To the editor,
This week the Citizens for School Improvement and especially the Vote For Kids volunteers are celebrating the passage of the Lansing school bond issue and what it means for thousands of children, many not yet even born, and moreover, the city itself.
Lansing's motto, "The City with a Future," is even more fitting based on the vote Tuesday. Not only are we a city with a future, but also one that has shown it truly cares about its kids and the quality of education provided within its borders. Thank you to all that helped make this a reality by investing your time and effort, as well as your trust in the very competent school board that had the courage to recommend and support this proposal. With the addition of the newly elected board members, we feel we are continuing forward in the development of our children with a bright future ahead.
Four years ago a Facilities Committee was charged with assessing the district's needs and working with the board to come up with solutions that would address those needs. Two years ago yet another group reached the same overwhelming conclusions - many of our facilities were not meeting the most basic of requirements based on curriculum, technology and teaching methodologies that this district has in place, as well as limiting new programs that could be offered in the future. There were also long-standing safety issues and problems with the high school sharing a campus with an elementary school. And there was an obvious need for the auditorium and an appropriately sized band room.
These committees recommended that the board come up with a long-range solution that answered these and future needs. The election outcome moves this district forward to begin doing just that. In addition, it will free space for high school use and provide the district more suitable office spaces and storage. With some cooperative work with the city, there may even be space left for the city to do some important things. In two years, Lansing will see the results of these ideas and efforts.
The fine citizens who worked so hard with the Lansing Facilities Planning Committee, our Citizens for School Improvement group, and its many committees including the "Vote for Kids" committee, were visible, exposed, honest and committed.
A very small group of people questioned the integrity of our Vote for Kids campaign, and in the campaign, critics pursued personal agendas that had little to do with the future of this community and its schools. Today is a new day, and we feel it is time for Lansing to move forward and work together as a city rather than trying to divide into factions working against one another. If 100 people and a few contributors can accomplish something so positive for the 2,000-plus children being educated in Lansing, imagine the possibilities if we all work together and look to the future.
We invite those with ideas on how this city or its School Board should operate to run for office, or at least attend the meetings that will define our future here and provide their input. It is too late to come up with alternatives the day of an election or even to complain about the problems you see if you have not invested time and energy in being part of the solution.
Please come and support the standing Long Range Facilities Planning Committee that will meet every year, study where we are as a district and as a community, and ensure that the facilities in the district are still meeting our student's educational needs. It is this process that will enable Lansing to continue to provide outstanding educations to its students and expand the tradition of excellence in other academic and extra-curricular areas.
If you are currently not active in doing something with the children in Lansing, we urge you to become involved.
We are a country that is so busy with the hustle and bustle of everyday life that we sometimes forget what great things can be accomplished when people volunteer their time and choose to get involved. Our volunteers on this campaign are just like those who support the Cub Scouts, PTA, Lansing Booster Club, Site Councils, School Boards, Parks and Recreation programs, Girl Scouts, Yearbook Committees, Church programs - in fact, our people and those groups share many of the same people who invest their personal energies back into the community.
Let's all become more involved and work together to ensure that the "City with a Future" takes care of its most precious commodities - our children. We owe great thanks to the many volunteers and believers that helped make the bond issue dream become a reality. We thank you, and the thousands of children who will benefit from it thank you from the bottom of their little hearts.
Lansing can, and should be, so very proud of this achievement!
Bernd Ingram for The Citizens for School Improvement and Vote for Kids Committee