Ann Arbor Public Schools Board of Education study session (Feb. 17, 2010): At their Wednesday session, board trustees reviewed privatization bids, heard updates on the AAPS and state budget proposals and discussed changes to the state retirement system.
That activity was punctuated with continual references to funding fluctuations at the state level. “There is incredible uncertainty,” stated board president Deb Mexicotte. “Ideas change daily, weekly, hourly.” Even though state-level gyrations may end up changing how the Ann Arbor Public Schools moves forward, she asserted, “We are faced with the facts on the ground, and we have to operate from that position.”
And one of those facts on the ground is a state mandate that has already been put in place. It increases by 2.47% the employer contribution rate to the Michigan Public School Employees Retirement System. The mandate adds momentum to the idea of privatization of certain services: If district employees can be replaced with workers who are employed by private contractors, the cost of MPSERS contributions would be saved.
At the study session, trustees also discussed community responses to the district’s budget surveys.
A study session is an opportunity for board members to receive information from AAPS administration, ask questions, and discuss issues in a less formal setting. The public is welcome to attend.
Although only three people spoke during the official public commentary time, a dozen people stayed to ask questions and offer comments throughout the meeting. A trend from the last two BOE regular meetings was continued at the study session – most of the public commentary addressed the negative aspects of privatizing transportation, and custodial/maintenance services.