To the editor
I would like to respond to the letter written by Mr. Mike Schwind and published in your March 10 edition.
The problem I have, I almost don't know where to begin. Mr. Schwind took exception to my comments at the study session between the Lansing City Council and the Lansing School Board. I made those comments only in regards to my own situation. In the 55 years since I left high school, technology and methods of teaching have changed, and all for the better. At one time, the one-room school was sufficient for the local people. But times change. And when that time comes, we must also change. I support the efforts of the school board in keeping our students up to date on all subject matter, and the environment in which they are placed certainly has a great deal to do with their learning. In this day and age, we must provide the very best education to our children.
I was concerned, and I believe this can be verified, I said I could not see too much wrong with the building to be replaced. If an individual takes a walk through the building, you cannot see much wrong with it. This is when the building is vacant of children. I think your front-page story "Schools demonstrate need, bond proponents say" has brought to the public attention just what is wrong with the current building. I commend the proponents for doing their homework and making the residents of Lansing aware of the sad state of the building. I can only speak for myself when I say that I support the building of a new school and will vote for the bond issue in April.
When the Lansing School Board decided we needed a new middle school on Ida Street, I received a call asking if I would support the bond issue. Knowing that there would be a close vote on the bond issue, I told the caller I would not support it. I did this in hopes that the caller would have the committee work harder on getting the positive voters out. I can tell you that my late wife and I both voted for the new school and it passed by a very narrow margin of, I think, 12-14 votes. The school is a great addition to our neighborhood even if it is hard to get out of the driveway from 7:30-8 a.m. I also believe Superintendent Bagby is correct on the safety issues discussed in your article. Without the in-town busing we used to have, there are a great many children walking or riding their bicycles to and from school. And I have seen how difficult it can be for the Lansing Police Department or the local fire department to get to the Middle School when needed. Along with providing the very best in education to our children, safety has to be at the very top of the list of responsibilities that we have as parents and residents of our fine city.
In regards to how Mayor Bernard supports the bond issue, it is unknown to me. To make the inference that because I support the mayor for re-election that somehow he should not be re-elected is totally not fair. Mayor Bernard has not told me how he feels about the bond issue. I have not asked. He has been a good, responsible mayor, and his leadership has led this city into the future with pride.
I apologize to Mr. Schwind if I offended him with my comments. I certainly had no intention of doing so. Lansing is a city with a future, as you can see by how many people have decided to reside here. Our school system is a good one, and we all need to work together to keep it at the top of the scale as schools go. Each voter must make their own decision on just how important this bond issue is to our children. Yes, it will increase our taxes. But remember you are going to be voting on the future of not only our community but also the future of our nation. In this day and age, can we afford not to do so?
Kenneth F. Ketchum
Council member, Ward 4