As we contemplate a brighter future for Ypsi public schools, an anonymous letter alleges financial impropriety at YPSD under Martin tenure

    As you probably know, Ypsilanti’s new Board of Education will be meeting on Monday evening to decide whether or not our recently-consolidated district can possibly move forward and be successful under the leadership of either Dedrick Martin, the superintendent of the Ypsilanti Public School District, or Laura Lisiscki, the superintendent of the Willow Run School District. As we discussed a few days ago, there are, in my opinion, several reasons to look beyond our former leaders, and open the search up to a wider pool of candidates, in hopes of finding someone who might have experience successfully merging districts, or, better yet, a compelling vision as to how we take full advantage of this opportunity, marshaling all of the resources available to us, and build a truly inspirational and innovative new district that provides the children of Ypsilanti with the progressive, engaging, community-based educations they so desperately need. Before we do that, though, apparently the new board has to decide whether an internal candidate has the ability and deserves a chance.

    Tonight’s post was going to be a simple one. I was just going to pass along the following note from my friend Maria, and encourage you all to let your opinions be known… but then I opened my front door to find a package from an anonymous source. (More on that in a moment.)

    Support our children! Please come to Monday’s Consolidated school board meeting. The board is planning on choosing the new superintendent of the consolidated district. This decision not only affects our children, it affects the economics of our entire community. Let’s meet in the parking lot at 6:45pm to show our solidarity. Pass It on!

    When: Monday, February 25
    Rally: 6:45, Willow Run High School Parking Lot
    Meeting: 7:30 Willow Run High School auditorium

    Now, about that package… I suspect that, like Dan Rather, I might be walking into a trap right now, but something was left on my doorstep this morning that I feel compelled to share. I don’t know if there’s anything to it or not, but, given that we’ve got this big meeting tomorrow night, where the Board of Education will apparently be deciding whether or not Martin and Lisiscki will be hired to serve as co-superintendents of our newly-merged district, I felt as though I didn’t have a choice.

    Before I get into the specifics as to what was left for me, though, here’s the relevant background as I know it.

    A few weeks ago, AnnArbor.com ran a story about former Ypsilanti High School principal Rob Belous. Belous, as you might recall, had been put on administrative leave in October. Representatives of the Ypsilanti School District had said at the time that Belous, who has since been fired by the District, was put on leave so that an investigation could be carried out. (Apparently there were concerns regarding his performance.) In this February article, however, Belous offered a different reason. It was not his performance that put him on the wrong side of the administration, he said, but the fact that he’d been conducting an investigation of his own, looking into district spending, especially as it related to federal grant money being spent at Ypsilanti’s two high schools – Ypsilanti New Tech and Ypsilanti High School. The following clip is from AnnArbor.com.

    …Belous said the first red flag came in March 2012, when he was approached by Assistant Superintendent Jennifer Martin to sign off on a number of grant expenditures for his building.

    “I thought it strange that we never got an actual audit report… and that grants were done this way,” he said.

    Belous was hired prior to the start of the 2011-12 academic year to lead YHS through a redesign and various other reforms. The high school was required to undergo a redesign after appearing on the state’s persistently lowest achieving schools list.

    Belous began noticing “gross inequities” in how much money was dedicated to YHS per student compared with Ypsilanti New Tech per student, he said. Both schools serve students in grades 9-12, yet New Tech receives more resources from the district, Belous said.

    Ypsilanti New Tech High School opened its doors in fall 2010 and follows a national model of project-based learning with an emphasis on technology.

    Belous brought up the subject of spending inequities numerous times to Irvine, Jennifer Martin and Dedrick Martin, he said.

    In September 2012, Belous noticed several expenditures in a grant summary that did not occur, he says. Belous claims he was told by more than one district administrator in September to stop talking about the district’s spending “if he cared about his career.”

    Belous filed a formal complaint with the U.S. Department of Education regarding the district’s spending of Title 1, Title 2 and Title 31A grant dollars. Title 1 and Title 31A funding is provided primarily to help school districts supplement instruction and support services for at-risk and low-income or economically disadvantaged students. Title 2 provides funds for staff professional development to improve instructional quality….

    When asked about this by AnnArbor.com, YPSD Executive Director of Human Resources Sharon Irvine said that officials hadn’t known, when they put Belous on administrative leave, that he had been looking into the district’s spending. (In the district’s defense, a representative with the U.S. Department of Education Office of Inspector General, when contacted by AnnArbor.com, said that, while they’d received the Belous complaint, they’d “closed the matter,” after looking into it. Furthermore, as I understand it, there were legitimate reasons to question Belous’s ability to lead. That doesn’t mean, however, that he might not have been correct about funding inequalities between Ypsilanti’s two high schools, misuse of funds, etc.)

    And here’s where I need to choose my words carefully, so as not to unjustly accuse anyone of wrongdoing. As I mentioned above, I don’t like dealing in innuendo, especially when it’s third-hand, via an anonymous source, but, as this critically important decision is scheduled to be made tomorrow, which may well determine whether Ypsilanti has a viable public school system going forward, I don’t think I have any choice but to share it.

    From what I am told, AnnArbor.com filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the YPSD, asking, among other things, for the expense reports of administrators. According to the anonymous package that I received, however, they did not fully comply. Some receipts, it would seem, were either purposefully, or inadvertently, left out. I, of course, have no way of knowing whether or not this is true. (I have a call in to AnnArbor.com, but I’ve yet to hear back.) What I do know, however, is that I’ve got a stack of photocopies of what appear to be a high-ranking administrator’s expense reports, some of which appear to be signed-off on by said administrator herself, which, as I understand it, is not accepted protocol.

    As I stated above, this is a tricky business. While it looks as though there were some expensive meals, for instance, I feel hesitant to comment, not knowing the context. There are, after all, occasionally situations that call for larger dinner meetings at places nicer than Applebee’s. Without knowing what the situations were, or who was involved, I’m not inclined to assign blame. Of the material that has been provided to me, however, there’s one particular event that seems, even upon my cursory inspection, to warrant a closer look. It’s a July 2012 trip to Las Vegas. According to the note that I received, this administrator took her secretary and stayed for about a week, although the conference only ran for three days. (It was a user group meeting for PowerSchool, the web-based student information system used by YPSD.) The note that I received said that this administrator attended along with “her secretary and her two other friends,” although the district’s person designated to run PowerSchool, who ostensibly could have benefited from having been there, was not allowed to join them, given the fact that there were insufficient financial resources to send him.

    It’s probably also worth noting that the person who passed these receipts along to me clearly has a grudge against this administrator. “Dedrick Martin gave her the reins of the district, which she has destroyed,” the person writes. “And, if the board selects Dedrick Martin (to serve as superintendent of the new, unified district), she will stay.”

