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Posted on Tue, Oct 27, 2009 : 9:11 a.m.

Ypsilanti school board hires new financial manager

By Ronald Ahrens

The Ypsilanti school board hired a new chief financial officer Monday night as the district grapples with a budget deficit that could result in the suspension of state aid.

David Houle, who has been financial director for Willow Run Community Schools since 2007, will earn $113,000.

Board president David Bates said: “As tenuous as the financial circumstances that we find ourselves in are, it’s imperative to have the very best CFO you can get your hands on.”

Trustee Kira Berman said a deficit-reduction plan will be due soon to help preserve state aid to the district. “Houle will help craft that plan,” she said.

Like other districts around the state, Ypsilanti is reeling from proposed state cuts that would slice per pupil funding by $292. District officials said last week that they wouldn't be able to absorb the cuts, and mid-year layoffs would be considered.

Trustee Floyd Brumfield said with all the recent talk in Lansing about mergers and consolidations, “Houle understands Willow Run. That’s a plus-plus.”

But Trustee Andy Fanta expressed a distaste for taking a candidate from a distressed neighboring district and voted against the hiring.

Ypsilanti and Willow Run had once discussed sharing financial management.

Houle steps in after the position became vacant because of a retirement. He came to Willow Run after a three-year stint as financial manager for Jefferson Schools in Monroe. 

Before that, he was vice president and CFO at Concordia University. He began his career with 20 years in financial management at University of Detroit Mercy.

Houle isn't the only new face in the Ypsilanti district's administrative ranks. New Superintendent Dedrick Martin started last month, coming to Ypsilanti after serving as executive director of equity and achievement at the Champaign, Ill., Unit 4 school district.

Ronald Ahrens is a freelance writer for Reach the news desk at or 734-623-2530.