Outrage Erupts After Holt School Board Votes To Restructure Dist - WLNS TV 6 Lansing - Jackson | Your Local News Leader

Outrage Erupts After Holt School Board Votes To Restructure District

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HOLT, Mich. (WLNS) – Angry parents stormed out of a Holt School Board meeting Monday night, after leaders voted to move forward with a district restructuring plan that would move 12th graders into a separate building, and move freshmen into the main building with sophomores and juniors.

"We feel that if we move those ninth graders into the high school building, that can help with some of our budget and our finance issues and prepare our ninth graders and really touch our students when they need the most assistance," said Lori Zajac, school board vice president.

But most students and parents at the standing-room only meeting did not share that sentiment, instead, students and parents alike pleaded with the board to not make the switch. A few of the many concerns included fear of negative emotional consequences for freshman mixed in with older students could also lead to academic problems, Also, others feared isolating seniors cuts the high school experience short.

The move to restructure the district has already pushed some students away. Rachel Williams, a junior at Nexus Academy of Lansing, said her parents made the decision to pull her from Holt High School after learning about the upcoming changes. "I don't think [the changes] are a good idea," said Williams. "As freshmen in [the ninth grade] building, you look forward to moving across the street to the big campus. It's that big exciting time to move across and be with the rest of the high schoolers."

But Zajac said moving the ninth graders will help consolidate resources, and separating the seniors will allow them to focus on college preparation and post-secondary careers. "Our emphasis is to prepare our students, whether they are college-bound students, high achieving students, or they are more remedial students, we try to create pathways for them in a real life learning environment so they can prepare for college…" said Zajac.

Parents at Monday's meeting said they feel board members are not representing the wishes of the people who elected them. Some have already organized to have board members recalled.

Emerald Morrow is a reporter with WLNS-TV. Like her on Facebook, Follow her on Twitter or email her atemorrow@wlns.com.

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