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Posted on Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 5:58 a.m.

Ypsilanti's new school district retains 2 superintendents and hires WISD for leadership

By Danielle Arndt


Ypsilanti resident Maria Cotera urges the joint Board of Education to select one superintendent Monday night during a public comment session prior to the board approving a new superintendent model.

Courtney Sacco |

It was a unanimous vote that drew jeers and boos from a crowd that totaled about 180 people Monday night.

The joint Ypsilanti-Willow Run Board of Education moved to appoint Washtenaw Intermediate School District Superintendent Scott Menzel to lead the new consolidated district through its transition period.

The second part of Monday's motion ignored pleas from more than a dozen residents who spoke at the meeting to hire someone with a fresh perspective. And instead, board members approved retaining both current superintendents, Laura Lisiscki of Willow Run and Dedrick Martin of Ypsilanti, to serve as associate superintendents of the consolidated school system under Menzel.

The motion was prompted by a recommendation from Michael Wilmot, president and chief executive officer of the Michigan Leadership Institute, and the board's superintendent search committee, comprised of trustees Anthony VanDerworp, Celeste Hawkins and Vice President Don Garrett.

Parents and community members were not permitted to serve on the ad hoc committee. However, public input from two community forums, one in each district, was considered by the committee throughout the search process, Hawkins said.

During the board's discussion on the recommendation to hire Menzel, Lisiscki and Martin, the audience grew rowdy, and President David Bates asked those in attendance to be quiet and respectful a number of times. Shouts of "Way to pass the buck!" and "This is absurd!" could be heard from the crowd.

One audience member shouted in response to Bates' request for respectful behavior: "If either of the current superintendents had any respect for anyone in this community both would resign right now."

Cries from the crowd were met with applause and cheers of affirmation. The board's unanimous decision was booed by several in attendance. A few people clapped at the retention of Martin and Lisiscki.

Ypsilanti resident Jill Clouse, a parent of four children in the Ypsilanti Public Schools district, stood up during the meeting and accused the board of plotting to hire these individuals all along.

"This is such a farce! You knew about this so long ago. … You blindsided us on this whole consolidation thing. … You need to step down and you need to step down!" she said, pointing at Bates and Garrett, both of whom served as presidents of the districts' previously separate school boards.


Ypsilanti resident Jill Clouse calls for Board President David Bates and Vice President Don Garrett to step down for orchestrating a "farce," as she called it during public comment at Monday's special meeting.

Courtney Sacco |

Clouse said after the meeting she was very disappointed the board did not consider hiring Irvine. However, she did say having Menzel oversee Lisiscki and Martin is better than hiring one of the existing superintendents on their own.

Tamara Larson, another Ypsilanti parent, said after Monday night, she is considering pulling her son out of the new district and putting him into a charter school.

"I'm more disgusted now than when I came in (to the meeting)," she said. "They pushed this vote and at the end of the day, it's our kids who are going to suffer. ... They just care about themselves. I guarantee you that this has been the plan all along."

Ypsilanti Education Association President Krista Boyer said her biggest fear going into Monday night was that the board would hire two superintendents. "And now we have three," she said, adding Menzel didn't even have a public interview.

"But at least the state gave us $6.5 million so we could do that and could waste more money," Clouse said sarcastically.

Boyer said she's in shock about the decision.

"I feel like what we said went in one ear and out the other. So many people got kicked in the gut tonight," she said. "... Never in my wildest dreams did I think we'd wind up with three superintendents."

The motion approved Monday is not binding, but rather gives Garrett and Bates the green light to meet and confer with the WISD school board to discuss the possibility of contracting for superintendent services through the WISD, as permitted by Michigan law.

If the WISD Board of Education is open to the idea, the two oversight bodies would begin negotiating a contract for services through either Dec. 31, 2014, or June 30, 2015, depending on the will of the Ypsilanti Community Schools board, Wilmot said. Dec. 31, 2014, is when the appointed joint school board members' terms expire.

The contract negotiations would determine the scope of work the WISD would provide and help to define and delineate the responsibilities of the three leaders, Menzel, Martin and Lisiscki.

Bates said the board has been impressed with the work that's been completed so far by the team of Lisiscki, Martin and Menzel. And the two districts would not have even had the option to merge if all three of those people hadn't stepped up, he said.

"The board wants to see the progress continue and doesn't want to do anything that might jeopardize that progress in any way. The board decided that was the most important decision," he said. "… Up to this point, the WISD board has been very supportive of the work we're doing. … I see no potential roadblocks for negotiating with them and keeping the leadership team intact."


Board Trustee Celeste Hawkins, left, and Vice President Don Garrett listen to members of the community talk about the superintendent selection Monday at the Willow Run Intermediate Learning Center.

Courtney Sacco |

At a Feb. 18 board meeting, when trustees felt they could not decide on a single candidate, they directed Wilmot and the ad hoc committee to investigate what options might exist for employing two or more people to serve as superintendent.

Wilmot said per state law, every district in Michigan is required to have a superintendent, but there is some flexibility in how that can be accomplished. A provision added to the Revised School Code in recent years allows districts to contract through their intermediate school districts for superintendent services.

Menzel said he could not speak for the WISD board about whether this proposal is something it would consider. He did say, however, that from the very onset of the merger discussions, the WISD has offered to provide whatever assistance it could and was asked to provide.

"We've shown unwavering support to these two districts and this community," he said.

Lisiscki, Martin and Ypsilanti Executive Director of Human Resources Sharon Irvine all were candidates for the superintendent position of the Ypsilanti Community Schools district, which officially launches July 1 and opens its doors to students in September. The Ypsilanti and Willow Run districts will cease to exist as of June 30 due to the merger proposal that was passed by voters of both districts in November.

Irvine was the frontrunner of the superintendent search and was the clear favorite of the vocal majority at Ypsilanti Public Schools. She garnered the endorsements of the Ypsilanti teachers union and others, including parents and students, in the community. It is unclear whether there would be a leadership role made available to Irvine in the new school district under the leadership model that was approved Monday.

Willow Run teachers and residents largely supported Lisiscki for superintendent, although some in the district did express the importance and benefit of retaining both Lisiscki and Martin.

Former Willow Run Board of Education member Mark Wilde called the decision Monday an "entertaining solution."

"It does offer some stability. But unfortunately, based on public opinion, it also allows some divisiveness to occur," he said.

Wilde originally hoped Lisiscki would be named superintendent and Martin assistant superintendent. "In the long run, this (three-person leadership model) is probably a good thing … or at least is the best workable solution temporarily."

He added the decision also might be the most fiscally responsible.

Board members explained Monday that Martin and Lisiscki's contracts must be fulfilled by the new school district regardless of whether the new district employs them or not. Lisiscki has one year left on her contract while Martin has three years remaining, Bates said.

Based on their current contracts, Lisiscki makes $120,000 and Martin makes $140,000.

Bates said the "survivability" of superintendent contracts is spelled out in state law. Teachers, principals and other employees of both districts already have been notified that their contracts will be terminated as of June 30. All employees will be required to re-apply for their positions.

Money from the $6.5 million consolidation grant the district received to assist with the costs of merging can be used to help pay for employing Menzel as superintendent and Lisiscki and Martin as associate superintendents in the transition period, Bates said.

Menzel said a $100,000 line item for superintendent services was built into the grant proposal and budget from the beginning.

