Stories indexed with the term ‘school bus’

1414 Wells

Second bell has rung at Burns Park and not a single bus has arrived yet, due to the snow.

AAPS Trustees Lament State’s “Hoops”

Ann Arbor Public Schools board of education meeting (Oct. 12, 2011): Reaction to new state-level legislation and how it’s affecting the school district was a common theme of nearly every section of the Oct. 12 AAPS board meeting.

Robert Allen Ann Arbor Public Schools

AAPS deputy superintendent of operations Robert Allen (left) and Washtenaw Intermediate School District transportation director Tom Moore addressed the board's questions regarding transportation. (Photo by the writer.)

At the meeting, the board passed the necessary set of resolutions to qualify for the restoration of $1.6 million of support from the state, as board members criticized the state’s process as “hoops” they needed to jump through.

Budget constraints came up in most of the topics on which the board took action, as well as during two informational updates – one on the bus service, and one on the results of an insurance audit undertaken by the district. Multiple speakers who addressed the board urged trustees to take political action and to lead the community in legislative advocacy and state-level reform.

Transportation service changes were again a major point of discussion at the Oct. 12 meeting. Board members questioned the success of the district’s bus service consolidation with the Washtenaw Intermediate School District. Four parents spoke at public commentary about safety concerns resulting from loss of bus service, especially with the winter weather approaching.

At last Wednesday’s meeting, the board also voted to purchase additional algebra textbooks, approved the printing of the Rec & Ed catalogue, and renewed a contract for therapeutic services needed for special education students. [Full Story]

AAPS Board Sets 2011-12 Budget

The 2011-12 Ann Arbor Public Schools (AAPS) budget, approved by the board of education on June 8, will cut 62.3 teaching positions, modify bus service to high school students, and require the use of $810,000 of the district’s fund balance.

The $183 million budget went through many iterations since originally proposed in April, before the board approved it on Wednesday evening on a 5-2 vote. Trustees Simone Lightfoot and Christine Stead dissented.

Details on the board deliberations that led to the split vote on the budget will be included in The Chronicle’s forthcoming meeting report, along with the other board business transacted that evening.

This brief highlights the key elements of the approved budget. [Full Story]

Ann Arbor School Board Weighs Cuts

When the board of education trustees meet on Wednesday evening to pass the fiscal year 2011-12 budget for the Ann Arbor Public Schools, they will have to choose between what to cut now and what to cut later.

AAPS Robert Allen

AAPS interim superintendent Robert Allen and board chair Deb Mexicotte. (Photo by the writer.)

School districts across Michigan are facing an ongoing structural deficit in state funding, along with significant anticipated cuts in reimbursement for special education services, and increases in mandated payments into the Michigan Public School Employees Retirement System (MPSERS).

Since the AAPS board last met on May 25, Michigan legislators passed a budget for the upcoming state fiscal year, which begins in October 2011 – though it still awaits Gov. Rick Snyder’s signature. The budget includes a one-time provision to offset the increase in school districts’ MPSERS payments, as well as one-time grants to districts that meet at least four out of five “best practice” guidelines, as defined by the state.

For AAPS, this means the district could receive as much as $4 million more in state funding than anticipated when its 2011-12 budget was proposed – a $2.4 million retirement offset, and a possible $1.6 million in best practice grant funding. In light of these changes, AAPS trustees met Friday, June 3 to review possible amendments to the budget proposal they will be considering Wednesday. No binding decisions were made at the study session, and there was no consensus among trustees about how much to defer to recommendations brought by the administration.

Changes to transportation services and class sizes generated the most discussion. The proposed budget includes a reduction of 70 teaching positions, which would raise class sizes at all grade levels by two or three students per classroom. Administration has proposed bringing back 7.7 of those 70 positions, though trustees discussed whether the district should add back even more.

The board also discussed the possibility of proposing additional local millages. Revenues could be used to refresh technology districtwide and build more classrooms, allowing AAPS to offer all-day kindergarten at all elementary schools. Ballot language for any proposed millages would need to be completed by the end of August to be voted on this fall.

Two four-year terms for board of education trustees will also be on the Nov. 8 ballot, for seats currently held by trustees Simone Lightfoot and Andy Thomas. [Full Story]

AAPS: Which Bus Route to Take?

Ann Arbor Public Schools Board of Education meeting (June 4, 2010): At an extra, regular meeting on Friday evening, the school board heard an updated presentation on the details of a proposed consolidation of school transportation services with the Washtenaw Intermediate School District (WISD). The board’s second briefing on the consolidation and its vote, will come Wednesday, June 9.


AAPS trustee Susan Baskett and deputy superintendent for operations Robert Allen listen to the transportation consolidation proposal. (Photos by the writer.)

Brian Marcel, assistant superintendent of business services for WISD, walked board members through the proposal, and went through an extensive list of questions and answers about the plan. A few bus drivers from AAPS, as well as some from Lincoln Consolidated Schools, attended the meeting – one of them, Richard Miller, spoke during public commentary.

The only other business conducted at the meeting was to approve a set of minutes, and to schedule an executive session before the next regular meeting on Wednesday, June 9. [Full Story]