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 teachers face 10 possible layoffs

During Thursday's meeting, Willow Run Board of Education President Sheri Washington explained cutting supervisory positions and redistributing their duties among remaining staff would not significantly affect school operations. Photo by Citizen File

During Thursday's meeting, Willow Run Board of Education President Sheri Washington explained cutting supervisory positions and redistributing their duties among remaining staff would not significantly affect school operations.
Ypsilanti Farmers Market

Nearly $2 million in cuts expected to impact sports, employee pay

By Tom Perkins
Dec. 18, 2009    ·    2:20 a.m.

The Willow Run School Board is considering significant cuts that include staff, athletics and wage and benefit concessions.

The cuts come as the district grapples with a $5 million deficit and recently had to file for an extension until Feb. 14 on its state-mandated deficit elimination plan, which was originally due Dec. 16.

“I know we’re in difficult times and a lot of things have to happen that we don’t like very much, and everything is still out there, still on the table,” acting Superintendent Laura Lisiscki said during the district's board of education meeting Thursday. “We have to scale down in the hopes of scaling back up as we work toward reinventing Willow Run. That’s difficult. It’s very, very difficult.”

The board said there will be two phases of cuts – one in January and one in June. No date was provided for when in January the cuts might come.

The January round of cuts could include laying off 10 teachers, opening talks with the teachers’ union about 5 percent paycuts, opening talks about health insurance reductions, cutting the athletic director position, cutting support staff and eliminating the custodial supervisor.

The district is also looking to cut funding for boys and girls swimming, hockey, varsity cross country, middle school cross country, golf, boys and girls tennis, JV softball, JV baseball and boys and girls middle school track.

The cuts will total $1.93 million.

Several board members expressed worry that cutting so many programs could cost the district more money than it will save because kids will go to another districts through the school of choice program.

“Is not having the option for students going to hurt us down the line?” Trustee Joi Jenson asked.

She added that students could still play the sports, but in a club, not varsity capacity, and encouraged them to “get creative” in fundraising.

Trustee Dorothy Stewart suggested the board focus on creating programs during the winter semester that will attract kids’ interest.

“Everybody is in trouble, but we have to make sure we focus on offering excellent programs for our students that will attract kids back here,” she said.

Washington explained cutting the athletic director position and other similar positions and redistributing their duties among administrators would not significantly affect the daily school operations.

“This isn’t reinventing the wheel here,” she said. “Lots of other districts have had to do this.”

Michelle Glenn, the Parent-Teacher Organization president at Holmes Elementary, suggested closing buildings which aren’t anywhere near capacity before cutting staff and programs.

“I don’t want to lose anymore teachers, band teachers, art teachers or programs,” she said. “Those are the reason my kids are here. Before we start laying off people, why don’t we shut down these elementary buildings, turn off the lights and shut off the gas.”

The deficit elimination plan filed by the district in 2008 state a school would be closed if it was not able to retain 1,840 students this fall. The board approved closing shuttering Kettering Elementary in May.

However, the board said it would save such a closure as a last resort during a meeting in October. The opinion expressed was closing a school, though budgeted to save more than $350,000, creates negative, unintended consequences on enrollment.

A Willow Run teacher who addressed the board after the cuts were announced wondered how any teachers could be cut at all.

“As a teacher, to hear 10 more teachers are going to get laid off – I’m trying to understand where those teachers are going to come from,” she said. “I know we’re at our max in many of those classrooms. I just don’t see it.”

Washington said no details were yet available on from where teachers would be cut.

Trustee Clifford Smith said Willow Run needed to improve its image and develop better public relations in the face of declining student enrollment.

“We have to be proactive,” he said. “If there are 600 students in Ypsilanti, I want to know where they are. We need to be out knocking on doors.”

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