"The original intent was … knowing that we had to close out two independent school districts, the thought was that we needed to hire someone else, preferably a retired superintendent, to help with the launch of the new district while others were occupied with closing out the other two districts," Menzel said.

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


Truth Seeker

Wed, Jun 19, 2013 : 7:44 p.m.

Please read below about Arthur Culver, Dedrick Martin's long time mentor. It is an eye opener. Read between the lines for yourselves. Read all the comments from the community. Oh my God, I feel so sorry for the teachers, the community, and most of all the children. This is so sad.


Sat, Mar 2, 2013 : 4:11 p.m.

Danielle, we continue to see Derrick Jackson and Sheriff Jerry Clayton at these meetings. Derrick has been asked to help facilitate Athletics yet he has no ties to the community other than political aspirations that the sheriff is helping him achieve. He walks into public schools with his gun and badge visible. BUT, like many of my childhood friends from Ypsilanti, he has never put his life in danger, never worked the roads of our community and is a social worker by trade. The Sheriff sent him to the police academy to assist in his career moves. What a slap in the face to real police officers. I ask you Danielle, to inquire about where Sheriff Clayton lives (Ypsilanti Public School District) and then please report to us where his children go to high school (Ann Arbor Public Schools, Saline Area Schools) or went to high school. First of all, how is this allowed? Secondly, why doesn't he support the district in which he resides?


Thu, Feb 28, 2013 : 4:05 p.m.

What I found most amusing at the last board meeting was Bates saying that he read all the emails sent to him and took into account what the people had to say. The kicker was when Bates tried to tie this whole superintendent lie into an Ypsilanti resurgence by attempting to draw a parallel to Rutherford Pool and Depot Town.

Tim Hornton

Thu, Feb 28, 2013 : 12:06 a.m.

Public school systems dish out big money to everyone. That's why if I was a teacher I would never want work at a charter school with low pay and poor benefits. Unfortuantly for me I got my liberal arts degree in womens studies and now I'm an assiatant shift supervisor at starbucks. If I was a teacher I'd have my summers off, get paid a lot more, and have a week off for spring break coming up. I do get free coffee though.


Thu, Feb 28, 2013 : 12:35 a.m.

TH, not sure what your point is other than the fact that you made a bad choice of degrees. If you were a teacher in the new YCS district you would be re-interviewing for your current job, taking pay cuts and looking for paper to use for your students. The real beauty of a job is to be one of the two failed superintendents that were retained at full pay and benefits by this farce of a school board.

Dan r OBryan

Wed, Feb 27, 2013 : 10:24 p.m.

wasted two districts . over spending from the beginning. I NEVER VOTED FOR NONE OF THIS .i said two broke cars wont make a new one . WHO IS LISTENING NOW

Tamara Craft Larson

Wed, Feb 27, 2013 : 7:03 p.m.

I am so sad about all this. I am a very active parent in my son's school. I see everyday the teachers doing all they can, just to find ways to teach our children. I applaud them. They are limited on their copies, classes have to share textbooks that the children are not allowed to take home. Yet, we have the money for three superintendents. I along with another parent, help oversee the Erickson media center. I love helping out there. It's so wonderful to see kids, skip down the hall with a new book. We almost didn't have a media center because of the budget cuts, but again...... we can hire three superintendents. As stated, my husband and I are thinking of removing our son from they Ypsilanit schools. This breaks my heart. After I have time, to get my emotions in check, we will make our for sure decision. As another parent told me, it's time to forget about this stupid move our school board made. It's time to rally behind our teachers. I cannot agree with her more! She is 100% right!!!! To every Ypsi/Willow run teacher out there. A huge thank you for all you do!!!! Just know, that you have the support of the parents and we have your back.

Monica R-W

Wed, Feb 27, 2013 : 4:17 a.m.

A comment above made note of Michigan's Open Meeting Act and I think this is important for parents who disagree with this decision to consider. Was the boards' decision made before hearing any or the comments by parents, children or concerned community members? If so, when did they make this decision exactly? During the meeting or prior? Another comment was made about the validity of a contract. Let say you signed a contract with XYZ Company. A merger occurs with ABC Company that dismantles XYZ and ABC Companies creating a new organization called EFG Incorporated. It would seem that in order for EFG Inc. to honor a contract, one would need to sign an agreement of some sort with that entity, correct? Hopefully these questions will be investigated by our local news resource.


Wed, Feb 27, 2013 : 5:23 p.m.

It is unfair that every teacher (support staff, etc.) no longer has a job as of June 30th and have to reapply for a job in the new consolidated district and the superintendents' old contracts will be honored by the new district.

Saddened YP/WR Supporter

Wed, Feb 27, 2013 : 4:54 p.m.

@alwaysabrave....unfortunately, on December 13, 2010, the Ypsilanti School Board (which no longer exists) entered into a multi-year superintendent contract with Mr. Martin. Crazy....yes....This was with an individual who had not had ANY prior superintendent experience as noted in an Ann Arbor News article. The article reads, "Martin said he's ready to tackle his first superintendent's job." (see the following reference to this quote at't the lack of superintendent experience the main concern noted by the Board of Ms. Irvine....I just don't get it!!!!.


Wed, Feb 27, 2013 : 3:23 p.m.

@Sadden - What would allow the board to renew DM's contract for so long? I thought I read that they could go year by year. This might have made more sense keeping both through the transition. Instead it shows their intent to retain him through and after the consolidation. Also, they voted on an option we had no prior knowledge of. Did anyone see having ISD taking over coming?

greg, too

Wed, Feb 27, 2013 : 2:43 p.m.

"Both of the current superintendent's contracts survive the merger and the new district is required to pay them until the end of their contracts." But why if the entity that they worked for is no longer in business? I am not a contract lawyer, but it does seem that when the entity that pays you no longer exists, neither does your contract.

Saddened YP/WR Supporter

Wed, Feb 27, 2013 : 1:13 p.m.

I continue to maintain there is no contract if one of the parties of the contract no longer exists. However, IF the contract is still valid, then all contracts issued between the Ypsilanti and Willow Run individual school districts and other entities should still be valid. How many such contracts are out there that will continue to be an expenditure to the newly-formed school district? IF, the superintendent contracts are still valid and, thus, a new superintendent cannot be hired because of the expense, why is the game being played to look like a new superintendent is being hired? Regarding the Michigan's Open Meeting Act, it is very, very apparent that a written decision was made prior to Monday's Board Meeting. In my opinion, this is direct violation of the Open Meeting Act which states, "All decisions must be made at a meeting open to the public – the OMA defines "decision" to mean "a determination...upon a .... resolution,... or measure on which a vote by members of a public body is required and by which a public body effectuates or formulates public policy." I would like to give major kudos to the in-school employees of the school districts....teachers, support staff, principals, etc.... They work hard to maintain a positive attitude despite being slapped in the face day after day by this Board.

Basic Bob

Wed, Feb 27, 2013 : 5:21 a.m.

Monica, several readers have been asking the contract question for the last two weeks or so. It took a while for the information to come out, but it seems reliable. Both of the current superintendent's contracts survive the merger and the new district is required to pay them until the end of their contracts. I don't understand why that would not apply to other employees of the school districts. Perhaps it does to some others and we haven't heard yet. Some people feel that contracts can be ignored or current employees can be coerced into tearing up a valid contract. I think this approach would be settled in court in favor of the employees. Most likely each has retained legal counsel to protect their future earnings. As far as Open Meetings Act violations, the board has discussed the superintendent search openly and retained a search firm and the assistance of WISD. I agree with many of the posters that the outcome was predictable.


