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Posted on Mon, May 27, 2013 : 5:55 a.m.

Ypsilanti schools to post chief financial officer position due to Dedrick Martin leaving

By Danielle Arndt


From left, WISD Superintendent Scott Menzel, Willow Run Superintendent Laura Lisiscki and Ypsilanti Superintendent Dedrick Martin on March 20, 2012, as they announced plans to consolidate the Willow Run and Ypsilanti school districts. The three were going to lead the new district together until June 2015, until Martin accepted a new job.

Danielle Arndt | file photo

Ypsilanti Community Schools will not hire another associate superintendent to help lead the consolidated district after receiving news of Dedrick Martin's departure. However, officials will be posting an opening for a chief financial officer.

Ypsilanti Community Schools superintendent Scott Menzel is working to finalize a plan for how he will structure the consolidated district's central office come July 1, the official launch date of YCS.

He was thrown a slight curve ball when current Ypsilanti Public Schools superintendent Martin decided to take a job leading St. Johns Public Schools.

Martin was offered a spot in the new district alongside Willow Run Superintendent Laura Lisiscki as an associate superintendent, working under Menzel, who also is the superintendent of the Washtenaw Intermediate School District.

Menzel was contracted to provide leadership services to the new district during the "transition period." His contract will expire on June 30, 2015.

Under Menzel's organizational structure, Martin was going to oversee the non-instructional and business office aspects of the new district: finances, technology, facilities and maintenance, human resources, food service and transportation. Lisiscki will head up curriculum and instruction for YCS, including providing oversight of building principals, adult education, alternative education, co-curricular activities, early childhood education and state and federal grants.

The new district would have been financially responsible for honoring the current contracts of Martin and Lisiscki whether or not they were rehired by the YCS district — a fact that made retaining both superintendents controversial.

The contracts had to be upheld because — unlike teachers and other employee groups, the administrators were not affiliated with a collective bargaining unit — and there were no clauses in the contracts stating the employment arrangements could be severed due to economic conditions.

Martin's contract was set to expire in June 2016. However, Menzel said because Martin is taking a new job, it's a voluntary separation and releases the unified district of its obligation to compensate him through the remainder of his contract.

Lisiscki's current contract with Willow Run has an end date of June 30, 2014. Menzel said officials are in negotiations with Lisiscki regarding new contract language. The expectation is she will keep her current salary of $120,000 for the 2013-14 school year, Menzel said. He added this is in line with the promise made to teachers and other employees that they will be able to maintain their existing salary for the upcoming year.

Menzel also said the $120,000 is about what an assistant superintendent in the Ypsilanti Public Schools district earns right now.

Rather than hiring a second associate superintendent to fulfill the responsibilities Martin would have had in the unified Ypsilanti-Willow Run district, a chief financial officer position will be posted. If the district cannot find a high quality candidate, it may explore the possibility of having a retired school administrator fill the position on an interim or temporary basis, Menzel said.

A salary has not been determined yet for the CFO position. Menzel said he expects it would be less than an associate superintendent position but more than a building principal position.

In addition to a CFO and Associate Superintendent Lisiscki, YCS' central office likely will be comprised of:

  • A tech director
  • Facilities/maintenance director
  • Human resources/benefits specialist

"We would like to have a communications specialist, but we are not posting the position yet given current budget constraints," Menzel said.

There is a request for proposals out for a food service provider, he added. Willow Run most recently contracted with a private company, while, as of last fall, Ypsilanti contracted with Saline Area Schools for food service. The transportation arrangement through the WISD consortium will remain in place, Menzel said.

"Individuals who are currently employed by YPS or WRCS who have an interest in posted positions are encouraged to apply for any position for which they are qualified and have an interest," Menzel said in an email. "We have small teams conducting interviews (with questions that are designed to ensure the individuals who are hired embrace the mission, vision and guiding principles adopted by the YCS board).

We have posted the office professional positions (numbers are still being finalized) but, as with everything else, we are streamlining as much as possible in order to ensure that the new district is able to meet its financial obligations, including beginning to pay down the accumulated operating deficit from the former districts."

Combined, Ypsilanti and Willow Run have a deficit of about $12 million. It is still not known how long the unified district will have to pay off this debt or what the new district's operating budget for 2013-14 will be.

