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Posted on Mon, May 13, 2013 : 5:28 p.m.

Ypsilanti Community Schools to offer employees reduced benefits

By Danielle Arndt

Because Ypsilanti Community Schools made preserving current employee salaries a priority for when the new district launches in July, the joint Ypsilanti-Willow Run Board of Education approved slightly reduced insurance coverage Thursday night, according to a report in the Ypsilanti Courier.


Scott Menzel

Teachers will start their employment with the new consolidated district at the base salary they made in 2012-13 at their previous districts, either Ypsilanti Public Schools or Willow Run Community Schools. New teachers coming into the district going forward will earn $40,000 to $70,000 depending on their degree/certification and experience levels, according to documents previously approved by the board.

YCS and Washtenaw Intermediate School District Superintendent Scott Menzel told the Courier the biggest difference in the benefits is that some employee groups, such as paraprofessionals and custodial staff, will no longer be eligible for family or spousal coverage. He said the district also will be using just one insurance provider for the various types of insurance to keep things simple. Employees will be able to choose from multiple plans with varying deductibles and premiums, the Courier says.

The new Ypsilanti-Willow Run consolidated district will offer dental, medical, prescription, vision, life and long-term disability coverage to most employees.

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



Wed, May 15, 2013 : 3:53 a.m.

What a crock of bull! I know someone who has been employed with WRCS for 15+ years the last 2 years has taken pay cuts, had to pay the Michigan health care fund 3% every payday, been hit with government health care cap , there goes another 10%, but now, even if they do get to keep the job they have , they will not be able to have spouse and kids on insurance.. what a kick in the teeth .its at this juncture i ask.. whats the difference between another pay cut and having to pay out of already shallow pockets for health insurance... because not only will they have to pay the 20% out of their check for their own insurance but additionally will have to find and pay the full cost of insurance for the family... Just seems to be another nasty dirty ploy to get people to walk away instead of sticking around ... what a complete disgrace.

Glen S.

Tue, May 14, 2013 : 1:38 p.m.

When school officials were selling this merger to voters, they described it as a way to save money by merging two small (and shrinking) districts by sharing resources and eliminating overlapping administration. What I don't recall hearing is that the plan would also include reducing health insurance coverage -- let alone cutting it entirely for the families of custodians and paraprofessionals. Now, it seems the new school board has taken the vote to merge the two districts as a mandate to do just that. What logic explains why spouses and children of teachers are eligible for coverage, but those of custodians and paraprofessionals are not? As a community, are the families of those we entrust to help our teachers and maintain our facilities less worthy of care if they become sick or suffer a serious injury? Or, is this just the first step -- and will we soon see family benefits for teachers (and perhaps for the teachers themselves) cut next? Our "public" schools represent our community, and as such, are supposed to represent our community's values. I can't imagine most people in the Ypsilanti-Willow Run area would agree that denying health insurance coverage to the family members of dedicated public servants is a value we support.


Tue, May 14, 2013 : 1:06 p.m.

This is a perfect way to make a very challenging job in a difficult work environment feel impossible to achieve.


Tue, May 14, 2013 : 1:08 p.m.

To clarify, everyone in the current districts and future YCS are exhausted and overworked. This is just another blow that makes it harder to keep doing our jobs at the quality in which the children deserve.


Tue, May 14, 2013 : 10 a.m.

Should have asked to cut wages once benefits are gone they are gone for good you can always get wages because in contract talks.


Tue, May 14, 2013 : 7:46 p.m.

No contract talks.


Tue, May 14, 2013 : 2:36 a.m.

I taught in public schools and had a paraprofessional to assist in my program. Fortunately the district where I worked treated all employees the same. I do understand the need to reduce the cost of benefits which is something that private business has done for many years. There are better ways than to develop different classes of employees within the district. I hope the administrators, including the superintendent, will be in the class without family or spousal benefits.

Chase Ingersoll

Tue, May 14, 2013 : 1:28 a.m.

As a parent, I observe these articles and comments, and note that the discussion is all about the politicians, administration, unions, teachers and related workers, and their salaries, benefits (or lack thereof) and working conditions. Despite all of the millions of dollars being spent, I don't see the public discussion here reflecting ANY appreciation for how much is already being paid by property owners and other taxpayers, or the effort that parents are already making in paying for health care benefits for themselves and their children and the time they spend each day doing the homework with their child and getting the child ready for school the next day. As a parent, I am a bystander to this entire fight are the children who are supposed to be the most direct beneficiaries of that than the first beneficiaries being the teachers/labor. This is the parallel of the auto industry. The business of the auto industry became focused on the pay for workers and benefit program for retirees and the stock prices for the benefit of the executive bonuses, rather than a focus on pleasing the consumer who purchased their cars. So the auto consumer turned and purchased foreign or right to work state produced auto and, and then used that foreign made auto to transport their child to a charter school.


Wed, May 15, 2013 : 11:59 a.m.

I was thinking administration staff, librarians, special education teachers, etc. So yes, high quality is required. This is not just custodians. And even if it was, shouldn't they want the best? So far, that is not the message that the board and Menzel have sent out to the parents of the district.

Millicent Little

Tue, May 14, 2013 : 12:24 p.m.

