

Posted

(The writer is an at-large Lansing City Councilman and former president of the Lansing School District Board of Education. He also serves as the executive director of the Middle Cities Education Association, a nonprofit association in Lansing.)

Supporting the Lansing School District bond proposal on May 3 means supporting a better future for Lansing’s children and our city as a whole. Whether you have students in the district or not, voting yes on the May 3 bond should be an easy decision for every Lansing resident.

The school bond proposal will not increase taxes even a penny, yet it will benefit current Lansing students and generations to come, while also creating jobs and enthusiasm around our schools.

Voting yes allows the school district to continue an existing millage while investing nearly $130 million in our community. The district will be able to build four new elementary schools, which are sorely needed to replace crumbling, unsafe buildings. These new schools — Mt. Hope STEAM Magnet School, Willow Elementary, Lewton School, and Sheridan Road STEM Magnet School — will provide our children and their educators with the safer, engaging and modern learning environments they deserve.

The May 3 bond builds on the transformational work started with the Pathway Promise in 2016, when Eastern and Everett high schools received significant upgrades. Now it’s Sexton’s turn.

This bond provides desperately needed improvements to J. W. Sexton High School. Voting yes will upgrade Sexton’s auditorium, provide new ceilings and window coverings, provide athletic improvements, as well as refresh the learning environment throughout the historic westside school. Voting yes sends a strong message that Sexton is here to stay.

While buildings don’t educate our children, good school facilities show our children they are valued. Clean, modernized buildings keep kids and families engaged with their school community. Good schools and modern school buildings also help attract new families.

This is an exciting time in Lansing’s history. This bond will make record investments that will result in an influx of new workers and families. As we compete with other communities for students, we must show our region that Lansing cares about its children. Voting yes supports future generations of children who can learn and graduate from Lansing schools.

In addition to the great teaching and learning that takes place in our buildings, schools are integral to our community. We’ve all attended special programs, events and celebrations at schools across Lansing. Those buildings are neighborhood anchors that contribute to the fabric of the community.

The world is changing rapidly. Our agrarian calendar is coming into question. When I served as president of the Lansing school board, we began the discussion about adding options for families who want year round or a more balanced calendar to better serve the needs of students and prepare them to be opportunity ready in the 21st century. In order to make that shift, we must ensure our students and educators have comfortable environments for teaching in learning. Resources generated by the May 3 bond will put air conditioning in all our schools — allowing the district to offer more flexible calendar options for students and families.

Alongside energy efficient air conditioning, new air filtration systems are also needed to protect kids, teachers, and staff from airborne illness.

As a member of the Lansing City Council, I know how important good schools are to our community. All of our efforts at City Hall will be wasted if we don’t also support our students. This bond presents an enormous opportunity to support our children, strengthen our property values and build our community. It’s not often it costs so little to do so much, for so many.

Vote yes on May 3 and help create a brighter future for Lansing children and families.

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