Tuesday, June 28, 2016


The last time I attended a Ypsilanti Community Schools board meeting was in 2013 during the Ypsilanti/Willow Run school merger debacle. First, for anyone who has not attended a school board meeting lets just say that they're not exactly a thrill. However, this does not mean they are not important. Yes, board members faces looked quite grim during the Ypsilanti Community Schools SPECIAL MEETING/BUDGET HEARING Monday night. Well, who can blame them for looking grim, particularly here in Ypsilanti? YCS is facing so many challenges it is mind boggling. As superintendent Edmondson stated, all urban school districts are facing the same challenges. What are these challenges? For starters kids are leaving public schools in urban areas everywhere in droves. There are so many school options for kids that it is extremely difficult for urban public schools to compete. It is very complicated.

This evening at the YCS special meeting I learned that the Ypsilanti/Willow Run merger accrued  $18 million dollars in debt. I actually had to check with the person next to me to make sure I heard the figure correctly. Well, I heard right. Wow. I also learned that the district is a whopping $2 million dollars in debt. Double wow. Here's the scoop. There is a district deficit for the 2015-16 school year of $2.43 million dollars that will be taken from its fund balance to make up for the loss. Further, in consideration of the 2016-17 general fund budget, the district is expecting a loss of 300 students.

I left the meeting feeling that the board members to a person are deeply committed to creating a successful enriching and positive school district in Ypsilanti. I can also say the same for superintendent Edmondson. But the challenges are difficult and the climb is steep in regard to overcoming the many obstacles facing Ypsilanti Community Schools.

Jeff Brown
Purple Walrus Press.

Photo Purple Walrus Press.

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