Wed, Feb 27, 2013 : 4:11 a.m.

I know that I'm late to these comments, but after the meeting I couldn't stomach reading anything more. Thank you to the many people that are acknowledging the work of the teachers and support staff. I must throw the principals in to this list. We are literally in survival mode every single day. We have zero security and can trust no one. With this being said, we still come to school every day to teach our kids. Keep in mind, we teach them with out ANY materials, with out ANY current curriculum support, and with out ANY support from upper administration. Reading comments about educators recently has been quite depressing, but today, reading all the comments of support will make tomorrow a bit easier for many of us. Please don't give up the fight. You are the only hope that our students have and the only hope that we have! The leaders are obviously corrupt but if you keep at it, this has to all work out for the best.


Wed, Feb 27, 2013 : 2:59 a.m.

I saw Jerry Clayton at the meeting last night. I have an idea, how about 3 Sheriff's? What do you think Jerry? What about 3 presidents of the United States? How about 3 Governors? 3 Mayors of each town? 3 Popes?


Wed, Feb 27, 2013 : 2:53 a.m.

There is no more debating or arguing for me. For those of you who say "get involved". Well, I did! I campaigned for the merger, I worked the Heritage Festival booth, I walked neighborhoods and worked the polls on election day. I gave my support! Only to realize that it was all a scandal of power and greed. Menzel should be ashamed for running this show. Lisiscki and Martin are greedy and only care about themselves. They made sure they kept their positions while telling their staff they were going to the be "first ones on the lay off and non renewal list". Lied right to our faces! Please stop preaching that we must be supportive and move on from this POOR, POOR, SHADY, FISCAL IRRESPONSIBLE decision! The only thing I am moving our my children, to another district! I will not allow the education of my children to be put in the hands of greedy, vile, untrustworthy people! EXODUS!


Wed, Feb 27, 2013 : 2:51 a.m.

At the Feb. 18 meeting, the school board made quite a point of reading aloud, item by item, the list of 21 criteria for superintendent candidates ( Nowhere on the list does it say, "Must have prior experience as a school superintendent," or "Superintendent experience preferred." Nowhere. Yet that has been the best reason the board could come up with for disregarding the candidacy of Ms. Irvine. If that was such an important qualification, how did it not make the list? Surely, had Ms. Irvine known of this prerequisite, she would not have put any time, energy, or emotion into applying for a job she would never get. (Nor would her supporters have gotten their hopes up for a dream that, apparently, is not meant to be.) How would the board like to justify this inconsistency? Rereading that list, I am still dumbfounded that the board didn't recognize that Ms. Irvine's qualifications matched that list precisely, moreso than those of the other two candidates. No, wait. Mr. VanderWorp did. Last night, he made note of how well-qualified she was—right before he said he couldn't endorse her because she had not been a superintendent. It's frustrating to hear that the citizens who object to the board's decision are doing so simply because they "didn't get their way." It is the absence of logic and fair play that gets people riled up. Oh, and the lies, too. Can't forget about the lies. WON'T forget about the lies.

greg, too

Wed, Feb 27, 2013 : 2:45 p.m.

I think the Irvine ship has sailed. I would imagine she would stay and wait until the current debacle ends and try and get the SI job then, but she seems to be completely out of the running for this appointment. Good or bad or otherwise, that seems to be what the board has decided.

Saddened YP/WR Supporter

Wed, Feb 27, 2013 : 1:22 p.m.

How many of us have entered into positions without prior direct experience in that position? I know I did. I served as a College administrator without direct experience in that position. However, my work experience and education leading up to that position gave me the knowledge, skills and abilities needed to be extremely successful. Sharon Irvine would have been an excellent superintendent. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind. So sad for the Ypsilanti Community Schools District. Sharon...please don't leave us!!!!


Wed, Feb 27, 2013 : 2:28 a.m.

I understand that are all really frustrated about this whole thing, I am too. We need to turn our focus on supporting the teachers and all the support staff that are with our children everyday. Our focus has to change on what is best for our children. Which is making sure that the teachers and staff that are with them are the best and that they feel supported by all of us.


Wed, Feb 27, 2013 : 12:48 a.m.

So it comes down to this. YPSD cannot afford to buy basic necessary school supplies such as pencils, paper, etc. for the students. They can afford to throw $12,000 to an outside entity to help find a new superintendent, and then not even use those expensive services. It is so clear that the district does NOT make educating the children the first priority. On the other hand, most teachers spend $200 or more a year of their own hard-earned money on basic supplies. The same teachers that are the lowest paid in Washtenaw County, the same teachers who have taken pay-cut after pay-cut, and the same teachers who are forced to work for free 6 days each year which the administration falsely touts as "furlough days." The teachers obviously do put the kids first. The administration does not. The district can afford to pay for not two, but three superintendent salaries? Are you serious? Perhaps they cannot terminate the contracts of the two current superintendents, but if they really wanted to demonstrate public support, they could pass a resolution "firmly requesting" the resignations of both Lisiscki and Martin. Obviously they could not enforce such a resolution, but it would send a clear message. Add that to the fact that the new Board took no public input after suggesting this three-person "solution," and it was passed within minutes of being proposed, it was clear that this deal was set-up well beforehand. This deal benefits the highly paid people on the top in both districts, not the hard-working teachers, and certainly not the students that the district is charged with educating.


Wed, Feb 27, 2013 : 1:15 a.m.

I like your style!


Wed, Feb 27, 2013 : 12:02 a.m.

Sharon Irvine sounds as if she has some good qualifications for many jobs but she has no superintendent experience. Would it be prudent for the board to leave a merger, a new venture for our state, in the hands of someone who has never been a superintendent? I do not see how that would have been a responsible decision on the part of the board. Would it have been prudent to take the chance that some phenomenal experienced superintendent is standing in the wings just waiting to take on the superintendent position in a new but challenged district? I think not, who knows who would have applied? It is wise to risk the merger on someone unknown? I think not. Is it prudent to look at two superintendents who have both worked hard to move the merger forward positively and to allow them the opportunity to work positively into the future in the districts they both know. I think so! This is a smart decision by the board. They have spent hours looking at all of the details of this decision and made the best choice possible. My experience has taught me that there is usually much more behind a decision than can be ascertained through a brief glimpse at the situation. I, for one, did not sit up the long hours that these board members did mulling over decisions and scenarios. I think that we should let them do the job that they were elected to do and trust that they are making the right decisions based on many factors that may not be immediately evident. For all of you who appear so disgruntled over things not going in the direction you had hoped, I suggest that you run for the board yourself in 2014. That way you can have the long hours, the tough decisions, the headaches, and the pressures, and can face the brunt of anger coming towards you because you made an unpopular but tough decision in your volunteer role. In the meantime, be the adult that you can be and set an example for your children on getting along.

Just me 43

Wed, Feb 27, 2013 : 3:53 a.m.

