• Title: "…response to the many issues Patrick Rose mentioned…"
  • Author: Michael Conlin
  • Date: 12/17/2015
  • Additional Categories: ELPS Red Cedar School, Recent Essays

"…response to the many issues Patrick Rose mentioned…"

Dear Mr. Cuddeback:

This is in part a response to the many issues Patrick Rose mentioned in his post. Please post on public response.

Based on the attendance at the last school board meeting and the activity on social media, many folks in East Lansing appear interested in understanding the financial tradeoffs associated with different school district configurations. In May of 2012, after the failed school bond election, Michael Colaresi and I wrote a piece in Public Response that explains many of these tradeoffs - piece here . From my perspective, it appears that most East Lansing residents understand that there are no significant cost savings associated with closing an elementary school if district enrollment is close to capacity and the district needs to add more capacity at other existing schools to accommodate the displaced students. In addition, hopefully East Lansing residents now realize that the 2012 proposed bond called for a 7% increase in K-8 capacity (based on the increase in the number of teaching stations). While closing Red Cedar would have decreased the number of teaching stations by 13, the bond proposal called for an increase of 7 teaching stations at Glencairn, an increase of 5 teaching stations at Whitehills and an increase of 10 teaching stations at MacDonald.

Most of the tradeoffs discussed in the above link still exist. The main differences between then and now are that: (i) the financial implications associated with closing Red Cedar are different than the financial implications of opening Red Cedar; (ii) kids incurred significant costs associated with the poorly planned transition; (iii) many East Lansing folks now realize how poorly the district has been managed the past 10 years; and (iv) ELPS made a very poor financial decision when they invested over $8 million from the sinking fund to renovate the middle school.

I am hoping to make a presentation at the Hannah Community Center in late January so that people better understand Michigan's K-12 education funding system and are better informed in terms of the tradeoffs associated with different reconfiguration alternatives. (I write this because I need a commitment device to actually make the time to organize the presentation.) If you want to become better informed on Michigan's education funding structure, feel free to read my research paper HERE . It provides a brief overview of Michigan's structure relative to Ohio's funding structure. (Of particular interest is Figure 1 which depicts Michigan's enrollment trends for different wealth quintiles.) A more detailed overview can be found here .

Finally, let me state that the information in this post and the information I provide at the presentation are based on my research and represent my views. They do not necessarily represent the views of MSU.

Mike Conlin
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