    I personally do not have a vendetta against Dedrick Martin. As I said in my post a few days ago about our search for a new superintendent, I think that he might very well be the right person to lead the new district forward. I just wanted for there to be a broad search, open to external candidates, before a decision was made to give him another chance… And, as I said above, I don’t know for certain that the above allegations are legitimate. Given the fact that the new school board could be voting tomorrow to hand over the reins of the new district to Martin, though, I felt as though I should say something. At the very least, I’d like to suggest that we give ourselves a few additional days, and look into these new allegations of impropriety under his tenure. As I said, I have reached out to AnnArbor.com and have offered all of the photocopies that were left for me, and I would be happy to share them with members of the new Board of Education as well. This is much too big of a decision for our community to rush, especially when allegations like these are being made. As we all know, we won’t have a second chance at this.

    update: Shortly after a reader posted this screen grab from the Twitter account of the YPSD administrator in question, said administrator deleted the post. Within a few hours, the entire account had been terminated.

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      105 Comments

      1. Kristin
        Posted February 25, 2013 at 4:39 am | Permalink

        That’s just depressing.

      2. Julie
        Posted February 25, 2013 at 6:35 am | Permalink

        Can you confirm what costs were expensed to the district? Did YPSD pay for the “friends”? Did YPSD pay for the extended time past the conference dates? It is not uncommon in business (even educational, public business) to extend your stay -on your own dime. Has anyone looked into the full financial trail to see if personal expenses were charged back to individuals?

      3. (not the other) Bob
        Posted February 25, 2013 at 6:35 am | Permalink

        The dilemma of your post is that you have worked so hard to not implicate someone unfairly, that you have left open the opportunity for all kinds of speculation as to who your post refers to, and what exactly they did that seems inappropriate. The downside of this is that those in the administration who were not involved in this trip may get tagged with this vague accusation.

      4. Jim
        Posted February 25, 2013 at 7:18 am | Permalink

        Every staff member knows that it was Jennifer Martin. Time for a change, we got a clean slate so let’s start with one. Like Mark said at least open it up to outside sources.

      5. Edward
        Posted February 25, 2013 at 7:25 am | Permalink

        It’s not that this kind of behavior is acceptable, but it’s worth noting that this kind of thing has always happened in the district. It’s also worth noting that, in a lot of ways, things have improved under Dedrick Martin’s tenure in this regard. It’s not an excuse, but I think that it’s worth pointing out. With that said, though, I’d agree that it’s time for a change.

      6. Jim
        Posted February 25, 2013 at 7:30 am | Permalink

        Julie,

        Point taken, but what district has the luxury to have admin secretaries travel with them? Especially cash strapped Ypsi. Couldn’t pay for copy paper or toilet paper but travel to Vegas?
        They should at least show that this happened IF they did.

      7. missypsi
        Posted February 25, 2013 at 7:38 am | Permalink

        To my mind, the issue is not so much the expenditures—though all the clarifying questions people are asking above make sense to me—but the fact that these receipts didn’t make it into the batch of documents that were released to AA.com (in response to their FOIA request).
        As someone once said, its not the initial “crime”, its the coverup, that reveals corruption. If these expenditures fell within the guidelines of district policy, why didn’t these receipts make it into the batch of documents released to AA.com? Also, its very clear that someone on the inside (who has access to documents that AA.com couldn’t get through FIOA) desperately wants this administration to go away. What does that say about the culture over at the White House?

      8. anonymous
        Posted February 25, 2013 at 7:38 am | Permalink

        If it can be confirmed that Jennifer Martin traveled, on the district’s dime, with her secretary, that’s a big deal, and Mark’s right to suggest that we slow down and not make a decision on Dedrick until this is sorted out. If he knew, and allowed this to happen, it’s yet one more indicator that we need a change at the top. Frankly, even if it didn’t happen, I think we need a change in leadership, but this would be yet one more piece of evidence to confirm that fact. We either need to go with Sharon, or get someone from outside.

      9. missypsi
        Posted February 25, 2013 at 7:40 am | Permalink

        And also, as a parent whose kid hasn’t had homework for the entire school year because we don’t have enough copy paper, a trip to Las Vegas for an administrator and her secretary does seem rather wasteful. Makes this administration’s mantra: “its all about the children!” ring rather hollow.

      10. Posted February 25, 2013 at 7:44 am | Permalink

        Just to reiterate, I was told that these receipts and expense reports were not among those provided to AnnArbor.com. I do not know it for certain to be fact, however. I have written to AnnArbor.com to confirm it, but I have not heard back from them. I already mentioned this in the post, but felt as though I should say it again. So, just to be clear, I don’t know if there was either a crime or a coverup. I just know that something does look right, and that I have a source who has provided documents which someone needs to look into.

      11. anonymous
        Posted February 25, 2013 at 8:08 am | Permalink

        Hopefully, as a result of this post, Dedrick’s support on the new board doesn’t migrate over to Laura, making her the new Superintendent. Neither one of them should have the job. We need the new leadership that we were promised by WISD when we voted to make this happen.

      12. Elliott
        Posted February 25, 2013 at 9:05 am | Permalink

        Will someone be shooting video at tonight’s event?

      13. karen
        Posted February 25, 2013 at 9:38 am | Permalink

        in the name of transparency, will you be posting the packet to your web site for everyone to review?

      14. double anonymous
        Posted February 25, 2013 at 9:56 am | Permalink

        Word on the street is that A2.com knew about these allegations some time ago and chose to sit on them, so as not to interfere with the vote on the merger.

      15. josh
        Posted February 25, 2013 at 10:04 am | Permalink

        Someone plays dirty. And I like it. Sometimes a few sharp elbows are what it takes to get things done.

      16. 734
        Posted February 25, 2013 at 11:02 am | Permalink

        People in the district are terrified of Jennifer Martin. It’s not surprising that someone would take the opportunity, before tonight’s vote, to put the last nail in the Martin/Martin coffin. It’s been a long time coming. Hopefully the board realizes tonight that they can’t possibly go forward with anyone in the old guard. I know they have alliances that they want to honor, but they have to see that doing so would be suicide. If this new district has a shot at success, they need to follow through and actually deliver real change. We won’t accept anything less.

      17. Posted February 25, 2013 at 11:41 am | Permalink

        Glad someone has finally brought light to this! Everyone knows it but was afraid to say anything!
        One thing they forgot to mention that it was her secretaries birthday, and her secretary brought her daughter and husband to Vegas to stay in district paid hotel room.

        New Tech is a fruad as well. It could be so great but her mismanagement has lead to all the money going there while our kids that need the most support struggle. We have a great chance to start clean let us start clean. It could be so great but her mismanagement has lead to all the money going there while our kids that need the most support struggle. We have a great chance to start clean lets do it.

      18. Question
        Posted February 25, 2013 at 11:41 am | Permalink

        Can anyone working in the district let us know what the scuttlebutt is on Jennifer Martin? Is it likely that these accusations, based on what you know, are true?

      19. Posted February 25, 2013 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

        I work there. Why I am using a fake name? because scared of her retribution. Been then over 20 years. Worst thing that has ever happened to our district. She is all about her self. Check out her Linkedin profile to see all the “great” things she has done.

