In addition to the impending state budget cuts (which cannot be good news for any Michigan school district or charter school)--
In addition to the Willow Run superintendent already reporting that the district is running 150 students below projections (and yes, their projections assumed a drop in enrollment to from 1980 students 1840 students--this would indicate a drop to around 1700)
According to the [deficit reduction] plan [filed with the state], if enrollment falls below 1,840 this fall, another elementary school could close in the district. There are currently five elementary schools being operated in Willow Run, after Thurston was deactivated in 2008.
In addition to reports that make it seem that the Willow Run school board still has a lot of tension...
there is also the news that the Willow Run Airport is struggling financially.
And--to add fuel to the fire--Victory Academy, one of the county's charter schools, has moved right by the Willow Run middle school/high school complex. Although right now it is an elementary school, I believe it has plans to expand to be a K-12 school.
Need some background?
David Jesse did a comprehensive series for the Ann Arbor News on the Willow Run schools. Here is the link.
A lot of this is related to external forces, but it might be time to ask the question: Is it time for Willow Run to merge with another school district? I know, you might think I'm nuts, or that I have it in for Willow Run schools--after all, Manchester and Whitmore Lake schools have around 1200-1300 students and I'm not suggesting closing Manchester or Whitmore Lake schools. But I'm not nuts and I don't have it in for Willow Run schools.
Here is why: 5 years ago, Manchester and Whitmore Lake schools had around 1300 students, nearly the same number that they have now. Five years ago, the Willow Run schools had just over 2700 students. Yes, just five short years ago. Ten years ago, Manchester and Whitmore Lake schools had around 1200 students, nearly the same number as they have now. At that point, the Willow Run schools had over 3250 students. Ten years ago. In other words, Manchester and Whitmore Lake schools are small, but stable. Willow Run schools are shrinking.
When school districts continually lose enrollment, and their budget is attached to pupil counts, it is not (solely) a question of how good the teachers are; how good the administrators are; or how economically stable the students' families are. It is nearly impossible to continue to provide a good school environment.
The student pupil counts are generally done on the 4th Wednesday in September--that's next week. More news will surely be coming out about them.