Stories indexed with the term ‘Ann Arbor Public School board’

May 22: AAPS Public Hearing on Budget

The Ann Arbor Public Schools board of education has approved a resolution calling for a public hearing on the fiscal year 2013-14 annual budget for AAPS. By law a public hearing must be held before adopting a school district budget.

The public hearing will be held on May 22, 2013 at 7 p.m. at the Ann Arbor District Library downtown branch during the regular board of education meeting. Anyone who wants to be heard will be given a chance to speak on the proposed budget and the property tax millage rate.

At the public hearing, the trustees will have a first briefing of a proposed millage resolution.

This brief was filed from the board room of the Ann Arbor District Library in downtown … [Full Story]

AAPS Briefed on Food Service Contract

A first briefing on food services in the district was given to Ann Arbor Public Schools trustees at its May 8, 2013 meeting. The briefing included the a recommendation to renew the Chartwells contract for the 2013-14 school year.

The board had approved Chartwells School Dining Services as the district’s food service provider on May 27, 2009 with four one-year renewals. The contract will be the last of the four year renewals. According to a district memo, the food service management contract will be re-bid for another five-year term in early 2014.

The management fee per meal for 2013-14 will be $0.0432, an increase of 2.5% from the 2012-13 rate. The administrative fee will be $18,978.10 per month for ten months, also an … [Full Story]

AAPS Begins Superintendent Evaluation

Ann Arbor Public Schools board of education committee of the whole (March 20, 2013): At its committee meeting the trustees focused on identifying the metrics they will use for the formal evaluation of superintendent Patricia Green.

Ann Arbor Public Schools superintendent Patricia Green

Ann Arbor Public Schools superintendent Patricia Green. (Photos by the writer.)

Green is the one district employee for whom they are directly responsible. Earlier that evening, the trustees met in closed session with Green to go over her interim mid-year evaluation. Because it was an informal evaluation, the board did not release an official statement.

Beginning with the 2013-2014 school year, at least 25% of the superintendent’s annual year-end evaluation must be based on student growth and assessment data, according to a state mandate. In 2014-15, that percentage increases to 40%, and in 2015-16 school year, at least 50% of the evaluation will be based on student growth and assessment data. This mirrors the criteria in place for teacher evaluation. Up to now the superintendent’s evaluation has been largely narrative.

Board vice president Christine Stead noted that the board was implementing the metrics ahead of time, since they were not legally required to be in place until the next school year. [Full Story]

Plante Moran Considered for AAPS Financial Audit

The AAPS board has been briefed on a recommendation to award Plante Moran the district’s financial audit contract for a cost of $161,000 over three years, with the potential for two one-year renewals.

An audit services request for proposal (RFP) was released in December 2012, and three bids were received. After reviewing the bids, Plante Moran and Yeo & Yeo were invited to make a presentation to the committee tasked with the audit services bid.

The committee unanimously recommended Plante Moran because of their extensive experience in K-12 education market, the detailed and clear audit process outlined by the firm, and its local presence – with an office in Ann Arbor.

The briefing took place at the board’s Feb. 27, 2013 meeting. The board … [Full Story]

AAPS To Renew Insurance

The Ann Arbor Public School board was briefed on the district’s liability insurance renewal at its Feb 27, 2013 meeting. For the past couple of months, the district’s insurance agent, The Hyland Group, has been bidding out the district’s liability insurance in anticipation of a Feb. 1, 2013 renewal. Several insurance carriers for property and casualty were contacted and responded, but the district’s best option for renewal was to stay with its current carriers, according to a district memo. Those carriers include: Affiliated FM for buildings and property; Zurich for general liability, crime, auto; Ace for lawyers liability; and Selective for flood insurance.

The district’s final liability insurance premium will be $716,476. The renewal premium reflects an overall increase of 5.9%, … [Full Story]

AAPS Briefed on Projectors, Amplifiers

The AAPS trustees have been presented with a recommendation for a district-wide replacement of classroom projectors, approximately 200 sound amplification systems, and supporting electrical equipment. The briefing took place at the board’s Feb. 27, 2013 meeting.

A request for bids on the project went out on Jan. 10, 2013. Bids were received and publicly opened on Feb. 5, 2013. After various companies were interviewed by the district’s technology bond professional team, the team recommended the following contract awards:  Great Lakes Power and Lighting  ($393,000 for electrical work); The Professional Group ($1,879,619 for audiovisual equipment); and to AVI-SPL ($183,168 for the sound amplification systems).