@yourneighbor: I take issue w/ a few things you have written. First, most of us have not just "glanced" at this situation and then made judgements. We have researched and studied and actually talked to the "leaders" involved. Also, no. I will not run for a board seat. My time is much better served in an actual school, volunteering to help our teachers and our children. I enjoy it more and the rewards are much greater. But, I still have every right as a citizen and tax-payer to question the actions and behaviors of those that serve the public. Lastly, I think we are a fine group of individuals who are setting a great example for our kids. We are standing up for what is right and pointing out the injustices in our system. It's kind of like how we teach our kids to deal w/ bullying - this is just on a different scale. So, I'm sorry. I'm not going to pretend everything's all right and trust that our so-called leaders have our best interests and, more importantly, our children's best interests at heart. That may be uncomfortable for some, but it causes me far more discomfort to sit idly by and "let" things happen.


Wed, Feb 27, 2013 : 2:46 a.m.

I recently introduced Sharon to a friend (from Pinckney) while we were at the school. In the 10 minute conversation we had he could not stop talking about impressed he was. "I wish she was our superintendent".


Wed, Feb 27, 2013 : 1:59 a.m.

Sharon Irvne is not an "unknown." She was a middle school teacher, Principal of Perry Child Development Center, Principal at one of Northville's elementary schools for several years, all the while studying law at Wayne State, and came back to Ypsilanti to become Executive Director of Human Resources. She holds a Masters in Education, a Law Degree, and is a PhD candidate in Education at Eastern Michigan Univ. She owns a home in Ypsilanti and has a child in the school system. She has excelled at everything she has ever attempted. Her work ethic, and concern for children are exemplary. The same cannot be said for Mr. Martin. It is SHAMEFUL that this Board did not, for political and personal conflicts of interests, seriously consider her as the qualified candidate she was. Some other lucky District and its students will have the benefit of her leadership and Ypsilanti will have lost one of it's best and brightest leaders. This Board is not worthy of trust as they showed bad faith and incompetence in this whole process.


Wed, Feb 27, 2013 : 1:25 a.m.

Have you had kids in this district over the last few years? Have you watched in horror as libraries were left unattended in buildings, field trips were done away with, homework became history because there was no paper? Dedrick Martin and his poor staffing choices (David Houle, Jennifer Martin, that idiot that he tried to hire as principal of the high school who couldn't even right a grammatical sentence) has run this once proud district INTO THE GROUND. And I know because I am a parent, and have watched my kid suffer. I believe in public education, but the poor leadership of folks like Martin should not be rewarded.


Wed, Feb 27, 2013 : 1:17 a.m.

And because she has the trust and respect of the teachers, they would all work together to make the new district a success!


Wed, Feb 27, 2013 : 12:57 a.m.

Because Sharon has all the skills necessary to lead; something which the two people they retained obviously do not. She has been successful in every position she has held, and this would have been no exception.

Jay Thomas

Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 11:47 p.m.

This is truly amazing. I guess for some people education really is just a jobs program. Why else pay two people to do the same exact job?


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 10:22 p.m.

If "they" (supts.) got us into this mess, what makes anyone think that "they" can do any better this time around? Long live charter schools!


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 8:43 p.m.

What a complete sham last night's Unified School District Board meeting was. Staged Kabuki theater has nothing on this Board. After amending the agenda to allow the Board comments first, each member took turns assuring the crowd of parents and teachers how important their voices and feedback are, After that, a group of very articulate people stood up and spoke to the Board during the public comment time. Nearly all speakers questioned the concept of dual superintendants, and most reiterated support for the well-qualified candidate Sharon Irvine. Again, the Board completely disregarded the financial concerns, concerns over the competency of current superintendants, and support for a new vision and new leadership. Instead, in an obviously pre-planned move, the Board allowed the consultant hired by the district to work on the superintendant search spoke about his reasons for not doing an outside search, most of which were ludicrous. He then made his recommendation to contract with the WISD to provide an interim Superintendant, while retaining both Lisiski and Martin as co- assistants. The Board conveniently had a pre-written motion to do just that, which indicates this was the plan all along. The whole thing was an insult to the intelligence of the audience. At this point, the outrage of the audience became palpable, and a few outbursts were heard....speaking truth to power. Well justified remarks to a disingenous group of people, if not actual liars. Anyone attending this farce should be commended for their restraint. This APPOINTED, not ELECTED Board is no better than an Emergency Manager. Now our children and teachers will be under the questionable oversight of a triumvirate leadership, supplied by the WISD. What a mess. I wonder how many violations of the the Open Meeting Act took place in order to cook it up.

E. Daniel Ayres

Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 8:25 p.m.

Aparently those "in the know" who funded the $6.5 M to assist in the merger knew up front that it would get swallowed up by administrative salaries rather than applied to providing instructional services to the community! What an absurd approach to solving a financial problem. Feed the beast which causes it in the first place rather than eliminate it!

greg, too

Wed, Feb 27, 2013 : 2:47 p.m.

They did write in a part of the grant which called for (number might be wrong) $350k in "superintendent services." That number, if my memory is right, coincides with the amount of the two albatross contracts that Martin and Lisiki would bring to the new district.


Wed, Feb 27, 2013 : 12:52 a.m.

The grant money cannot be used for salaries, unfortunatley.

Jay Thomas

Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 11:49 p.m.

I can see an EM in willow run cancelling nonsense like this.

E. Daniel Ayres

Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 8:35 p.m.

Well, we know what has to happen now. New candidates for School Board who are willing to declare a financial emergency, get the state to stick in a financial manager and cancel all the remaining contracts, especially the one with WISD! (I'm being somewhat facetious here, but this is about as absurd as the fact that someone managed to put a clause in the enabling legislation in Lansing which forces consolidating districts to honor and pay old contracts only for Superintendents!)

Saddened YP/WR Supporter

Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 7:38 p.m.

As I stated in a reply to an earlier contract, after reading the contract between the "Ypsilanti School Board" and Mr. Martin I don't understand why said contract is not null and void. The Ypsilanti School Board no longer exists!!!!!!


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 7:20 p.m.

SHOCKING! well, not so much. the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over (looking to these people for solutions and leadership) and expecting different results. I can't wait to see what happens on Mark Maynard after this.

Michelle Rydberg Needles

Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 6:21 p.m.

This is really an unfortunate turn for a community that I proudly support, as a YHS alumni and township taxpayer. I have fond memories of the school district and the schools I attended, as I always felt that the district employed and retained wonderful, caring educators with a passion for teaching. I have been following the progress of the consolidation, and it just makes me so sad, the way that the Board and Superintendent have mismanaged, miscommunicated and possible misappropriated the power and funds that have been granted for the students of this community. Am I missing something here? Even if the Superintendent's contracts aren't slated for expiration until 2014, can you not pay them the course of their contract in a lump sum and write it off as bed debt? Could you not then hire one well-qualified person to act as Superintendent and have one salary? Would that not be the same financial hit as the trifurcated structure they propose? Does it not cut the heads off the Hydra and offer the District a new start with fresh perspective? Don't the students deserve that? Haven't the children suffered enough that the collective authority has to stop and realize that the status quo is fatally flawed? I support the parents and the children of Ypsilanti, and its a shame that Board does not feel the same way.


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 4:53 p.m.

Did anyone make any attempt to inform the voters that the superintendents' contracts would still be honored BEFORE we voted on consolidation?

greg, too

Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 5:15 p.m.

