Stories indexed with the term ‘AAPS board meeting’

Column: Good Ideas, Flawed Process at AAPS

Over the past few weeks, we’ve seen good news and bad news coming out of the Ann Arbor Public Schools.

Ruth Kraut, Ann Arbor Public Schools, The Ann Arbor Chronicle

Ruth Kraut

Good news has come in the form of a new, enthusiastic, positive-energy, forward-looking superintendent in Dr. Jeanice Kerr Swift. Her “Listen and Learn” tour was thorough and well-received by the community, followed by some quickly-implemented changes based on feedback from parents, teachers and staff.

Swift also brought forward some longer-term initiatives that required approval from the AAPS board. Those include plans to address underutilized buildings, a new K-8 STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) program, more language programming, and opening up AAPS to students outside the district through the Schools of Choice program. Those ideas are all positive.

The bad news is process-related, tied to actions by the AAPS board. Mistakes of past years are being made again, as the school board fails to follow its own policies when implementing major changes to the schools. Specifically, the board continues to make important decisions after midnight, with scant information about costs or implementation. Some final votes are rushed through at the same meeting when the items are introduced, not allowing time for sufficient public input.

In this column, I’ll look at both the positive actions by the administration as well as the board’s flawed process. And I’ll ask you to weigh in – letting the board and superintendent know what you think on all of these issues. [Full Story]

Fifth & William

Ann Arbor Open at Mack choir leads off AAPS board meeting at Ann Arbor District Library with “My Paddle’s Keen and Bright.” [photo]

New Biology Books for Ann Arbor Students

Selection of “Biology” by Stephen Nowicki as the new biology text book for Ann Arbor high school students has been given final approval by the board of the Ann Arbor Public School board. The board’s approval came at its Aug. 15, 2012 meeting, after being briefed two weeks earlier on the proposed selection at its Aug. 1, 2012 meeting.

The board authorized $117,441 for purchase of textbooks. The district expects 1,391 students to be enrolled in biology courses this fall – in five different high schools. The purchase includes bound copies of traditional textbooks as well as an interactive reader and access to an online edition.

Reasons for adopting a new textbook include the fact that the current textbook has been in … [Full Story]

AAPS OKs Therapy Services Contract

A contract for physical, occupational therapy services – provided to Ann Arbor Public School district students with disabilities – was given approval by the AAPS board at its Aug. 15 meeting. The contract is with Pediatric Therapy Associates and totals $528,360 for the coming year – 2012-13. It includes 120 hours weekly for physical therapy and 135 hours weekly for occupational therapy, at an hourly rate of pay of $56.

Compared to the cost of hiring therapists to work as AAPS employees, the district’s analysis is that it would cost at least $724,757 (if therapists were hired in at the lowest step of the teachers contract) in including fringe benefits or as much as $1,300,915 (if therapists were hired in at … [Full Story]

AAPS Board Briefed on Auditor

Based on a first briefing of the Ann Arbor Public School board, Plante & Moran is likely to be selected to conduct the district’s financial audit for the previous fiscal year – 2011-12. The district’s fiscal year runs from July 1 to June 30. Auditors would begin their work in September 2012 and conclude by mid-October 2012. The board would receive the auditor’s report in early November.

The board’s briefing on the selection of Plante & Moran took place at the board’s Aug. 15, 2012 meeting.

The audit will cost about $53,800 plus reasonable expenses. Last year the base fee was $58,100. The district will be looking to bid out the auditing work again after this year’s audit is complete. The staff … [Full Story]

AAPS Briefed on Banks

As part of a briefing at its Aug. 15, 2012 meeting, a list of a dozen different financial institutions was presented to the Ann Arbor Public School board as compliant with the district’s investment policies.

Those institutions are Bank of America (Troy), Bank of Ann Arbor (Ann Arbor), Citizens Bank (Ann Arbor), Comerica Bank (Ann Arbor), Fifth Third Bank (Southfield), Flagstar Bank (Troy), JP Morgan Chase (Ann Arbor), MBIA of Ann Arbor (Ann Arbor), Michigan Commerce Bank (Ann Arbor), Michigan Liquid Asset Fund (Ronkonkoma, New York) TCF Bank (Ann Arbor) United Bank & Trust (Ann Arbor).

This brief was filed from the main conference room of the Balas Administration Building. A more detailed report of the meeting will follow: [link]