5/25/23: KPS suspensions

Kalamazoo parents are worried about how often suspensions are happening in their kids’ schools. Now trustees are too. Also: A display of downtown street plans drew comments and suggestions. And family planning is now on the list of services Kalamazoo County provides.
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Thursday, May 25, 2023

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Kalamazoo parents are worried about how often suspensions are happening in their kids’ schools. Now trustees are too. Also: A display of downtown street plans drew comments and suggestions. And family planning is now on the list of services Kalamazoo County provides.

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Downtown streets open house draws a crowd, suggestions

Yesterday afternoon was the first of two open houses scheduled by the city of Kalamazoo to go over plans for turning a downtown city street from a one-way into a two-way. The open house was held at Bell’s Brewery and drew dozens of people curious about the future of Kalamazoo Avenue. Many had feedback for city planners, which they will take into account. “We’re going to take the next six months to incorporate what we hear tonight, cover any last minute details and issues, with the goal of bidding out the project at the end of the year,” said City Planner Christina Anderson.

The project has already changed due to public input. Residents of the Stuart neighborhood didn’t like a previous version of the plans. “There was still concerns that with the volume of cars that go straight through the Westnedge-MichiKal intersection, that it wouldn’t really feel like much of a neighborhood street even with what was proposed at the time,” said Anderson. They altered the plans to route traffic away from the neighborhood.

People who missed last night’s open house will have other opportunities to learn more about the project. Another event will be held at 9am next Tuesday at the Catalyst Center. The plans will also be posted online after Tuesday’s open house.

Editor’s note: On Monday, we reported that the Kalamazoo Public Schools had approved a contract with Dr. Darrin Slade to become the new superintendent. A reader pointed out that was incorrect. According to the district’s agenda, the Board of Education will not vote on the contract until tonight.

More News You Need To Know

KPS to review suspension policies after parent complaints

Are Kalamazoo Public Schools leaders too quick to suspend students? Some parents feel that’s the case. Trustees are worried as well, and plan to dig deeper into the district’s suspension policies and practices. Board Vice President Jermaine Jackson said he’s concerned that bias is playing a part in suspensions. “I’m a parent. I have a Black son in this district that was put on a suspension for just getting to class late,” he said. Data backs up the fact that Black students are suspended at a much higher rate than other groups.

Under current policy, the superintendent or a delegate has to sign off on all suspensions. They’re supposed to consider a range of factors before making the decision. Those include the student’s age, any disabilities, and if other methods can be used to deal with the issues. Trustees say they don’t know if those criteria are actually being considered, and they want to find out. [MLive]

Family planning in Kzoo County

Beginning this week, Kalamazoo County’s Department of Health and Community Services (KDHCS) is offering family planning services to people who may not be able to afford them otherwise. Those services include basic things like pregnancy tests, contraceptives, and disease testing, but also more complex services like pregnancy counseling and medical examinations. The only thing they won’t do is provide abortions – the county is prohibited from funding abortion services.

The program’s $400,000 price tag is being covered by federal grant money. That’s allowing the county to add a larger exam room to its facilities on Alcott Street, as well as to hire two full-time employees: a physician’s assistant and a medical assistant. Health Director Jim Rutherford told WOOD TV8 that the program is a net benefit for the community. “There’s a lot of connectivity and opportunity for us to do that one-stop type of provision for our clients. Therein lies the true value of having family planning within local health departments,” he said. [WOOD]

KVCC to offer free summer college readiness program

For many people, going to college can be difficult, especially after a summer of learning loss. Kalamazoo Valley Community College is hoping to make the transition easier with a program called Valley Advantage. The program is a three-week summer course where prospective students will learn more about the college experience and bone up on their English and math skills.

The program is free to students who will also have a chance to earn up to $550 during the classes. The classes are open to anyone with a high school diploma or GED. That includes people who may have graduated high school years ago and are just now considering going to college. There are two sessions scheduled this summer between July and August. Those interested can find out more online. [WWMT]

Things To Do In Kalamazoo

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West MI Apple Blossom Cluster Dog Show – Kalamazoo County Expo Center
8AM 5/25-29

Downtown Kalamazoo Event Center (virtual meeting) – Southwest Michigan First
9:00AM 2/25

Open Mic Night at Table of Contents Cafe – this is a bookstore | Bookbug
5:00PM 5/25

Public Services Week: All Things Public Works – 415 E Stockbridge
5:30PM 5/25

Public Services Week: Groundwater and Water Production at the Central Pumping Station – 215 E Stockbridge
5:30PM 5/25

West Michigan Area Show Opening and Awards Ceremony – Kalamazoo Institute of Arts
5:45PM 5/25

GLAMA Jam! – Old Dog Tavern
6:00PM 5/25

Paint With Coleen: Bee Happy! – Parchment Community Library
6:00PM 5/25

City Centre Live!!!!! w/ Zion Lion – The Xperience by LuXury Escapes
6:30PM 5/25

Sunny Bleau and The Moons: Slow Burn Album Tour – Dormouse Theatre
7:00PM 5/25

GD Funny! May – Green Door Distilling Co.
7:00PM 5/25

Sadie Bass Live – Rugger’s Up and Under
7:00PM 5/25

Friday at the Flats – Celery Flats Park
4:30PM 5/26

Portage Craft Market – Celery Flats Park
4:30PM 5/26

Music with Steve Kamerling – Brick + Brine
6:00PM 5/26

The Beer Garden Sessions ft. Megan Rae Band! – Presidential Brewing Co.
7:00PM 5/26

Emily Braden – Jazz at the Crawlspace
7:30PM 5/26

Roochie Toochie and the Ragtime Shepherd Kings – Dormouse Theatre
8:00PM 5/26

Fenne Lily & Christian Lee Hutson w/ Work Wife – Bell’s Eccentric Cafe
8:00PM 5/26

Rummage Sale at Jerico – Jerico
8:00AM 5/27

Bullet Journal Blast – Kalamazoo Public Library, Oshtemo
10:30AM 5/27

Fly-In: C-47 “Hairless Joe” – Air Zoo
11:00AM 5/27

Neighborhood Block Party – Vicksburg Village Watch
4:00PM 5/27

The Gilmore: Renée Fleming & Evgeny Kissin in Concert – Chenery Auditorium
8:00PM 5/27

Venus & the First Quarter Moon – Kalamazoo Astronomical Society
9:00PM 5/27

Radicle Night @ The Xperience – Rootead
9:00PM 5/27

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