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Ypsilanti, Willow Run teachers learn whether they'll keep jobs


Teachers in the soon-to-be-merged Ypsilanti and Willow Run school district have learned whether they'll be returning to the classroom. 

Both districts were in financial trouble, with a combined deficit of about $13 million.

Superintendent Scott Menzel says more than 250 current teachers applied for jobs in the consolidated district.

He says 171 teachers will have jobs  this fall; many of them are seasoned instructors."In many cases like this, outside companies might have come in and hired all brand-new teachers so that you could drive down the cost. And that would be a quick fix on the financial side. That isn't what we did."

Menzel says 32 teachers were told they met the criteria, but their position will depend on enrollment.

He also says 55 teachers were told they were not hired for next school year.

"We posted all of the positions and interviewed internal applicants first," Menzel says. "When we talked about timeline and process, we thought we'd take more time and announce the selections at the end of the school year, but teachers wanted to know as soon as possible."

Menzel says they put in place a process that was designed to be as fair and objective as possible.

"But it was fast because we had to move through these applications in a way that was pretty daunting over the period of a couple of months."

He says says middle and high schools will move to what he calls a theme-based model.

"There will be four small learning community options at the middle school level, and three small learning options at the high school level," Menzel says. "The intent is to design a set of relationships with students and staff ... to help insure that every student is successful.  We have an opportunity to recreate public education in Ypsilanti, to do something to change the achievement trajectory for students, far too many of whom have been unsuccessful in the past."

Menzel says three buildings will be closed, but he says it's expected existing elementary schools will remain open, including the Primary Learning Center and the Perry Child Development Center.