YPSILANTI, Mich. – The Ypsilanti School Board approved a deficit-elimination plan the night before it was due to the Michigan Department of Education, according to The Ypsilanti Courier. The plan calls for a wide range of expenditure reductions totaling $10 million, but is based on an 18-21 percent reduction in staff wages. That concession is still in negotiation.

Superintendent Dedrick Martin told The Courier the district’s deficit has forced the board to take a harder look at areas with excess capacity in the face of declining enrollment. For example, the district currently has staffing to serve 153 special education students but only 101 actual students who need special education instruction.

“This process clearly identified many areas of overstaffing that will be corrected,” Martin told The Courier. “These budgeting procedures have pressed us to further examine building utilization and possibly closing schools in the future if we are unable to reduce expenditures.”

The DEP will now go to the State for approval, after which the district will have three years to close its deficit. The Courier reports that consolidation between Ypsilanti and Willow Run schools would throw the plan out and start the process from scratch. The two districts have begun discussing possibly consolidating, but such a merger would still be several years away.

SOURCE: The Ypsilanti Courier, “Ypsilanti Public Schools Board of Education approves Deficit Elimination Plan,” May 8, 2012

FURTHER READING: Michigan Education Report, “Ypsilanti, Willow Run discuss district consolidation," April 14, 2012