        Her spending is out of control, she is always at conferences, and takes her secretary! She also hired a bunch of retired teachers at outrageous wages (they double dip as well, get a pension and paycheck from district) as consultants when the teachers they were laying off could have done the job.

        I can’t go to conferences, I can’t make copies, bring my own toilet paper, own pens, etc

      20. Tommy
        Posted February 25, 2013 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

        This meeting is going to end up as a disaster. Won’t take more that 5 minutes before the bombs start being lobbed. Hopefully it doesn’t turn into a detroit City council meeting in terms of utter chaos. Why did Mark get this info? Is he obligated to do anything other than report the info on the site and let others run with it? Is someone being set up? This whole mess is very confusing. At best, a delay in the appointment will be the result. At worst, the old guard will continue to run things into the ground.

      21. Ypsi Proud
        Posted February 25, 2013 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

        I have lived in Ypsilanti most of my life and worked for YPSD for over 10 years. I have NOT been laid off and have excellent evaluations so I clearly have no axe to grind. That being said, I can state honestly that I myself and most of the employees are very well aware of Ms. Martin’s inappropriate spending. We all knew about the Vegas trip right after it happened. It is also true that it occurred while the district was in a spending freeze where we were unable to purchase even the most basic supplies such as copy paper and we do not have enough textbooks for classes so students have to double up to share during class and cannot even take them home to study.

        Ms. Martin is a terrifying “leader” who I’ve seen dress down a group of teachers and staff, including an administrator by screaming and being incredibly unprofessional. I’ve heard her threaten people’s jobs for simply disagreeing with her in meetings. In order to survive, I’ve kept my mouth shut. Interestingly, Dedrick Martin is soft spoken and rarely says a word. Many of YPSD staff wonder if he too is terrified of her.

        It is true that AnnArbor.com has been keeping things quiet on behalf of YPSD for some time. They were informed of the Vegas trip last Fall as well as the department of Ed “investigation” but chose to not report those issues to the public. I cannot speculate as to why but at the time I believe YPSD was employing a PR rep of sorts and it may have been her job to sweep those things under the rug. Many districts have those types of “communications” personnel like any large business. My point however, is that YPSD has resources to keep things quiet.

        The bottom line is that even though the public may never know the depth and breadth of the corruption that insiders know runs rampant within the administration at Ypsilanti Public Schools, the only real way for the “new” consolidated Ypsilanti district to truly start fresh as they promised us, the community, when they sold us this consolidation plan, is to actually start fresh with new leaders. Otherwise all we have done is dress up the same lame show pony and called it a horse. If Dedrick Martin or Linda Lisiski are hired then the only things that will change are the shuffling of personnel to different buildings, the loss of more students to other districts while the status quo remains the same.

      22. Posted February 25, 2013 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

        These allegations are completely true! Jennifer runs the district and Dedrick does what she says. I worked there, but have since left and she always claims to do what is best for the children, but never does. She doesn’t live in Ypsi, doesn’t care about Ypsi. She cares about her own career. Rob Belous was no saint either though. He has done wrong, Jennifer Martin has done wrong & even Sharon Irvine has done wrong. Sharon interviewed well, but she has also done Jennifer Martin’s bidding. THEY ALL NEED TO GO. An external search is the best bet, otherwise shut the doors and call in the EFM because the school is going down with any of them at the helm.

      23. Mr. Y
        Posted February 25, 2013 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

        Why wouldn’t the new board not want to start over from scratch and build something that they can be proud of? I get that they probably told their respected superintendents that they’d support them, but at some point they need to step back and think about the community. The idea that both DM and LL will serve as co-superintendents is insane, and the fact that it’s even being discussed makes me think that we’ve got no shot of salvaging this thing. I’m totally depressed.

      24. Elf
        Posted February 25, 2013 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

        I can hear the Leona Group salivating.

      25. Rai Harashi
        Posted February 25, 2013 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

        C’mon, does this look like the face of someone who’d think a pathetic place like Vegas was worth wasting even other people’s money on?

        http://imgur.com/AdlNSVf

        (via https://twitter.com/JMartin513/status/228990705744347136)

      26. scarlett
        Posted February 25, 2013 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

        Yes, “Question”,
        These allegations are true. Our students have gone without supplies and needed textbooks, while administration has not stopped frivolous spending. Open your eyes people! The greatest proof of that is that monstrosity of a building they so blatantly refer to as ” THE WHITEHOUSE”. Take a cruise through that someday, and see where these administrators perch themselves all day, then tour the school buildings, where your children spend their day.
        This at a most critical time in our financial decline. I wish the schools had a fraction of the state of the art technology this building has. Teachers took a 12.3% pay cut, increased out of pocket health care, took 6 unpaid work days (NOT FURLOUGH DAYS), and were told we were probably looking at several payless pay-days ( a payless pay day covers a two week pay period) for this school year. And all of this was going down in exactly the same month Dedrick was having meetings with staff about the financial crisis, and the concessions necessary from them, and in the same month Jennifer Martin went to Vegas, knowing this.

        I also know for a fact that the Powerschool conferences she attends does not include the counselors at the schools who are required to use this program on a regular basis. They have been refused when request to attend. Same with newTech conferences. She attends all, even though it would serve to send staff for the training. And she does not go alone. If her little entourage can afford all those trips, then there’s another question about the wages of those people that need investigating…our teachers with masters degrees can’t afford trips like that if unreimbursed. So if our secretaries and “tech aides” can go either on their salaries, get reimbursed, or district paid, there’s a problem.

        So sorry, Edward, as charming as Dedrick may appear on the outside ( he did fool an interview panel), things have not been better since his tenure here. We are worse, both financially, and academically. The thing is, the two Martin’s have sold their souls to each other. They’re bound by improprieties that they know of each other. It’s what many other people know, as well, but as mentioned earlier…fear keeps them silent. Not too many people are in a position to barter their paychecks for their secrets. Why do you think all of this is suddenly coming out? The anonymity of this forum has freed a few of the voices. It isn’t respect that kept them silent. In the words of a great man….
        When a man carries a gun,
        the respect he thinks he’s getting
        may really be fear.
        Andy of Mayberry
        ( don’t laugh…there’s a correlation between those who are wise, and those who are honest).

      27. Edweird
        Posted February 25, 2013 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

        Speaking as someone who has worked for a local school district in the past (in IT for 8 years) this is the question I have:
        Why was the DataBase administrator and or Technology Director not sent to this Powerschool conference? I would think they would’ve benefited more from it.

      28. Posted February 25, 2013 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

        Sharon Irvine followed directives of Jennifer and Dedrick. To do otherwise, would be insubordinate. She has way too much class to air dirty laundry That doesn’t mean she agreed with what was directed of her. She’s in the same position the teachers are. She’s a single parent who needs a paycheck. Thank God, people like Bellous don’t give a crap. He had some rough edges, and he wasn’t always as professional as he should have been, but he’s not a liar. The things he said are true. The administration capitalized on his weaknesses and saw their opportunity to shut him up, and discredit him. They would have done the same to Sharon. She’ll leave as well, but where Bellous was happy to fly out in Business Class, Sharon will leave in First Class. She’s not trying to make enemies, she wants to build her career.

