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.
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.