Menzel said a number of the central office positions are still subject to change based on available resources and qualified applicants.

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


Now Found

Mon, May 27, 2013 : 6:54 p.m.

AA News: Can you find out how YCS teachers are going to be paid in the fall? We have heard that they might be hired back at their salaries from fall 2012, post 10% cut pay. This is well below market, especially since many are experts in their field and might now earn only a few thousand ($2,000 to $4,000) more than new hires. This strategy punishes those loyal to the district (the very people who sacrificed to keep the district afloat and had their hard-earned salaries taken from them) and yet there is little mention about this on the internet. Teacher are too scared to demand professional pay, so maybe the public can do it for them? Parents? Community members?


Tue, May 28, 2013 : 4:11 a.m.

Two 10% pay cuts, plus a step freeze= where teachers at YCS will start. Any movements after that are small and "merit-based," which will be decided by committee, and for which the criteria haven't been published. After the extremely upsetting hiring process, it's easy to see why teachers have so little confidence that they'll ever get back to where they were four years ago. Isn't it the very definition of a dead-end job that a person has no hope of upward mobility or salary increase?

Now Found

Mon, May 27, 2013 : 6:41 p.m.

The consolidation news still does not attract the kind of local attention that it should. It is my hope that other Ypsilanti and Willow Run area residents are paying attention to what is going on with the new district!


Mon, May 27, 2013 : 11:40 p.m.

To most of the people I talk to in my neighborhood, it is the first topic we talk about when we see each other.


Mon, May 27, 2013 : 1:36 p.m.

It is all water under the bridge now, but I do find it interesting that Dedrick was being placed over non-instructional operations since that was he was least qualified to do, and over which he was least successful. I am guessing that his moving to St. Johns is a huge sigh of relief for the ISD.


Mon, May 27, 2013 : 5:23 p.m.

Well, Basic Bob, that could almost make sense...except that he is a self-proclaimed expert in improving academics. That was the primary reason he was hired in the first place for YPS. That they pulled him out of instruction altogether speaks volumes. But granted, neither knew anything about business.


Mon, May 27, 2013 : 4:02 p.m.

I think we a proper external search that they should be able to attract high quality candidates, which they could have done during this hiring cycle but chose to keep the two former superintendents. Of course, this is only if they don't already have a candidate in mind, like how the last search was run, and they just pay a search firm to make it look like a proper search process.

Basic Bob

Mon, May 27, 2013 : 1:55 p.m.

Perhaps he was more qualified than the other person. However, the sigh of relief might be brief. They still need to hire a superintendent for 2014, and you can imagine the quality of candidates they might attract - or select.


Mon, May 27, 2013 : 1:34 p.m.

Whoa! Wasn't the deficits supposed to be paid off over a ten year period? Isn't this one of the primary factors voters in Ypsilanti and Willow Run School District were told as the reason both districts "needed" to combine? If so, this part of the article is confusing: "Combined, Ypsilanti and Willow Run have a deficit of about $12 million. It is still not known how long the unified district will have to pay off this debt or what the new district's operating budget for 2013-14 will be."


Mon, May 27, 2013 : 1:52 p.m.

If I remember right, this is still being hammered out with state super intendent Flanagan and won't be done until closer to the July 1 start date. It seems that a lot of facts were massaged a bit to get the consolidation through. Something tells me that the brunt of people would not have voted for the merger if they knew the plans of the WISD board, which were carried out by the new board.


Mon, May 27, 2013 : 1:41 p.m.

It appears that truth is NOT one of the core values upon which all decisions are purported to be made.


Mon, May 27, 2013 : 1:33 p.m.

Why not just slot Lisiki in as the CFO? She would be overpaid (like she isn't already?), but it would save the district close to a 100k a year and the costs of hiring a CFO. She was the financial head of WR before the merger, so she should have the experience, right? 120k for an assistant SI is ludicrous, so at least slotting her into a real position makes this debacle a little more palatable. And it is still laughable how they are bending over backwards to honor contracts to upper level admins while giving everyone else their walking papers or a deduction in salary.

Chase Ingersoll

Mon, May 27, 2013 : 1:32 p.m. Oh the visual irony. From the photos, one can bet that it is probably one of the highest testing districts in the state.