LANSING, MI – The Lansing School Board narrowly approved a budget Tuesday night for the 2010-2011 school year. It calls for more than $16 million in cuts and taking about $6 million from the district's rainy day fund. But many issues in the plan remain unresolved.
The vote was 5 to 4, demonstrating the divisive nature of this year's budget negotiations. Board members disagreed on several issues they will revisit later this summer: whether to require some elementary school principals to do double duty by supervising two schools; whether to replace the Education Options program for failing high school students with a computer-based curriculum and whether to fund the Ebersole Environmental Center.
Board chair Jack Davis voted against the budget. He suggests closing the Ebersole center and sending students to local nature centers for environmental education.
"Ebersole Center is a center an hour and a half away from Lansing and that Ebersole center costs us $300,000, so the question is can you spend a lot less and have the program centered around the three major programs that we have in the area," Davis says."
If there's an upside to the budget, it's the high number of teachers and administrators who are taking advantage of the early retirement incentive offered by the state. Superintendent T.C. Wallace says the district has already started to recall younger teachers who were issued layoff notices.