AAPS Delays Vote on Journeyman Contract

Board considers transportation savings in light of audit report

Ann Arbor Public Schools Board of Education regular meeting (Nov. 30, 2011): In its main business of the meeting, the Ann Arbor school board voted 4-2 to postpone a vote on contracting with a non-union, non-local company for journeyman services related to heating, cooling, and ventilation.

Debate among trustees on the issue included discussion on paying prevailing wages, the legal requirements of accepting lowest reasonable bids, and due process of determining comparable services among bidders. Public commentary and the teachers’ union association report were also devoted fully to this issue.

Also at the Nov. 30 meeting, the board reflected on its decision to consolidate its busing services with the Washtenaw Intermediate School District, in light of firm audit numbers from 2010-11. Savings realized in the area of transportation fell nearly $1 million short of the district’s target in the first year of the consolidation.

HVAC Journeyman Bid Award

At the Nov. 30 meeting, the board considered at second briefing a bid to contract with D.M. Burr of Flint, Mich., for 2,000 hours of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) journeyman services.

HVAC Journeyman Bid Award: Staff Recommendation

AAPS executive director of physical properties Randy Trent clarified a few aspects of the bid in response to questions from board members. He noted that the majority of the 2,000 hours would be used on one primary position – a journeyman who would work from 7 a.m.-3 p.m., weekdays, and could be assigned to take care of any mechanical HVAC issues. There would also be a second person who would do boiler testing. Both people are fully licensed, he said.

Trent also reiterated that for years this HVAC journeyman contract had been coupled with a contract to maintain the district’s digital control systems. This year, however, the mechanical work in the buildings was split out as its own bid. The current contract (with Johnson Controls), which includes both the HVAC mechanical and control system services, expires on Dec 31, 2011.

Regarding the legal requirements of paying the prevailing wage, Trent explained that if the money used to fund the contract is from a state-guaranteed fund, like funds from the 2004 bond, the prevailing wage must be paid. In this case, he said, the law does not require that prevailing wage be paid.

Trent assured the board that D.M. Burr would be able to provide journeyman services comparable to the current contractor, Johnson Controls, and that the journeyman from d.m. Burr would be comparably accessible in the case of emergency. Saying he had done the “due diligence to talk to companies, the actual people who would be working for AAPS, their supervisors, and other school districts [who have used them],” Trent reiterated that d.m. Burr was the lowest qualified bidder at this time.

HVAC Journeyman Bid Award: Public Comment

Five people addressed the board about the administration’s recommendation to award the HVAC journeyman services bid to D.M. Burr, a company from Flint, Mich.

Tom Yax asked a group of local skilled tradesmen to stand – each was an AAPS alumnus who had completed an apprenticeship program coordinated by local union officials. Yax noted that these professionals are safe, already background-checked, and can do any work in the district better and faster due to their familiarity with the equipment. He also expressed concern that D.M. Burr had poor references, and suggested that “it needs to be investigated.”

Ron Motsinger asserted that AAPS had promised voters that it would pay all workers prevailing wages when the community passed a sinking fund millage and capital improvements bond in 2004. He also questioned why the board does not have information on the historically-underutilized business (HUB) status on this bid. He pointed out that prevailing wage will not be paid for journeyman services if this bid is awarded to d.m. Burr. Noting that the district will face budget shortfalls again next year, Motsinger said: “Paying for [the shortfall] on the backs of workers will not get AAPS out of deficit.” He encouraged the board to consider setting aside the D.M. Burr bid for any number of reasons, including the fact that local workers are better trained and have a history with the district.

Local skilled tradesman and AAPS parent Jim Burns highlighted local union workers’ volunteer efforts on behalf of schools, as well as the scholarship opportunities in local building trades provided to AAPS graduates. Noting the high percentage of minorities employed in local building trades, he questioned D.M. Burr’s commitment to diversity. Finally, he pointed out that the D.M. Burr bid was one-half of what it would cost to pay local union contractors to perform the journeyman services, because local workers are paid good wages and benefits.