      29. Truthful
        Posted February 25, 2013 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

        Sharon has spent the last two years trying to protect us from the Martins. She is the only reason many of us teachers have any hope in what could be. She has been caring and supportive…filling in where both Martins have deserted buildings and teachers in need. But she has had enough,too. She know that she either has to move them out or leave. This is what she is trying to do. Make no mistake. If she isn’t put in a position to save the District, she will leave. She has a value system.

      30. Jim
        Posted February 25, 2013 at 7:48 pm | Permalink

        Interesting that Jmar has now deleted the tweet about Vegas. Nothing to hide right? Lol good thing for screen grabs!

      31. Posted February 25, 2013 at 8:07 pm | Permalink

        Mark Maynard
        Thanks for this outlet! You’ve allowed the floodgates to open, and hopefully more people will now step up allow their voices to heard. In my many years at Ypsi, I’ve never witnessed such an outpouring of outrage.

      32. Charlie Hoffmann
        Posted February 25, 2013 at 8:17 pm | Permalink

        The three instagram photos from the same day in Vegas are also gone. One can only imagine what kind of debauchery was depicted.

        Let’s see if we can make the missing tweet come back: http://imgur.com/on3liKP

      33. Posted February 25, 2013 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

        As I’m at home on baby duty, I won’t be able to make it to tonight’s meeting. I do hope that things go well, though, and that the board recognizes the need to look beyond our current leaders when choosing someone to help chart our course forward. If you were at the meeting and feel like leaving a comment, letting me know what happened, I’d appreciate it.

      34. Posted February 25, 2013 at 8:27 pm | Permalink

        Also, for what it’s worth, no one from the board wrote to ask for scans of the documents that were left for me. I did, however, talk to a reporter for AnnArbor.com, and sent copies to her.

        As for you question, Karen, no, I wasn’t planning to post them to the web, as there are details, like account numbers, that probably shouldn’t be distributed widely. I feel comfortable sharing with the press, and the school board, but I think it would be irresponsible on my part to just release everything to the web.

      35. Jim
        Posted February 25, 2013 at 8:27 pm | Permalink

        I have the Instagram photos will post soon.

      36. Posted February 25, 2013 at 8:29 pm | Permalink

        Also, I should mention that I did not get either a confirmation or a denial yet from AnnArbor.com as to whether the documents that I sent to them should have been covered in their FOIA, and yet were not turned over. If that’s the case, this whole thing obviously gets a lot bigger… I’ll keep you posted.

      37. Posted February 25, 2013 at 8:29 pm | Permalink

        Is anyone Tweeting from the meeting? Does anyone know what’s happening?

      38. Posted February 25, 2013 at 8:31 pm | Permalink

        Reading the comments is giving me PTSD flashbacks to DPS (misspending, being screamed at, no supplies….)
        For those on Twitter, @schoolsmuse is live tweeting from the meeting.

      39. Posted February 25, 2013 at 8:32 pm | Permalink

        Hey, your friend Maria just spoke (per schoolsmuse’s tweet!)
        Maria Cotera: “If we’re committing all this time to making all this change, we need to commit top to bottom.

      40. Posted February 25, 2013 at 8:33 pm | Permalink

        Thanks for the tip, Patti. Now I guess I have to figure out Twitter.

      41. Posted February 25, 2013 at 8:37 pm | Permalink

        Here’s the link, in case anyone is interested.

        https://twitter.com/schoolsmuse

      42. hateme4beingright
        Posted February 25, 2013 at 8:44 pm | Permalink

        Scarlett to say that Irvine knew of wrong doing is proof she cannot be a leader. Silence out of fear when others are being hurt is equal to violence against them. She took the role of HR director it is her responsibility to address violations period no excuses

      43. Posted February 25, 2013 at 9:07 pm | Permalink

        They Kept both…. :(

      44. Pete
        Posted February 25, 2013 at 9:22 pm | Permalink

        From comments made by many (including some administrators) over the years, my understanding is that financial impropriety by YPSD Administrators and Administrative staff occurred long before Martin came on board. Of course, ultimately who has paid the price….the students and the staff that were just doing their best to do their jobs. YPSD teachers that were/are doing great jobs, even under extremely demanding conditions were/are being paid far less than the average salary in Washtenaw County (for their step/level and experience). I wish the investigations would go much farther back in time. Of course, that would be a political “hot potato”!! Even better yet, YPSD staff should get back pay for all of years of lost salary and suffering at the hands of those “money-grubbing” administrators.

      45. Posted February 25, 2013 at 9:38 pm | Permalink

        Tweets of interest from that account…

        “Committee proposes that the ISD hold the superintendency w/ the current supers as assoc. supers. Through 12/2014 or 6/2015.”

        “1. People are not happy. 2. Decision would need to go to the WISD board. 3. Decision tonight would not be binding.”

        “Booing starts as the motion is read. Rowdy!”

        “A person opines if the current supers respected the districts they would both offer resignations.”

        So, there you have it.

      46. Ypsi Proud
        Posted February 25, 2013 at 9:40 pm | Permalink

        Disgusting.

      47. Posted February 25, 2013 at 9:45 pm | Permalink

        This really surprises me. I don’t know what I was expecting when I voted for the merger, but it certainly wasn’t this.

      48. Tammy
        Posted February 25, 2013 at 9:53 pm | Permalink

        What actually was decided?

      49. Posted February 25, 2013 at 10:23 pm | Permalink

        My friend Sam was at the meeting, and you can find his assessment here.

        Here, for those of you who might not otherwise follow the link, is the first sentence: “Dedrick Martin and Laura Lisiski should both tender their immediate resignations.”

      50. Greg
        Posted February 25, 2013 at 10:28 pm | Permalink

        Menzel is to be the new Superintendent, pending contract negotiations. It was also insinuated that Martin and Lisiki would stay on as associates because, and I quote, “we already have to pay them.”

        I think the crowd was mostly polite because they were gobsmacked and confused at what happened. They took two bad options and created a third, even worse one.

      51. Posted February 25, 2013 at 10:32 pm | Permalink

        From another friend, by way of Facebook:

        In case you haven’t heard, the board of the new unified school district (appointed by the WISD) voted to contract with the WISD to provide “superintendent services,” the primary of which will be to turn around and contract with the two superintendents from the old districts to be “associate” superintendents for the new district.

        Three people doing the job of one!

      52. Posted February 25, 2013 at 10:35 pm | Permalink

        “because we already have to pay them”

        Enough said.

      53. Posted February 25, 2013 at 10:42 pm | Permalink

        Can someone please explain how are their contracts good for a district that won’t exist in June? Every other contract is null and void, how did theirs make the cut?

