You are viewing this article in the archives. For the latest breaking news and updates in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area, see
Posted on Sun, Jan 6, 2013 : 5:59 a.m.

Ypsi-Willow Run board to vote Monday on keeping New Tech program, elementary schools intact

By Danielle Arndt

The unified Ypsilanti-Willow Run Board of Education is expected to approve Monday keeping both districts’ elementary schools and the New Tech program intact for next year.

If the board votes in favor of the proposed resolution Monday night, children in pre-K to fifth grade in Ypsilanti and pre-K to fourth grade in Willow Run will not see a change in their daily routines come fall.


Students work on a presentation for their Bio Lit class at New Tech High School in Ypsilanti in this file photo from 2010.

Angela J. Cesere |

The board is expected to approve allowing the two districts’ neighborhood elementary schools, the Primary Learning Center and the Perry Child Development Center to stay open for the 2013-14 academic year.

Trustees also are expected to vote on maintaining the New Tech program. However, committing to continue the New Tech program does not necessarily mean Ypsilanti’s New Tech High School will remain open, said Washtenaw Intermediate School District Superintendent Scott Menzel.

Menzel made the facility recommendations to the board in December. He and other members of the WISD are serving as facilitators and advisers to the new district during the transition period per a partnership agreement.

Currently, Ypsilanti Public Schools has a separate high school, located on Ellsworth Road, for its New Tech program, while Willow Run also has a New Tech program that is housed out of its traditional high school building.

“They’ll have to decide down the road what the location will be,” Menzel said.

Project-based learning is at the center of the New Tech model. Learn about the other elements of the model here.

“Making these decisions early doesn’t signal that everything within those buildings will remain status quo,” the background/rationale on the proposed facilities motion states. “Rather it is an acknowledgement that the new cradle to career system will require time to implement and that the programmatic changes within those facilities can still proceed while the district focuses on the larger question of educational programs and facility usage for students in grades 7-12.”

The board also will vote on the new district’s continued participation in the county’s secondary options programs: Washtenaw International High School, the Early College Alliance and Widening Advancements for Youth (WAY).

At a visioning session during the winter break, according to meeting minutes, the board expressed its support of the facilities recommendations Menzel brought forward. However, President David Bates and Treasurer Anthony VanDerworp added they would like to see enrollment and capacity data for the early childhood and elementary school buildings prior to making a decision.

VanDerworp also suggested renaming the secondary options programs “Centers of Excellence.”

The unified Ypsilanti-Willow Run board will meet at 6:30 p.m. Monday at Willow Run High School, 235 Spencer Lane.

The board will handle Willow Run business first, followed by Ypsilanti business and then business for the joint district.

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



Mon, Jan 7, 2013 : 5:18 p.m.

I don't see any mention of Ypsi 6th Graders which are currently in elementary buildings. Is there a plan?


Mon, Jan 7, 2013 : 4:30 p.m.

Prior to making a decision on any programs or secondary options for the new disctrict the board of education should perform a cost-benefit analysis of existing programs. Factors such as cost per student, standardized test results, and other external data should be utilized, as internal data is easily manipulated. In a document provided to teaching staff last spring, the costs for each New Tech student per course ranged from a low of $596 per student per hour to $890 per student per hour. Early College Options ranged from $515 to $1031, RCTC courses ranged from $450 to $1079, while Ypsilanti High School costs per student per hour were $317 to $700. The financial situation in the district does not afford the luxury of continuing to spend on programs that are not research based nor getting the results. The high cost programs were sold to the community and board as the only way to save YPSD, yet the decline in enrollment continues. The adminsitration of YPSD cannot continue to make decisions based on individual career enhancement and must focus on what is best for our community and our children. I hope that our new board of education does a better job in representing our community and takes a look beyond what they are being told and investigates results, that they takes the time to look beyond what the latest presentation by administration shows, the numbers don't add up. Instead of cutting programs such as choir, band and advanced courses look at the costs of any given New Tech or ECA course. Stop blindly following the political and personal motivations of the YPSD administration, make it about our kids, not about saving the careers of the individuals who have run our once great district into the ground and put us on the map for being the worst. I am a long time resident and faculty member of YPSD who is afraid to speak out for fear of retribution from the administration. I pray for quality leadership for the sake of my children and yours.


Sun, Jan 6, 2013 : 9:42 p.m.

Hopefully the board can stave off the Emergency Managers and their for profit, spend as little as possible, race to the bottom brand of education.


Sun, Jan 6, 2013 : 9:06 p.m.

What would it mean for other kids at WIHI if Ypsi were to pull out of the program?


Sun, Jan 6, 2013 : 7:36 p.m.

Well at least K-5 parents will know if their Child school will remain open next year. That is one step, so far, in the right direction with this "merger of equals."


Sun, Jan 6, 2013 : 1:02 p.m.

Is there a budget projection for the new district yet?

Dan r OBryan

Sun, Jan 6, 2013 : 2:44 p.m.

yes .if there is any money left .they will spend it . thats how they got to this point