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Posted on Thu, Mar 10, 2011 : 4 p.m.

Proposed charter high school in Ypsilanti Township hopes to take applications soon, organizers say

By Kyle Feldscher

The charter high school proposed for Ypsilanti Township is moving forward and is in the final stages of seeking approval, school officials said.

Dave Angerer, executive principal of the proposed Arbor Preparatory High School, said school officials hope to begin accepting student applications soon.

The school is seeking charter approval from Bay Mills Community College, near Sault. Ste. Marie.

The proposed charter high school would be one of two schools on a charter schools campus that would span 25 acres of land at the northwest corner of Merritt and Hitchingham roads. The other planned school, East Arbor Charter Academy, is a K-8 school.

Thumbnail image for Charterschoolsiteplan.jpg

A site plan is shown for the proposed National Heritage Academies K-8 school and the PrepNet charter high school. The plan was provided by Fishbeck, Thompson, Carr & Huber, inc.

PrepNet, a Grand Rapids-based company affiliated with National Heritage Academies, which operates 40 charter schools in Michigan, would operate Arbor Prep. NHA would operate East Arbor Charter Academy.

Notification on charter approval for East Arbor Charter Academy should come sometime in late April, according to Joe DiBenedetto, a school spokesman.

DiBenedetto said a parent information meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. April 11 at South Arbor Charter Academy, 8200 Carpenter Road.

A timeline presented at a community meeting in January shows the schools being approved by an authorizer in the spring, with construction scheduled to begin after and finish in time for the 2011-12 school year.

Kyle Feldscher covers K-12 education for He can be reached at



Sat, Mar 12, 2011 : 7:01 p.m.

the MEA knows charter schools are the future of education in this country and the political process makes it hard to get them approved because of PAC dollars. Leave education to the private secture so they can compete for students by hiring teachers who will agressively teach . If a teacher isn't up to the task, the school will hire one that is. No more coasting to tenure.

Jessica Hughey

Fri, Mar 11, 2011 : 3:15 p.m.

Please stay on top of this and let us know when applications will be accepted for the new high school. I am anxiously waiting to enroll my child at Arbor Prep. Incidentally, he lives in the ANN ARBOR school district. He has attended a charter (not NH) school for all nine years of his schooling thus far. The smaller class sizes is one of the big reasons we prefer charter schooling.

Dog Guy

Fri, Mar 11, 2011 : 3:11 p.m.

My generously taxpaid teaching position has allowed me to choose to send my children to private schools and colleges. I have found teachers in private institutions to be far more empathetic, skilled, motivated, and hardworking than I. My president and his henchmen agree and send their children to private institutions. Doctors, lawyers, and aboriginal chiefs support many private schools in the Ann Arbor area. Why talk as if this new charter academy is the first private school to threaten the John Dewey monopoly?


Fri, Mar 11, 2011 : 3:46 p.m.

These charter schools (South Arbor and the proposed new ones) are not private. As noted above (Jennifer's reply to Bob, 8:54 p.m. 3/10/11), charter schools are public schools.


Fri, Mar 11, 2011 : 3:31 p.m.

Could not agree more with this statement. If you can afford it? Do it? Remember, intra district also gets your child out of a poorly performing school district as well.

Steve Pepple

Fri, Mar 11, 2011 : 1:19 p.m.

A comment was removed because it contained name-calling.


Fri, Mar 11, 2011 : 1:15 p.m.

Curious to hear how many applications or requests they receive. For those that don't think new buildings are necessary, it's too bad that this new management couldn't simply replace the existing school districts; dump all their labor contracts, fire those that shouldn't be there and retain/hire the ones that shoud and just start over with the same buildings.


Fri, Mar 11, 2011 : 3:30 a.m.

Choice will only make things better for the kids in Ypsi. the present school system has failed them.


Fri, Mar 11, 2011 : 3:08 a.m.