Bill Carras spoke from his perspective of as a lifelong Ann Arborite and AAPS parent. Carras added that his son wants to go into the trades, but without the support of the local community, he is not sure he can advise his son to do so.

Andy Fanta, a current member of the Ypsilanti school board, and an attorney, contended that the board is not required to take the lowest bid. He recounted a number of instances in which the Ypsilanti school board accepted a local bid over the lowest qualified bidder, or at least required that the prevailing wage was paid by non-local contractors. Fanta argued that the benefits of investing in the local community far outweigh the cost. Finally, he said, “I’d be suspicious of a contract that came in 50% below any other contract.”

HVAC Journeyman Bid Award: Clarification

Trent was asked by the board to clarify that the district did ask for the same HUB information from journeyman services bidders that it had requested from contractors who bid on work to be funded by the 2004 capital improvements bond. Trent said that the district always requests HUB status from bidders, but that it is optional information, and for this bid, all but one of the companies chose not to fill it out.

HVAC Journeyman Bid Award: AAEA Report

The Ann Arbor Education Association (AAEA) – the district’s teachers’ union – is one of the six associations the board invites to present regular reports to the board. The Nov. 30 AAEA report was focused on the question of the D.M. Burr bid award recommendation.

AAEA president Brit Satchwell pointed out that the skilled trades training program mentioned during public commentary for AAPS graduates is a 4-5 year program, and that the $10-$12,000 annual program cost is paid for by local tradespeople. When students graduate, Satchwell said, they can expect to step into decent-paying jobs with decent benefits, so they can in turn start to give back and be contributing members in the community. He also praised specific contributions to AAPS and other community groups made by local union workers.

Satchwell noted that the first three words of Ann Arbor Public Schools are “Ann Arbor Public,” and that it’s a “downward spiral” when the board lets people come in from the outside and undercut local community members. “I am not interested in one more FTE at the expense of the community … When you lower the quality of life for the parents, you impact the students directly,” he said.

Satchwell argued that the only way D.M. Burr could undercut local union bids by half is by not paying a decent wage. He also questioned whether D.M. Burr has the longevity to provide superior mechanical services. “We have people who have been working on our mechanics longer than this company has been in business,” he noted, asserting that when working with gas lines, electrical systems, and boilers, AAPS should want nothing but the best for its schools and their students.

Urging the board not to accept what he called a “lowball bid,” Satchwell said that doing so would not strengthen our community. “You get what you pay for – there is something tremendously wrong here,” he cautioned.

HVAC Journeyman Bid Award: Board Discussion

Trustee Simone Lightfoot expressed concern that the HUB status hadn’t been provided by any of the bidding companies except for one. She questioned the district’s commitment to securing HUB contractors. She felt challenged that requesting HUB status as part of a bid could not be required legally, she said. Nelson asked whether the district would be able to determine HUB status on its own. Trent ventured it would use up a lot of staff time to do that research. Trustee Susan Baskett argued that companies who do not list HUB status do not have it. “I would not support taking valuable labor time on our part to help these companies say they are not HUBs.”

Lightfoot also asked how many of D.M. Burr’s references Trent had contacted, and whether any of them had shared concerns about D.M. Burr. Trent said that he had spoken to three of the 30 references given. He acknowledged that some of the references said they had been unhappy initially with the service they received from D.M. Burr. But after talking to D.M. Burr, Trent said, corrective action had been taken, and their concerns had been resolved.

Finally, Lightfoot contrasted the board’s position on the superintendent’s salary (“we get what we pay for”) with the board’s desire to go with an extremely low bid in this case and still expect great quality. She stated, “My concern is … this is a slippery slope.”

Baskett called the bid recommendation “cheap and shortsighted,” and argued that it was not in line with the district’s strategic plan, in that it does not engender trust and support of the district’s constituents. Calling it “disrespectful” to local workers to accept a bid that does not pay prevailing wage, Baskett argued, “We are not asking anyone to do this job for free. We expect a job well done and we should be willing to pay for it.”

