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Posted on Thu, Jun 9, 2011 : 5:59 a.m.

Ann Arbor school board passes budget that cuts 62.3 teachers, gives busing options

By Kyle Feldscher

Ann Arbor high school students will have the option to take a bus to school in the 2011-12 school year and about 8 fewer teaching positions will be cut than originally anticipated, according to the budget passed by the school board Wednesday.

Trustees passed the $183 million budget by a 5-2 vote, filling a deficit that eventually grew to about $16 million. The budget originally included the elimination of high school transportation and 70 full-time teacher positions. The final budget passed Wednesday included high school transportation and eliminated 62.3 full-time teacher positions.

High school students will now have to use common bus stops, such as an elementary school or another centralized location, where buses will pick them up and take them to school in the morning and drop them off in the afternoon.

The move to common bus stops, along with enforcing the school board’s already existing policy of having no bus stops within a half-mile of each other and eliminating after-school shuttles are targeted to save $1 million. Eliminating high school transportation completely was expected to save about $1.4 million.

Interim superintendent Robert Allen said district officials wanted to fill cuts with replacements that both were cost-effective and made sense.

“What we tried to do was not just to bring things back but try to balance and get savings in other areas,” he said, “while still addressing some of the concerns the community had with not providing transportation at all.”

Trustee Glenn Nelson proposed an amendment to the budget that was approved to reduce the target from $1.3 million in transportation cuts to $1 million. The budget includes using $810,000 in reserve funds. District officials originally proposed $510,000 in reserve funds.

Trustee Christine Stead voted against the amendment and the entire budget because she disagreed with using more reserve funds to trim the cut to transportation. She said the district needs to save more money to protect itself against any unforeseen changes in school funding.

“I don’t think that’s the right direction at all,” she said.

Trustee Simone Lightfoot voted against the budget because she wanted more information before voting for the cuts to transportation service. She read a litany of concerns she had received from parents and families.

“If we put this out there and at least expose the public to the realities of the budget, we are potentially facing then we’ll have time to have more parent weigh-in,” she said.

The inclusion of high school transportation and the preservation of 7.7 teacher positions eliminated were steps back from two of the biggest cuts in the proposed budget. Along with sharing principals among four elementary schools, the school board and district administrators ended up reducing the three most controversial portions of the 2011-12 proposed budget.

The budget is set up to deal with the new $300 per pupil cut and a $170 per pupil cut approved by the state legislature last month. In addition, retirement costs are expected to increase by about $230 per pupil.

The school district will receive a one-time payment of $2.4 million from the state to help with increasing retirement costs. If the district meets four of five best practices set up by the state, Ann Arbor could receive an additional $1.6 million in state funding.

By the end of the meeting, which came after 1 a.m. Thursday, each trustee wore expressions of frustration and fatigue.

Stead said she refused to leave the meeting thinking the district ended up with a victory by seeing the cuts to the district lessened.

“This is insanity,” she said. “This incites anger, at least in me. … This is what we’re talking about tonight, this is our budget and it’s because we haven’t addressed the structural issue and surely only the state can address the structural issue.”

The budget includes no layoffs of full-time teachers, with all of the position reductions coming through attrition and negotiations with the Ann Arbor Education Association.

According to AAEA president Brit Satchwell, the negotiated contract changes were a one-year suspension of 150 hours per week of open library time for kindergarten through eighth grades, a one-year suspension of the contractual requirement to add one more media specialist at Skyline and a one-year reduction for media specialists for Roberto Clemente Student Development Center and Stone School.

The budget assumes that about 8 full-time teachers will leave the district in some way between now and the beginning of school.

“If we use historical data, we’re fairly confident that between now and the start of school, the other 8 would come through,” Allen said.

The biggest issue trustees faced during this budget process — and will continue to deal with — was the inability to raise revenue locally for the district.

Although district officials presented multiple slides of budget cuts in their presentation, there were just three ways revenue could be enhanced — adding students via Schools of Choice openings, raising prices for parking at Pioneer High School during University of Michigan football games and receiving retirement funding from the state.

The inability to levy taxes on a district level severely limits what local districts like Ann Arbor can do, trustee Irene Patalan said.

Until then, trustees will continue to look to Lansing in disappointment, she said.