      54. Sun Tzu
        Posted February 25, 2013 at 11:12 pm | Permalink

        “build your opponent a golden bridge to retreat across”
        The WISD, if granted their board’s approval, will offer superintendent services to the YPSD as they go through this transition. Scott Menzel will act as superintendent and decide what positions/tasks Laura and Dedrick will be assigned while they are still under contract. A portion of our 6.5 million grant from the State Board of Education will go towards covering the costs of this arrangement (payments to WISD). Its still unclear, but it appears as if Laura’s contract runs through next year, but somehow, in a cataclysmic demonstration of bad judgement, our former board RENEWED Dedrick’s contract last summer for three years, even though they knew we might be consolidating and dissolving the district.
        I think this is a calculated decision by the new board. In an attempt to make the best out of a shitty situation. They realized that choosing any one of the candidates (Laura, Sharon, Dedrick) to head the district would have been kryptonite for one constituency or another, so they chose “none of the above” in hopes that Laura would quietly disappear after one year, and Dedrick would begin searching for greener pastures (after the massive show of discontent with his leadership, and the growing scandal of his administration).

      55. Greg
        Posted February 25, 2013 at 11:16 pm | Permalink

        Per his contract, and I am not a lawyer so don’t quote me, it says he can be fired with cause. I don’t know the legal definition of cause, but I would think his district no longer existing is a cause…possibly even the right kind of cause.

      56. BrianB
        Posted February 25, 2013 at 11:57 pm | Permalink

        Somehow I doubt an emergency manager would’ve honored their contracts, which I suppose is why they pushed so hard for consolidation – to give them a couple more years to bleed the district dry before selling it off. It’s just disgusting how they take money from our kids and educators and divvy it up amongst administrators & consultants while playing parents and the community at large for suckers.. How do they sleep?

      57. sadinYpsi
        Posted February 26, 2013 at 12:51 am | Permalink

        As someone who used to work in that District all i can say is that most of the Administrators are corrupted staff. They have taken all this money and sucked the. District dry. We had teachers that were hiding paper for them to be able To teach their students. We all knew about all the scandalous things that were going but no one has the courage To speak up bc we were afraid of the consequences. I have witnessed racism, favoritism, money management and ohh so many things! I’m happy to say that now that my children don’t attend there I am very happy with my decision. They b are in a district where they are not looked at as numbers but as young minds that need the best education that can be offered.

        One more thing…. the air of corruption is everywhere there. These Administrators adds always in meetings, conferences, training yet the kids have no paper to write on. And these teachers are not only buying supplies for their kids but supporting them as well.

      58. anonymous
        Posted February 26, 2013 at 7:40 am | Permalink

        Mr. Tzu, I appreciate your analysis and I suspect that it’s correct. Thank you.

        Under the scenario that you lay out, when should we expect to see a search for a Superintendent to replace Menzel?

      59. Posted February 26, 2013 at 7:53 am | Permalink

        From the Ypsilanti Community Schools Supporters facebook page:

        Last evening, the board went out of their way to move their board comment section to an agenda spot before public input. During board comment, the board expressed a strong desire to value public input and consider the comments of the public.

        Immediately following public opinion, the board voted unanimously to hire a superintendent candidate that had not applied for the job, had not been publicly interviewed, and for whom the public had never been given any opportunity to comment.

        Actions speak much louder than words, in our view.

      60. Eel
        Posted February 26, 2013 at 9:30 am | Permalink

        Martin not only deleted her Vegas tweets, but her entire Twitter account.

        And apparently she did so without telling her daughter.

        http://imgur.com/X2xGLbE

      61. Meta
        Posted February 26, 2013 at 9:41 am | Permalink

        From AnnArbor.com:

        Ypsilanti resident Jill Clouse, a parent of four children in the Ypsilanti Public Schools district, stood up during the meeting and accused the board of plotting to hire these individuals all along.

        “This is such a farce! You knew about this so long ago. … You blindsided us on this whole consolidation thing. … You need to step down and you need to step down!” she said, pointing at Bates and Garrett, both of whom served as presidents of the districts’ previously separate school boards.

        Clouse said after the meeting she was very disappointed the board did not consider hiring Irvine. However, she did say having Menzel oversee Lisiscki and Martin is better than hiring one of the existing superintendents on their own.

        Tamara Larson, another Ypsilanti parent, said after Monday night, she is considering pulling her son out of the new district and putting him into a charter school.

        “I’m more disgusted now than when I came in (to the meeting),” she said. “They pushed this vote and at the end of the day, it’s our kids who are going to suffer. … They just care about themselves. I guarantee you that this has been the plan all along.”

        Ypsilanti Education Association President Krista Boyer said her biggest fear going into Monday night was that the board would hire two superintendents. “And now we have three,” she said, adding Menzel didn’t even have a public interview.

        “But at least the state gave us $6.5 million so we could do that and could waste more money,” Clouse said sarcastically.

        Read more:
        http://markmaynard.com/2013/02/as-we-contemplate-a-brighter-future-for-ypsi-public-schools-an-anonymous-letter-alleges-financial-impropriety-at-ypsd-under-martin-tenure/comment-page-2/#comment-436194

      62. anonymous
        Posted February 26, 2013 at 9:53 am | Permalink

        Can we vote again on consolidation?

        Thanks for the link to the annarbor.com article. This was my favorite part.

        “Board members explained Monday that Martin and Lisiscki’s contracts must be fulfilled by the new school district regardless of whether the new district employs them or not. Lisiscki has one year left on her contract while Martin has three years remaining, Bates said.

        Based on their current contracts, Lisiscki makes $120,000 and Martin makes $140,000.

        Bates said the “survivability” of superintendent contracts is spelled out in state law. Teachers, principals and other employees of both districts already have been notified that their contracts will be terminated as of June 30. All employees will be required to re-apply for their positions.

        Money from the $6.5 million consolidation grant the district received to assist with the costs of merging can be used to help pay for employing Menzel as superintendent and Lisiscki and Martin as associate superintendents in the transition period, Bates said.

        Menzel said a $100,000 line item for superintendent services was built into the grant proposal and budget from the beginning.

        “The original intent was … knowing that we had to close out two independent school districts, the thought was that we needed to hire someone else, preferably a retired superintendent, to help with the launch of the new district while others were occupied with closing out the other two districts,” Menzel said.”

      63. B.
        Posted February 26, 2013 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

        Damn. You should have downloaded all of her social media accounts before tipping your hand. I think there must have been some great stuff in there.

      64. Posted February 26, 2013 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

        http://topsy.com/s?q=from%3A%40jmartin513

      65. Charlie Hoffmann
        Posted February 26, 2013 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

        I looked through Ms. Martin’s twitter history before it was deleted. There wasn’t anything obviously damning in there. And the Vegas tweet doesn’t mean rules were broken. The point of posting some of it, though, is to draw attention to her activities, which several staff members have described above as at least extremely demoralizing given the budgets they have to do their important work.

        I guess it was previously the job of The Press to look into activities of public employees like this, but now the power to acquire and publish information has been disseminated to us all.