Turstees Glenn Nelson and Irene Patalan expressed support for the recommendation made by Trent to award the bid to D.M. Burr.

Nelson brought up the point that 88% of the projects in the $254 million 2004 bond were given to local unionized contractors. He argued that AAPS will do more for local economic development by focusing on “mission-centered services.” Nelson said he would support this bid because it “squeezes as much education as possible out of every dollar taxpayers give us.”

Patalan, who owns a local shop in Kerrytown, said that local is important, but dollars are important too. Saying she feels like she needs to “do the dirty work” for the governor and others in Lansing, Patalan said she is supportive of the D.M. Burr bid because it would put as much money as possible behind the students. Also, she added, “I’m not fearful — I think these people will actually do a great job.”

HVAC Journeyman Bid Award: Board Vote to Delay

Trustee Andy Thomas moved that the board defer a vote on the bid award until the next regular meeting on Dec. 14, pending additional information from AAPS administration. Lightfoot seconded his motion.

Thomas said at first he had thought he might support the bid recommendation to go with D.M. Burr because it is the board’s fiscal responsibility to accept the lowest qualified bidder for identical services. He noted that while he heard and appreciated the comments of Baskett regarding lack of community trust, the community trusts the board to make the very best use of the district’s limited funds. Thomas argued that “as soon as you start making exceptions to the idea that you are going to accept the lowest bid, that opens up the doors to cronyism.”

However, Thomas continued, “I have heard a lot of things tonight that have cast significant doubt in my mind … [about whether] this is an apples-to-apples comparison.” Saying he is concerned that the district will not get the quality from D.M. Burr that it is accustomed to receiving, and that Trent’s description of the due process followed to select D.MBurr was “not reassuring,” Thomas enumerated a list of topics on which he wanted more information at the next meeting.

Thomas requested that Trent: (1) explain how much time would be required to bring a new contractor up to speed regarding the peculiarities of the AAPS system; (2) offer more specifics about the individuals being proposed to do the work; (3) complete a wider reference check; (4) and address how D.M. Burr is capable of addressing the district’s needs when they are novices in this area.

Lightfoot added that she would like to get an understanding of how D.M. Burr can do the job for nearly half the cost of the next-lowest bidder. She also asked how much administrative time would be needed to provide oversight, and what sort of licensing and training D.M. Burr requires of its employees.

Thomas said that the board should grapple with the work of creating policy on approval of bid recommendations. “We, as a board, need to have a very substantive discussion of local versus non-local, and whether or not we are going to support the prevailing wage,” he said. “I don’t think this is good for us to go through this every single time a particular contract comes up.”

Board president Deb Mexicotte added that she had also been thinking a lot about how the board considers contracts in a more global sense, but led the board to a vote on the motion at hand, which was to postpone the issue. She noted that in the case of a 3-3 vote [a possibility because trustee Christine Stead was not present at the meeting], the motion would fail.

Outcome: The bid for HVAC journeyman services was pulled out for separate consideration from the consent agenda. The motion from Thomas to postpone a vote on the bid approval for HVAC journeyman services passed 4-2. Baskett and Lightfoot voted no. Mexicotte, Nelson, Thomas, and Patalan voted yes.

Annual Financial Audit

The board had agreed at its previous meeting to submit specific questions on the audit to AAPS deputy superintendent of operations Robert Allen, who would respond to them at the next meeting on Nov. 30, which he did.

Annual Financial Audit: Variances

Allen began by reiterating that, even though there were variances in some categories – some under, some over budget – the overall general fund expenditures were $1.5 million below budget.

Allen then read answers to 14 specific line-item questions that trustees had submitted regarding budget variances. In summary, many of the variances could be explained in terms of accounting or organizational shifts, such as staffing new programs like the Widening Advancement for Youth (WAY-Washtenaw program). Allen noted that in total, these lines cancelled each other out. By way of example, when the district had to contract for unfilled special education vacancies, “the contract line is over, the salary line is under,” he said.