“While I really respect our efforts to do something locally … honestly, state of Michigan, you’re going to get what you pay for,” Patalan said.

Kyle Feldscher covers K-12 education for He can be reached at or you can follow him on Twitter.


Jeff Redding

Mon, Jun 13, 2011 : 6:29 p.m.

What a surprise to learn from here that Pioneer counselor Ellen Sapper is being treated so badly by the school system. Ms. Sapper was my 9th-grade English teacher at Clague, where she taught me so much about not only writing, but also about what it meant to be a human being. I can't think of someone more deserving of our appreciation for taking on the challenges of working in a public education system. In a world of so much lack of compassion, Ms. Sapper knows how to listen to you, and also get you to listen to yourself. It's a sad day when we can't treat people like her with the utmost of respect and, also, basic kindness. - Jeff Redding

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Fri, Jun 10, 2011 : 12:15 p.m.

snap wrote: &quot;I love the unions, they cry about a 470 dollar budget cut but say nothing about the 230 dollars going to their lucrative pension fund. Actions speak louder than words. I'm all for teachers, I'm opposed to the uncompromising, unresponsive, uncooperative teacher's 'unions' who misrepresent, falsify, and manipulate the facts to suit their own needs. Teachers would be better off to seperate themselves from these &quot;bully unions&quot;. It's time to put your expertise to use in getting this runaway union train under control.&quot; Snapshot: can you please find in the contract between the AAPS and the AAEA the page where it addresses the AAPS contribution to teachers' retirement. Here's a link to that contract: <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> Good Luck finding it because it doesn't exist. Seems there certainly is someone &quot;who misrepresent, falsify, and manipulate the facts to suit their own needs&quot; but, in this case, it's not the teachers' unions. Good Night and Good Luck


Fri, Jun 10, 2011 : 5:21 a.m.

I love the unions, they cry about a 470 dollar budget cut but say nothing about the 230 dollars going to their lucrative pension fund. Actions speak louder than words. I'm all for teachers, I'm opposed to the uncompromising, unresponsive, uncooperative teacher's &quot;unions&quot; who misrepresent, falsify, and manipulate the facts to suit their own needs. Teachers would be better off to seperate themselves from these &quot;bully unions&quot;. It's time to put your expertise to use in getting this runaway union train under control.

Macabre Sunset

Fri, Jun 10, 2011 : 1:15 a.m.

&quot;In addition, retirement costs are expected to increase by about $230 per pupil.&quot; This will continue. And until it's addressed at the state level, our children will suffer.


Thu, Jun 9, 2011 : 10:21 p.m.

Cut administrators. Pay teachers a salary equal to the private sector (this will most likely be a raise). Have benefits brought into line with the private sector (this will be a reduction). This myopic budget kicks the can down the road. It will be worse next year and the year after and so on.


Sat, Jun 11, 2011 : 3:03 p.m.

1bit - Nationwide, private-sector salaries for K-12 teachers run $30-50k per year in salary, and another $20k max for benefits, including a defined-contribution pension with minimal matching from the employer. In other words, on average teachers earn about 50% of what AAPS and typical SE Michigan school districts pay for similar education and levels of experience. That's what private schools pay (several friends are teachers at private schools) and that's what charters pay, sometimes even here. Michigan's teachers are among the highest paid in the US, and Ann Arbor's teachers are among the highest paid in Michigan. Plus Michigan public school teachers get gold-plated health insurance and excellent, defined benefit pensions. School administrators get the same deal, only even more generous. I agree with you. The state and the school districts MUST reform this structural imbalance. We can no longer afford the MEA skimming 10-25% off every teachers' health insurance coverage.


Thu, Jun 9, 2011 : 9:34 p.m.

I've said it before in many ways, but I'll say it again. The education profession has been losing the battle for top talent for many years now. Further reductions in teacher pay or benefits will only exacerbate that problem. Look elsewhere to balance the budget, as balancing it on the backs of teachers will endanger the future for all of us.


Thu, Jun 9, 2011 : 7:45 p.m.

There is no one to blame for this except for the people that refuse to recognize that as real estate values drop so does the amount of taxes collected to support the schools. The biggest problem is that the U of M owns a lot of land in washtenaw county which is tax exempt and for that reason I think that the tax exempt universities that own land should support/help fund the public schools based on the amount of land they own in the community.

