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Posted on Mon, Apr 16, 2012 : 7 p.m.

Willow Run, Ypsilanti school districts discussing consolidation at 'historic meeting'

By Danielle Arndt

Video streaming by Ustream

UPDATE: At about 7:35 p.m., both boards passed a resolution to move forward with the potential consolidation. The resolution will place the merger proposal on an upcoming ballot. Willow Run trustees Brenda Meadows and Bobby Stevens were the only "no" votes.

The school boards of Willow Run and Ypsilanti are meeting tonight to discuss the possibility of combining school districts.

The effort really is a first for the state of Michigan in the era of Gov. Rick Snyder's emergency manager law.

Four state school districts already have been appointed emergency managers in the past six months to oversee their financial and academic success.

Administrators with Willow Run and Ypsilanti public schools said consolidation, creating one new district, could prevent these east-side Washtenaw County schools from having to give up their local control to one of Snyder's managers.

Both Willow Run and Ypsilanti have been on Michigan’s list of school districts operating with a deficit consistently since 2009. Willow Run currently is $1.7 million in the hole, while Ypsilanti has a total projected deficit of $9.4 million.

The video above is a live feed to the joint meeting taking place at the Civic Center in Ypsilanti Township, courtesy of the YTownCan blog. The meeting began at 7 p.m.

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


Chase Ingersoll

Tue, Apr 17, 2012 : 1 p.m.

Watch the video. If you invested in the stock of a corporation with an 10,000,000.00 plus annual budget, which of these individuals would you want sitting on your board, because of any particular skill, communication ability or general analytical acumen? Would you want any of them as your CEO? These people in the decision making authority here, are there because of who they know, rather than what they know about anything relevant to making correct management and financial decisions. And the best the reality of the situation can achieve is to drag them kicking and screaming in the general direction that they need to go some time ago, before this all became too little too late. What they are talking about here is how to preserve as many jobs as possible, not how to actually compete with the Charter Schools which have and will continue to pick their bones. Chase Ingersoll


Tue, Apr 17, 2012 : 4:10 a.m.

Its almost time to walk away from the mortgage


Tue, Apr 17, 2012 : 2:01 p.m.

I live in Ypsi's district, send my kids to AAPs, but my home has depreciated over half of what I paid for it. This is only going to make it worse.


Tue, Apr 17, 2012 : 1:54 p.m.

Kept the mortgage used school choice. Much better option.


Tue, Apr 17, 2012 : 2:21 a.m.

One of the issues is students moving from one district to the other. This will at least stop that issue. Then there are duplicate administrations, this should reduce that overhead. Some schools are not full, more building consolidation is likely. Then you can look at the cost of goods, a larger district should be able to get better deals (all of the Washtenaw Districts should create 1 purchasing organization). Etc. There are a lot of possible efficiencies. It will be up to the board(s) to find them quickly. This has the ability to at least move the needle. The question is will it move it enough? One nice thing is by doing this, they can tap the Governor's consolidation fund for some cash to help with moving the chairs. Let's hope this is enough.


Tue, Apr 17, 2012 : 1:09 a.m.

Even if there is a take over for an EFM? At least it will be under one roof and one school system will survive. Maybe. Ypsi already closed two schools and WR did with two. I really hope they can make a go of it. Are they going to keep WISD? Or hand it off to Trinity? I really hope they keep Trinity out of the mix. That company scares me.


Tue, Apr 17, 2012 : 12:49 a.m.

I hope this fixes the cost issue at least. But tying the Titanic and Lusitania together won't make both float.


Tue, Apr 17, 2012 : 1:03 a.m.

Hit the nail on the head. I think the EFMs and the efforts to avoid takeovers are mostly just rearranging the deck chairs. If the money isn't there, the money isn't there. An EFM or consolidation aren't going to suddenly make these districts and cities economically viable.