Jay Thomas, In my tenure for YPS and having experience performing custodial work myself as a second job, I can assure you that there are not just high, but exemplary custodians (Mary Harris, current custodian for Ypsilanti Middle School being a prime example) and REALLY low quality custodians that just show up to collect a paycheck. I once worked in a building where the toilets were so disgusting on a regular basis that I brought in cleaning supplies and cleaned them myself because otherwise, my students would NOT be using those toilets.

Jay Thomas

Tue, May 14, 2013 : 6:11 a.m.

beardown... high quality custodians versus low quality custodians? Come on. :)


Tue, May 14, 2013 : 3:13 a.m.

How do you expect to draw in high quality teachers (a YCS term) and high quality paraprofessionals if you want to pay the paraprofessionals bargain basement wages? In the end, they have to pay bills as well, for their families and for themselves as well. I guess, using your analogy, a good comparison might be this. Imagine an auto industry where they decided to use high quality steel to build the car frame, but decided to use low quality electronics and other fabrics in a cost saving move to offset the cost of the steel. In the end, you would have a decent frame, but the guts of the car would fail.


Tue, May 14, 2013 : 1:10 a.m.

I think the entire process is disgusting. Something needed to be done with both districts. However, devaluing the existing employees whom the new district has deemed effective by rehiring them is sick. Taking away benefits to paraprofessionals and custodians who are part of the life blood of the district is criminal. Keeping existing teacher salaries for those rehired and the offering new hires up to $8000 more per year is insulting! Can you imagine giving you heart and soul to the same kids uear after year and then have some new teacher step in and make 25% more? Where is the loyalty? How can this new district ever hope to succeed? This district has already proved they are in the business of helping Snyder achieve his goal, the end to public schools. Sorry kids of Ypsilanti!

Wake Up A2

Tue, May 14, 2013 : 12:43 a.m.

The right to work for less. I wonder who will want to work for them in the future...


Mon, May 13, 2013 : 11:37 p.m.

More Detroit area crooks.So glad I moved south years ago and away from unions.Down here I make a good wage and have excellent benefits.

Usual Suspect

Tue, May 14, 2013 : 12:20 p.m.

Godwin's law.


Tue, May 14, 2013 : 10:02 a.m.

The very first thing the Germans outlawed were unions leading up to WW2.


Tue, May 14, 2013 : 12:37 a.m.

Jackdh - have you heard about the bill in Congress to eliminate overtime pay? First, they crippled the unions, now they are starting to crush all the things our unions have fought for. I suspect those innthensouth will also feel the effects of no overtime pay for work done.


Mon, May 13, 2013 : 11:28 p.m.

It sounds like benefits were put up for open bid. That is very good news. Historically, Messa has had very high overhead charges, the savings should be enough to continue offering everyone comparable benefits to before, with significant cost savings.


Tue, May 14, 2013 : 10:03 a.m.

You are so wrong. Benefits for new employees will be nothing.


Mon, May 13, 2013 : 11:45 p.m.

I don't think we read the same article.

tom swift jr.

Mon, May 13, 2013 : 11:43 p.m.

You didn't read that word "reduced" in the article... reduced does not mean "comparable".


Mon, May 13, 2013 : 11:23 p.m.

Part of Rick's strategic plan to revitalize the state. Pure Michigan.

Usual Suspect

Tue, May 14, 2013 : 12:19 p.m.

catfish, don't forget to include the Koch brothers somewhere in your rant. Oh - and something about the war on the middle class, too. A mention of Halliburton wouldn't hurt, either. Just trying to help.


Tue, May 14, 2013 : 11:51 a.m.

Really, Rick did this and not the local school board(s)?

Jay Thomas

Tue, May 14, 2013 : 6:07 a.m.

The Ypsi BOE decided this and not the Rickster.

tom swift jr.

Mon, May 13, 2013 : 11:42 p.m.

pure something, that's for sure.


Mon, May 13, 2013 : 11:01 p.m.

It is shameful to treat paraprofessionals and custodial staff that way.


Mon, May 13, 2013 : 11:08 p.m.

So they will most likely make less money and have more insurance costs out of pocket. Brilliant way to woo paraprofessionals and staff to the district. Brilliant.


Mon, May 13, 2013 : 10:05 p.m.

Wow that is a bit of a slap in the face, paraprofessionals and custodial staff, will no longer be eligible for family or spousal coverage. Yes teacher are leaders in the classroom but paraprofessional are very important also.


Wed, May 15, 2013 : 11:57 a.m.

Bob, you are correct. But in the process, they are also running off the up and comers who were disillusioned with the selection of the three headed monster. Best case scenario is that some other district is nuts enough to hire Martin, Lisiki falls off the payroll after this year, we get the chance to elect a school board, and we rebuild after this mess that they have created.

Basic Bob

Tue, May 14, 2013 : 1:51 a.m.

@beardown, The 3 superintendent thing will be over before you know it. Lisiscki has one year left on her contract, Menzel has less than that. And out they go.


Mon, May 13, 2013 : 11:01 p.m.

Should we have expected any less? Something tells me that the three headed monster are getting excellent insurance coverage, on top of their bloated salaries. it just keeps getting more infuriating. And they keep doing things to drive students, and now teachers and paraprofessionals, out of the district.