Change is inevitable for the Lansing School District, according to current member Rich Hauver.


Change is inevitable for the Lansing School District, according to current member Rich Hauver.

And as he seeks re-election to his seat, he said that change will likely be disruptive and at times difficult — but not changing would be worse.

“It’s not always going to be the same,” Hauver said. “We hope to get it better.”

Hauver is one of 10 candidates running for four open at-large seats on the seven-member board. Despite the challenges that seem to lie ahead, Hauver said deciding to run again was easy, having had five children of his own go through the district.

“It’s a way to give back,” he said. “The Lansing School District has been very good to my family and I just to make sure we keep it that way.”

Hauver said the Lansing School Board currently has a lot on its plate. A long-range facilities plan is currently underway by Overland Park-based Hollis and Miller Architects that will guide the district in planning new buildings or renovations to its current facilities as its enrollment increases. School budgets are being debated at the state level, with cuts and late aid payments continuing. State assessment testing benchmarks continue to climb.

Hauver said he believes the current board has a good dynamic for tackling those sorts of issues.

“You want to have the ability to agree and disagree, but eventually do what’s best for the greater good,” he said.

As far as planning, Hauver said he thinks the current Hollis and Miller plan is a proactive step for when enrollment does reach a certain point, even if that point is not known.

“If you do something just for tomorrow, but it kills you two years from now, that’s not good,” he said. “You have to have something that hopefully works at every stage.”

In future planning, Hauver said district will likely need a creative approach, talking to community organizations, colleges or the city about possible partnerships.
Hauver said he also sees technology playing an increasing role in future learning.

And though the state budget cuts have not spared Lansing, Hauver said he thought the current administrative leadership has done a good job in managing the reductions. The district has not yet had to lay off a teacher or cut salaries, though he said the budget continues to be a wild card.

Looking forward, Hauver said he would like to be able to expand technical education option for students in the district who choose not to move on to four-year colleges.

Hauver travels around a five-state area for his job and said in that role he has been able to talk to communities, schools and organizations like the YMCA about partnerships being used to educate students. He said some of the ideas he has seen could work in Lansing.

But Hauver said to accommodate changes in the future, the board needs to be able to work as a team, and said he thinks he brings a unique perspective from his years in business.

“What he hope to have is a consensus of the board that actually has the most positive, the most positive overall impact on educational opportunities for the students,” he said.