Very good question. I think most of us assumed that when they said it was a clean slate and everyone was gone, that they meant it was a clean slate and everyone was gone. We failed to do our homework because we put too much faith in the people behind the consolidation. You know, people like Martin, Lisiki, Garrett, Menzel, and Bates. We thought that they had a plan to watch our for the best interests of our children and instead they handed us an even bigger bureaucracy and mess than we had in the old school districts.

Judi Jones

Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 4:21 p.m.

So glad we enrolled elsewhere when we knew what was coming down the pike. This is a mess. I feel for the hard working teaching staff, but when it comes to my kids, they must come first. Our state in general does not support education. When you see the financial waste as demonstrated here, is it any wonder?


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 3:32 p.m.

WISD knows that its liability to the Ypsilanti Community Schools extends only to December 31, 2014. It is time for the community to start sending a strong, clear, convincing and consistent message to every member of the joint school board: "Your tenure on this school board will not survive the 2014 election. At that time, you will come to understand precisely to whom you (and those who replace you) are accountable." I will not vote for a single sitting school board candidate in the 2014 election, and I encourage everyone else in the community to consider doing the same. Now is the time to put together a slate of qualified candidates to replace the existing board.

greg, too

Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 3:38 p.m.

Agreed. If they will not listen to our vocal and written anger, then I would imagine they will have to listen to our votes.


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 3:12 p.m.

What a joke. But shame on you Ypsi and Willow Run, you voted for these members when the individual elections took place years ago, then voted for the consolidation. Didn't you learn when YPSD "closed" two facilities (Chapelle and East), only to find out that they would eventually house programs run by WISD (COPE [now closed], and the IB program)? Guess not. I don't know what's worse, the board's actions, or the public refusing to take action. At least one parent in this story was taking action by enrolling her child (children?) in a charter school....which is what should happen if an elected body is not willing to listen to the people that put them there.


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 6:05 p.m.

True Aimee, the current board for the consolidated district was appointed. I was speaking on how the voting public kept the people making bad decisions in place. Some of these people now serve on the appointed board.


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 4:17 p.m.

For the record, we did NOT vote on the current board. The current board was chosen by the WISD. And now our WISD chosen board has chosen the WISD to be the Superintendent. Funny how that happened.

greg, too

Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 3:22 p.m.

I have a feeling that there are a lot of silent people who will just leave. Leaving the districts alone was a far better option for enrollment purposes than this.

sad day

Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 3:11 p.m.

Looks like politics as usual. I hope I can say I TOLD YOU SO!


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 3:07 p.m.

Fortunately this process has been well-covered by the media. Choosing to save oneself at the expense of one's employees does tend to cast a rather long shadow when searching for a new position.....which both of these folks will eventually have to do. Does the new district charter require key leadership to live within the district? That may be another excellent way to help those who lead choose to be responsive to their constituents. Whether or not it is or can be required by law, whether leaders choose to live in their district does say something very important about their commitment to and investment in the community they claim to want to lead.


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 3:05 p.m.

What amazed me last night was the lack of knowledge by the school board. Very unprepared. David Bates, president of the board, did not even know when Martin or Lisiscki's contracts expired. This does not inspire much confidence in those leading the consolidation.


Wed, Feb 27, 2013 : 3:48 a.m.

They were not prepared because they had no intent on answering our questions. They were prepared to make that meeting go the way it did. They made the outcome the way they had it set to go way early! That is why when the tv reporters left (30 mins before finalizing) they had the results. Now how to you give reporters results for an outcome that hasn't happened yet? I mean none of them are Ms Cleo?! I didn't see any terot cards? Exactly. It was a dancing chicken performance. They 'acted' as if what they were doing wasn't all laid out and set up ahead of time. . . Ive seen better performers at a kindergarten recital!


Wed, Feb 27, 2013 : 1:15 a.m.

Bates voted just last year to extend Dedrick Martin's contract. He, and the rest of the board KNEW that our future as a district was uncertain, and yet when Dedrick's contract came up for a two year renewal, and two of the board members tried to limit it to one year, Bates and Linda Horne used a parliamentary procedure to extend it an additional TWO YEARS. He lied through his teeth last night, and he should be ashamed. As should Dedrick Martin, for selling consolidation to his staff and all the teachers by telling them that he too would lose his job, but that it was worth the sacrifice. Liars all around.


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 6:06 p.m.

Bates knows full well when Martin's contract expires. Bates lied.

greg, too

Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 3:15 p.m.

Exactly. It was scary how little they knew.


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 2:53 p.m.

Wondering both superintendents openly told tbeir saffs in their propaganda campaign that they were not guaranteed anything with regards to employment and that their contracts would be void as ours were. This is a blatant misrepresentation and outright lie as proven last night. This would seem to be an ethics violation. Ms Irvine do your job, never mind yoy are too bad your job is to protect yourself not the staff. It's saddening we do not have an administrator that is bod enough to stand up and fight for what is right. We did but they ran him out.


Wed, Feb 27, 2013 : 12:47 a.m.

Are you suggesting that Sharon isn't doing her job?


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 6:46 p.m.

FYI - the Human Resource Director does not have the authority to discipline superintendents. Only the Board does.


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 2:56 p.m.

Sorry on the typos frustration getting to me.

greg, too

Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 2:43 p.m.

I think each board member stated that they were not lawyers during the meeting and that they could not speak to the legal aspects of Martins contract. The WISD has a lawyer, why wasn't he/she there? Why have they not spoken to them in the past about it? The board was not ready to "deliberate" because maybe they had already decided outside of the public eye. Which, contrary to their statements of transparency, is a complete lack thereof. The new board has shoveled the garbage from the past board onto the new district because they lacked the stones to do anything. I am not sure Irvine was the right choice for the new superintendent, but choosing two failed superintendents instead of interviewing outside candidates, however many there were, shows that this board is a failure. They have not shown one iota of leadership or transparency, instead acting as appointed gods with a mandate to create the biggest bureaucracy our local education system has ever seen. Bates bullied the crowd who were noticeably upset (but not rowdy by any means) at the insanity that was unfolding around them. Hawkins seemed to get irate at the public voicing their opinions in comments and blogs. VanDerworp seemed completely clueless and I think even checked his phone once or twice. And Garrett sat their like a scolded child. It was a sad joke in a situation where we needed a strong board to represent us. Instead, they took the easiest way out and we are all the worse for it. Forget the advisory groups, forget the pr garbage. They do not want our opinions, so we will need to wait to speak our mind at the ballot box when their terms are up and then just vote in 7 new people to fix the mess this board is creating.


Wed, Feb 27, 2013 : 3:24 a.m.

@ grapes juicy. . (cough.. I can't even say this with a straight face). . 'The audience of parents were behaving like children', did I read that right? Your board member insulted a parent and her son. A board member, a grown no I'll say aged man, equated her son to a ball. While other board members decided it was dinner time. What I saw was a table of aged humans with a highly apparent case of tunnel vision. They only discussed the topics they wanted to discussed and only answered the questions that benefited their position. How do you have a conversation when one side is a broken record ? Next meeting I will come prepared! I will have snickers for each board member, maybe then we can get the table of divas settled down enough to handle the business that needs handled. I suggest if your board wants to accomplish something they learn that this group of parents are 1. not going away, 2. will be heard no matter how many times we have to stand up and 3. will not be insulted and 4. (and something I learned in Kindergarten) The pot should NOT call the kettle black!


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 11:18 p.m.

If they had legal questions, why didn't they just ask Sharon? She was there. I'm hoping that Sharon can find that loop hole we need to get DM and DB OUT!

