The Student News Site of East Lansing High School


The Student News Site of East Lansing High School


The Student News Site of East Lansing High School


Ballot proposal brings forth a 23.5 million dollar bond focused on student safety

Photo by Nina VanOtteren
Kai Martin (12) introduces himself to security guard Frank DeCardens in the high schools front hallway, while they talk about the safety of the new bond proposal on April 12.

Since concerns arose last year regarding safety in  East Lansing High School, school security has been a major concern within the East Lansing district and community. There have been minor changes in the school such as the introduction of security guards and a monitor at the front door, but there are still concerns that have yet to be addressed. 

With this in mind, the school board is seeking support for a $23.5 million bond that, among other district changes, seeks to bring a more advanced security system to the high school building. 

The bond also allocates certain quality-of-life renovations at the middle school, along with moving district administration from the high school to a property on Towar Avenue near the Ingham-Clinton county line. The renovation of the high school is the largest part of the bond, which would allow for a safer entryway and a more spacious student union. According to the proposal, the bond would allow for a new construction for a secure entrance and office area, along with replacement of interior door hardware for classrooms and offices.

Even though students would be impacted the most by these changes, many students are unaware of the details of the bond, especially because a large majority of the student body has not been educated about what it would bring to the school. 

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Kai Martin (12) is a student who will be voting on the bond in the special election. Before his interview, he was unaware of the bond and what it entailed. However, after learning more about the bond, he believed that while good, it may be unnecessary 

“I feel like they already have done a lot of things for safety this year,” Kai Martin said “I think safety is pretty good. But then again, it can always get better,”

As for members of the school board, finding ways to handle potential crises is the main goal of this bond. For example, installing new door hardware allows for greater safety in case of an internal threat. Gary Holbrook, a trustee of the Board of Education, sees the many renovations as a way to ensure that students can remain safe in case of emergency.

“The classroom doors you actually have to have a key to lock those so if the teacher isn’t in the room, the door doesn’t get locked,” Holbrook said.

Moving district administration was also a method of improving school safety. Holbrook felt it would be easier for administration to respond to an emergency at the high school if they weren’t in the building. However, moving the administration offices from the high school to the Towar Avenue property is one of the most controversial aspects of the bond due to the high cost in construction. 

Another point brought by Board President Chris Martin was a dedicated space for the tech department that would allow for the implementation of better internet connectivity throughout the school. Should the bond pass, the tech department would move into the offices downstairs that would be vacated by district administration. 

“A nice part of that bond is the dedicated servers for the tech department,” Chris Martin said.

The construction timetable would see ground breaking on the new administration building first, beginning in October 2024 and wrapping up in April 2025. The high school renovations would come second, especially as those renovations would be the most involved to implement. Those renovations would begin in July 2025 and are expected to be completed by April of the following year. Finally, there would be construction at the middle school that would be somewhat less involved and is expected to take around a month in the summer of 2026.

“The construction pieces are going to be some of the last things you see are some smaller things that would need to happen,” Chris Martin said. “I would hope that we can prioritize those as early as possible.”

As for the acute effect on safety, that would come from the high school renovation. It would allow for better knowledge of those entering and exiting the building. These renovations, alongside building a community of trust through measures like the hiring of security guards, are being used to find a long term solution to the security concerns. 

“The best way to ensure that students are safe is to build a positive culture in which students and teachers and administrators trust each other, “Chris Martin said.

The burden on tax for resident property owners will not increase as the amount levied will not be raised beyond the 2023 level.

The proposal hits the ballot on May 7. Polling places can be found at and polls will be open from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. For more information about the bond, visit the BOND 2024 page at

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About the Contributors
Joseph Powers
Joseph Powers, Staff Writer
Joseph Powers is a member of the Class of 2024 and one of the staff writers for Portrait. This is his second year on staff as a senior. Joseph’s favorite thing about journalism is crossword puzzles, he does the Wall Street Journal every day he remembers to. In what free time he has he spends it thinking of public policy and some other stuff.
Nina VanOtteren
Nina VanOtteren, Photography Editor
Nina is a member of the Class of 2025 and is a Photography Editor for Portrait. This is her second year on staff as a junior. Nina’s favorite thing about journalism is being able to inform others about things going on through different perspectives. When she is not in the newsroom, Nina loves skiing, spending time with friends and playing soccer.

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