        Mark, would you be willing to be a publisher of information about Jennifer Martin’s expenses? Who is willing to investigate and provide more information to Mark? We’ve got anonymous comments, but it would be nice to have documents (via FOIA which anyone can request), or statements from Ms. Martin herself.

        Let’s got it all up on the table. Who went to Vegas at what expense and what was the value delivered back to the district?

      66. XXX
        Posted February 26, 2013 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

        She’s definitely reading this. Word is she’s shredding her ass off today.

      67. Charlie Hoffmann
        Posted February 26, 2013 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

        Shredding papers as in destroying records, I assume. (Rather than playing heavy metal guitar with vigor, or successfully performing difficult tricks on a skateboard or snowboard.)

        If you are reading this Ms. Martin, can you tell us? Who went to the PSUG conference, at what cost to the district (ballpark, I know you may not know exact figures) and what was the value delivered back to our students?

      68. PV
        Posted February 26, 2013 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

        @Eel: whatever any district employees are suspected of, their children are not employed by the district. Though a twitter account may be public, I feel that it is inappropriate to post a screenshot of Ms. Martin’s daughter’s page in this forum. If we are comfortable demanding a respectful dialogue then we must be respectful ourselves.

      69. Posted February 26, 2013 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

        don’t hate you. And you’re wrong. Sharon did in fact, speak up. Things didn’t go any better for her when she did, and she and the two Martins are not exactly BFF’s due to her disagreements with them. Being new, she also was not aware of all that had gone on. Once she started piecing things together, she spoke up. She did not, however, have the authority to give them directives. She stepped up to the plate and decided the only way to change what was going on was to run for superintendent herself. She will not continue to work around what she knows is wrong, nor continue to take directives from administrators who encourage this kind of behavior. P.S. don’t hate me for not being self-righteous.

      70. Posted February 26, 2013 at 9:37 pm | Permalink

        Congratulations and thank you Mark for making a public discussion about ethical and “professional” decisions made by the educational “leadership”. Hopefully, the corruption and defective judgement can be rooted out and permanently eliminated.

      71. Eel
        Posted February 26, 2013 at 10:04 pm | Permalink

        Pamela, she’s shredding documents, and it’s me that you’re mad at, for sharing an image that’s publicly available on the web? I appreciate your indignation, but I think it’s being focused in the wrong direction. If I were you, I’d be looking at the woman who took her secretary on an “LOL” Vegas vacation with taxpayer money while teachers in Ypsi were being forced to bring their own toilet paper to work.

      72. Posted February 26, 2013 at 10:21 pm | Permalink

        About five to six months ago, a dear friend and I were in a parking lot in Ypsilanti Township. Joining us in this parking lot was Dedrick Martin and Scott Menzel. My friend and I met these gentlemen were standing or plotting in unison, if the term so fits.

        My friend, a straight to the point type person, asked Menzel and Martin how much each of them earned. Appearing shocked and upset in a non-verbal way, Martin responded sharply $145K per year. Menzel, who responded next in numerical words sounding similar to $175K per year. The friend ask other pointed questions. They answered but neither appeared “pleased” to do so.

        At that point, I knew the plot was in. The Consolidation vote was a end game to receive what they wanted. Guaranteed income off of the districts taxpayers expense without a requirement to work hard to earn it, and not about what was best for children within these school districts.

        What has always bothered me about the “appointed” board process is another birdie fact known. This one surrounds disrespectful comments, a local election, assumed screen names and a news resource. The comment written on a news resource was childish, boarder line racist and downright disrespectful. Questions about “fitness to serve” never stoop down to this level, in a failed attempt to win.

        Then later and learn more facts about this appointment to this board was downright shocking. Members of this community have a history that we agree to disagree….sometimes respectfully and other times not so much. Either way a certain decor should be expected by individuals during a joust. In this case, it was not followed.

        I pray for the best in this situation. Community members, children, parents and others honor the Flyers, Braves or Phoenix logo’s have been hurt. To learn three Superintendents might be hired for “Ypsilanti Community Schools” after for months and in some cases years on end reading materials on how both districts were in on-going state of financial crisis is downright insulting.

        Maybe its’ time to call in the experts for true legal advice on how best to proceed forward from here.

      73. KJ
        Posted February 26, 2013 at 10:22 pm | Permalink

        I understand that Dedrick Martin has a contract through 2016, but surely there’s some way to break it. There must be an ethics clause which he has violated in his handling of the Jennifer Martin affair. If he’s allowing her to shred documents, then he needs to go.

      74. dragon
        Posted February 27, 2013 at 12:36 am | Permalink

        With so many fantastic teachers in the district, how is it that none of them took the time to teach the Bottom of the Barrel to scrape itself?

      75. Posted February 27, 2013 at 5:53 am | Permalink

        Cease and Desist ………..

        I am the owner of the trademark name for “Time Travel Academy” for copyrights and registered trademarks I ask that this be removed from your website.

        DMCA formal complaint: Date: Feb 24, 2013

        Please remove this webpage:

        The infringing webpage on Amazon.com:
        http://markmaynard.com/2011/05/who-needs-teachers-when-we-have-the-time-travel-academy/

        http://markmaynard.com/2011/08/hucakabee-on-911-commoditizing-is-the-final-stage-of-grief/

        My websites and products that are being infringed:

        http://www.timetravelacademy.com
        http://www.shopceleritas.com

        United States Copyright Office:
        # Title < Full Title Copyright Number Date
        [ 1 ]
        The Time Travel Academy. Time Travel Academy.
        TXu001813667 2012
        [ 2 ]
        Time Travel Academy. Time Travel Academy.
        TXu001765676 2011
        [ 3 ]
        Time Travel Academy. Time Travel Academy.
        TXu001765827 2011

        # Title < Full Title Copyright Number Date
        [ 1 ]
        The time traveler's academy Avian plague.
        TXu001299752 2006
        [ 2 ]
        The time travelers academy Time travelers academy.
        TX0006493168 2006
        [ 3 ]
        The time traveler's academy. Time traveler's academy.
        TXu001276598 2005
        [ 4 ]
        The time travelers academy. Time travelers academy.
        TXu001256757 2005
        [ 5 ]
        Time Travelers Academy, Vol. 3 Time Travel Academy.
        TXu001765676 2011

        Current Search: (live)[LD] AND (time travelers academy)[COMB] docs: 2 occ: 14
        ________________________________________
        Serial Number Reg. Number Word Mark Check Status Live/Dead
        1 85361455
        4232289
        TIME TRAVELERS ACADEMY
        TSDR
        LIVE

        2 78921644
        3545374
        TIME TRAVELERS ACADEMY
        TSDR
        LIVE

        Serial Number Reg. Number Word Mark Check Status Live/Dead
        1 85092382
        TIME TRAVEL ACADEMY
        TSDR
        LIVE

        2 77440967
        TIME TRAVEL ACADEMY
        TSDR
        LIVE

        I Reginald Williams have a good faith belief that use of the disputed material is not authorized by the copyright owner or his agent.

