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Posted on Fri, Nov 2, 2012 : 6 p.m.

Board passes resolution to make 'good faith effort' to ensure Willow Run teachers are hired in new district

By Danielle Arndt

The Willow Run Board of Education passed a resolution Thursday night supporting its teaching staff.

The resolution said the existing Willow Run school board would make a good faith effort to help ensure the district’s teachers are hired in to the new, Ypsilanti-Willow Run consolidated district, should the proposal pass during Tuesday’s election, Willow Run teachers union president Kathleen Miller said Friday.

Miller, who attended the school board meeting, said the union has similar language in its collective bargaining agreement, stating if the district is consolidated, dissolved or privatized in any way, the district would attempt to preserve teachers’ positions.


Current members of both the Ypsilanti and Willow Run school boards are seated together at a joint meeting in April to discuss pursing consolidation. | Danielle Arndt

“To me, it was nice to see they were following our contract and making a good faith gesture. But in no way do I believe that the resolution they passed last night states that all of my teachers will be guaranteed their jobs if we merge,” Miller said.

She said it was “very professional” of the board to respect the contract language and it pleased her to see the teaching staff acknowledged, although she added she knows staffing decisions will be up to the newly appointed school board.

If the ballot proposal to merge Ypsilanti and Willow Run schools is approved, the Washtenaw Intermediate School District's Board of Education will have 10 days to appoint a new seven-member board to manage both districts until the new district is official in July 2013.

Ypsilanti Education Association President Karen Siegel said Friday she was concerned by the gesture that the Willow Run school board made and wished Ypsilanti’s Board of Education had passed such a resolution.

“I commend Willow Run for supporting their teachers,” Seigel said. “But there are two districts involved in this. Personally, I wish our board had come out and made a statement.

“A lot of people in the community want to know who the teachers will be,” she continued. “It would have been nice if they could have voted knowing that the teachers are supported. It’s not binding, and we know that, but just to send a signal to the new board, and then the community could know we are going to look to be hiring the teachers that people already know and trust and have built relationships with the community and have commitments to their kids.”

Ypsilanti school board President David Bates said he does not believe Seigel has anything to worry about, that the new board will look at the entire pool of teachers and teachers’ openness, attitude and approach, as well as experience, will play a big role in staffing decisions.

He added he does wish he had known Willow Run was planning to take this action.

“This is one of the reasons communication is so important. If we’d have known about it, then we could have done it, too,” he said.

Ypsilanti has a “very, very fine and high quality” teaching staff, Bates said, and he has “no doubt” that its staff will be considered equally when it comes time to make decisions about teachers.

Teachers in both districts have been told they likely will be required to re-apply and interview for their jobs, should the consolidation proposal pass. This will be determined by the new, appointed board as well.

Danielle Arndt covers K-12 education for Follow her on Twitter @DanielleArndt or email her at



Sun, Nov 4, 2012 : 5:21 p.m.

Don't count on that good faith thing. Trust you me. Happened with WISD privatization and it will happen again. I really hope the lazy teachers of WR hi school are not hired back and new ones in. Can't wait until next August to see if this really happens. If the board takes back the teachers? I will make sure everyone knows who is not a great teacher. Although they will have to start all over again. From bottom up. Hire new teachers and keep the ones who want to teach. Bottom line.

Tom Todd

Sun, Nov 4, 2012 : 1:52 a.m.

voting for this and yes on prop 2


Sat, Nov 3, 2012 : 10:22 p.m.

I'm sure many Willow Run Teachers are great assets to a team, but Ypsilanti teachers, with new programs in place, have made a significant difference in the possitive changes at Ypsi High, I would hope that EVERY teacher, regardless of what district, be evaluated to ensure the best fit for a consolidated district, and that Willow Run teachers would not be chosen based off of "Honoring Contracts" All Ypsilanti teachers have contracts too. They Shouldn't have been allowed to pass a resolution that only included half of the affected people.


Sat, Nov 3, 2012 : 1:37 p.m.

If the voters approve consolidation next week, they then will need to select new board members who are able to work for the good of the new district as a whole. Although it is understandable that Willow Run people would want to retain Willow Run staff and Ypsilanti people would want to retain Ypsilanti staff, we must find board members who are able to look at the needs of the new district and put those old partisanships aside.

Karen Siegel

Sat, Nov 3, 2012 : 12:03 a.m.

I believe that many teachers who have served the students in Ypsilanti during these especially challenging years would appreciate the vote of confidence from the elected representatives of the community. I appreciate Mr. Bates' supportive comments. It is possible that some of the current school board members could be chosen to serve on the new board should the consolidation vote be approved. So, although the resolution is non-binding (as is true of most resolutions) it is not accurate to say that they are meaningless.

Dan r OBryan

Fri, Nov 2, 2012 : 11:49 p.m.

the two districts are broke,so we no the staff will be cut .to save money ,salaries will be reduced ,to save money.class room will be larger ,to save money. buildings will be closed to save money.children will be on buses longer ,since they don't attend schools in their neighborhoods ,to save money, contracts will be negotiated with alot of unknowns.students returning ,busing longer routes ,school being closed. If i was a teacher id be a Little skeptical , people can always tell you what you want to hear. All this to save money and call it higher education

Dan r OBryan

Sun, Nov 4, 2012 : 3:13 a.m.

i wish i could have seen the remark .that was removed

tom swift jr.

Fri, Nov 2, 2012 : 10:36 p.m.

This was a political move with no meaning. This board has better things to do with it's time than indulging in fiction and fantasy. The scary part here is that the Ypsi Board didn't have a clue, that should be a clear sign as to the lack of openness and communcation between these two entities.


Fri, Nov 2, 2012 : 10:32 p.m.

So, the board of education that won't exist if the consolidation is approved is trying to pass resolutions for a district that doesn't exist? This makes no sense... And, even funnier, the YPS Board of Education thought they should have done it too! The appointed Board of Education will determine who gets hired back, not either of the current boards. Any resolutions the current boards have passed are erased if the consolidation is approved. This is all just silly gesturing and the respective boards should worry about the districts they have right now.


Sat, Nov 3, 2012 : 1:06 a.m.

It's all about what the unions want............