AnnArbor.com endorses Ypsilanti-Willow Run school consolidation
Voters in the Ypsilanti and Willow Run public schools face two important decisions on Nov. 6: The question to consolidate the two districts, along with a request that would allow the current millage funding to be shifted to the new district.
This is a landmark decision for the Ypsilanti area, one that will shape its future beyond the classroom due to the contributions of local schools to the fabric of a community.
We urge the voters in these districts to approve the merger.
The most pressing reason is the sheer magnitude of decisions they face after the October student count: Combined, they’re at least 400 students off of their projections, representing the loss of millions in state aid as the districts already carry millions in debt.
That loss, we believe, represents a loss in confidence in the districts by parents seeking the best educations for their children. That confidence cannot be restored in the ongoing climate of drastic budget cuts.
The decision comes with many unanswered questions, mostly about the configuration of the new district, who would run it and how students and staff would be affected.
We don’t minimize the uncertainty, but believe that it’s necessary at this point, when officials have described the state of the districts as a “death spiral.”
The guidance from Washtenaw Intermediate School District for this consolidation has been effective, and the community has been consulted. We believe that will continue. And while we suspect some voters won’t be satisfied with the final plan, we also believe that it will best serve the overall needs of the community.
AnnArbor.com endorsements are the results of AnnArbor.com interviews with candidates and reporting. The endorsement team includes Laurel Champion, executive vice president; Paula Gardner, community news director; and members of Gardner’s staff, including Bob Needham, entertainment director and former Ann Arbor News editorial page editor; and Cindy Heflin, managing producer.