        I Reginald Williams, under penalty of perjury, that the information in the notification of copyright infringement is accurate and that the Claimant is the copyright owner or is authorized to act on behalf of the copyright owner./

        Thank you,

        Reginald Williams
        P.O. Box 202738
        Arlington, Texas 76006

        tta@shopceleritas.com

      76. Posted February 27, 2013 at 6:05 am | Permalink

        Is it not within my rights to mention the fact that your company and its products exist?

      77. anon
        Posted February 27, 2013 at 7:23 am | Permalink

        hey reginald: fuck you! sincerely, the people of ypsilanti

      78. Mrs. 4
        Posted February 27, 2013 at 10:16 am | Permalink

        I too heard that the shredders were buzzing all day. Someone from either the school board or the press should get over there ASAP.

      79. Posted February 27, 2013 at 10:57 am | Permalink

        Possible violations of the Michigan Open Meetings Act should be reviewed by those who disagree with the decision to waste resources of this new district hiring three Superintendents.

        Particularity this area of the Act:

        “Decisions must be made during an open meeting, not the closed session – section 3(2) of the OMA requires that “[a]ll decisions of a public body shall be made at a meeting open to the public.

        61 Section 2(d) of the OMA defines “decision” to mean “a determination, action, vote, or disposition upon a motion, proposal, recommendation, resolution, order, ordinance, bill, or measure on which a vote by members of a public body is required and by which a public body effectuates or formulates public policy.”

        When was the decision to hire WISD Scott Menzel for the head Superintendent discussed? Did he have a formal “interview”? What was truly his reasoning for keeping the two former YSPD and WRCS Superintendents on a “Co-Superintendents”.

        Why did it strongly seem during the meeting Monday, the decision on this new “direction” was discussed before hand? There was no real debate or analysis on how much the “Co-Superintendent model” would cost the district as a whole or who would pay Menzel’s salary occurred. Is it the WISD, Ypsilanti Community Schools or a combination of both? Wouldn’t he have to sign a contract of sorts Ypsilanti Community Schools? What would the terms of his contract be?

        Again, time to call in the experts, as in legal experts!

        http://www.michigan.gov/documents/ag/OMA_handbook_287134_7.pdf

      80. Charlie Hoffmann
        Posted February 27, 2013 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

        OK, so the very first comment here is right on. How can we get this done?

        Can you confirm what costs were expensed to the district? Did YPSD pay for the “friends”? Did YPSD pay for the extended time past the conference dates? It is not uncommon in business (even educational, public business) to extend your stay -on your own dime. Has anyone looked into the full financial trail to see if personal expenses were charged back to individuals?

      81. Posted February 27, 2013 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

        100% paid. Two of the employees who went as well is not a 12 month employee so technically they got paid hourly wages to go to Vegas. Ypsi paid for a week of hotel, airfare and food. All expenses were paid with District pay orders to district issued credit card of a Ms. Martin. In her contract she gets $1500 reimbursed to her for conferences, that is it. The rest she is hiding in grants.

        We are focusing on Vegas a lot, what about all the trips to Traverse City including this year with her secretary? What about overnight stays to lansing with Secretary? There is ALOT more then Vegas.

        Why aren’t we focusing on the payment of retired staff back on the pay roll so they can double dip? One of them is the Wife of Board Member Raglin..

        Why aren’t we asking about her reports of graduation? (http://www.annarbor.com/news/education/2012-graduation-rates-a-mixed-bag-some-washtenaw-county-schools-improve-others-see-more-dropouts/)
        She states the facts are wrong because New Tech and WiHi aren’t incorporated? THEY ARE TO NEW TO HAVE GRADUATION CLASSES!!! SO lying to the state is ok?

        Why aren’t we asking how Dedricks Degree is going, that we are paying for?

      82. anonymous
        Posted February 27, 2013 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

        It seems to me that all of these problems start to go away if we can prove that D Martin knew about J Martin’s spending, etc, and did nothing. Wouldn’t that be a fireable offense? If so, then we wouldn’t have to keep him for the next three years. We could get rid of him, fire his staff, and buy out LL on the year that she has left. As many others have said, the most important thing is that we have a clean start, and we cannot do that with the existing administration. We need to find out what it would take to fire Martin and Martin, and go after it aggressively.

      83. Charlie Hoffmann
        Posted February 27, 2013 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

        Sebass, if there are laws being broken, are you willing to find an attorney like http://www.kregelkalaw.com/Workplace_Whistleblowers.html
        or an organization like
        http://www.whistleblower.org/program-areas/government-employees
        http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/oig/hotline.html
        to help you put together a case?

        If the administrator’s spending is technically legal but obviously antithetical to the mission of public schools and the board is complicit or apathetic, then perhaps press exposure would be a more effective change agent. Finding the right outlet/reporter should be done carefully though, as they all have agendas and alliances too. Charlie LeDuff?

      84. Mr. X
        Posted February 27, 2013 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

        I like the way you think, but this is small potatoes for LeDuff. He’s got his hands full in Detroit anyway. Unfortunately we don’t have a local alternative that I’m aware of. AnnArbor.com breaks a story every now and then but the reality is that they don’t have the resources to mount anything significant.

      85. Charlie Hoffmann
        Posted February 27, 2013 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

        We’ve got Mark Maynard.

      86. Charlie Hoffmann
        Posted February 27, 2013 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

        You’re our only hope.

      87. Jim
        Posted February 27, 2013 at 8:29 pm | Permalink

        Annarbor.com won’t report it. Editor talked writer out f it

      88. Posted February 27, 2013 at 8:30 pm | Permalink

        It’s flattering that you think that, Charlie, but I have neither the time or energy to go up against the the Martin/Martin machine. My fighting days are far behind me. Now I just kick hornets’ nests and jump in the lake.

      89. Posted February 27, 2013 at 8:31 pm | Permalink

        Yeah, everything was turned over to AA.com. I don’t know if they’ll do anything with it.

      90. Decky
        Posted February 27, 2013 at 8:40 pm | Permalink

        I hesitated to respond to this thread as I have no knowledge of the previously stated accusations nor any sentiments on current school personnel, but felt that my current experience in working in and on the ‘merge’ or consolidation is actually one of hope, progress and possibility.

        Foremost, I need to state outright, I do not (nor will I) have a child in the school district, and I don’t work for either school district. However, I am involved in this dynamic community-driven school district merging process. I, along with two other community members (and in one case a teacher at WRHS) were asked to be the co-facilitators of the Co-Curricular Sub-Committee. All of us have been involved in multiple community activities and initiatives both through our work (I work for EMU) and some just as residents and citizens of this community. We were asked to facilitate this committee as it makes recommendations on merging co-curricular (arts, athletics, academic enrichment, civic engagement, etc.) activities and programming.

