Ypsilanti Citizen Education ]]>

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

Willow Run budget deficit increases by $711,000

Dr. Kimberly A. Rice DDS

Smallest amount added to $3 million deficit in six years

By Tom Perkins
Nov. 6, 2009    ·    12:38 p.m.

While Willow Run School’s financial picture remains grim, progress is evident.

That was the message the Board of Education and about 100 audience members received from the district’s accountants during an audit report for the 2008-09 financial year at Thursday’s meeting.

“The climate for school districts is tough one right now, and it’s especially tough for Willow Run Schools,” David Fischer, a representative from the district’s accounting firm, said.

The district added $711, 232 in debt in the 2008-09 financial year. Combined with the nearly $2.3 million in debt it brought into the year, Willow Run Schools now faces a $3 million deficit, and is already working under a state-mandated deficit reduction plan.

“I think that was probably the best you could present things,” Board president Sheri Washington said of the presentation. “I would like to get into the specifics and see what it its we must do to turn this around, not just from a financial standpoint, but an educational standpoint.”

Washington said that student achievement, community support, parent involvement and the effort of every staff member in the district have an affect on the financial problems.

“I think people need to see how these things are related,” she said. “But the finance part is very visible, and if you’re not healthy financially, you’re going to be frozen.”

Fischer did highlight the positives. Although the districts has operated in the red for the last six years, it reduced expenditures significantly last year and the $711, 232 added to the debt was the lowest amount in four years.

“You have made some strides in reducing some of your costs, and these are going to help address some of the deficit” Fischer said.

Fischer also pointed out the board had significantly reduced its long-term debt and made $161, 890 in food services, which he said was unexpected.

Food services is considered special revenue, as is athletics, which pulled $373,929 from the general fund.

“Athletics rely on a shot in the arm from the general fund because they cannot rely on event proceeds to cover their costs,” Fischer said.

Chief among the problems facing the district is declining enrollment, declining property values and the state’s foundation allowance drying up.

“Property tax and state aid – it’s just not funding all the costs for local districts in Michigan,” Fischer said.

As with other districts in Michigan, Willow Run saw an increase in federal dollars, including $753,000 in stimulus money, but it only filled gaps left from drops in State aid.

“Again, they erased some of what they were going to give and replaced it with something else,” Trustee Anglesia Brown said.

Fischer didn’t deny the challenges facing Willow Run, but said districts across the state are contending with the same issues and called on everyone to do their part.

“We just urge management, with the board and everybody else in the community, to try to work together to eliminate this deficit until the state straightens out the foundation allowance,” he said.

Washington echoed the sentiment.

“I do think people understand we need to work together,” she said.

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