Archived Story

The search for superintendent: music and money woes for second candidate

Published 10:57am Thursday, February 4, 2010

By JESSICA SIEFF
Niles Daily Star

In the Star’s continued look at the candidates for superintendent for the Niles Community Schools district, the next candidate comes from a district facing a tumultuous time of its own.

Richard Weigel is assistant superintendent of educational quality for Ypsilanti Public Schools, located on the east side of the state and nestled between Ann Arbor and Detroit.

Weigel has been with his current district since 2005. According to his resume, he spent five years as director of curriculum, instruction, assessment and technology for Mason Consolidated Schools in Erie, Mich., where he said he “directed the revamping of high school courses, curriculum design and instructional methods” and “guided achievement improvements measurable to 5-8 percent district gains each year on Meap.”

Weigel’s district has been getting attention for its financial troubles. As many districts within the state struggle with making up for severe state aid reductions, Ypsilanti’s Board of Education has been hearing from parents and concerned members of the community after discussing the possibility of closing two or three of its buildings or turning to significant layoffs of teachers.

According to the Ypsilanti Courier, the district needs to reduce its budget by $6.4 million if it wants to pull out of its current deficit, as it hopes to finalize a budget by June, that district is reportedly looking at the need of a surplus of $431,619 in 2010-11 in order to change the course of its financial standing.

Weigel has been the recipient of the Michigan School Public Relations Association award for distinguished achievement and has served on several education related associations and organizations including the education committee of the NAACP, the Michigan Reading Association and the Michigan AASA, his resume said.

Weigel studied music at Indiana University and the University of Nebraska and began his career as a music teacher in Sylvania, Ohio.

Ypsilanti Public Schools
• Serves approximately 3,800 students in kindergarten through 12th grade
• An estimated 100 students enrolled in district’s adult education program
• Staff, including board and superintendent is approximately 600 strong

‘No Child Left Behind’ accreditation
The district is composed of seven school buildings, one high school, two middle schools, four elementary schools which were presented in the district’s 2009 report on accreditation.

Schools with a grade “C” or higher are considered accredited. All but one of the district’s buildings – Ypsilanti High School – received grades “C” or higher.

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