East Lansing School Board Trustee Wants Planning for Fall to Start Now

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Raymond Holt for ELi

East Lansing Public Schools Trustee Chris Martin at the Jan. 27, 2020, meeting of the School Board.

East Lansing Public Schools Trustee Chris Martin says now is the time for ELPS to start preparing for what the district may be facing at the start of the next school year.

Martin tells ELi he’s hoping to use Tuesday’s meeting of the Academic and Technology Committee of the School Board to “start to take some concrete steps toward developing contingency plans for next fall.”

The Bridge reported this week that the district of West Bloomfield is planning a “hybrid” approach, with students attending their brick-and-mortar schools two days a week. Half of each class will attend on Monday and Tuesdays, then the buildings will be deep cleaned, and then the other half will attend on Thursdays and Fridays.

In his communication to ELi, Martin noted that move in West Bloomfield and also noted that the Ann Arbor School Board met for a long work session this week to tackle this problem.

“My position is that we should develop frameworks ASAP” for ELPS, Martin said today.

He specifically wants to see two areas addressed: “(1) how to adapt and improve our remote learning to meet the individual academic/emotional needs of students (if students find themselves working remotely); and 2) developing a workable 50-50 hybrid plan for our buildings and our population in case it’s needed.”

While he acknowledges that “we do not have the information to make formal decisions about the fall now,” he says he “would like our District to be proactive in developing plans and then make adjustments as needed, rather than scrambling at the end of the summer.”

The meeting of the Academic & Technology Committee is scheduled to run from 1:30 – 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday, May 26, and members of the public can listen in and participate (more information here). ELi’s report on the last meeting of this committee can be found here.

And a review of the superintendent’s performance?

Just a couple of hours before the Academic & Technology Committee meets on Tuesday, the full ELPS School Board will meet to discuss the annual evaluation of the district’s superintendent.

But it’s not clear whether they will actually undertake an evaluation of Superintendent Dori Leyko this year.

At the last meeting of the board on May 11, Trustee Kath Edsall read a prepared statement announcing that the Board’s Personnel Committee had discussed whether to skip the evaluation of the Superintendent’s performance this year. Edsall serves as Chair of that committee.

School Board Trustee Kath Edsall at the Sept. 7, 2019, meeting of school board. (Photo by Raymond Holt for ELi.)

In her prepared statement, Edsall announced that “the personnel committee has decided not to evaluate [the superintendent] at this time.”

Edsall indicated that the committee’s decision reflected guidance about statewide emergency orders from the district’s Human Resources Director and the Board’s attorney.

But the Personnel Committee had not met in public to make this significant decision. And, at the May 11 meeting, Board President Erin Graham (who serves on the Personnel Committee) questioned whether the committee could really make this decision on behalf of the full board.

Asked by ELi afterwards about what was going on, Edsall responded by writing, “In further communication with the Board’s attorney, Dori’s evaluation is required unless she and the board agree to not do an evaluation.”

So, now the Board is planning to meet on Tuesday, May 26, at noon, to discuss this matter.

When an agenda and information on how to attend become available, we’ll post that here.

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