Other variances were explained by: a larger number of retirements than expected (including some long-term employees who received severance pay, which the district no longer offers); overtime paid due to weather-related maintenance needs; and less savings from the transportation consolidation than anticipated.

Annual Financial Audit: Finance and HR Software

Allen noted that when staff members are moved from program to program after the budget is set, those FTEs are reassigned in the human resources software, but not always in the finance software. He said that the district is looking into ways to link the finance and HR systems to cut down on the manual work of moving people from line item to line item.

Patalan asked if the new software could help to monitor budgetary shifts. Allen explained that ongoing monitoring during the year is currently done on a macro level, but that with new software that could link human resources to finance, “we could go deeper into detail and make more adjustments throughout the year.” The software, he said, could show when HR and Finance are “out of balance” in terms of FTEs and their associated costs.

AAPS superintendent Patricia Green commended the administration for looking into changing the software to reduce the labor needed to monitor more detailed budget data throughout the year. She noted that such software had been implemented in her former district and that it had solved a lot of frustration.

Lightfoot asked whether the new software would be able to remedy the confusion of how long-term subs are accounted for on the finance side. Allen answered that yes, the software would automatically adjust budget line-items when personnel shifts are made.

Mexicotte said she found the discussion helpful, and said she hoped new software could help to marry over-budget items with corresponding under-budget ones so that the board could more easily identify budget line items that are truly out of sync with no simple explanation.

Annual Financial Audit: Transportation Consolidation

Multiple trustees had comments or questions regarding the net savings realized from consolidation transportation services with the Washtenaw Intermediate School District.

Allen noted that the district had hoped for $1.5 million savings in transportation costs, but saved closer to $500,000. In explaining the nearly $1 million variance, Allen pointed to: unemployment benefits extensions; four major workers compensation claims; payout of sick days for employees who left the district; increased fuel costs; and a greater than anticipated retirement rate of 20.66% (projected to have been 16.94%).

Lightfoot asked how it was that unemployment, workers compensation, and sick pay expenses had not been anticipated.

Allen said that the fact that the state government extended unemployment benefits could not have been predicted. The district decided it was the right thing to do to cover the cost of paying out unused sick time to transportation employees who left the district, he said.

Calling the AAPS transportation situation a “thorn in [her] side,” Lightfoot questioned whether the consolidation had been worth it, once all the unforeseen costs were considered. Allen asserted that it was worth the savings overall, even though AAPS missed its budget target.

Responding to questions about fuel costs, Allen noted that they are a “pass-through” item and that the WISD is encouraging more districts to join in a fuel-buying consolidation that doesn’t include consolidation of transportation services. Mexicotte suggested that perhaps the district should consider having a more active role in fuel purchasing.

Nelson asked how transportation of special education students is paid for via the consortium. Allen explained that the state reimbursement goes to the WISD, and WISD splits it up among members of the transportation consortium based on each district’s actual costs.

Nelson also noted that he didn’t want the public to lose sight of the fact that overall, the district came in under budget, and did not need to borrow money to manage summer cash flow, because the fund balance stood at $16.5 million.

Lightfoot questioned why Burns Park had received additional bus service, and how transportation distances are determined in relation to apartment complexes, specifically Pine Lake Cooperative.

AAPS director of communications Liz Margolis pointed out that the new Burns Park bus is to transport Pioneer High School students who previously were able to walk to school before the Stadium bridge pedestrian detour was implemented. [Reconstruction of the bridges at Stadium and State resulted in road closures starting Nov. 28.] For the distance calculation question, Allen explained that apartment complexes are measured from the beginning of the property.

Lightfoot protested that this was unfair to people living in the back of the complex, because the actual distance to a school for them is significantly farther than the district’s calculation – as is the case at Pine Lake. Mexicotte suggested that the board might want to consider a policy regarding measuring transportation distances. Lightfoot said she would like to take Mexicotte up on that recommendation, and Mexicotte asked Lightfoot to send an e-mail requesting the idea be added to the agenda planner.