Grapes Juicey

Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 9:28 p.m.

The crowd was absolutely rowdy! Many were behaving like kids throwing a temper tantrum in the hopes of getting their way. It was shameful and it is recorded for everyone to see. I found it quite comical myself. Free entertainment!


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 2:41 p.m.

Lets see, 3 superintendents, 3 new secretary's, 3 new letter heads, 3 times more meetings, 3 offices. Which one of the three will sign the lay off notices for the teachers, this spring? Flip a 3 sided coin? This just shows its not what you know, its who you know. Good thing for the states support of $6.5 million.


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 2:23 p.m.

If the two superintendents truly cared about the two districts and about the staffs who work for them, they would not have allowed the "survivability" of their own contracts to be longer than the survivability of the staff contracts, which mandatory resignations were incorporated into the merger agreement that these two superintendents helped to create. They could easily have chosen to opt out of that clause of their contract--choosing to voluntarily resign when they required their staffs to hand in their own resignations. When we begin demanding that our leaders live by the same rules as those they are leading--and they actually do that--then we will have good leadership.

greg, too

Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 2:47 p.m.

They don't care. They have shown that they know that the only way they would be retained was through the muscle of their poorly worded contracts. Everyone speaks of their leadership and love of the community and instead, they let their contracts force the board into creating this moronic system so that they could retain them. It's a farce. Instead of one SI at around 150k, we will have three at 3 or 4 times that. How does that make an ounce of sense? Fire Lisiki the second her contract ends. And watch Martin like a hawk. He will do something to get himself fired pretty quickly....oh wait, but that would then make the board look bad for choosing the option of two unqualified (in reality and on paper) candidates as associate SI's. I have met Scott Menzel and he seems like a fair and honest person. I hope that his first decision as SI is to fire or buyout both of these two leeches and then move on to actually creating a new school district. As long as these two hang on, we will not have that.

tom swift jr.

Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 2:15 p.m.

This is a huge mistake and a slap in the face to the parents and members of this community. I am so glad that I no longer have children in either of these districts, they would be out in a heartbeat. Evidently this "Board" knew at the beginning of this process that they would elect to keep both individuals because..."heck, we gotta pay them anyway!"... so, keep them, but put them in positions where they can't do any further harm. Our former Willow Run Superintendent was a wonderful building principal, move her back into that position. As for Martin...I really don't have any suggestions for him... We can hope, however, that the WISD Board will see the absurdity of this and elect not to support it. The WISD Superintendent has his own programs and district to run, it is obvious that he can not provide day to day supervision of this new district, it will be business as usual with the two individuals that led us to this point to begin with. Menzel will be a figurehead with no first hand knowledge of the district's needs, problems, or process, he certainly won't be in a position to "lead". Do the right thing WISD Board.


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 8:59 p.m.

Why can't they use the $1k of "help" money to help pay them off? I'm sure if Irvine was given the job she would pull in more students over the next couple years to cover their losses.


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 6:58 p.m.

As for Martin... there are lots of bathrooms in the district that need cleaning.


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 2:15 p.m.

Is anyone else having a hard time finding the contract for Martin? All I see is one that ends in June 2014. I wonder why the belief is that he has a contract for three more years, why would that be?


Wed, Feb 27, 2013 : 3:13 a.m.

@ Saddened... Shhh, we aren't smart enough to catch things like that. Personally I feel his job ends and he has no contract affective immediately! Can I have a second?

Saddened YP/WR Supporter

Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 4:03 p.m.

After reading Mr. Martin's contract I do not understand why it is not null and void since it was executed between the "Ypsilanti Public School District... and Dedrick D. Martin" . The Ypsilanti Public School District no longer exists!!!!! Just sayin.....

greg, too

Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 2:49 p.m.

Here it is. I'm having a problem finding why they cannot fire him.

Basic Bob

Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 2:13 p.m.

Some people are upset "their" candidate was not selected. But none of them are on the school board. The board would have been irresponsible to select Ms. Irvine because they are already on the hook for the other two. They will still need good administrators in the district to negotiate new contracts and build a new HR system from the ground up. This is a perfect opportunity for Ms. Irvine to show her mettle and her skills by staying and succeeding. I am confident that this is best for everyone, and she will be in a perfect position to succeed as superintendent when Dr. Martin's contract expires.


Wed, Feb 27, 2013 : 2:02 a.m.

I like Irvine. She is a strong leader and I feel she's more capable then Martin. He has claimed repeatedly that both supers 'inherited a mess'. Martin didn't inherit a mess. Martin took a potentially bad situation and made it nose dive while he collected the personal gain. Someone that cares about the district doesn't attempt to advance his education while his students do not have the supplies to get their own.


Wed, Feb 27, 2013 : 12:38 a.m.

Ms. irvine was the best thing the district had going for it. She will leave now because of the poor relationship Dedrick Martin has with all who work around him. She's already shown more mettle than the two failed supers that are in there now. There were a LOT of irresponsible acts that happened last night...hiring Irvine would NOT have been one of them.


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 6:58 p.m.

Nice segue to a future criticism when Irvine leaves the district. Irvine isn't in the ISD plan. Maybe she is too strong a leader. Maybe that was what they were all afraid of.


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 2:42 p.m.

Basic Bob, Dedrick Martin does not have a PhD. The School Board got "their" candidate.


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 2:01 p.m.

Wow, I thought that Charley Foxtrot in AA with one overpaid superintendent was ridiculous. They get two? Unbelievable. Who would have ever thought another school district could make AA look like a bunch of spendthrifts? They must have money to burn over there.

Jay Thomas

Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 11:55 p.m.

They have OUR MONEY to burn. If those districts had only their own money from property taxes to spend it would be a different ballgame entirely.


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 2:01 p.m.

Yes, multiple leaders. Oh, I forgot. They are not responsible or accountable for any expenditures. The tax payers own this and they cannot do anything to stop the wasteful spending. Our school board fails us again. Go figure!

Shawn Gates

Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 1:57 p.m.

This is ridiculous. People were clearly upset that they were considering 2 co-superintendents so they hire 3 instead. I do not understand why the teachers are terminated as of June 30 but the superintendents are not...that is insanity. I also do not understand how Mr. Wilde can claim that this is the most fiscally responsible solution. I may be missing something here but paying 3 people to do the job of 1 does not save you money. @AdmiralMoose: I agree about the ECA program however our beloved superintendents that we are now stuck with for a while longer have decided to cut the number of students from Ypsilanti and Willow Run that can go to ECA. I do not remember the number of students that were previously allowed in from Ypsi but I want to say it was in the 30s or 40s. If you check out the latest enrollment application here: you will see the following number of spots open to each district: Ann Arbor - 64 Chelsea - 10 Lincoln - 17 Manchester - 5 Milan - 10 Whitmore Lake - 4 Willow Run - 6 Ypsilanti - 14 We were told yesterday that the cut was the decision of the superintendents. I do not know how to verify that but it's what we were told. Apparently you can use School of Choice to become part of another district and apply that way using a district with more spots. I would really like to know the reasoning behind this cut. Perhaps it makes sense but right now I cannot understand why they would do this...other than to keep more students in their failing districts.


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 8:54 p.m.

