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Aug 02

Update To Educate

Comments (2) 12:00 PM posted by admin |

This is probably going to make somebody angry, but what fun would it be if it didn’t?

As most people already know, this coming Tuesday, August 7th is election day. On the ballot will be a bond issue for the Ypsilanti Public Schools. The purpose of the bond is to allocate approximately $40M to upgrade the school district’s computer equipment. The slogan for the campaign has been given the catchy title, “Update to Educate.”

I’m going to vote for this, so don’t go making any stupid assumptions, but sometimes stuff is just too good to let slide.

The end of July marked the end of pre-election campaign finance reporting. “Update to Educate” raised $2,750 in donations. Those donations, however, came from only five people.

  • Suzanne Shank, President of Siebert, Branford, Shank of Detroit ($1,000)
  • Phil Hartman, architect for Wolgast Corporation of Saginaw ($600)
  • Robert McGraw, President of Kingscott Associates of Kalamazoo ($250)
  • Paul Willis, consultant for Plante Moran Cresa of Southfield ($400)
  • James Crowley, attorney for Clark Hill, PLC of Birmingham ($500)

People have all the rights of donating money to whatever causes one sees fit to support. The fun in all of this is just who these people are and what they do for a living.

Siebert, Branford, Shank are bond underwriters.

Wolgast Corp is in construction management.

Kingscott Associates are an architectural firm.

Plante Moran Cresa provide auditing and building management services.

Clark Hill, PLC are attornies.

This all still seems pretty innocuous, but when you read the minutes from the March 26th Ypsilanti Board of Education meeting you start to see things from a different perspective.

Review of Bond Program
Dr. Hawkins introduced Paul Wills, Plante Moran CRESA, Bob McGraw, Kingscott and Phil Hartman, Wolgast who were hired by the district to prepare cost estimates for the Bond Program. Dr. Hawkins stated there will be technology upgrades and an update of facility infrastructures with the bond without a tax increase. Mr. Wills talked about the process used to estimate specific costs. He said there will need to be a Special Board Meeting held on Monday, April 2 to approve specific cost estimates. Mr. Wills said the slogan for the bond election will be “Update to Educate”. He also said the Bond Committee was made up of teachers, community members, parents and maintenance staff. Mr. Wills distributed a report that contained a project list for each YPS facility for the Board to review prior to the April 2 meeting. He also said a meeting was scheduled with the Michigan Treasury Department on April 19 to receive approval of the bond prior to placing it on the ballot for the August 7 election. Mr. Wills said the total cost allocation would be approximately $40 million dollars.


The people who were hired to prepare the cost estimates for the bond program were the same people who have donated all the money to the ballot question committee so far.

That seems rather awkward.

I’m just thankful that as a City Council member I’ll never be put in a similarly awkward position like determining if the City should accept a bid to sell a house for five grand to the guy who painted my house and updated my kitchen.

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  1. Comment by Ingrid
    August 3, 2007 @ 8:41 am

    I’m glad to see the District is engaging in such a grass roots effort to pass this bond.

  2. Comment by doyleparty
    August 5, 2007 @ 11:07 pm

    Heck, if they’d just asked, I’d have kicked in 50 bucks, and I’m sure other school supporters would have, as well. Too bad.

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