Ypsilanti and Willow Run school boards to hold joint meeting on Aug. 24
This story has been updated
The Ypsilanti and Willow Run school boards will hold their long-anticipated joint meeting at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 24 on the campus of Eastern Michigan University, school officials said Friday.
The two school board presidents, David Bates in Ypsilanti and Don Garrett Jr. in Willow Run, have been discussing a joint meeting of the two boards since May. The meeting will be held in Room 201 of Welch Hall and will center around consolidating services between the two districts.
“Through this effort, we’ll be examining additional opportunities for sharing services and maximizing our resources to maintain or improve the quality and equity of education for all our students in Willow Run and Ypsilanti schools,” Garrett said.
The two neighboring school districts have a history of working together. Both are members of the Washtenaw Intermediate School District's busing consortium with the Ann Arbor Public Schools and have shared food service managers in the past as well.
Willow Run and Ypsilanti also share similar financial characteristics, with both on the list of 23 Michigan school districts that have a deficit in their fund balance more than $1 million. The school districts on this list are potentially eligible to be taken over by an emergency financial manager.
“This is a continuation of work that our district have been doing for years, as evidenced by the number and types of shared services in which our districts currently participate,” Bates said in a statement, specifically mentioning special education, the countywide fiber network and the Widening Advancement for Youth (WAY) program.
Although talks have been on-going between the two school board presidents and the superintendents of Ypsilanti and Willow Run, Dedrick Martin and Laura Lisiscki respectively, the final details on the meeting were hammered out this week in the presence of WISD superintendent Scott Menzel and school board members. The WISD is to serve as the convener and facilitator of the meeting at the request of the two school boards.
Among the preparations for the meeting was a conversation with Rep. David Rutledge (D-Superior Township) to discuss any legal policies and initiatives that would benefit both school districts.
Martin said the talks between Willow Run and Ypsilanti repreentatives have shown a very good relationship and a willingness to work together.
“At this point, the most important thing to come out of these discussions is a willingness to seriously explore what might be good and beneficial for both district and all the students in the Ypsilanti area,” Martin said.