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Posted on Tue, Jan 24, 2012 : 8 a.m.

Ypsilanti school board cuts teachers, courses; more layoffs expected soon

By Danny Shaw

Ypsilanti Public Schools is 4.5 staff positions lighter and three courses thinner after a decision made at Monday’s Board of Education meeting.

In an effort to balance the Ypsilanti school district’s budget after losing 118 students last fall, the school board Monday night approved cutting teaching positions as well as three programs from Ypsilanti High School, and administrators warned more layoffs are coming.


Superintendent Dedrick Martin

Tom Perkins | For

“Unfortunately we have reached the point where we have to make some difficult decisions,” said Dedrick Martin, YPS superintendent. “We will see some additional layoffs in the very near future as we look into the special education department.”

Sharon Irvine, executive director of human resources, said some of the special education cuts will be positions that are grant-based with funds are set to dry out. Exact positions and time frame of the special education layoffs had yet to be determined.

Irvine told the Board the overall savings from the current cuts will equal about $350,000 and Martin said the special education cuts will save the district more than $200,000.

The board voted 5-1 to pass the layoff, with Trustee Sarah Devaney absent and Trustee Andy Fanta dissenting. Fanta said he doesn't disagree with the decision, but would have like to have seen a more detailed breakdown of the cuts before voting for them.

Ypsilanti Middle School lost a math teacher and a language arts teacher, and Ypsilanti High School lost two Regional Career Technical Center teachers, along with three RCTC courses, Irvine said.

High school students and staff were notified Thursday of the cuts and the changes went into effect Monday morning. Students in the affected courses — graphic arts, child care and health occupations — were transferred into different programs.

Martin said last week the drop in enrollment and need for budget cuts was known in October, but the exact programs and positions was decided within the last few weeks.

“It would have been disruptive to the kids’ education at the sixth week of the school year,” Martin said Friday. “We are taking every effort to minimize the impact on students as best as possible.”

He said it’s not uncommon for school districts to adjust staff sizes to correspond with changes in enrollment.

Makayla Watson was one of five Ypsilanti High School seniors who attended the meeting to oppose the RCTC cuts. Watson said the RCTC programs are competitive and require extra effort to gain admission.

“If they had let us know sooner, I wouldn’t have gone into the program,” she said. “All that work for what? They cut our program. If they cared, they should have told us ahead of time.”

Senior Amber Williams said she was in the RCTC’s child care program and is now in the culinary arts program.

“I’m going to major in child care in college and I feel like this is cutting into my future,” Williams said. “I just think they don’t value what the students feel.”

Contact reporter Danny Shaw at 734-623-2544 or


Samuel Guevara

Fri, Jan 27, 2012 : 8:01 p.m.

Wow one thing Ypsi schools can still not get into their heads. Taking the arts and out of schools gets rid of the creative intuitive students who want to learn more about it. They move take their education to different school because Ypsi High keeps shutting down programs that would expand their inventive and knowledge-hungry minds. Kicking teachers out removes a friendly face that the student became accustomed to after so many walks down the hallway each day. When you remove faculty members the school feels empty. It creates a space that is awkwardly filled by the next cookie-cutter prof. Of course we warm up to them after a while, but what is the motivation if they are just going to be gone next year? Try and think about the school in a more personal manner. It feels like we're just lopping off limbs of some dead animal, soon we'll just have the skeleton and no one wants to attend a school after it starts dying. Make compromises not cuts. /rant


Wed, Jan 25, 2012 : 11:10 p.m.

So what happened to all the savings we were supposed to get from closing Chapelle elementary school and East Middle School? How, oh HOW did this superintendent get an "excellent" mark on his annual review? He has been BAD for Ypsi schools.


Wed, Jan 25, 2012 : 2:43 p.m.

What a lot of the students can do if they know what they want to do is to enroll in a community college or college in 11th grade. This way a lot of students can continue to major in what they want to do after hi school and college. These cuts do not surprise me. Ypsilanti has been struggling for a long time. As for special ed? Almost every elementary has a special ed department. By moving it to one building would save a lot of money in the long run. I still see a consolidated bus service by September. If not Trinity then a consolidation.


Wed, Jan 25, 2012 : 1:21 p.m.

Every time there is a story about school finances, there are always some people who complain that they pay a lot of money to send their children to non-public schools and yet they still have to pay taxes for public education. For heavens, sake! One thing has nothing to do with the other! We all pay taxes to maintain the roads, too. We pay taxes on all roads, not just the ones that we each personally use. Even if we personally do not ever drive on some roads, we all benefit from keeping them in in good shape because other people are using them. It's the same with public school taxes. We all benefit from good public schools. When public schools lose financing, staff, and resources, it hurts us all.


Wed, Jan 25, 2012 : 2:39 a.m.

People, wake up! These students and parents were sold a bill of goods. Then it was snatched from them. These kids were told they would graduate with a what? We changed our mind? I have 'kids' in this district, but I teach in another. A middle school teacher is teaching the same teaching points as YPS 12 th grade in a MS in Washtenaw County...people, wake up.


Wed, Jan 25, 2012 : 2:15 a.m.

If Ypsilanti does not get that superatendent & AD out their will be no ypsi history left, they don't care about the community because they are not from the community. They have no problem doing the biding of people higher up then themselves this is a stepping stone job for them, when the damage is done,and what always kept ypsi a viable community is gone so will they with smiles and a coke to boot. Step-up Ypsilanti step up....


Wed, Jan 25, 2012 : 12:03 a.m.

I find it ironic that they are cutting special ed, when those students bring in more money.