As this was a first briefing, the board will vote on the purchase at its next regular meeting.

This brief … [Full Story]

AAPS Mulls Redistricting to Save Costs

Ann Arbor Public Schools board of education regular meeting (Dec. 19, 2012): The board opened its final meeting of 2012 with a reflection offered by board president Deb Mexicotte on the recent shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut and a moment of silence to honor the families and community affected by that tragedy.

Robert Allen, deputy superintendent Ann Arbor Public Schools

Before the meeting started, Robert Allen, deputy superintendent Ann Arbor Public Schools, distributed spiral bound copies of the report from a transportation working group.

The board received two informational reports — one from a cross-governmental working group charged with assessing the viability of continuing to provide non-mandated school transportation, and another one on the district’s partnership with the University of Michigan Depression Center (UMDC).

The transportation report generated significant discussion, as the board examined the working group’s recommendations and considered the impact of making significant reductions to transportation. Even if the district were to eliminate all except mandated transportation for students, that would save only about $5.5 million of the roughly $17 million gap projected in next year’s budget.

A key element of the transportation discussion was a suggestion to consider redistricting – that is, reassigning some students to different school buildings based on where they live. Trustees discussed redistricting in the context of possible steps like eliminating some or all busing and closing schools.

The board directed administration to begin looking into a redistricting process. [Full Story]

AAPS Board Starts 2013-14 Budget Discussion

Ann Arbor Public Schools Board of Education regular meeting (Nov. 7, 2012): The Ann Arbor Public Schools (AAPS) board of education’s Nov. 7 meeting contained significant discussion of the district’s finances, straddling three fiscal years – past, present, and future.

AAPS superintendent Patricia Green and deputy superintendent for operations Robert Allen.

AAPS superintendent Patricia Green and deputy superintendent for operations Robert Allen.

Before receiving an “unqualified opinion” on the district’s 2011-12 audit and reviewing the first quarter financials from 2012-13, the board took a first pass at framing the discussion surrounding the development of the district’s budget for the 2013-14 fiscal year – a step the board has not typically taken as early as November.

Also at the meeting, the board approved the renaming of two facilities at Pioneer High School – the tennis courts and the planetarium. The tennis courts are being renamed for long-time tennis coach Tom “Brick” Pullen. And the planetarium is being co-named in regnition of a $100,000 gift from the IMRA America company.

The board also recognized Huron High School cross-country runner Allie Cell, for an extraordinary display of sportsmanship during a recent meet.  [Full Story]

AAPS Candidate Info Session: Attendance 0

On Tuesday evening, June 18, 2012, the Ann Arbor Public Schools held an information session for prospective candidates for election to the AAPS board of trustees. Board president Deb Mexicotte’s seat is the only one up for election on Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012. It is a four-year term, beginning Jan. 1, 2013.

Current trustees Andy Thomas and Christine Stead were on hand to talk over the roles and responsibilities of a trustee. No potential candidates showed, however. Attendance at the information meeting was not mandatory for candidacy.

To appear on the ballot as a school board candidate, candidates must file paperwork at the Washtenaw County clerk’s office by Tuesday, Aug. 14 by 4 p.m. Candidates must file an affidavit of identity and … [Full Story]

School Board to Use Savings to Bridge Deficit

Ann Arbor Public Schools board of education regular meeting (May 23, 2012): The majority of AAPS trustees have agreed to spend down roughly $7 million in fund equity to meet projected expenditures for fiscal year 2012-13, beginning July 1, 2012. That decision came after suggestions by trustees Glenn Nelson and Christine Stead to restructure Roberto Clemente Student Development Center and to fully eliminate transportation, respectively, again went nowhere. The May 23 meeting included much discussion about the effect that spending down fund equity this year could have on the district’s ability to weather another projected deficit of $14 million to $18 million in FY 2013-14.

The board is expected to vote on the FY 2012-13 budget at its June 13 meeting.

In addition to the budget discussion, trustees moved quickly through a number of other items of business at the May 23 meeting: (1) directing administration to create a transportation committee; (2) approving the sale of tech bonds; (3) supporting the Washtenaw Intermediate School District budget with some suggested reporting improvements; (4) the approval of two property easements with the city of Ann Arbor; and (5) the approval of a number of policies, including an anti-bullying policy as newly mandated by state law.