Macabre Sunset

Fri, Jun 10, 2011 : 1:25 a.m.

They own 17% of Ann Arbor, and provide 34,000 jobs. They also keep Ann Arbor stocked with high-income, educated people, which raises home values. What would Ann Arbor be without the University? Try Ypsilanti. Meanwhile, churches own almost 10% of Ann Arbor's land, and don't provide many jobs. If we're going to start taxing businesses that don't pay property taxes, let's start there. Churches have been freeloading off the American public for far too long.


Thu, Jun 9, 2011 : 10:29 p.m.

DonBee - Can this be true? Renters don't pay school taxes, their landlords do. The U no longer contributes to the schools for the students living in married housing? And they, of course don't pay any taxes to help support the schools. Kyle -This is something I would like you to look into. How many students?


Thu, Jun 9, 2011 : 8:23 p.m.

WLD1 - At one time, the UofM provided money for the number of children of married students who lived in married student housing on the grounds of the U of M. They no longer contribute at all, so those students from Married Student Housing attend Ann Arbor Public Schools totally cost free. A decade ago, the U of M contribution was about 1 percent of the total budget of the school system. Today that would have been about $2 million or enough to keep 20 teachers -OR- high school busing. The reality is they contribute ZERO Dollars today.

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Thu, Jun 9, 2011 : 8:09 p.m.

Sorry, but no. The biggest problem is that the state has drastically cut its per pupil funding to the school districts over the past several years, and those revenues have nothing to do with property value. Good Night and Good Luck


Thu, Jun 9, 2011 : 7:05 p.m.

For all those, that are blaming this on Governor Snyder; support a millage increase. Ann Arbor schools pay their teachers substantially better than most districts in the state (and I'm happy for those, who make a good living teaching). To those blaming people in Lansing, I ask,&quot;Why should I have to pay for your kids education?&quot; If you like your school district, then pay for it.

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Thu, Jun 9, 2011 : 8:07 p.m.

Under Prop A there individual school districts cannot increase their operating millages. I think it fair to say that, if AAPS were able to hold such a vote, it would be overwhelmingly approved. Good Night and Good Luck


Thu, Jun 9, 2011 : 6:46 p.m.

Talk around town is simply that one child (not all of his children) wanted to go to Greenhills. It is a good school. His family could afford it.

Jon Saalberg

Thu, Jun 9, 2011 : 5:27 p.m.

Has anyone heard or have a link to comments on why our esteemed state leader, the honorable Mr. Snyder, does not deign to send have his children attend our fine public schools? I would think that might give us some insight as to why he seems to be tone deaf on the benefits of a public school education.


Thu, Jun 9, 2011 : 10:46 p.m.

Mr Saalberg This is akin to the pot calling the kettle black. Here are a couple links for you demonstrating that public school teachers are much more likely to send their own kids to private school: <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> <a href="" rel='nofollow'>;source=web&amp;cd=5&amp;sqi=2&amp;ved=0CD4QFjAE&amp;;rct=j&amp;q=michigan%20public%20school%20teachers%20children%20in%20private%20schools&amp;ei=X0vxTcPSM-ja0QG52rihBA&amp;usg=AFQjCNFldXDd1IFZgt9-HKARPL5b-zEmjw</a> The second link is to a PDF, so I'm not sure it will work, but it is a study that demonstrates the same thing. So, you have to ask the question; why are the esteemed public school teachers not sending their own kids to public school? Kind of sticks in your throat, doesn't it?


Thu, Jun 9, 2011 : 8:20 p.m.

Mr Saalberg - His children all did. His daughter (the youngest) asked to go to Greenhills with her friends, prior to that, she rode the same bus my children did. His older children were a Huron with my oldest. Governor Snyder was frequently at meetings and made donations routinely to class causes (e.g. class trips, bagel sales, etc). He honored the request of his daughter, what parent would not honor a request of a child with regard to education if they could.


Thu, Jun 9, 2011 : 5 p.m.

I'm disappointed to hear the negativity being expressed publicly by the trustees. Nobody said this would be easy but stirring up emotions amongst the taxpayers is wrong. It's your job to deal with the problems and budgets, not be a politcal commentator.


