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Ypsilanti schools could be headed for state takeover


Superintendent Dedric Martin says the school system could need an emergency manager, unless staff agree to deeper cuts. 

Martin acknowledges staff already took a 10 percent salary cut. 

“That comes on the heels of additional concessions that they've made. And we've had reductions at all levels. Unfortunately it's not enough to carry a balanced budget and pay back money that has already been borrowed and spent," he said.

Martin says he knows the "emergency manager" card could be perceived as a ploy to get further concessions from unions.

"It does feel like a threat, but the reality is the law is pretty clear: that if we're not able to solve our problems, someone will come in from the outside to do it," he said.

The fiscal situation is so bad, Martin says, the school system can't borrow enough money to fund next year's budget. He says a combination of declining enrollment, less state aid, and rising staff costs have put the district deep into the red. 

Local union director Donnie Reeves says staff first need to know exactly how big the district's deficit is. 

"I've heard a million dollars. And this morning I heard three million dollars. We're willing to come to the table, but we want to find out exactly what the financial situation is as it relates to the school district."

Even with more concessions, Ypsilanti teachers could see payless paydays in September.

Kate Wells is a Peabody Award-winning journalist currently covering public health. She was a 2023 Pulitzer Prize finalist for her abortion coverage.