Lansing sees promise in Promise

LANSING, Mich. - The Lansing School District will apply for Promise Zone certification under a new state law allowing local authorities to capture some property tax revenue for college scholarships, according to the Lansing State Journal.

If the state approves, an independent board would draft a plan to raise initial funds for the program and also set scholarship criteria, the Journal reported. In subsequent years, the authority also would receive income from incremental increases in property tax revenue in the zone.

"We're optimistic that the establishment of this Promise Zone will help us to maintain enrollment, to attract new families to Lansing, to our community and to our schools," Superintendent T.C. Wallace Jr. said at a meeting, according to the Journal.

The scholarships would be awarded to students living within the zone and could be used toward an associate or bachelor's degree, the Journal reported. The law allows up to 10 Promise Zones across the state.

Dennis Fliehman, president and chief executive officer of Lansing's Capital Region Community Foundation, told the Journal that the Zone would help families and the economy. The foundation already holds the endowment for Lansing's HOPE Scholarship, which pays for two years at Lansing Community College, the Journal reported.

Lansing State Journal, "Lansing to apply for Promise Zone plan," Feb. 13, 2009

Michigan Education Digest, "Promise Zone bills signed," Jan. 16, 2009