Actually, mmppcc, If South Arbor has a waiting list for students who want to attend the school, and nearby schools are &quot;standing half empty,&quot; doesn't that tell you something about the quality of the education at South Arbor relative to the other schools? It does me. And if you think South Arbor is &quot;second rate,&quot; I think it highly likely you did not read the article published less than a year ago in the Ypsilanti Courier, <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>. They reported that South Arbor ranked seventh among Michigan schools on the 2009 MEAP test results. For the second consecutive year, South Arbor students achieved proficiency ratings above 95 percent in both reading and math. Second rate!?!? I don't think so!!


Fri, Mar 11, 2011 : 3:17 a.m.

Thank you DBH for the indisputable facts! There has always been a waiting list for South Arbor, as their academics and moral focus is outstanding. How do I know this? My 2 children attend South Arbor. My only regret is not starting them there sooner!


Fri, Mar 11, 2011 : 2:38 a.m.

Actually, DBH, I know for a fact that many of the public schools in that area are already standing half empty, and it's due to population decline, not just because there is something wrong with them. The last thing that area needs is second rate public (charter) school trying to impress the less educated with words like &quot;Arbor&quot; and &quot;Academy&quot;.


Fri, Mar 11, 2011 : 1:52 a.m.

Great, another &quot;arbor&quot; themed named miles east of where such a name is really relevant. What's the matter, Bay Mills? Something named Ypsilanti this or that isn't upscale enough for ya?


Fri, Mar 11, 2011 : 1:18 a.m.

Actually, I am pretty sure that the other National Heritage Academy school nearby, South Arbor Charter Academy, has a waiting list for students who want to attend. Any one school will be more or less full in proportion to the quality of the educational experience at that school. If a particular public school is only partly full, there likely is something deficient at that school.


Thu, Mar 10, 2011 : 11:20 p.m.

&quot;The school is seeking charter approval from Bay Mills Community College, near Sault. Ste. Marie.&quot; So this community college is going to watch over this charter school? How?


Thu, Mar 10, 2011 : 9:44 p.m.

Hi Kyle, I was wondering if you knew where I could find out more details about this deal. I am interested specifically in whether National Heritage is putting up all of it's own money for this project or if the taxpayers of Ypsi Twp. are being asked to subsidize this in any way, ie: tax incentives, free/reduced cost land, bond measures, etc. Thank you for your article.

Kyle Feldscher

Thu, Mar 10, 2011 : 10:10 p.m.

Ryan: In the meeting held in late January by the Ypsilanti Township Planning Commission, officials from the school told the crowd that this project would result in no new taxes and no millages to fund the school. However, I cannot speak to the cost of the land or if there are any tax incentives. I'll look into this, I'm sure it's information that could be available through Ypsilanti Township. Thanks for commenting.


Thu, Mar 10, 2011 : 9:29 p.m.

Frustrating. The State of Michigan allows this to continue, further stressing the public schools which really need support. Shameful.


Mon, Mar 14, 2011 : 12:57 a.m.

Sorry, Spyker, You are entirely wrong about this. &quot;A PSA [Public School Academy] is a state-supported public school operating under a charter contract issued by a public authorizing body. PSAs are also commonly referred to as charter schools. ...must serve anyone who applies to attend; that is, they may not screen out students based on race, religion, sex, or test scores. Students are selected randomly for admission if the number of students applying exceeds the school's enrollment capacity. You can read this (and more) at <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>.


Sun, Mar 13, 2011 : 12:30 a.m.

Charter Schools are NOT public schools. they are publicly funded PRIVATE schools. Yes, their official State name is a Public Academy, but the truth is that their governing boards are not elected, and they are not required by law to accept ALL students (only the ones they want - the students who are the easiest to teach).


Fri, Mar 11, 2011 : 3:30 p.m.

I totally agree with the replies here. Charter is public and if public is performing poorly? Then give a child a chance to go to a much better performing school. Would you want yours going to Willow Run? I really don't think so. Neither is Ypsilanti a good choice either. By the way, I heard the high school who took over East Middle? Did not get a lot of apps from Ann Arbor. Curious.


Fri, Mar 11, 2011 : 1:54 a.m.

Charter schools ARE public schools.


Thu, Mar 10, 2011 : 11:24 p.m.

What is really frustrating is that the State allows poorly performing public schools to continue business as least this gives another option to those parents who can't afford private schools.