Ypsilanti Citizen Education Sidetrack

Ypsilanti Schools accept transportation consolidation
By Adrienne Ziegler
Jun. 8, 2010   ·   3:07 p.m.

Connie Shelton, an East Middle School Teacher, speaks against the WISD transportation consolidation plan at Monday's special meeting of the Ypsilanti Board of Education. The board approved the motion to join the consolidation by a vote of 5 to 2.

"Shame on you" echoed through the audience Monday night after the Ypsilanti Public Schools Board of Education approved a plan to join a countywide consolidated...read more

Willow Run appoints new board member
By Adrienne Ziegler
Jun. 5, 2010   ·   8:16 a.m.

The Willow Run School Board looks on as Kristine Thomas, a district parent and previous board member, is sworn in as trustee on Thursday night. Thomas will take the position of Joi Jenson who resigned in early May.

The Willow Run School Board appointed a new, yet familiar trustee to the board of education during their regular meeting Thursday night.

Kristine Thomas, a Willow...read more

Willow Run approves county-wide transportation plan
By Adrienne Ziegler
May. 27, 2010   ·   2:09 p.m.

The Willow Run School District signed on to a countywide consolidated transportation plan at their regular board meeting last week.

The plan aims to save transportation...read more

Lincoln offers summer courses to area high-schoolers
By Mark Tower
May. 26, 2010   ·   7:49 p.m.

Students from Lincoln and other nearby districts are being invited to participate in Lincoln High School's Summer Academy this year, registration for which opened...read more

Willow Run terminates student services administrator
By Adrienne Ziegler
May. 26, 2010   ·   12:26 a.m.

Willow Run School Board President Sheri Washington said she didn't know if the district was going to press charges against former Student Services Administrator Laconda Hicks after the board fired Hicks during a special meeting Tuesday night.

The Willow Run Board of Education unanimously voted to terminate its contract with former Student Services Administrator Laconda Hicks Tuesday night during a special...read more

Kaiser, Kettering at Thurston recommended to Willow Run

Photo by Christine Laughren

The Willow Run Board of Education discussed options for closing elementary schools at Thursday's meeting. The conversation will continue at a special meeting next week.
Ypsilanti Farmers Market

Second recommendation to close Holmes, then Kettering

By Dan DuChene
Apr. 24, 2009    ·    9:51 a.m.


Willow Run Superintendent Doris Hope-Jackson recommended closing both Kettering and Kaiser elementary schools and re-opening Thurston Early Childhood Development Center Thursday.

Jackson made the recommendation following a presentation to the district’s board of education. The board had approved closing an elementary school when it passed its state required deficit elimination plan in March.

Thurston was closed two years ago due to budget constraints. The board had approved hiring Port Huron-based Mid-Thumb Auctioneering to hold a public auction in May to sell the furniture and equipment stored in the unused building at its meeting earlier this month.

The district expects to save $361,218 with the move. The district must eliminate its $2.7 million deficit in five years, according to the district’s deficit elimination plan. If enrollment drops below 1,840 in the fall, the plan calls for the closing of another school.

Jackson said the rationale behind closing two schools and re-opening Thurston is students coming from a closed school to attend another may looked down upon by the students already attending the open school.

“They would have equal ownership,” Jackson said. “As opposed to being and Kettering and being called those kids from Kaiser, or being at Kaiser and being called those kids from Kettering.”

During her presentation, Dr. Jackson described the committee that made the decision as well as the process the group used to arrive at its recommendation.

The committee consisted of the principals from all elementary schools, Assistant Secondary Principal Shannon Smith, Student Services Director Laconda Hicks and Todd LaPrairie, director of buildings and grounds.

Jackson said the committee assigned each building points based on 15 categories. The more points a school accumulated, the more likely the school would be closed. Holmes Elementary was assigned the most points, 61, and Ketting came in runner-up with 60 points. Kaiser received the fewest points with 46.

Categories for selection included current enrollment, projected enrollment, facility condition, the capacity of the building compared to its attendance and its proximity to other districts. Other categories included whether or not the building housed special programs, the condition of the building, it’s location in the district and the number of students the district is projected to use.

Finally, the administration looked at the impact closing the school would have on the surrounding community, the financial advantages of closing the school and endorsements from the administration.

Jackson said each administrator was allowed two votes. She said the group tried to make decisions through consensus building, and chose the first recommendation.

The second option presented to the board centered on the results of the group’s system. The recommendation was to first close Holmes Elementary, and to then close Kettering the following year.

“No school really emerged as a first choice to shut down,” Jackson said during the meeting.

Dorothy Stewart, treasurer for the board, said, “I have my own opinion about which one I’d choose.”

She said she would have chosen to close Kettering first.

Both Stewart and Trustee Clifford Smith said the criteria should have been different when evaluating which school to close. Stewart pointed out that 395 students would be moved with the recommended plan. The board members said more emphasis should have been placed on retention.

“You can’t sell houses,” Smith said. “How are you going to sell schools.”

Smith complained of the consideration of sale value the evaluation group used when assessing the score for the financial advantages category. He said there was no intention to sell now, and it the points might have thrown off the results.

“Take that out,” he said. “We’ve got to get the bottom line right.”

Smith said he opposed closing Holmes because of its location to Ypsilanti Public Schools’ Adams Elementary.

The board will be considering the decision further at a special meeting Thursday.

“It’s not going to be an easy decision,” Board President Claudette Braxton said. “But, it’s got to be done.”

Related story:
Willow Run eyes budget deficit



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