School Board plans don’t pass the smell test

(June 19, 2007) For those that endured a 5-hour long Ypsilanti School Board meeting, it was hard to see what was accomplished. At the beginning of the meeting, one audience member was shouted down by the board chair for using the ‘N’ word. (0h:44m) However, the audience member was reading a quote from a police report about an incident at the High School and was not directing the epithet at any board or staff member.

Watch Ypsilanti School Board — June 11, 2007

Then in a perplexing move, the board undertook the sale of land on Clark and LeForge in Superior Township. That land was designated as the location of a new bus garage and warehouse for the district. According to the superintendent James Hawkins, Hawkins said that CFO Alan Dowdy said they could sell part of the land and not affect the bus facility. However, how does a finance guy know that the land sale will not impact the site plan when no site plan exists?

There has not been a site plan or assessment of the site to determine location of buildings or traffic flows on the property. Moreover, no inquiry has been made with the state or county regarding traffic flows in and out of the site. The school board didn’t even contact the citizens committee they appointed almost two years ago to look at a location for the bus garage. It was stunning that the Board would consider the issue with so little data.

Then the board took on the granting of a contract to a current assistant principal at the high school. Mr. Macintosh is eligible for retirement so he has opted to accept the early buyout and receive $15,000 cash. The board will then turn around and sign a personal services contract paying him more than he receives now for a two year contract.

The board claims they are saving money but they aren’t. They are putting Macintosh into retirement, then rehiring him for the exact same job he was already doing. That isn’t what you typically do with an early buyout. The buyout is to get the person off the payroll. Not to then rehire them the very next day. The savings is just on paper shifting costs from the local district to the state. When you look at the full cost to the taxpayers this deal will cost Michigan taxpayers well over $50,000. This doesn’t pass the smell test.

YpsiNews then asked the board secretary to send us meeting notices. Board Secretary Karen Allen said that meetings are posted on the web. We noted that special meetings are not on the website and since the Board can call a meeting in 24 hours, we miss the special meetings like the one called several weeks ago. Allen then corrected us by saying meetings could be called in 18 hours. I guess the expectation is that citizens and the media should check the website every 18 hours to insure a board meeting hasn’t been called.

We then suggested that Allen could send the meeting notice by fax or email. Allen responded, “I don’t do email.”

So lets outline the process for calling a special meeting. Allen produces the meeting notice on a computer, prints it out, and then faxes it. But she won’t do email.

Folks these are the people that are supposed to be educating our kids. They are making fiscal decisions without understanding the true costs. They grant a sweetheart deal to an assistant principal, they squash free speech, and they don’t do email. It isn’t any wonder there is a crises in our school district.


One Comment on "School Board plans don’t pass the smell test"

  1. gkk on Wed, 20th Jun 2007 10:20 am 

    Thanks for this information! It helps folks make decisions when voting season comes back around. Sounds like this school board will have to go!

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