Thu, Jun 9, 2011 : 4:32 p.m.

Can anyone clarify what this means - &quot;a one-year suspension of 150 hours per week of open library time for kindergarten through eighth grades&quot;? Does that mean that elementary school students will no longer have Library as a weekly special?


Fri, Jun 10, 2011 : 2:06 a.m.

Thanks, sh1!


Thu, Jun 9, 2011 : 8:53 p.m.

Open library time is the time the media specialist is available to work with students or teachers in addition to the regularly scheduled time they get.

Mary (Parish) Terhune

Thu, Jun 9, 2011 : 3:56 p.m.

I find it shocking that the very talented and caring teacher/counselor Ellen Sapper was cut from the counseling staff at Pioneer yesterday. Ellen was my 9th grade English teacher back in 1980. She made a huge positive impact on my life and in my ability to write. Because of her influence, I had a successful career in Corporate Communications for many years. In addition, she was a mentor and huge source of support to me during my high school and college years. Thirty years later, she remains a friend and trusted advisor. I live in Texas now, but she is exactly the sort of person I would want counseling my own 3 children. I can't imagine who made that decision? Very sad for future students!!

Kyle Feldscher

Thu, Jun 9, 2011 : 3:53 p.m.

I originally included in this story that the school district was cutting noon-hour transportation for kindergartners and that was a mistake on my part. I was informed this morning that the elimination of noon-hour transportation was simply a proposal that didn't end up making it into the final budget. There will, in fact, be transportation in 2011-12 for kindergartners. I regret the error and apologize. The story has been updated to reflect this.


Thu, Jun 9, 2011 : 3:49 p.m.

Well since we already have skyline sucking out all this money we should switch things around to at least salvage something. First we should move all the AAPS offices to Community. Then we move Community High to the Skyline building, and allow more students to be chosen who put their names in the draw for Community. Then we reintegrate Skyline students to their prospective high schools (There should be more room now with Community accepting more people/moving the Rec&amp;Ed dept. out of Pioneer). We cut costs from closing Balas Admin bldg and relocating it. We will also have to employ less teachers/maintenance so therefore no cuts would have to be made. Then we could maybe use Skyline's athletic areas for revenue from Rec&amp;Ed and hosting other sporting events (idk if they already do this or not).


Thu, Jun 9, 2011 : 8:25 p.m.

At the very least, there should be room to accept School of Choice spots for high schoolers.


Thu, Jun 9, 2011 : 6:47 p.m.

@Mike: Principals and curriculms are not even a part of this situation, those are interchangeable. And maybe some parents don't want kids going to Community...but there are a lot of kids who put their names in the lottery and don't get in. Also, I'm sure in 10 years Skyline will have this same 'riff-raff' you speak of.


Thu, Jun 9, 2011 : 5:04 p.m.

What makes you think people want their kids going to Community? I'd pu my kids in private school before I'd let them go to Pioneer or Community. Skyline has a great principal and good cirriculum and doesn't put up with the riff-raff.


Thu, Jun 9, 2011 : 3:57 p.m.

great ideas, especially moving Community to Skyline (allowing more students in lottery) and getting Rec.Ed. out of Pioneer. Balas might be easier to sell than other buildings. sadly, i highly doubt any of these ideas will even be considered.


Thu, Jun 9, 2011 : 3:30 p.m.

Ellen Sapper is one of the best of Pioneer and is counselor who truly cares about her students. She works hard to make their education the best it can be. Ms. Sapper has been a shining light in the Ann Arbor schools for years and years, and now she's being involutarily transfered. It's a huge loss for Pioneer and for all her students.

Basic Bob

Fri, Jun 10, 2011 : 3:51 a.m.

Involuntary transfer? Perhaps this is a seniority thing, but when did employees gain the right to refuse work assignments? When did parents gain the right to pick the school staff?


Thu, Jun 9, 2011 : 5:52 p.m.

There will be less students at Pioneer. Their enrollment has gone from a high of 2800 to near 1600 next year. Both Huron and Pioneer have lost teachers, counselors, administrators and office professionals since Skyline has opened.


Thu, Jun 9, 2011 : 3:44 p.m.

where is she being transferred to and why--less counselors at pioneer?


