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 discusses budget problems


Board talks cuts, new revenue, deficit elimination

By Dan DuChene
Dec. 22, 2008    ·    3:38 a.m.

The Willow Run Board of Education discussed budget cuts aligned with eliminating the district’s budget deficit Thursday.

Though the proposed list of cuts and revenue generators was not a concrete plan, the board did pass a resolution which highlighted very specific plans for more than $1.58 million in savings and $48,000 in new revenue during the next two years.

Among the budget cuts proposed, the board approved eliminating the district’s supervisor of buildings and grounds, food service driver, five janitorial positions and its French tutor. The proposed additional revenue include imposing a personal appliance fee for staff and teachers for refrigerator, coffee machine and other utility expenditures as well as increasing district meal prices by $0.50.

Other budget reductions include a $50,000 cut to district security expenditures, running all district elementary schools as kindergarten through sixth grade, re-aligning bus schedules to reflect declining enrollment and an energy conservation campaign.

“It gives the administration the ability to go into these areas objectively,” said Andy Balkita, board trustee. “They need something from this board, and then they come back with the information to us.”

Blakita also noted the district had not yet privatized any of its services, such as transportation or food.

“These are our employees,” he said. “For now we’re doing what nobody else is doing.”

Sheri Washington, the board’s vice president, voted against the resolution. She raised concerns about charging staff for personal utilities, increasing school lunch prices and reconfiguring the district’s elementary schools.

Willow Run Superintendent Doris Hope-Jackson pointed to the success of Kettering as a pilot for the district, for keeping sixth-graders in elementary schools. She also mentioned the idea of creating a pilot program to separate girls and boys in the middle school.

Trustee Clifford Smith agreed with Washington on the lunch price issue, and said he would like to compare Willow Run’s cost, $2.75 if the proposed increase goes through, to other districts in the area.

Just before the resolution went to a vote Washington raised concerns about eliminating the district’s building and grounds supervisor. She said the position’s elimination should not be based on a poor staff evaluation.

“I’m not going to let it happen frivolously,” she said.

Trustee Harold Wimberly was absent from the meeting by the time this resolution had been put to a vote.

Deficit elimination
The Willow Run Board approved its deficit elimination plan for the state before discussing these specific budget cuts.

Required by the State of Michigan when a district depletes its fund balance, the district has been submitting deficit elimination plans since 2006. If a plan is not submitted to or approved by the state, than the state can freeze state aid or appoint an emergency financial manager, as is happening right now at Detroit Public Schools.

Unlike last year’s plan, which incorrectly assumed new students would be enrolling in the district, generating more money from state allocations per student; this plan assumes a $577,000 increase in state aid during the next two years due to an increase in its funding per child.

The plan assumes enrollment will remain at current levels for two years. It also assumed many of the cuts and changes laid out in the resolution adopted by the board.

David Houle, chief financial officer for Willow Run, said it was “unlikely” that the state would actually increase per-pupil allocations to this level. However, he said it would be “fair,” considering the sacrifices Willow Run has made in the name of fiscal solvency.

In addition to the cuts laid out in the resolution passed by the board, the deficit elimination plan also assumes a reduction in 20 full time positions from around the district. The $1.48 million in savings would have the district wind up with a nearly $200,000 fund balance in two years.

The deficit elimination does not highlight specifically where these positions would be eliminated from. Houle said some could come from regular reductions in staff due to retirement. He said the board would have to make the decisions as to where those cuts will come form in the future.

“I’m really pleased with how we’re dealing with these particular issues,” said Board President Claudette Braxton.

“It’s been painful, but we’re not in a bad position,” she said. “With crisis comes opportunity.”

Both Washington and Smith said they would like to see the district create a plan to attract new students to Willow Run.

“We’re not working on the root cause of the problem,” Washington said, citing falling enrollment as the “root cause.”

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