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Lansing Schools could get more staff to help students graduate on time as plan heads to City Council

Joshua Hoehne

A proposal heading to the Lansing City Council would dedicate funds to hiring staff focused on increasing graduation rates in the Lansing School District.

Mayor Andy Schor proposes hiring graduation specialists using $400,000 over two years from the city's allocation of the federal American Rescue Plan Act.

Currently, the Lansing Public School District employs three such specialists who work in each of Lansing's high schools, District Superintendent Ben Shuldiner said.

But he hopes extra funding will allow the school system to hire more specialists to work districtwide on ensuring high schoolers graduate on time.

"You can think of it as a school counselor, but one who's really focused on the seniors, the folks that are supposed to be graduating," he said. "You can have this one person who's calling, who's supporting, making sure they're going to class, making sure that they're doing their homework, making sure that, if maybe something's happening in the family, they can create wraparound services.”

Shuldiner anticipates hiring two specialists with the initial funding. Following the city's two-year allocation, a nonprofit called the Lansing Promise is committed to funding the program for another two years.

After that, Shuldiner believes the district will find money to maintain the positions in the long-term.

In 2021, 62% of Lansing School District students graduated high school within four years, which is lower than the Michigan-wide average of just over 80%, state data shows.

But Shuldiner has said his goal is to bring the district's four-year graduation rate up to 85% by 2025.

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