Thu, Jun 9, 2011 : 2:39 p.m.

If you want to change the structural deficit, change the structure of the school district. Close one or two high schools. I vote for Community and maybe Stone or Roberto Clemente. Either that or keep nibbling around the edges and wondering why things don't get better. Keep in mind, 17 school districts in Michigan get more money per student than Ann Arbor (Including Mackenaw Island in the 17). 766 districts get less money per student than Ann Arbor and can make it work. We seem to have a high opion of ourselves around here, how do those guys in the other 766 districts pull it off if we can't. Odd. Maybe they don't have 6 high schools and a brand new $250K/Year $uper. 766 districts get less money than Ann Arbor - and can make it work.


Fri, Jun 10, 2011 : 7:47 p.m.

EyeHeartA2: all of AAPS's high schools will be at capacity next year, so it doesn't make sense to close one (or two). However, the Middle Schools are under-capacity at many schools by hundreds of students. Two or three could be closed but the public outcry would be huge.


Thu, Jun 9, 2011 : 6:15 p.m.

Uh, how many of those 766 districts are not making it work and are working on deficit elimination plans?


Thu, Jun 9, 2011 : 5:50 p.m.

Have you looked at what it costs to buy a house in say Cadillac or Kalkaska as compared to Ann Arbor? If you want teachers to be a part of the community where they work, they need to be able to purchase a home and raise a family in the community.


Thu, Jun 9, 2011 : 2:23 p.m.

What is real sad is that everyone fails to see the big picture here. Yeah, we saved busing. But we did not save the bus drivers job. They will be out sourced to Ypsilanti and to Willow Run. Why? Because if the buses are waiting at a school for hi school students, how many buses do they really need at each school? And how close is say a middle to an elementary? I know Clague is near an elementary. Scarlet with Mitchell and so forth. Good luck in the fall. Some drivers did loose their jobs as did the teachers. From what I see, does that mean after school is canceled too? I think I saw where after school busing is also gone. Parents are going to tell their children to take the bus home because they otherwise won't have a way home. Sad.


Thu, Jun 9, 2011 : 2:09 p.m.

If revenue is what we need, go to School Choice for High Schools. Bring in 200 students at each of the comprehensive high schools. 600 x $7000 is 4.2 million dollars. That is pretty good revenue isn't it? Or you could admit your mistake and close Skyline. Rossi Ray Taylor was right. We shouldn't have built that school. She was run out of town because she said we would not be able to afford to operate it with continued cuts in years to come. She was right. And here we are.


Thu, Jun 9, 2011 : 6:13 p.m.

Why do people assume that, if opened, 200 school-of-choice slots would fill at each high school? AA didn't meet their school-of-choice goal this year, would adding 600 slots to the goal make it easier to reach? Look around, there are other excellent public school-of-choice options available, and many consider several of those more attractive than Ann Arbor.


Thu, Jun 9, 2011 : 5:47 p.m.

The problem is that the high school classrooms are already jammed packed. If we bring in new kids, where will they come from? It seems that we have kids that leave to go to schools that are smaller where they can get more personal attention...


Thu, Jun 9, 2011 : 2:40 p.m.

Basic Bob for president! Obvious solution, isn't it?

Basic Bob

Thu, Jun 9, 2011 : 2:36 p.m.

We can't close Skyline now that it's built, also because we reduced the capacity at Pioneer and Huron. All that is left is to close Community High School and sell the land. We have run out of money for an experimental school for the faux elite.


Thu, Jun 9, 2011 : 2:08 p.m.

two questions (kyle?) 1) half day kindergarten parents will now have to pick-up/drive students to school? 2) what about Glenn Singleton/PEG, is this included in this budget?


Fri, Jun 10, 2011 : 12:49 p.m.

thanks for the clarification AMOC, i would like to know what the budget lists for &quot;professional development&quot; or &quot;equity programs&quot;. it seems that AABOE are able to play fast and loose with their terminology when listing certain things in their budget.


Fri, Jun 10, 2011 : 2:59 a.m.

Kyle - Teacher consultants are what most special education teachers are called. These teachers are listed in the budget centrally, not in building by building staff counts. PEG, if they are in the budget, with be listed under &quot;Professional Development&quot; or &quot;Equity Programs&quot;.