Outcome: The FY 2010-11 financial audit was approved unanimously as part of the consent agenda, which also included approval of the control service bid, 2011-12 grant awards, draft minutes and gift offers. There was little or no discussion of any item other than the audit.

Sixth Grade Science Kits

Before the board as a first briefing item was a request for approval of 6th grade science curriculum units. Green asked AAPS deputy superintendent for instructional services Alesia Flye and AAPS assistant superintendent for secondary education Joyce Hunter to speak to the need for new 6th grade science materials.

Hunter explained that two teachers had already piloted these units. The district was now ready to expand the implementation to the remaining 6th grade science teachers, she said. The earth and space units will be taught at all five middle schools, and the total cost of necessary curricular materials is $55,426.

In response to board member questions, Flye noted that the timing of this purchase was planned, unlike the algebra textbooks purchase that was requested earlier this year.

Nelson asked for examples of what is included in the curriculum. AAPS curriculum staff member Amy Dellar answered that the goal of this second of three 6th grade units is to help students understand the Earth in context of the solar system. For example, students are supposed to be able to explain why we have seasons. Dellar praised the curriculum for being very hands-on and inquiry-based, meaning that students are given opportunities to apply their knowledge in a variety of ways.

Baskett asked what the other units were. Dellar told the board that the first 6th grade unit is weather, and the third is hydrology, or the water cycle. For the hydrology unit, Dellar noted that the district is still using versions of older curricula that are still well-aligned with state requirements.

Flye added that she is preparing a comprehensive look at needed curricula over a multi-year period, and that the district was still evaluating the need for a new hydrology kit.

Baskett asked about the “shelf life” for the proposed curriculum purchase. Flye said she expected it would last about five to six years.

Outcome: This item was heard at first briefing. A second briefing and vote will be included on the agenda of the next regular board meeting.

Budget Planning Update

Mexicotte noted that the budget would be an agenda item at each board meeting until the final 2012-13 budget is approved.

Green called on Allen, who passed out a set of documents to trustees which summarized the results from the community budget forums, which are also available on the district’s website. [See also previous Chronicle coverage of the forums, held Nov. 10 and Nov. 14.] Refering to ideas generated by forum attendees, Baskett noted that, “Some of these are very good ideas from the public.” She asked if the administration had decided which ideas to implement. Allen said that has not yet been determined.

Mexicotte asked if the board could have a “narrative” about what the savings gleaned from some of the top forum suggestions would be.

Allen added that the administration is working on updating the “costs by building” data set requested at the forums, and will be posting it on the AAPS website.

Association Reports

The board receives regular reports from the Youth Senate, the Black Parents Student Support Group (BPSSG), the Ann Arbor Parent Advisory Committee on Special Education (AAPAC), the Parent-Teacher-Organization Council (PTOC), the Ann Arbor Administrators Association (AAAA), and the Ann Arbor Education Association (AAEA). The Youth Senate and AAAA did not report at the Nov. 30 meeting, and the AAEA report was described above.


Bryan Johnson reported that the BPSSG had held its second general body meeting of the year, and gave an overview of the group’s 2011-12 goals. He noted that more specific work was being done in the BPSSG’s five committees, and that they would be reporting out at the next meeting on Dec. 19 at Tappan.


Katherine Fisher reported that the AAPAC is pleased to hear there will be a full review of SISS services coming up, and that parent meetings will be offered on the positive behavior support programs going on in the district. She also announced that the AAPAC will be putting on a technology workshop (“Happy to be Appy”) to highlight how iPads can help students with special needs.


