Above-average summer resignations, retirements prompt staff changes at Ypsilanti Public Schools
Ypsilanti Public Schools fielded 11 resignations and an additional 13 retirements this summer, school board documents show.
Sharon Irvine, director of human resources for YPS, said in an interview earlier this summer the number of retirements and resignations is slightly higher than usual for 2012-13.
The district has gained a reputation as a place for high turnover in recent years. But school officials say the number of retirements and resignations this summer can be attributed to the prospect of consolidating with Willow Run.
“There’s no question that ... they are electing to find employment in other districts because they are concerned about unification,” Board President David Bates told the Ypsilanti Courier. “It’s an individual decision and not a reflection of the district, but a reflection of that individual’s mind for change. Any time you undergo a significant change, some people will elect to leave.”
However, recent resignation letters submitted to YPS show that weariness of change may not be the only reason teachers and support staff are moving on. A few employees cited the two layoff notices they received within the past four months as why they felt a need to look elsewhere for jobs.
Pay cuts and the threat of pay-less paydays also concerned a number of staff, Ypsilanti Education Association President Karen Siegel told AnnArbor.com earlier this month. She said it's been hard for teachers, who make concessions year after year and are left with fewer and fewer resources to help children.
Ypsilanti Public Schools is dealing with a nearly $10 million deficit, talks about potentially forming a new district with Willow Run and trying to find ways to cut additional funds from the budget in order to pay employees during back-to-back pay periods in January 2013.
In May, the district reported processing 16 retirements. The recent summer retirements bring that total to 29. When added to about 11 resignations and 10 leaves of absence for 2012-13, the district lost 50 people in total.
The district laid off approximately 75 people in June. According to an earlier report, YPS needed to reduce its staff by 105 positions to tally the $5.45 million attributed to staffing cuts in the district’s deficit elimination plan, which the Board of Education passed in May.
At a recent Board of Education meeting and the Aug. 13 meeting combined, Ypsilanti trustees approved recalling eight staff members due to Title 1 and At-Risk grant funding, five general education teachers due to retirements/resignations and two special education teachers also due to retirements/resignations, for a total of 15 recalls.
Ypsilanti also hired four new teachers: a culinary arts teacher for the Regional Career Technical Center, a counselor and a health instructor at Ypsilanti High School and an instructor for the district's Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps program.
Irvine said Adam Brown, the new health teacher at the high school, was interviewed and scheduled to be taken to the board for hire in January. But due to the district's hiring freeze and mid-year layoffs, he was required to stay on at the high school as a long-term substitute, she said.
Irvine said at the Aug. 13 board meeting, in the past few years it has been a rare occasion that she has been able to hire anyone, so welcoming Brown as an official employee of the district was a feel-good moment.