Ypsilanti Citizen Education Lincoln Schools

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

Residents express concerns with Ypsi Schools

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Meeting format one of issues raised by community

By Christine Laughren
Feb. 17, 2010    ·    3:02 a.m.


Ypsilanti community members expressed several frustrations toward plans to close schools in Ypsilanti School District at Tuesday evening’s community forum at the high school auditorium.

First to the microphone, after Board President David Bates gave his “statement of purpose” for the meeting, was Maria Cotera, an active parent in the newly formed Ypsilanti Public Schools Alliance. Clipboard in hand, Cotera said the very structure of the meeting was not what she expected from a meeting labeled as a “forum.”

“I believe this [meeting] structure is problematic,” Cotera said, addressing the board and Superintendent Dedrick Martin, who had tables set up on the auditorium stage. “I feel very strongly that it is the central office administration that should be sitting on this stage, not members of the school board.

“What concerns me is that this will become just a venting session and not an actual session where we ask our questions and get reasonable answers from the administration,” she said.

Bates said the forum was designed so board members could listen to and consider questions and concerns.

Approximately 70 people attended the two-hour forum and more than a dozen addressed the board. Many wanted a clear, long-term plan from district officials as to how the proposed restructuring would take place and the impact any restructuring would have on the district.

The board passed a four-year plan to eliminate more than $6 million from the district's budget in December. The plan recommends the district lay-off 41 teachers among other cuts to athletics and district support services. The next academic year is expected to contain the brunt of the cuts, estimated at nearly $5 million.

Two separate restructuring plans could result in the closing of two elementary schools or one elementary school and one middle school.

Both options maintain an all-kindergarten school, currently Perry Child Development Center, and grades nine through 12 at the high school. From there, both plans diverge.

Trustee Andrew Fanta called Tuesday’s forum “ill-conceived” and said the administration is “putting the cart before the horse.”

“We are talking about reducing this budget to make this band-aid without any kind consideration of what kind of a school district we want,” Fanta said. “For me, the real question is for the superintendent and administrations to come to the school board and say ‘this is what our design is for Ypsi.’ ”

After listening to community concerns over the course of two budget workshops in January, and continued community input subsequently through forums and surveys, Martin said he and his administration whittled down seven million-dollar cost-saving measures to two. The superintendent said the district’s art and music programs have largely been saved per community requests and contracts already negotiated with local unions are set.

“I don’t want to mislead people and sit here and sell you a bill of goods and say ‘I see how we can keep everything open, not do concessions, not make cuts, not privatize services, not do all these things and come up with $6.4 million.” Martin said. “When we made a choice to not make some tough decisions we put ourselves in a tough position where we are obligated to follow through with certain financial obligations to the state.”

Martin also said the district borrowed $10 million from the state last year to keep the doors open. Administrators have asked for a four-year extension of that debt obligation.

“The state has granted extensions to districts that have shown they are serious about getting their fiscal house in order,” he said

Martin agreed a long-term plan for the district should be implemented, and he said he and other administrators have begun to work on one. However, he said he did not think such a plan could be completed by the time the district’s budget is due to the state in June.

An official public presentation to the board of the restructuring plans is expected to take place in early March. Martin said board members will have time to consider before voting.

Related article:
Forum scheduled for Ypsilanti Schools

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