        Our first meeting was the large community meeting with over 250 teachers, students, parents, community activists, retired teachers, and politicians in attendance. Each person was asked to select and participate in a subcommittee. Part of our first meeting was spent on who needed to be part of this conversation and ways to reach out to that person. The process (and I don’t think it is some smoke screen) has aimed be inclusive and equitable.
        Perhaps I’m too entrenched in a silo-like work world, but felt that this process is anything but closed and elite. So far it has been communal, exciting and open.

        Our committee has an active online dialogue (through a project management system), has met multiple times and is working on recommendations to present to the board. We are encouraged to build on what is, but also to vision on what could be.

        What is interesting about this thread is that there is this assumption (acceptance?) the power and direction of the new district or any district lies in a hierarchical superintendent position. Perhaps I am naive, but this process feels anything but –it feels (is actually) homegrown and people versus politically driven. I think there are multiple sources of power in any institution, and in this case some of the power players, and thus the creators of this new unified district are indeed our neighbors, our business owners, our students, our alumni and our teachers. It is not a one person show or a three person show.

        I would ask the posters of this thread, the parents, the students, the students of past, the politicos and the pontificators to take a pause and know that there are some good things happening as we work to unify north and south, east and west and the worlds in between.

      91. Jim
        Posted February 27, 2013 at 10:40 pm | Permalink

        You said it all Decky, most people making decision really have no stake in the making. Why would teachers in the district be part of a process where they have seen it sabotaged over and over again. I was part of the high school redesign. We came up with some great things with the community that admin just squashed. Clean slate with stake holders who have a direct driven interest. No one seems to accept that Ypsi students are different then other surrounding areas, they need a little more help and love then throwing different unproven experiments over and over.

      92. Eel
        Posted February 28, 2013 at 10:40 am | Permalink

        “What is interesting about this thread is that there is this assumption (acceptance?) the power and direction of the new district or any district lies in a hierarchical superintendent position.”

        Well, yes. As you yourself have stated, there have been times in the past when we thought that we were making progress, only to have said progress thwarted by the power that be. What’s the old saying, “The fish rots from the head”? It’s true.

      93. Decky
        Posted February 28, 2013 at 11:15 am | Permalink

        Eel…I think you are blending two prior posts and ‘posters’ together. I did not state that progress was thwarted by the powers that be — that was someone else.

        I was stating/ implying that power in many institutions is diffused; there are often many stakeholders and power players..it’s contextual/situational or environmental. The heightened emotion and rhetoric surrounding the ‘super’ search suggests to me a belief (and maybe it’s justified) that the power is ‘top down’ in this new district and my experience in the ‘merge’ part of this process suggests otherwise.

      94. Eel
        Posted February 28, 2013 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

        If power was bottom up, we wouldn’t have seen what happened Monday night. This process is not being driven by the people. If it were, we’d have a new superintendent and not this ridiculous triumvirate.

      95. Tammy
        Posted February 28, 2013 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

        Decky’s great, but in this instance a little bit misguided, imho.

      96. YCS Fan
        Posted February 28, 2013 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

        I do not profess to be an expert on this situation, but I am certain that if not for Laura and Dedrick this consolidation would not be. Does that mean that they should be in leadership of the new district? Not at all, but it does say something about the work that they have done for this community and our kids. If more in leadership would take such a leap knowing that in the end they are likely giving up their own jobs then we’d have many more examples of success.

        Separately, these districts were guaranteed to fail, but with the consolidation we do have an opportunity for success. So, are they the right people to lead? That’s debatable, but assassinate character to get your way? That’s deplorable.

        Let’s have a civilized, healthy debate on decisions. Lets challenge and hold this board accountable. Lets vigorously defend our positions. But let us not do so at the peril of what could be.

        I ask that each of us think about the power of our words and actions before we act. Before we stand up enraged at a meeting. Before we suck the excitement out of what is possible. Before we doom this district prior to its existence. Our words and actions are having an impact and that impact is not always what we want it to be.

        Please, let’s fight for what we believe in, but let’s do so with our eye on what’s important. The success of our children and YCS. Because the superintendent will one day be gone, but this district and the children that rely on it will still be here and our words and actions will have significant impact on what that district looks like.

      97. Charlie Hoffmann
        Posted February 28, 2013 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

        Can anyone tell me who Crista Stencel, Mark Salzer, and Kari Kornow are?

      98. anonymous
        Posted February 28, 2013 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

        According to Linked In, Crista Stencel is an “Ex. Secretary at Ypsilanti Public Schools”

        By “Ex” I assume they mean “Executive”, as she’s listed as having the position currently.

        http://www.linkedin.com/pub/crista-stencel/1b/a7b/65b

      99. anonymous
        Posted February 28, 2013 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

        YCS Fan, I get that things used to be worse, and I’m willing to concede that DM likely did some things well, but I don’t see how you can commend him for his bravery in merging districts, when he pretty clearly was given a contract extension in order to go along with it. And I’m all for civil discussion, but I don’t see how that can be done when documents are being shredded, and board members are saying (on tape) that they shouldn’t listen to their constituents.

      100. josh
        Posted February 28, 2013 at 8:33 pm | Permalink

        Dedrick and Laura had no choice besides the merger. Without it they lose their jobs instantly to an EFM. I don’t know Laura, but with Dedrick it seems to be purely a matter of self-preservation.

      101. Posted February 28, 2013 at 9:18 pm | Permalink

        Crista Stencel,
        Jennifer Martin Secretary
        Mark Salzer – New Director of Technology , teacher from New Tech after Jmartin forced out the former Tech Director
        Kari Kornow is “Tech Aide” COntrols the ipads and technology for SPECIAL ED (Should have nothing to do with Jmartin department, but does because he is friends with Crista and give the tech to Jmar and Crista instead of students) Hourly position on level as a parapro but since he made into the inner circle get special perks like Vegas.

      102. S. Miller
        Posted March 1, 2013 at 6:56 am | Permalink

        Sadly, this is the kind of thing that’s bound to happen in our post-newspaper world. I don’t blame the young writers for AnnArbor.com. It’s not their fault. They’re essentially bloggers who are being forced to churn out new posts every day. Even if they had the journalistic training, and the experience, they just don’t have the time to do real reporting. They may file the occasional FOIA, but they don’t have the time, resources or support to develop sources and build real investigations. Instead, they want to get as many readers as possible with the least amount of risk. They want viral little posts that don’t offend anyone. That’s the objective – to get eyeballs without the threat of lawsuit.

      103. Posted March 2, 2013 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

        If I’m not mistaken, there was a meeting of concerned community members last night to discuss next steps. If anyone who as in attendance could leave a note and let us know how it went, I’d appreciate it. Thanks.

      104. Posted March 26, 2013 at 8:14 pm | Permalink

        If you don’t know already. Jennifer Martin and her crew were told to not re-apply. They will be done the 30th of June and service will be not needed. Dedrick will now be doing 2-3 white house jobs. I am gaining faith in Menziel

      105. curious
        Posted June 12, 2013 at 11:14 am | Permalink

        Was this woman fired from the school system, and, if so, where is she now?

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