Trustees also heard from 20 people, most of them speaking during general public commentary in support of the Roberto Clemente Student Development Center, which had originally been proposed to be closed or restructured as part of the budget. Many thanked the board for taking Clemente “off the chopping block” for this coming year, but expressed concerns about the board’s process, the district-wide achievement gap faced by African-American students, and the board’s “lack of respect” for Clemente students.   [Full Story]

AAPS Update: Climate, Bullying, Guidance

Ann Arbor Public Schools Board of Education Committee-of-the-Whole meeting (Feb. 15, 2012): At its Feb. 15 committee-of-the-whole meeting, the AAPS school board discussed three related issues — combating bullying, assessing and improving school climate, and restructuring the school guidance and counseling program.

Riot Youth

Members of the LGBTQ student group Riot Youth addressed the Ann Arbor Public Schools board at its meeting of the committee-of-the-whole on Feb. 15. (Photo by the writer.)

Trustee Glenn Nelson noted that these interwoven topics had been a high priority for the board since a 2009 study session at which the board reviewed how AAPS was functioning in these areas compared to best practices in the field of education. “[T]his is not a topic of the evening,” Nelson said. “This was a deliberate and high-priority commitment where we really want to make progress.”

Also at the Feb. 15 committee meeting, the board members discussed an administrative recommendation to implement all-day kindergarten district-wide, which they approved at a special meeting on Feb. 18, 2012. The Chronicle previously reported on that meeting and the committee discussion.  [Full Story]

AAPS Kindergarten: All Kids, All Day in ’12-13

Ann Arbor Public Schools Board of Education special meeting (Feb. 18, 2012): The AAPS school board approved an administrative recommendation to move to a district-wide all-day kindergarten program at a special meeting on Saturday afternoon.

Board of Education All Day kindergarten

Clockwise starting at left: AAPS board members Deb Mexicotte, Christine Stead, Andy Thomas, Glenn Nelson, and Susan Baskett. (Photo by the writer).

The weekend meeting was scheduled when it became apparent at the board’s Feb. 15 committee-of-the-whole meeting that all trustees were in full support of the recommendation. The board wanted to be able to begin telling families about the change sooner. The board does not typically take action at committee meetings, even if a quorum is present. That’s why a special meeting was called for the vote to take place.

All-day kindergarten for all AAPS students will replace the matrix of district kindergarten choices currently offered, which includes the following options: half-day morning; half-day afternoon; all-day; extended-day (morning kindergarten, followed by afternoon childcare with the same teacher and an aide); and “K Care” (childcare through AAPS Rec & Ed to complement half-day kindergarten). Currently, the options available at each school are different, can change each year, and can cost extra.

The board’s vote means that next year, all AAPS kindergarten students will participate in a full-day program at no additional cost to families. [Full Story]

AAPS Hopes to Cross “Discipline Gap”

Ann Arbor Public Schools Committee of the Whole meeting (December 7, 2011): At Wednesday’s board committee meeting, AAPS superintendent Patricia Green outlined her vision for addressing what she called the “discipline gap.” The board met as a committee of the whole (COTW).

Suspension statistics Ann Arbor Public Schools

Percentage of AAPS high school students by ethnicity with at least one suspension during the school year. Part of the discipline gap that district superintendent Patria Green wants to address is reflected in the different between the blue bars – African American students – and other ethnic groups. Bars are clumped by year. (Image links to higher resolution file.)

Green sees closing the discipline gap as a gateway to eliminating the district’s achievement gap. Green’s presentation included a detailed breakdown of suspension data from the past eight years – a data set that shows a disproportionately high number of African-American students, special needs students, and economically disadvantaged students being suspended or otherwise removed from instructional time.

Trustees expressed optimism that Green’s comprehensive and integrated approach could ultimately be effective in addressing the achievement gap. Saying that while the board has had binders, spreadsheets, and plans before, board president Deb Mexicotte said she believes in Green’s leadership. “A lot of times in the past, the piecemeal bits have not been clear how they would work together … I now believe we can do this.”

Recalling a question Green asked the board during her interview process last spring, Mexicotte told Green, “You asked us what we would like to see in five years, and we said: Close the achievement gap. We are absolutely unified on this.”

