Stories indexed with the term ‘per-pupil allowance’

Column: Is Public Education A Charity Case?

If you’re like me, then every January you think to yourself, “This year, I’m going to spread out my charitable giving over the course of twelve months. It would be so much better for my cash flow, and probably it would be better for the nonprofits as well.”

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

Ruth Kraut

And then, come November and December, I realize that once again, I failed to spread out my giving – and I had better pull out my checkbook. Writing the bulk of these checks at the end of the year has a benefit, in that it allows me to look at all of my donations at once. But it also means that I’m in a rush and I don’t always take the time to reflect. So this is my opportunity.

Like many of you, we make donations to local, national, and international groups that focus on a wide range of issues. For us, those organizations do work related to health, the environment, politics, women’s issues, Jewish groups, social action, human services, and more.

Although I do give to some groups that, loosely speaking, fit the category of “education,” those entities do not make up a significant proportion of our donations. I confess to a certain ambivalence to giving to such groups – because, in many ways, I’m already a big contributor to public education. And it’s likely that you are, too. [Full Story]

AAPS Board Hands Off Athletics Cuts

The Ann Arbor Public Schools (AAPS) board of education welcomed its new superintendent, Patricia Green, to her first set of public meetings on Wednesday, July 13, and trustees gave direction to Green and her administration on three issues: the athletics budget; a statistics “dashboard”; and a technology upgrade bond.

Glenn Nelson, John Young, Dottie Davis

Left to right: AAPS trustee Glenn Nelson; John Young (athletic coordinator at Skyline High School); Dottie Davis (AD at Huron High School). (Photos by the writer.)

After sharing divergent opinions over many hours of candid discussion, trustees directed AAPS administration to use their “best judgment” in making $475,000 worth of cuts to athletics district-wide.

They also informally requested that the administration create a “dashboard” of district statistics, as required to qualify for additional “best practices” funding from the state.

Finally, through a formal resolution, the board directed the AAPS administration to work toward placing a technology bond on the November ballot. The bond, if passed, would levy a new millage to upgrade computers and other technological devices throughout the district.

The direction given by the board on those three issues came as a result of an unusual combination of meetings on Wednesday.

First, during a planning committee meeting lasting from 3-5:30 p.m., a revised set of athletics cuts was discussed by that committee and relevant members of the administration. Then, at 5:40 p.m., the remaining trustees arrived and board president Deb Mexicotte called a regular board meeting to order, which was recessed immediately into a study session.

During the study session discussion, which lasted over four and a half hours, the board discussed four items – the athletics cuts, the “dashboard,” a technology bond, and the possibility of offering all-day kindergarten district-wide. At the conclusion of the study session, the board resumed its regular meeting for just five minutes in order to take formal action on only one of the items – pursuing a technology bond. [Full Story]

School Board Calls Extra Session on Budget

Ann Arbor Public Schools board of education meeting (May 25, 2011): The May 25 meeting of the AAPS board of education opened on a somber note, with board president Deb Mexicotte requesting a moment of silence to honor Huron High School junior Seth Harsch, who died Tuesday after stepping in front of a train. Mexicotte noted that crisis counselors have been on hand at Huron to offer support to students and staff, who are dealing with the loss to their community.

A handful of residents addressed the board during a public hearing on the proposed 2011-12 AAPS budget. The board will hold an additional study session on the budget on Fri., June 3 at 3:30 p.m. in the main conference room of the Balas administration building, and the public is invited.

The session will focus on prioritizing objectives, in case the finalization of the state budget leads to greater revenue for the district than initially expected. If revenue projections increase, the board may choose to restore high school busing, decrease class sizes, or make other amendments to the currently proposed budget. A final vote on the budget is scheduled for June 8.

Public commentary on the Haisley Elementary School parking lot continued. Although many of the speakers requested additional changes to the design, the board approved the proposal as it had been presented at the board’s first briefing, along with a host of other facilities improvement projects. Trustees also approved the purchase of a new standardized assessment tool, the Northwest Evaluation Association Assessment (NWEA), primarily for use in grades K-5.

Late in the meeting, which lasted over seven hours, the board engaged in a frank discussion regarding the Washtenaw Intermediate School District’s (WISD’s) budget as it relates to state reimbursement of special education services as well as local tax levies. Though trustees eventually passed a proposal in support of the budget, some board members registered strong concerns.

Finally, the board heard first briefings on a number of other items, including the 2011 millage resolution that will accompany the final budget vote, and updates on both the AAPS strategic plan and a set of board policies. [Full Story]