Over $42 million appropriated to boost student achievement and pay debt left over from Willow Run-Ypsilanti schools merger

LANSING, Mich., Nov. 3, 2023 — State Sen. Jeff Irwin (D-Ann Arbor) and state Rep. Jimmie Wilson, Jr. (D-Ypsilanti) celebrated the passage of over $42 million in supplemental funding Thursday that would pay off inherited debt that still burdens the Ypsilanti Community Schools district and provide additional resources for students. The YCS district was created in 2013 in a merger of the Willow Run School District and the Ypsilanti Public School District. The new district currently pays about $2 million a year to service old debt from the Willow Run School District, which will be completely paid off by this appropriation.  Additionally, the appropriation pays off debt held by YCS on behalf of the Willow Run School District. Paying off the debt will also provide tax relief for residents of the former Willow Run District, who currently pay increased property taxes related to this legacy debt.

“For a decade, this old debt has been soaking up resources that should be going to support YCS students and staff,” said Irwin. “It has been a barrier to offering competitive salaries to attract and retain staff, and it has limited the district’s ability to create enhanced learning opportunities for students. Now YCS leadership will be able to re-direct their resources to invest where they should have been all along: in student success.”

“I am proud to be able to work with my colleagues to provide a fresh start for our students and our community,” Rep. Wilson said. “I know Ypsilanti Community Schools can achieve even greater things now that they will be free from having to spend $2 million a year paying on this inherited debt. Democrats in Lansing have delivered debt relief for YCS and disproportionately impacted local districts across the state.”

The funds were appropriated as part of a $115 million School Aid supplemental funding bill that provides debt relief to local school districts affected by financial emergencies, dissolution, or consolidation.