Stories indexed with the term ‘Washtenaw Intermediate School District’

County to Expand Contract with WISD

Authorization to contract with the Washtenaw Intermediate School District (WISD) for educational services received initial approval by the county board of commissioners at its Oct. 2, 2013 meeting. A final vote is expected on Oct. 16. [.pdf of WISD contract]

For 2013-2014, WISD will provide services to the Washtenaw County children’s services department, as well as the juvenile detention and daybreak residential programs. WISD has been providing summer school sessions for the county since 2004.

The estimated cost for the 2013-2014 year is $531,347. State funding will pick up most of those costs, with the county responsible for an estimated $146,116. Half of that $146,116 will be eligible for reimbursement from the state Child Care Fund, leaving a … [Full Story]

School Board Mulls Millage, Proposal A

Ann Arbor Public Schools board of education committee of the whole meeting (Oct. 3, 2012): Trustees focused their committee meeting on the possibility of changing the district’s overall structural financial picture. They took care to contrast that effort with a different kind of discussion – about the budget. The topic of improving larger financial picture had been identified as one of the two goals for trustees at their August retreat. The other top goal was strengthening trust and building relationships among the board members.

AAPS board president Deb Mexicotte

AAPS board president Deb Mexicotte. (Photos by the writer.)

The board’s committee discussion centered on four main topics: vision; revenue enhancement; action needed by the state legislature; and communication.

Discussion of revenue enhancement was highlighted by the possibility of asking voters to approve an enhancement millage through the Washtenaw Intermediate School District – which would entail a countywide vote. Voters in 2009 rejected such a proposal, which would have resulted in a 2 mill tax for five years, starting in 2010. It was projected to raise $30 million annually, to be divided among the 10 school districts in Washtenaw County. The AAPS share would have been a bit over $11 million. Board discussion at the Oct. 3 committee meeting acknowledged the need to generate support for such a proposal in other districts in the county besides AAPS.

Discussion of possible lobbying efforts directed at the state legislature was highlighted by the possibility of amending Proposal A, passed in 1994, which limits the ability of local communities to levy increased taxes to support schools. [Full Story]

County Board OKs Contract with WISD

At its Aug. 3, 2011 meeting, the Washtenaw County board of commissioners authorized a contract with the Washtenaw Intermediate School District, funding educational programs at the county’s Juvenile Detention Center and the Daybreak Residential program.

The agreement provides $380,379 for the 2011-12 school year, and gives the county administrator the authority to sign second-year contracts for the 2012-13 school year. The county expects to be reimbursed by the state for all but $75,370 of the annual cost. According to a staff memo, the WISD would provide two certified teachers and a half-time school social worker for up to 30 youth, based on the program capacities and a ratio no greater than one teacher to 10 youth, as required by state and federal … [Full Story]

AAPS Preps to Push for Special Ed Tax

Ann Arbor Public Schools board of education regular meeting (March 2, 2011): The board’s decision – made at a special meeting held Saturday – to begin negotiations with Patricia Green about becoming the district’s next superintendent was preceded earlier in the week by a regular, routine meeting of the board.

At Wednesday’s regular meeting, the highlight was a presentation on the special education millage that will appear on the ballot on May 3, 2011. The proposed tax would renew an existing levy for the next seven years, and is projected to generate $14 million to support special education services in school districts across Washtenaw County. Of that amount, AAPS would be allocated around $5.7 million.

The special ed millage is not the same kind of proposal as the unsuccessful November 2009 ballot proposal – which was to levy a new, additional 2 mill tax to support general operations for districts countywide.

In addition to the presentation, the board heard its usual range of board and association reports during the meeting. [Full Story]

Does It Take a Millage?

Ann Arbor tax document

An Ann Arbor summer tax bill, showing some of the assessments for Ann Arbor schools. For Ann Arbor Public Schools (AAPS), the millage rates reflect half the amount collected annually.

Among Michigan’s public educators, the 2010-11 fiscal year is being called “The Cliff.” Based on a grim downward trajectory of funding from the state, decreasing revenues from local property taxes and expenses like health care continuing to climb, that’s the year many districts are expected to plummet over the edge into the red.

Robert Allen, deputy superintendent of the Ann Arbor Public Schools, described this scenario at a sparsely attended forum last Thursday at Huron High School, where he and superintendent Todd Roberts made a pitch for voters to support a proposed countywide millage on the Nov. 3 ballot. They didn’t claim that AAPS would be among those districts falling off the cliff, but they did say their district faces a $15 million deficit that year. Without new revenue from the millage, they contend that the district would need to make dramatic cuts, and that those cuts would almost certainly affect students in the classroom. Michigan’s financial crisis is hitting hard, they say.

“As the state goes, so goes our funding,” Allen told the group on Thursday.

The state isn’t going so well.

But opponents argue that school districts haven’t done enough to cut costs, and that taxpayers can’t absorb the added burden of another millage. Beyond that, people on both sides say there’s an urgent need to reform the way schools are funded in Michigan, regardless of the success or failure of the Nov. 3 millage vote.

This Chronicle report looks at how Michigan funds K-12 public schools, why local school districts say they need a special enhancement millage and why critics say they don’t, and what that proposed millage would entail. Ann Arbor Public Schools is the largest of Washtenaw County’s 10 school districts, and would receive over a third of the $30 million collected from the millage annually – we’ll focus our coverage on that district. [Full Story]

Column: We Must See the Homeless – And Help

When I present to school groups, I always pose the same question: What images come to mind when you hear the word homeless? Inevitably, the answers sound the same, whether I’m speaking to University of Michigan athletes or elementary age students huddled in a circle on the floor. They think of single adults, often male, outside, asking for food or money. They think of someone who is dirty, wearing layers and layers of clothes, maybe someone pushing a grocery cart.

The truth is, the homeless are diverse – and a great many are invisible and forgotten.

Each day, I work with homeless families, children and youth as an education advocate with the Education Project for Homeless Youth. You likely won’t see … [Full Story]