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Posted on Tue, Nov 29, 2011 : 5:53 a.m.

Ypsilanti school district won't renew contract of chief financial officer

By Danny Shaw

Ypsilanti Public Schools will be looking for a new chief financial officer in 2012 after a unanimous vote by Ypsilanti Board of Education members Monday.

Board members passed action to not renew current CFO David Houle’s contract, which expires Jan. 31.

Exact details pertaining to the board’s decision have not been made public, according to Sharon Irvine, executive director of human resources.

“The contract was non-renewed for reasons the district felt was in its best interest,” Irvine said. “It was all closed-session.”

Even though details of Houle’s termination are not released, the YPS board resolution states his performance as “unsatisfactory and to warrant non-renewal.” The closed session was held on Nov. 22.

According to Irvine, the district will be looking for a new CFO in 2012, but not right away, and they are currently working with a consultant for the time being.

“The position of chief financial officer is an on-going role in the district,” Irvine said, “but we’re looking down the road. I would say not even in the next six months.”

Before working for YPS, Houle served as a financial officer for Willow Run Community Schools, and was CFO at Concordia University.

The board also discussed the concerns about the district’s declining enrollment. YPS lost almost 150 students over the past two years, and projections show a continuing decline over the next four years.

Houle explained the decline is partly due to new high schools opening in the surrounding areas, which can be a normal decrease. The projections of the decline are more of a “worst-case,” he said.

To compensate for the declining enrollment, among other budget constraints, the district could be looking at a $3.5 million trim in the future, but it’s an early estimation according to Houle.

“We were making good progress,” Superintendent Dedrick Martin said, “and we will find a way to continue making good progress.”

Also at Monday’s meeting, the board passed an action to partner with Washtenaw Intermediate School District to help at-risk 4-year-old students.

Great Start Readiness Program, which began retro-actively in October, allows YPS to help 96 children receive quality, full-day, classroom preschool experience, according to YPS board members.

The program, held at Perry Child Development Center, is contracted on an annual basis, and is administered and managed by the WISD.