Ypsilanti-Willow Run facilities: Elementary schools to stay open; secondary consolidations likely
AnnArbor.com file photos
The board for the unified Ypsilanti-Willow Run school district decided Monday night to keep all of the currently used elementary schools open next fall, but officials warned the districts' secondary buildings are seriously under capacity and consolidations are likely.
This is the first formal facility-related decision the appointed board has made in its countdown to launch the new school district on July 1.
Before voting unanimously to keep the elementary buildings open for the 2013-14 academic year, the board reviewed functional capacity data supplied by Washtenaw Intermediate School District Superintendent Scott Menzel.
Menzel said eliminating the public's questions about the elementary schools will allow the working groups and committees the unified district is forming to focus on the middle and high schools where the new district "obviously has far more capacity than it has students."
Menzel's figures show the two main high schools are at less than 40 percent capacity this school year.
"We will need to determine which is the best facility for the programmatic decisions that need to be made at the middle and high school levels," Menzel said.
Willow Run High School has the functional capacity for 920 students. There are 307 students enrolled for 2012-13, making the building just 33.3 percent full. Ypsilanti High School has 567 students enrolled and a capacity for 1,500, making it 37.8 percent full.
Ypsilanti New Tech High School is 64.4 percent full with 290 students enrolled and the capacity for 450.
Ypsilanti Middle School is 60.5 percent full with 463 students out of a possible 765.
Willow Run's Intermediate Learning Center, which houses grades five through eight, has a functional capacity for 620 students with 424 students enrolled, making it 68.39 percent full.
Menzel presented the following capacity and utilization figures for the elementary facilities. He noted the figures represent functional capacity of the schools, not the architectural capacity.
- Willow Run's Primary Learning Center (pre-K through first grade) has the capacity for 425 students and is 74.35 percent full with 316 students enrolled.
- Willow Run's Elementary Learning Center (grades 2-4) is nearly at capacity, at 97.14 percent full. It has 340 students enrolled and can accommodate 350.
- Ypsilanti's Erickson Elementary School (grades 2-6) has the capacity for 532 students and currently is 74.4 percent full with 396 students enrolled.
- Estabrook Elementary in Ypsilanti also has a capacity of 532 students but is operating at 100 percent capacity with exactly 532 students enrolled.
- Ypsilanti's Adams Academy (grades K-6) is 81.7 percent full with 389 students enrolled and the capacity for 476.
- Ypsilanti's Perry Child Development Center (pre-k through first) is 84.4 percent full with 507 students and the capacity for 601.
Willow Run owns four school buildings that no longer are used by the district. Kaiser Elementary, Kettering Elementary and Thurston Early Childhood Development Center all are closed. Cheney Elementary is not used as a district school but is the current home of the WAY (Widening Advancements for Youth) countywide program.
The former Chapelle School in Ypsilanti also is closed and no longer used by the district. East Middle School is closed but is home to the Washtenaw International High School.
Also at Monday's board meeting, trustees authorized the new district, with the support and guidance of the WISD, to start forming a labor relations ad hoc committee. The board appointed Trustee Daniel Raglin and board Secretary Greg Myers to serve on that committee.
The committee is expected to have representation from both the Ypsilanti and Willow Run school districts, as well as teachers and other employee union members.
Part of the committee's mission will be drafting the hiring practices for the new district, developing some compensation guidelines and expectations and setting the timeline for making labor decisions, said board President David Bates.
Bates said all employees in both districts will have to be laid off and re-hired once the new district is official on July 1. Bargaining also cannot take place until that time. Legally, the new district does not exist until July 1, so it cannot enter into any contracts, officials said.
Bates said the committee will work with legal and human resource experts from the community, local colleges and universities and the state to provide as much information to the full board and public as possible about how the teachers and staff will be hired and retained for the new school district.
He said he hopes the ad hoc committee can come up with a timeline by the end of January.