Also discussed at the Dec. 7 COTW  meeting were the new “cut scores” being used to determine student proficiency on the annual state Michigan Educational Assessment Program (MEAP) test and Michigan Merit Exam (MME). Under the new system, students will need to get approximately 65% of the answers correct to be labeled proficient or above; the previous proficiency level was set at 39%. The district is working to mitigate parents’ surprise and concern. This year’s student scores will in most cases likely register a significant drop.

Trustees also gave their assent to a proposal by top administrators to widen the range of students who are able to address the board at their regular meetings, heard a brief budget update, and reviewed their upcoming agenda. [Full Story]

Forum for Six AAPS Board Candidates

The Ann Arbor area League of Women Voters (LWV) will hold a candidate forum on Monday, Oct. 3 from 7-8 p.m. at the Community Television Network studio, 2805 South Industrial Highway, Ann Arbor. The public is invited to attend but not to participate. The forum will also be broadcast live on CTN’s CitiTV Channel 19.

Two seats on the Ann Arbor Public Schools board of education are up for election on the Nov. 8, 2011 ballot, each for four-year terms. The seats are currently held by Simone Lightfoot and Andy Thomas, who are both seeking re-election. Challenging the incumbents are: Albert Howard, Ahmar Iqbal, Patrick Leonard, and Larry Murphy. [Full Story]

AAPS Families Challenged By Busing Changes

Ann Arbor Public Schools Board of Education meeting (Sept. 14, 2011): The main topic of discussion at Wednesday’s meeting of the board of education was transportation, specifically cuts to bus service that the district has made this school year.

The full 45 minutes of public commentary time was used at the meeting, and it was almost exclusively devoted to the transportation. Public commentary was bookended by pleas from administrators to view the transportation cuts as necessary in the context of severe state funding decreases. Ann Arbor Public Schools superintendent Patricia Green warned, “Although we have had a lot of pain, be aware that this is not the end of the budget reduction cycle.”

Later in the meeting, Brit Satchwell, president of the local teachers’ union, jettisoned the remarks he had prepared for his regular report to the board, and instead made an openly partisan, passionate speech echoing the outraged sentiment expressed during public commentary, and imploring the community to unify in opposition to Gov. Rick Snyder instead of blaming each other.

Describing Snyder as “the man whose finger hit the first domino,” Satchwell argued, “The Republicans have taken $1 billion from students and the elderly and turned it into corporate tax breaks … We are dealing with ideologues who will not compromise and will not be moved by facts … We have to step back and look at the source of the problem.”

Also at Wednesday’s meeting, the board approved the district’s choice of auditors and financial institutions, and the recently ratified tentative agreement with the AAEA-P, the union representing the district’s paraprofessionals. It also reviewed two bids under consideration – one for the publishing of the Rec & Ed course catalog, and one for the contracting of therapeutic services needed to meet the needs of special education students. Both bids will return to the board for a second briefing and vote at its next meeting. [Full Story]

AAPS to Float February Tech Millage

Ann Arbor Public Schools board of education meeting (August 10, 2011): AAPS board of education trustees approved a resolution at their Aug. 10 meeting to ask voters to fund $45.8 million in technology improvements across the district.


Trustee Andy Thomas uses a magnifying glass to review the amortization table presented as part of the bond proposal during an Aug. 9 special meeting. (Photo by the writer.)

The request to the voters will take the form of a tax to be paid by property owners over the next 13 years at an average rate of around .51 mills to support the sale of bonds. The rate will vary because the bonds will be issued in series in order to ensure that the equipment purchased with the bonds has a useful life longer than it takes to pay off the bonds used to purchase it. [A rate of .51 mills is $0.51 for every $1,000 of a property's taxable value.]

Trustees plan to place the measure on the Feb. 28, 2012 ballot – the fourth Tuesday of the month. Previously, the board had discussed the possibility of placing it on the Nov. 8, 2011 ballot.

If approved, the millage would pay for a bond that would fund upgrades to equipment previously purchased with a 2004 bond, including student, teacher, and administrative computers, as well as upgrade infrastructure such as switches, servers, and the district’s wireless “backbone.”

The new bond would also include support for new classroom technologies and administrative software.

The Aug. 10 decision to place the technology millage on the February 2012 ballot came after discussion at a special board meeting on Aug. 9, which was called to allow for trustees to share feedback they had received from the community since directing administration to prepare for a tech bond at a study session on July 13.

The Aug. 10 meeting also included trustees’ unanimous vote supporting a new DVD recommended by the district’s Sexual Health Education Advisory Committee (SHEAC). [Full Story]