On May 3rd, Lansing voters will be asked to vote on the Pathway Promise, the school bond to improve Lansing Schools across the district. The Pathway Promise Yes effort has been hard at work promoting this proposal through many community presentations. As part of this effort, one of the concerns I often hear is that residents don’t trust the administration to spend the money as indicated in the proposal and some would like to “send a message” of lack of trust to the administration. Many times this sentiment is reflective of decades old concerns, one’s own experience in the district presently or a generation ago, or a more recent event where promises weren’t kept to the community.
As a parent in the district and resident of the city, I understand these frustrations completely. However, our students and educators need this investment to make our district facilities functional and safe. Our neighborhoods and city need this investment to thrive. This massive structural overhaul of the district facilities would cost the average homeowner an additional $3/month. I totally understand the frustration, and would ask that you vote Yes! on May 3rd, and consider expressing that frustration in other ways. I’ve compiled 10 ways you might consider doing so, I’m sure you can think of many more…
- Attend PCAC meetings. Because the Lansing School District is a Title I District , it is required to support a Parent Community Advisory Council. This means that the district must support and attend a meeting with parents and community members every month. PCAC is an amazing opportunity for parents and community members to speak directly with district officials about the district. In April, we’ll be taking a deep-dive into the school district budget, seeking to understand how the district is funded, what choices are being made with that funding and who gets to make those choices. How exciting is that?!? Join us on Tuesday April 26th at 6:30 pm at Elmhurst Elementary (2400 Pattengill Avenue Lansing, Michigan). Dinner and childcare is provided–what a deal!
- PTA — this is an obvious one folks, join the PTA of your local school. Don’t have time? That’s ok, join so you’re counted and make a donation to support their efforts. Send a message that parent involvement is the key to school success.
- Become the Superintendent. Looks to me like becoming a Superintendent is as simple as spending 30 years progressively building a career in public education and obtaining your doctorate degree. With the nation’s number one School of Education down the road at Michigan State University, access shouldn’t be an issue. Get moving!
- Make a donation to the Lansing Educational Advancement Foundation and earmark the donation for a specific project that you care deeply about ensuring that the funds go right where you see fit.
- School funding in the state of Michigan is interesting (I’ll leave it at that) and the state level decisions significantly impact the choices we have at the local level. Talk to your State Representatives and Senators about how the State of Michigan funds schools. Organize for change if you’re not satisfied with what you learn.
- Once the bond passes, attend every Lansing School Board meeting. Provide input over the life of the bond funding and ask for explanation on how each dollar is spent in service to the district. Don’t like how they’re handling it? Then run against them in the next election and get your ideas out there.
- Attend a high school play, buy everything up at an elementary school bake sale, go to Lansing School District sporting events, volunteer to read on literacy days, become one of those awesome crossing guards that waves to everyone passing by, volunteer to help high school juniors and seniors fill out their FAFSA forms, give a bunch of school supplies to teachers — so many ways to send a message to the district that you’re engaged.
- Have a business? Hire a bunch of high school students in internships and apprenticeships –send the message that the Lansing economy depends on how well we prepare students for career and college.
- Donate to the Lansing Promise Scholarship fund, ensuring that every graduate in Lansing can attend college and career training. No other district in Mid-Michigan provides this benefit. Continuing to build and expand the Promise will attract families to Lansing schools and neighborhoods increasing home values and quality of life. That will certainly show ’em.
- Ask how you can help. Inside every school building there are a bunch of humans whose development and future success depends on our community’s investment in education. I’m sure you have time, talent, or treasure that could benefit that development. Send a message indeed.