Amy Pachera congratulated Lightfoot and Thomas on their successful re-elections to the board. She reported that the most recent PTOC meeting had been its “Show Me the Money” fundraising forum, which encourages all schools to share their most successful fundraising strategies. Eleven schools were present, she noted. Pachera also referred PTOs to a section on the PTOC website about how PTOs can legally spend money. Finally, she thanked the AAPS administration for coming to the public early with forums on the 2012-13 budget.

Agenda Planning

Trustees suggested agenda items on the following: Head Start, the organizational meeting, school board terms, board professional development on superintendent evaluations, and the Achievement Gap Elimination Plan.

Agenda Planning: Head Start

Lightfoot asked Green about the status of Head Start, and Green responded that the program had indeed been defunded at the county level. [Washtenaw County's board of commissioners did not include Head Start in its funding for 2012-13. Chronicle coverage: "Washtenaw County Budget Set 2012-13"] Green noted there has been a “tremendous amount of discussion” about the issue, but that no decisions have been made about if and how the program will be continued locally.

Lightfoot requested that the board consider the district’s role in Head Start. Mexicotte said the issue had already been placed on the agenda by Nelson and Baskett.

Agenda Planning: Jan. 18 Organizational Meeting

Mexicotte again congratulated Thomas and Lightfoot on their re-elections, and encouraged trustees to start thinking about how they would like to serve on the board. She noted that at the board’s annual organizational meeting, set for Jan 18, 2012, the board will elect new officers, make appointments to external committees, and consider its interactions with associations.

Agenda Planning: School Board Elections

Nelson noted that the new legislation setting school board elections for Novembers of even-numbered years – when considered in the context of the board’s current use of four-year terms – could cause volatility on the board. He suggested that the board should consider making its terms six years long so that no more than three members would turn over as the result of any election outcome.

Four-year terms, Nelson pointed out, result in a majority of the board (four members) being elected every other election. Switching to six-year terms would mean that two members would turn over, then two more in the next election, and then three more the election after that, and then the cycle would continue.

Nelson said he would like to know what the community thinks about this issue, and said he believes that in Ann Arbor, there has been a judgement not to have majority of the board turn over at one time. Mexicotte said the issue of board terms has been added to the board’s agenda in the second semester.

Agenda Planning: Superintendent Evaluations

Baskett confirmed that the board wanted to go through a professional development workshop in January on superintendent evaluations and invite other local school board members to participate, as she had suggested. Mexicotte told Baskett to go ahead and coordinate it with the help of board secretary Amy Osinski.

Achievement Gap Elimination Plan

Lightfoot asked when the Achievement Gap Elimination Plan (AGEP) would be discussed. Green responded that it would be discussed in March as part of the Equity Plan. Lightfoot expressed concern that the two plans were being confounded. Baskett explained that the Equity Plan was constructed around the work the district has done with the Pacific Education Group, but that the AGEP was not limited to issues involving equity, and included community input.

Mexicotte said that the two plans can be discussed at the same meeting, adding that Green has a vision for linking them together. Lightfoot said she wants to keep them distinct.

Awards and Accolades

Numerous individuals and groups were honored at the Nov. 30 board meeting.

Thurston 5th Grade Choir

The Thurston 5th grade choir performed four songs for the board, and received many accolades from trustees. Participation in this choir is fully voluntary, with students meeting once a week during lunch to rehearse.

Celebration of Excellence Awards

Three teachers were honored with Celebration of Excellence Awards at the Nov. 30 meeting — Pat Jenkins, Kayna Edwards, and Jennifer Kunec.

Glenn Nelson announced the award for Pat Jenkins, a Skyline High School teacher and leader of the communication, media, and public policy magnet program there. The committee of parents who nominated Jenkins praised her for “creating a college-level experience in a high school class.” Jenkins thanked the board, her students, her colleagues, and her dad, who had traveled from Maryland to see her receive this award.

Andy Thomas announced the award for Kayna Edwards, a special education teacher at Skyline High School, who also runs the school’s talent show, and advises the ski club. She was honored for being a trusted advisor, and a sensitive and knowledgeable educator for all students. Edwards thanked Skyline principal Sulura Jackson for “embracing her personality,” and her husband for supporting the extensive me she spends on her work.