Tue, Jan 24, 2012 : 11:56 p.m.

FYI - Teachers that are layed off can receive unemployement benefits (not enough to pay bills with, but nontheless) they are eligible.


Wed, Jan 25, 2012 : 2:46 p.m.

99 weeks and if they find something part time? Can add to it. Good luck teachers. The western half of Michigan is looking. I wish I could move there.


Tue, Jan 24, 2012 : 11:52 p.m.

At least the new pedestrian walks in depot town look nice.


Tue, Jan 24, 2012 : 11:16 p.m.

Over 100k earned in YPSD: <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>


Wed, Jan 25, 2012 : 2:46 p.m.

Same with Ann Arbor. Did you see that press release a few weeks back? Wow.

The Black Stallion3

Tue, Jan 24, 2012 : 10:52 p.m.

HMMM !!! I wonder if any of the administrators considered taking pay cuts in order to retain some teachers ?..............Oh...sorry....that was a pathetic question wasn't it?


Tue, Jan 24, 2012 : 11:10 p.m.

Over 100k earned in YPSD: <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>


Tue, Jan 24, 2012 : 6:50 p.m.

As a parent of an Ypsilanti Middle School student I am very saddened by these layoffs. I am also upset at the way this was handled or essentially not handled at the school. Teachers had little idea what was going on or what impact it would have on their schedules and classes. Students had to spend an entire day at loose ends as new class schedules were not complete, courses had been cancelled an no one knew exactly what would happen. And as a parent, I received no communication at all from the school. Very disappointing all around and a real struggle for those of us who are committed to staying in Ypsilanti. We've always had the most wonderful experience with the teaching staff but I cannot say the same about the administration.


Tue, Jan 24, 2012 : 5:46 p.m.

from the web Special education services were federally mandated in 1975 by the passage of the Education for All Handicapped Children Act. This was later modified and became the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. IDEA requires states to provide children with special education services as a condition of receiving federal funds. In other words, this stuff gets funded - period.

joe golder

Tue, Jan 24, 2012 : 4:59 p.m.

I hear you Amber Williams! The cuts to education, declining enrollment, more options for parents have given YPS a long list of challenges and a short list of resources. RCTC and programs like it give students a real hands on approach to career choices. I know many who went on to college and careers as a result of attending RCTC. I know it has to be hard for the school board and administrators to make these cuts. I sure wouldn't want that burden!!


Tue, Jan 24, 2012 : 4:01 p.m.

Special Education cuts, are you kidding me! Sure punish the students that can't defend themselves, real brave of you administration. There has to be other ways. Special Education teachers are the most responsible and determined that I have ever seen. Shame on you Ypsilanti, unless you have a special needs child you have no idea what parents go through to make sure their child has a fair education like everyone else.


Wed, Jan 25, 2012 : 2:49 p.m.

WISD is also special ed and has those services. it is up by Scio Church road. They use school buses to drive them in. So, I can see where more of the special needs could end up if Ypsi continues to cut funding. Although isn't there a special ed school on Ecorse road in Ypsilanti?


Tue, Jan 24, 2012 : 10:06 p.m.

Special Education is usually funded with grants Misty, and grants usually have an expiration date sad to say. Also, while they provide the greatest benefit (seen in special ed student improvement) they also carry the greater cost because on a per student basis, you have a greater amount of staff per student. All this adds up which in turns drains said grants. Being a YHS Graduate I'm sad for the current state of affairs in the district, which have been in decline for several years. Now if I'm wrong on the cost assumption, I'll retract, but I would take an educated guess that I'm correct that the per pupil cost is higher for a single special ed student as opposed to a 'mainstream' student without special ed ties. Now RCTC cuts I think are a bad idea because trades are always a bonus to those students who can't or won't do the whole 'college' thing. (I'm glad however they didn't cut the arts programs back further as the arts are usually the first thing to get the axe in districts).

Patti Smith

Tue, Jan 24, 2012 : 5:41 p.m.

Misty80, I'm a special ed teacher (not in Ypsi) and I want to thank you for your kind words about us! It's a great job! :)

Lac Court Orilles

Tue, Jan 24, 2012 : 3:41 p.m.

This news will certainly make our Republican led Legislature happy to see that their evil deeds are working as intended. Since teachers are not eligible for unemployment, Governor Snyder will get credit for the unemployment rate going down.


Tue, Jan 24, 2012 : 3:09 p.m.

The sign reads: Welcome to Michigan Businesses . We don't value education and our schools are in a shambles. We are doing our hardest to destroy public education from elementary to the university level so bear with us until we reach that goal. Didn't Synder talk about being the education governor and how vital it is to attracting new business?


Tue, Jan 24, 2012 : 2:19 p.m.

Why doesn't one of the students grow a money tree so that we never have to go through with any more budget cuts? I don't know if this is the right way to cut the budget but people have to understand that we &quot;DON'T Have the money&quot;.


Tue, Jan 24, 2012 : 5:13 p.m.

Thats weak Hank, not taking money from business is not the same as giving them money.


Tue, Jan 24, 2012 : 3:10 p.m.

We don't have the money because it was given to businesses.


Tue, Jan 24, 2012 : 1:29 p.m.

If they wish to improve enrollment, change the course work and improve the discipline. This self esteem stuff does not get anywhere.The parents with the diligent kids will go elsewhere. What a wonderful thing - choice- ie competition


Tue, Jan 24, 2012 : 5:11 p.m.

Well said easy. I pay more then $5K per year to keep my kid out of Ypislanti public schools. It would be nice not to have to pay that since I already pay for YPS