Monday, August 8, 2022

Education bond incites protest

April 26, 2001
Lansing resident Rick Pryor, right, confronts students Wednesday who protested the “No Bond Rally” at the state Capitol. Pryor joined others rallying in opposition to the Lansing school district bond proposal. —

LANSING - Less than a dozen people gathered on the steps of the Capitol on Wednesday to urge community members to “Vote No May 1” and protest Lansing’s school bond.

Although hundreds of community members showed up at previous rallies supporting the $388.5 million school bond, only a handful of residents took a stand against the bond, saying they’ll “Vote No” when the city of 127,000 people sends voters to the polls on May 1.

“I love children, but I don’t want to impoverish our seniors,” Lansing resident Cartis Mandua said. “Our seniors are already choosing between medicine and food. This is just going to put them over the edge.”

The proposal includes renovations to 39 Lansing schools, $18.5 million for redeveloping Pattengill Middle School, 1017 Jerome St., and technology improvements throughout the district.

John Pollard, leader of the Citizens Against this Bond, said he finds problems in the multimillion dollar proposal, and he questions what will actually happen to the money after officials receive it from taxpayers.

“We have a vote coming up in less than a week,” he said. “Ask the supporters where all the money is specifically going to - they don’t know. But they know how much it’s all going to cost.”

During the rally, community members against the bond came face-to-face with Lansing students who favor the proposal.

“You kids don’t know what you’re talking about and you have no idea what this bond will do to us,” Lansing resident Christine Timmon shouted at the Pattengill Middle School and Sexton High School students who were carrying a “Vote Yes” banner.

If the bond passes, a owner of a $70,000 house would pay an additional $251 in property taxes.

Jessica Moore, an eighth-grade student at Pattengill, quickly informed the protesters of the conditions in her school.

“You guys don’t understand what we have to go through,” she shouted back at residents who opposed to the bond. “Our conditions are horrible. I can’t even concentrate.”

Students said they hope voters will bestow them with a better learning environment.

“It’s hot in here in the summer and cold in here in the winter,” said Nicole Jackson, a 10th-grade student at Sexton High School, 102 Mcpherson Ave.

“When it rains, we have to move our desks around the room so we don’t get wet.”

Several community leaders have joined to support the bond, including Lansing Mayor David Hollister, who is also the chairman of Citizens for Lansing Schools.

“We need to show our students that we support them,” Hollister said. “We need to vote yes on May 1 for the bond.”

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