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Williamston Community Schools Board Votes to Start Online

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Posted at 6:02 AM, Jul 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-29 09:04:38-04

LANSING, Mich. — In a 7-0 vote the Williamston Community Schools Board of Education voted Tuesday to start the year online through October 16.

More than 200 people showed up for an interactive school board meeting Tuesday night. In both opportunities for citizen comments people were courteous and understanding when it came to the decision that had to be made,

Comments and questions raised included issues around student learning, safety of students and staff, making sure that all students are served to the best of the districts' ability and more.

The board and administrators were thanked for their work on this important, but tough topic.

Following citizen comments, the board of education was presented with a plan to start the school year online by Interim Williamston Superintendent Kelly Campbell.

In this plan kids would be provided a more rigorous learning experience than happened this spring. Also, the district plans to look at ways in which small group learning may be able to occur in person.

"It is our hope that we can find ways to offer in-person learning, in some form, as soon as we can as we know that kids learn best in person" said Dr. Christopher Lewis, Treasurer of the Williamston Community Schools Board of Education.

One of the sticking points that was raised was the importance of having teachers teach from their classroom. In the final resolution, language was adopted to say that It is the intent of the Williamston Community Schools to have teachers teach from their classrooms. Numerous board members mentioned that this semblance of normalcy is important for students, but also allows teachers full access to technology and classroom resources.

Much time was spent talking about the financial realities for the district. "Williamston Community Schools worked hard over many years building our fund balance to 8% from being between 1-2% and many of the plans we were looking at would wipe this fund balance out" said Dr. Christopher Lewis, Treasurer of the Williamston Community Schools.

Williamston is not alone in this reality, but in Ingham County, they are one of the lowest funded districts based on state records even though their students perform at a higher rate than many neighboring districts.

Dr. Christopher Lewis, Treasurer of the Williamston Community Schools. "This goes back to Proposal A funding and a lack of equal funding across districts. This inequity has been an issue since Proposal A was enacted, but that does not change the reality which is having years and years of low funding. We have always been a district that pulled together to make this happen and thanks to the amazing staff and community members that we have we will do this again in the future."

The 7-0 vote provides the district administrators guidance for moving forward. The board will continue to meet through the summer, but will meet on October 5 to revisit this specific plan to determine next steps for the district beyond October 16.

Williamston joins other districts that have released their plans for returning to learn. You can see all of these plans in our Keeping You Safe section of the FOX 47 News website.

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