Simone Lightfoot read the award for Jennifer Kunec, the A.P. U.S. History teacher at Pioneer High School. She was nominated by former student Emma Hamstra, who said that Kunec’s support led her to learn how to study effectively, write well, and be self-confident. Kunec was thankful for the recognition, and pointed out that AAPS is unique in allowing all students to take Advanced Placement classes without taking pre-requisites. She said she is proud to have an opportunity to help all kids achieve in A.P. classes. (After a rough start in Kunec’s class, Hamstra received a “5″ on the A.P. U.S. History test and is now studying at the University of Massachusetts.)

Superintendent’s Report

Green reported that AAPS was among 60 districts named as “academic champions” in the state. She then announced multiple awards received by individual teachers and students. They included students in honors choir and orchestra, essay award winners at Tappan Middle School, a counselor at Community High School, an AAPS graduate working to increase visibility of climate change, and a Northside Elementary 2nd grader who was recognized by the Guiness Book of World Records for completing 192 hula hoop rotations in one minute, standing on one leg.

Items from the Board

During the earlier discussion on HVAC journeyman services, Lightfoot had mentioned that her absence from the previous board meeting was due to surgery she’d undergone for breast cancer. She’d been diagnosed early in her re-election campaign. During the section of the agenda devoted to communications from board members, Lightfoot thanked everyone for the cards and flowers she had received while recovering, said her prognosis is excellent, and thanked voters for her re-election to the board.

Lightfoot also “registered her disagreement” with any salary increases at the administrative level. That came in response to a communication from Green to the board that a proposal to ratify projected salary increases for top administrative contracts would be coming to the board in December.

Thomas offered condolences to Dave Comsa, AAPS assistant superintendent for human resources and legal services, whose mother recently died.

Nelson gave kudos to the Peace Neighborhood Center, the AAPS homebuilding program, and all of those who help the board create a better future for all AAPS children.

Present: President Deb Mexicotte, vice-president Susan Baskett, secretary Andy Thomas, treasurer Irene Patalan and trustees Glenn Nelson and Simone Lightfoot.

Absent: Trustee Christine Stead

Next regular meeting: Dec. 14, 2011, 7 p.m., at the fourth-floor conference room of the downtown Ann Arbor District Library, 343 S. Fifth Ave.

The Chronicle could not survive without regular voluntary subscriptions to support our coverage of public bodies like the Ann Arbor Public Schools board of education. Click this link for details: Subscribe to The Chronicle. And if you’re already supporting us, please encourage your friends, neighbors and colleagues to help support The Chronicle, too!


  1. By Alan Goldsmith
    December 7, 2011 at 6:39 am | permalink

    If the Ann Arbor Board decides to start using non-Union, non-local companies, then bring it on. They are going down a dangerous road and inviting major public opposition to any future millage increase and renewals of existing mills and individuals who buy into this nonsense can expect to kiss their Board seats goodbye. Trust me-this vote is going to be watched very carefully.

  2. By Alan Goldsmith
    December 7, 2011 at 6:50 am | permalink

    Ah, union busting: [link]

  3. By Alan Goldsmith
    December 7, 2011 at 6:52 am | permalink

    More D.M Burr background: [link]

  4. December 14, 2011 at 1:08 pm | permalink

    Both the question of the journeyman contract and the question of raising top administrator’s salaries are on the agenda for tonight’s (Dec. 14) board meeting, 7 p.m. at the Ann Arbor District Library. According to the board packet, the administration is sticking to its idea of contracting with DM Burr, and there are pages and pages of justification in the board packet: [link]

    In addition, there is a resolution to raise top administrative members salaries. Percentage wise, the amounts are a 6-12% increase, and dollar wise they add up to around $30,000. But symbolically, I think they are a huge problem.

    You can tell the Board of Education what you think about either or both of these issues by emailing: boe@aaps.k12.mi.us