Archive for Thursday, April 12, 2007

Space crunch hits A Deere Place

School board wants superintendent, daycare owner to negotiate pact

April 12, 2007

Choosing between space for A Deere Place daycare and space for Lansing students put Lansing School Board members in a bind at their meeting Monday night.

In a final compromise, the board directed Superintendent Randal Bagby to negotiate a memorandum of agreement between Lansing School District and Debbie Deere, owner of the longtime daycare center.

Bagby said the daycare program has always been contingent on space availability.

"The time has come," he said. "We need space for our students."

Currently, the daycare occupies a part of the Sallie Zoll building of Lansing Elementary School. The daycare is 10-years old and services children in kindergarten through fifth grade.

Members of the board discussed the possibility of sharing the current elementary school's gym with the daycare, though Lansing students and athletes would have priority even on a short-term notice.

Deere said without the gym space she would have to cut back about 25 children.

"It wouldn't meet the needs of families," she said.

She said she was determined to find space for the 67 families and 74 children she serves.

Some board members looked beyond next school year to determine what space may be available.

School Board President Shelly Gowdy said all-day kindergarten may start in the 2008-2009 school year. She said the district hasn't enacted it in the past because there was no space nor state funding for it.

In other action Monday, the board:

¢ Approved an extension requested by Craig Grosser, a representative with Wilson and Co, Inc., Engineers and Architects, for contractors to continue work on the new elementary school and high school auditorium. He said underground utilities and government permits set them back.

¢ Kerry Brungardt, principal of Lansing Middle School, announced state assessment results. Brungardt said sixth grade students were close on achieving the state's Standard of Excellence in math but think "they're going to make it."

The scores are as follows:

Sixth Grade

Reading

37 percent exemplary

1.8 percent academic warning

Seventh Grade

Math

33 percent exceeded

2.9 percent academic warning

Reading

42 percent exemplary

0.6 percent academic warning

Eighth Grade

Math

39 percent exemplary

4.7 percent academic warning

Reading

40 percent exemplary

0 percent academic warning

The Middle School will award the students a day off on May 18 for their achievement and also on that day will be a "thank-you" luncheon for the teachers.

¢ A $250,000 grant was approved for the school district, which will fund a safety audit for K-8 and the new elementary school, a health and wellness program, a task force for teachers and playground enhancements.

¢ Tim Newton, Lansing Elementary principal, was granted his request for a an additional third grade section. Currently there are about 171 students divided into seven sections. Bagby said the third grade is a "big transition year" and a crucial testing grade under the No Child Left Behind Act. He said it was critical to have manageable classes. An eighth section will keep the number of third-graders around 20 students per class.

¢ A middle school Student Eligibility Policy was considered, but not yet approved. Brungardt asked the council to consider the policy to allow administrators to complete spot-checks for student-athletes with poor grades and/or discipline issues beginning this year. If a student had two D's or an F or had behavioral problems in a classroom, they may not be allowed to play in the next scheduled game. He said a committee of two administrators, four teachers and two site council members would be formed to work on the policy throughout the year. He and the assistant principal, Brooks Jenkins, would inform parents if their child would not be playing that week. The council asked Brungardt to consider extending the program to all students, and a decision will be made at a later date.

¢ A $135 Target donation was approved as part of the Take Charge Program. When a Target charge card is used, a percentage will be donated to Lansing schools.

¢ A $630 donation from Lansing Kiwanis Club was approved to pay for T-shirts to award straight-A students in Lansing schools.

¢ Approved an Armed Forces Insurance Exchange $500 contribution.

¢ Approved a program to reward teachers who have a successful completion of students in summer school.

¢ Approved renewing the high school assistant scholar bowl coach.

¢ An out of district student application form for the 2007-08 school year was approved.

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