East Lansing School Board and City Council Will Both Meet This Week

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Gary Caldwell for ELi

Stephanie Lambi, an interventionist with ELPS' Marble Elementary School, teaching from home.

East Lansing’s City Council has signaled that they will meet electronically this Thursday, April 30, starting at 9 a.m. This will be the first time Council has met since March 20, when a brief meeting was held to extend the local State of Emergency.

No agenda has been released but Council is expected to at least begin talks about next year’s budget. ELi reported on April 20 that four members of Council have been anxious to get meetings going, but that Mayor Ruth Beier was reluctant because she believes virtual meetings limit the opportunity for citizen participation.

There are no other City boards or commissions meetings currently publicly scheduled for this week, although the Downtown Development Authority is expected to meet to follow-up on its plan to provide emergency grants to downtown businesses.

City Manager George Lahanas has not responded to questions from ELi about why the City is not using its many electronic channels to blast out information about open government meetings during the emergency.

Meanwhile, as East Lansing Public Schools’ classes are officially back in session, the ELPS Board of Education is set to meet Monday (April 27) starting at 7 p.m. The meeting will also be held electronically and members of the public can participate during public comment.

Instructions for watching and participating are available here. Note that historically, the ELPS Board and Superintendent decline to answer any questions raised by citizens during public comment.

Two committees of the school board are expected also to meet this week.

The Finance Committee is due to meet on Wednesday, April 29, starting at 2 p.m., and the Academic and Technology Committee is scheduled to meet on Thursday, April 30, starting at 1:30 p.m.

We have questions into Board President Erin Graham and Superintendent Dori Leyko about how citizens can listen in on and participate in those meetings.

Graham and Leyko have also not responded to questions about why the district doesn’t use its email list for families or a press release system to alert parents, guardians, and taxpayers about public meetings.

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Update, April 27: Information on the April 29 meeting of the ELPS Finance Committee is available here. Information on the April 30 meeting of the ELPS Academic and Technology Committee is available here. (Earlier we indicated the Personnel Committee met this week but that was in error.)

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