School Board to Vote on Reopening Plan, and Council on Corporate Tax Exemptions

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Gary Caldwell for ELi

MacDonald Middle School and all other ELPS schools began the school year remotely.

It’s a pretty busy week of meetings ahead. Here’s what to be on the lookout for.

East Lansing School Board meets on Monday (Dec. 14) at 7 p.m. and has a few important items on the agenda, including three notable action items.

First is a motion to purchase upgraded phone hardware and support from Cisco, at a cost of about $30,000 annually. Second is a vote on a potential five-year contract extension for Superintendent Dori Leyko that would run through June 30, 2026.

The hottest topic item on the agenda, however, is likely to be the vote on extending the district’s Continuity of Learning Plan. At its Nov. 23 meeting, the Board recertified the plan for December, which called for permitting in-person learning, beginning for all grades, on Jan. 19, 2021, should public health measures permit. The Board will consider active cases in school buildings, the local percent positivity rate, and local cases per million as it makes its decision. Virtual learning will continue through the end of the school year for families who desire to continue with that option.

ELi’s Emily Joan Elliott brought a report about how parents are feeling with a potential return to in-person learning coming in the new year and an update on the local Covid-19 situation. You can see the Board’s full agenda here.

Also on Monday at 6 p.m., the Study Committee on an Independent Police Oversight Commission meets again after meeting last Monday. So far the group has met every other Monday, but opted to go for two-straight Mondays to squeeze in two December meetings before the holidays.

Based on the agenda, it appears the Study Committee will continue discussions from last week (read ELi’s Heather Brother’s report on that here) and also take up motions on having future speakers, like the City Attorney and the City Labor Attorney, who are employed by separate firms. The Study Committee will also discuss scheduling a dedicated community input session. See the full agenda for Monday’s meeting here.

On Tuesday (Dec. 15) at 7 p.m., City Council meets and will be holding public hearings on TechSmith Corporation’s request to get a tax-exemption and create an associated Industrial Development District — necessary for the tax exemption — on land owned by the Michigan State University Foundation. If approved, the change could lead to more corporations seeking to move to the district to obtain similar exemptions.

City Council will also consider an application for converting retail space on the first floor at 300 W. Grand River Ave. into six apartments. 

On the consent agenda for Council is an extension of the Covid-19 emergency declaration and downtown mask mandate, a “Change Order” to a cost sharing agreement with the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT), approving the Ingham County Designated Assessor Interlocal Agreement, and making 13 appointments to various boards and commissions. See City Council’s full agenda here.

The Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee meets on Wednesday (Dec. 15) at 7 p.m. and will consider 2021 Natural Resources Trust Fund and Recreation Passport Grant recommendations as well as considering changes in guidelines for naming public property. The Committee will also discuss 2021 meeting dates. See the full agenda here.

There are two meetings on Thursday (Dec. 16).

First, at noon, the Downtown Development Authority meets. It is the first meeting of either the DDA or Brownfield Redevelopment Authority (which has the same membership) since the refinancing of the Center City District bonds. There is an agenda item titled “bond schedule” on the agenda, but that is about the Evergreen Properties and its associated bonds.

The agenda for the DDA also shows financial reports from June and November of this year along with the bond schedule under “financial reports.” The only item on the DDA’s business agenda is a conflict waiver for Foster Swift to represent the City of East Lansing in a sale of real estate to River Caddis Development. See the DDA’s full agenda here.

And, lastly, the Arts Commission meets on Thursday at 5:30 p.m. and will be handling an RFP and final round of edits for the Greetings Tour mural. See that agenda here.

Make sure ELi can keep you up to date in 2021!

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