Ypsilanti, Willow Run schools announce teacher cuts in wake of consolidation

55 teachers cut, 32 on callback lists

YPSILANTI, Mich. (WXYZ) - It's a Friday full of new beginnings and emotional goodbyes for Ypsilanti and Willow Run School districts, on the verge of consolidation.

Teachers were told of their fate through letters, prompting painful lessons after school.

"Almost like a normal day." said Ypsilanti High School music teacher Steve Feltner, "I mean, you could feel the turmoil inside."

The school day at Ypsilanti High School ended at 2:57 p.m., but Friday's lessons may have been taught in the moments following the final bell.

"For me, I just kind of gave it to God." said Feltner, "I've been praying about it." Feltner learned today he'll be keeping his job. He's one of 171 teachers receiving bittersweet news their jobs are safe, as 55 colleagues learned they'll need to look elsewhere, after a vote to consolidate Ypsilanti and Willow Run.

"So this has been a dialog with them," said Steve Menzel, Washtenaw Intermediate School District Superintendent, "None of this is easy, but we've engaged in that conversation because we want to be respectful."

Students say they were well aware of the anxiety their teachers were feeling all day.

"Some of them said they'd just retire," said Ypsilanti High freshman Eaasch Williams, "Some of them were extremely nervous."

"I had some teachers who were just anxious and just wanting to know if they made it or not." said sophomore Tim Wagner.

"I feel bad for the teachers because a lot of the teachers care about the kids," said parent Tamera Lewis, "Anxious about what's going to happen."

For some, the remaining weeks of the school year will be their last, but the district hopes every educator can find strength to finish with pride.

"There's going to be some tension, I know." said Wagner, "But hopefully they'll still think about the kids and teach."

"I saw a lot of dignity from everybody." said Feltner, "Administrators were great, the educators were great."                              

In addition, 32 teachers learned they will be placed on a callback list due to uncertain enrollment figures.

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