Why in the world would the board re-new DM's contract (just recently I believe), knowing full well that a new supt would have to be appointed? And for 3 years! Somebody is in somebody else's back pocket. This board is as transparent as a brick wall. They did a poor acting job looking like they had never heard the idea of WISD taking over as supt. Shame on them not having the courage to "mention" this before all the public comments.


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 8:09 p.m.

Why in the world was DM's contract renewed for 3 years just recently. They new that position would be up for grabs and they did it anyway. They (the "new" board) are as transparent as a brick wall! You can't tell that this hair brain idea was first discussed last night. Funny how they didn't have any real questions and were ready to take a vote. They were also too cowardly to tell us before the public comments. They call themselves leaders!

Steven Taylor

Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 4:43 p.m.

To my knowledge Mr. Gates as a condition of the merger, the current contracts for employees were essentially null/void. Supernintendos Lisicki and Martin were never really in ANY danger of losing their cushy gigs as superintendants because they're contract is with the boards that essentially voted to keep them, there's no union for the board to piss off when electing a superintendent. As I mentioned to a friend of mine on FB this morning when this story broke. If the residents of the city do manage to get the current supers out the door, we still have to acknowledge their contract, which will again cost the taxpayers just shy of a half million dollars according to the numbers in the artcile (Sup. Martin 140K per year, Sup Lisicki 120K per year with 3yrs left and 1yr left respectively). The taxpayers had to eat a big chunk of change to buy out former Sup. Zulhke several years ago. Seems we don't learn. :(

greg, too

Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 2:52 p.m.

"other than to keep more students in their failing districts." That's it right there.


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 1:01 p.m.

I would like to point out to Menzel that the responsibilities of closing out two districts end June 30, 2013....not December 31, 2014. Additionally, even the board is admitting that they are keeping curren Sups has nothing to do with competence, but rather, paying them out. So, in other words, we are perfectly content to leave the day to day work of carrying out WISD plans to incompetence. I guarantee that building administrators and teachers will be held to much higher standards. How is that for leading by example?

Grapes Juicey

Wed, Feb 27, 2013 : 4:55 a.m.

Whosgottheball, it is a fact that WR had a BIG MESS, prior to Ms. Lisiscki's appointment. She inherited the mess. She did not create it, nor did she contribute to it. Laura didn't make the most popular decisions, but she did what was best for WR. She deserves to be the superintendent. If only we could turn back the hands of time...


Wed, Feb 27, 2013 : 1:23 a.m.

I think the fact that both Super. Ass.'s ran their districts into the ground says enough about their competence. Just because Mr. Obama uses "I inherited this" doesn't mean it works for everyone! I am not pleased with the decision to go with WISD, look what they have done to the buses. My son was stabbed on the bus with a pencil last year, the " bus manager" told me I 'have no proof it was done on the bus' after I sat on hold forever. 'I said the driver knows about it. He told him not to say a word about it'. Martin's office said he was out and would get back with me. I never heard a peep. On a separate occasion, my older son was shoved down and stomped on by two boys, when I called Martin's office he asked "what should be done?!" "WHAT? REALLY? I think you should get your district under control instead of scapegoating everything. Fire the driver, and while you're at it, your classrooms need supplies." I think all 3 need to be gone. Put the parents in charge of this district and watch what we can do. Martin wasn't qualified for the position and they "trained" him... Why can't a parent be "trained" the same way? Better yet, I'd rather see a board of volunteer parents get this district back on its feet the right way fast, then watch it continue to circle the drain. As far as the WRS section of this district and the reason you do not hear cheers or boos for the super. is because the audience has been made up primarily of YPS parents. Where are the parents from WRS? Is it really that you are doing such a great job? or is it that the parents do not care if you get elected for the new district? I cannot judge performance I have not seen. I've seen Martin's and it's lacking. Let's just take the actual names out of it. Let's pretend for a moment this is another district. You do the math. My math adds up to: 1 bad overpaid super + 1 bad over paid super + 1 over paid monitor for 2 bad over paid supers = deeper def

Grapes Juicey

Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 9:22 p.m.

Why is it that you refer to Ms. Lisiscki as "incompetent"? I can't say that I fully understand why you would refer to Mr. Martin as such either. However, given that you are an YpsiTeacher, you would know about his performance. But what about Ms. Lisiscki? Have you spoken to any of her staff? I guarantee you, they don't speak of her the same way that the Ypsi community speaks of Mr. Martin. She is the ONE they shoud've hire for the job!


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 12:59 p.m.

I'm glad that the new district will continue to support the Early College Alliance @ EMU. I don't know what I would do if my son had to return to his home district.


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 10:47 p.m.

Good luck getting back in as a Ypsi student, Now that they gave many of thier spots to Ann Arbor


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 12:34 p.m.

When you are paying a consulting firm, they will tell you whatever you want them to. What a ridiculous waste of resources.

greg, too

Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 2:53 p.m.

I've worked with a couple hiring firms on academic hirings. This one was pathetic. He was only there to rubber stamp their idea and to poison the pool of outside candidates (he more or less said this). Whatever amount they pay him is too much. They could have paid one of the fired librarians or teachers to do what he did at a tenth the cost.


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 12:32 p.m.

"Pulling your children" from the district will NOT impact either of the associate superintendents. Do the opposite, get involved! Be present at the school, after-school, at meetings, attend all functions. Pulling your student will have a HUGE impact on those that truly serve your child; their teachers, para-edcators, and support staff that actually interact with your child. Now is the time to honor those that continue to serve your child. The 2 "assoc. sups" will NOT feel any impact from you fleeing. THEY will continue to get paid, have insurance, annuities, travel expenses, etc...ALL OTHER staff will lose, lose, lose. I urge families to take this opportunity to focus on where they have had people caring for your child as if their own. IF the 2 assoc. sups are as dedicated as they say while staying in their promised positions, they will NOT TAKE ONE PENNY INCREASE in their contracted pay. NOT ONE PENNY MORE. Are there any other employees currently in the 2 districts that will see any increase in compensation? NO, NO, NO. Pulling your children WILL impact all other employees with cuts, cuts, cuts. Keep in mind those that will be impacted by your actions. Honor those that are clinging to their livelihoods with no promise of anything; those that continue to show up and give their heart and souls directly to your kids. Just some thoughts from someone that has had the privilege of seeing my kids positively impacted by those that matter, the teachers and school staff.


Wed, Feb 27, 2013 : 5 p.m.

@Grapes- I'm finding it disturbing that you feel you are more qualified to tell me what my child needs because you warm a seat at a table of politicians! Since you know so much more then us mere birth givers please answer the following questions.. Which subject does my son need tutoring in? Is he allowed to perform in gym the same as the other children? Does he have food allergies? Is he on medication, if so how does he take it? I do not have to await your answers because you do not know my child, my neighbor's child or the children across town. You have not followed any of the classes to get to know them or the teachers that you pretend to care for. When the schools were thriving and you had Superintendents like Dr Joe (at WR) and Mr. Z (at YPS) they could walk in the school and call us by name. They were hands on in classrooms, literally, broke ground each spring to plant flowers with us students. I don't mean stopped by in a 3 piece suit, grapes. I mean jeans and a Tshirt .. shovel in hand. None of the current board members or appointed personnel have done that. You would like to fill us full of "they're so busy they don't have time!" .. yes, I do believe they are busy, advancing with their own personal agenda. One that continues to drain an already dry school district and then move on. The only creature I know that feeds off an entity in such manor is a leech or lamprey and their loyalty to an entity is temporary. Do you have children or grandchildren in this district grapes? Just exactly what interest do you have in what's best for my child or any other if you aren't involved in this more then a paycheck? I propose the positions of the board and its personnel has to be immediately and directly affected without payroll being the connection. I want these "great changes" we're being fed to directly affect the seat warmers and their appointed staff. Otherwise, I feel we need to not be host to parasites any longer.