Thu, Jun 9, 2011 : 10:13 p.m.

$4.5 million!!! OMG


Thu, Jun 9, 2011 : 3:40 p.m.

thanks for the reply Kyle. wow, 4.5 million for &quot;teacher consultants&quot;. i wish that could be broken down to see what it is going for.

Kyle Feldscher

Thu, Jun 9, 2011 : 3:14 p.m.

ViSHa- Morning kindergartners will be taken to school by school buses, but will not be dropped off at home. Afternoon kindergartners will not be taken to school, but will be dropped off at home. As for PEG, there is no line item mention of them in the proposed budget but there is a total of $4.5 million for &quot;teacher consultants,&quot; which is the only monetary value associated with consultants in the budget. Obviously, PEG would not be in line for all of that, but I assume they will be getting a portion.

Thomas Jones

Thu, Jun 9, 2011 : 1:57 p.m.

Admin. staff should turn off their A/C in the summer.... that might save a couple of bucks! start small. Or how about turning the lights off during the day during to summer....


Thu, Jun 9, 2011 : 1:38 p.m.

hmm very intredasting


Thu, Jun 9, 2011 : 1:37 p.m.

It's just sad that all public schools are having so much trouble and really here in Ann Arbor where we all pay a lot to leave here and many of us choose to do so as the public school here is quite good....but not so sure how long that will be if they can't find a away to keep cutting the budget every year. The classroom size in some grades are already to big and now we lose more teachers. It is real hard to watch good teachers have to be cut and then we get good new young teachers only for them to be cut the next year... As for the bus system there are stops less than a 1/2 mile from each other because of the speeding cars that drive on the streets around where I leave and the fact that my daughter who will be in first grade next year would have to walk and cross these streets is really not going to be very safe....


Thu, Jun 9, 2011 : 2:18 p.m.

Looks like you are going to have start driving her to the stop. As for school stops? Parents are gonna love that one. Especially on Nixon and Plymouth. The nearest school stop for them is Clague and Northside and one other. Good luck parents. I do eventually see an end to hi school busing.

Greg Gunner

Thu, Jun 9, 2011 : 1:24 p.m.

&quot;Government's solution to every problem involves &quot;raising revenue.&quot; It's a reflex. It's also pathetic.&quot; No, what's pathetic is expecting the schools to operate like a business without giving them the freeedom to do so. If a business experiences an increase in their production cost, the price of their product goes up to cover the cost. Schools have been underfunded for the past 10-12 years. Teachers have accepted 0% pay raises, pay cuts, benefit cuts, increased retirement costs, etc. to try to keep the system afloat. Without their sacrifices the schools would have gone under long ago. And now, Slick Rick (the supposed job creator) is responsible for thousands of lost jobs in the public sector. Looks like your jobs program is headed in the wrong direction, Slick.


Thu, Jun 9, 2011 : 8:16 p.m.

skigrl50 - And the public schools who have some obligation to provide services for some disabilities to private schools under Federal law can stonewall so long and make it so hard that the private schools cannot meet the obligations and parents move the children back to the public schools because they have no other choice. The game is played on both ends.

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Thu, Jun 9, 2011 : 8:03 p.m.

&quot;You sound like someone who has worked in government all of your life. Businesses find ways to reduce production costs and make do with less.&quot; I guess that's why the cost of things I buy goes up every year--businesses cutting their costs to be more competitive = rise in prices. Yeah. Right. Good Night and Good Luck


Thu, Jun 9, 2011 : 5:43 p.m.

@Mike - don't forget that private schools can accept the kids that they want, they can send the kids with discipline problems, kids that aren't achieving academically back to the public schools. They can make families buy or rent their text books, they have to provide their own school supplies. They can make families be involved in their children's education - public schools can't do that! Public schools provide special education services for the students attending private schools, we bus private school students if they live in district and their school is in the same district yet we don't get the funding...


Thu, Jun 9, 2011 : 5:09 p.m.

No, businesses cut to keep their price competitive, people lose jobs, salaries are reduced, and benefits are cut. What company has raised their prices during this deep recession and stayed in business? Private schools do a better job with less. We still have our head in the sand people.


Thu, Jun 9, 2011 : 3:32 p.m.

