Stories indexed with the term ‘busing’

AAPS Admin Meets Board Candidates

Editor’s note: Jennifer Coffman covers Ann Arbor Public Schools board meetings for The Chronicle.

Patricia Green Superintendent of Ann Arbor Public Schools

Patricia Green is the new superintendent of the Ann Arbor Public Schools, a job she started this summer. (Photos by the writer.)

To develop additional background understanding of the board, she attended a recent forum for candidates in the Nov. 8 school board elections. The forum was hosted by AAPS staff. Other media reports from that forum raised questions about what was actually said at that meeting. So The Chronicle asked Coffman to write up her notes from that forum. 

Four of the six candidates running for AAPS school board met with top AAPS administrators for an informal question-and-answer session held at the Balas administration building on Aug. 23, 2011.

After brief introductions, Patrick Leonard, Larry Murphy, Ahmar Iqbal, and Albert Howard asked administrators for more information about a variety of topics.

Those topics ranged from busing, to the district’s role in school board elections, to prayer in public schools. The two incumbents in the race – board secretary Andy Thomas and trustee Simone Lightfoot – did not attend the forum. [Full Story]

Spend or Save? Budget Splits AAPS Board 5-2

Ann Arbor Public Schools board of education meeting (June 8, 2011): After hours of debate, Ann Arbor Public Schools trustees passed a 2011-12 budget early Thursday morning on a 5-2 vote, with trustees Simone Lightfoot and Christine Stead dissenting.

bus map AAPS

This map shows the relationship between locations of students' homes and the district's elementary and high schools. It was the focus of much of the board's discussion on June 8, 2011 when trustees approved the 2011-12 budget.

The original budget proposal brought to the board in April suggested cuts to 70 teaching positions, eliminated high school busing entirely, and used $1.73 million of fund equity. In the interim, the state offered school districts one-time payments to offset increases in retirement costs, as well as possible one-time grants for use of “best practices” as defined by the state. Those funding changes prompted board members to hold a study session earlier this month to offer AAPS administrators direction in how the temporary funding should be applied to the budget.

Based on that feedback, AAPS interim superintendent Robert Allen presented an amended budget at the June 8 board of education meeting. That amended budget slightly decreased the rise in class sizes, added back high school bus service by offering common pick-up points instead of traditional bus stops, and used less of the district’s fund equity.

During the budget discussion, trustees disagreed about multiple details of the budget, but the area of greatest contention was the proper amount to maintain in the district’s fund balance. Ultimately, the budget as presented passed with one major amendment, which moved $300,000 back out of fund equity and put it into the high school transportation budget, in order to allow for more common pick-up sites if needed.

In this meeting report, The Chronicle charts the board deliberations through the entire discussion. For a previously published nuts-and-bolts description of the approved budget, see “AAPS Board Sets 2011-12 Budget.”

Also at this meeting, updates to the district’s strategic plan and a set of board policies were approved. More policy updates, along with the district’s food service contract, were reviewed as first briefing items. [Full Story]