Grapes Juicey

Wed, Feb 27, 2013 : 5:21 a.m.

@ jusme43, LOL, really? "How dare you?" Oh I'm so sorry for being ignorant because I don't know you or your credentials. You'd think I stated your name, whoever you are. *applauding* You know what's best for your child. Kudos to you! I'm quite sure most parents feel the same. Does that mean they "know better" than everyone else? Didn't mean to offend the self-proclaimed expert, that is you.

Grapes Juicey

Wed, Feb 27, 2013 : 4:07 a.m.

@ Always a brave thank you for stating the obvious! However, Mr. Bates has served on the YPS Board since 2006 & was the president since 2007 until his current appointment! He was elected prior to his appointment to the new board. :)


Wed, Feb 27, 2013 : 2:23 a.m.

@Juicy - APPOINTED! Mr Bates would not have been re-elected. The new board was APPOINTED, there is a difference.

Just me 43

Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 10:04 p.m.

Dear Grapes Juicy: I do know what is best for my child. How dare you suggest otherwise? I am the expert when it comes to what is best for my child. My child is my responsibility. Not the board's responsibility, not the school's responsibility, or the government's responsibility. He is MY responsibility. It is an obligation and trust that is more important than any other. Perhaps, this is part of what is wrong in our society today. Parents failing to do what is good and proper and right for their children and expecting somebody else to do it for them. (Additionally, Ms. Grapes, I am an expert in other ways, too. I hold advanced degrees in two areas that relate directly to the health and welfare of children and families and have had a career that allowed me to directly work with them. So, please be careful about what you write. Your ignorance is showing). With regard to Mr. Bates, I did not vote for him. Nor was I given the opportunity to vote upon whether he should be on the current board. (And I am making a deliberate choice in calling board members, "members". They do not have my trust and so I will no longer refer to them as "trustees"). Finally, I'm not sure why Willow Run parents and families felt unwanted. They most certainly are wanted. We have many families at our school from Willow Run who use the school of choice option and many of them are extremely involved. I welcome input and ideas from the families from Willow Run. But, I can't make them show up to meetings or get involved. Perhaps, Ms. Grapes,you can use some of your connections to encourage those families to be involved.

Grapes Juicey

Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 9:16 p.m.

No matter who the superintendent hire was, the kids would've been guinea pigs, as was so eloquently stated. It is a new district. IMO it's the parents in the Ypsi community & parents with the extremely loud voices who are causing the division. People act as though WR does not exist in this at all. There does not appear to be any attempt to come together by the community. What i'd like to know is why the people in Ypsi didn't want Ms. Lisiscki? She, like Mr. Martin, inherited messy school districts. They should not be blamed entirely, for the problem. At one point an Ypsi parent stood at the mic and said "we know best." Really? That's the problem, the community thinks they know better than anybody. Well why did you keep re-electing the current YCS board president Mr. Bates? You sure don't seem to be so in like w/ him now. I wonder why?? Hmmmm...


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 2:19 p.m.

Keeping your children in as guinea pigs as they toggle and tweak this frankenstein monster is not a good idea also. This board has repeatedly proven that the voice of the parents in the district is not a concern of theirs, so why would you subject your child to the leadership of a burecrat, two failed superintendents, and whatever other messes they decide to create? They spoke of trying to unite the community. Instead they have found a way to divide it more than anyone ever thought they could. I sat through that meeting and saw a lack of interest from the board during the public comment section. They couldn't have cared less what the passionate parents had to say or what the public believed. Their decision had been made weeks ago. There was no deliberation. No real comment from the board on why they chose this idiotic and goofy idea. They just announced it from on high and then ran out the door. Which is what my family is going to do. We're leaving too.

dading dont delete me bro

Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 11:23 a.m.



Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 2:05 p.m.

Paying him to take charge of the circus the merged school boards have created makes the whole thing even more of a sad, sick joke on the taxpayers and families in the new district.


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 11:22 a.m.

I don't see a poll....

Danielle Arndt

Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 11:33 a.m.

Hi Y-Town, sorry about that! There were some problems with the poll and the photos at first. I've fixed them.


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 11:18 a.m.

Well we can not stop giving them our money to waste because they will just take our homes at that point, but we can darn sure not givie them our children!!!! What a bunch of chumps!!!


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 11:11 a.m.

Was it really a rowdy crowd? There were a few outbursts, and a fair amount of murmuring, but on the whole there was just a whole lot of suppressed anger mixed with disbelief. We were polite to the point of absurdity, given the situation. Several near me said, "We should just walk out," when it became clear the direction this was heading, but most people stayed to witness the entire train wreck. Really, sometimes the silence speaks most loudly.

Tamara Craft Larson

Wed, Feb 27, 2013 : 2:55 a.m.



Wed, Feb 27, 2013 : 1:35 a.m.

Grapes Juicy I do agree. The board was out of line at times. IF the audience was called out of line it was because they did not conform to what the board wanted. It's not fun when everyone isn't in the boards pocket. I found it highly inappropriate that Garrett was eating, it wasn't dinner time. We were not listened to, we were heard. What's the difference you ask? If we were being listened to our points and concerns would have been addressed. The board simply waited for our mouths to stop moving so they could continue with what they wanted to discuss not answer anything they were asked. Then they resort to name calling and insulting a mother of the district. Then equating her child and his education to a ball? Obviously she struck a nerve and the reaction he had was that of a child. I happen to know her and her son. Like many of the parents that were there she cares greatly for this upcoming district and it succeeding. It's always the same thing, as soon as the board doesn't like the parents response they start insulting. I'm pretty sure the 5th grade student council is more professional then the performance we've been given thus far. Yes Grapes, you're right. The boards behavior was incredibly out of line. I will have to make a note for the next meeting not to wear shiny clothes or bring snacks so that we keep the boards concentration in tact.


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 10:19 p.m.

Really !!!!! Out of Line !!!! You people have never been to a EPA/MDEQ superfund/state listed cleanup hearing. I suggest you all go, then you will hear compassionate, rowdy responses from the audience. It seems when it comes to shaving a few years off ones life people speak up.


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 9:47 p.m.

I agree that there were several occasions and examples in the meeting, where individuals or the entire group were completely out of line, embarrassing themselves, and not behaving professionally or in a way commensurate with the importance of the event and circumstances. But I'm not talking about the audience. I'm talking about the board, and that's why the attendees were booing and actually outright laughing at them right to their faces, for their absurd statements, positions, and decisions. They're not fit to serve, and they should be removed. Every single one of them. A tragi-comedy, to be sure.

Grapes Juicey

Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 9:08 p.m.

People were definitely a bit out of line at many times.

greg, too

Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 2:54 p.m.

I would say restless, not rowdy. People were a bit out of line at sometimes, but its hard not to see how it was justified as they were shocked at the joke they were witnessing. I heard a lot of laughter where I was sitting. Not because anything was funny, but because they were so dumbfounded that they couldn't figure out what else to do.