@Ken Boyd - While that statistic may apply to the state as a whole, it is not applicable to Ann Arbor. There has been very little decline in actual student enrollment numbers in AAPS over the last decade.


Thu, Jun 9, 2011 : 2:42 p.m.

&quot;If a business experiences an increase in their production cost, the price of their product goes up to cover the cost. &quot; You sound like someone who has worked in government all of your life. Businesses find ways to reduce production costs and make do with less. Businesses make budget choices and focus scarce resources on matters that are core and do not spend scarce resources on non-core items. Government has no incentive to reduce costs, after all, they can always raise taxes, er increase revenues.....

Ken Boyd

Thu, Jun 9, 2011 : 2:35 p.m.

I have to agree with Marshall. Business is compelled to remain competitive and therefore cannot raise prices without constraint to cover costs. Keep in mind that the school age population has declined by 15% in Michigan over the last ten years and that has to equate into less real spending. At some point the resources simply run out. Cuts mean change, and I realize that change is hard.


Thu, Jun 9, 2011 : 1:55 p.m.

Greg &quot;....the price of their product goes up...&quot; Only in make believe dream land does that happen. In the 'real' world there is competition, and if you arbitrarily raise the price of your product, and every one else doesn't, then you are out of business in a hurry. Where unions have been completely inflexible so far is with retirment costs, etc. So was the UAW, until GM and Chrysler went chapter 11. We'll see how much longer their entrenched position lasts.

Marshall Applewhite

Thu, Jun 9, 2011 : 1:48 p.m.

If teachers have all accepted 0% pay raises, why are per pupil personnel costs expected to rise $300 per student next year? Matter of factly, the teachers still haven't given up enough to cover future projected budget shortfalls. Hopefully nobody loses their job, but there will be more shared sacrifice next year.


Thu, Jun 9, 2011 : 1:02 p.m.

This is the first year when the actual total revenue fell. What has been rising are costs, and over 70 percent of the costs are salary and benefits. Rather than cutting teachers, the district needs to get a handle on those personnel costs. The custodians and bus drivers have already taken a deep reduction. But administration costs continue to rise and the administration continues to protect is friends in administration. If I were the incoming superintendent, I would not want to have any part of this budget process, since my salary as the superintendent is one of the lightning rods. I suspect the superintendent will leave before her contract is over. I also suspect that even if the state were to give the district an additional $300 a student next year that we will cut the budget again. Retirement costs and step increases, the revenue split with the district the teachers worked out and other items in the budget will grow costs more than $300 a student again for next year. Nothing was done with the Administrator's Union or the Teachers Union to start to solve these problems long term. So we will see you all back here again next spring. Oh, and expect that the &quot;Enhancement Millage&quot; will be back on the ballot next spring.


Thu, Jun 9, 2011 : 10:01 p.m.

BasicBob, an additional deduction to fund benefits is a pay cut.


Thu, Jun 9, 2011 : 8:13 p.m.

Right now pensions for people under the age of 55 in Michigan (mostly public employees based on Federal statistics) accounts for more than $7,500,000,000 in Michigan. Many of these folks work a job beyond their retirement. This group actually has the highest per capita income from pensions of all age groups.


Thu, Jun 9, 2011 : 5:35 p.m.

@Mike - just how many teachers do you see retiring at 50? Really... I for one could not begin to live on the pension a teacher would receive then.


Thu, Jun 9, 2011 : 5:13 p.m.

Teachers can retire in their 50's, can you? The rest of us will be lucky to get any social security before we're 72. The solution is to tie the retirement age of any governemnt employee to the retire agfe of social security and allow no more than one governemnt pension no mattter how many governemnt jobs you have in your lifetime. That's the real world and it's sustainable.


Thu, Jun 9, 2011 : 3:50 p.m.

Basic Bob, part of the teacher contract this year was to add four furlough days. That is a pay cut.

Basic Bob

Thu, Jun 9, 2011 : 2:27 p.m.

@local, Deductions from payroll to fund your benefits are not a pay cut. It is a fallacy to say that teachers took cuts, and even a partial step increase is a raise.


Thu, Jun 9, 2011 : 1:42 p.m.

Teachers took a pay cut this year to help. Teachers are getting zero raises for the considerable future and the step raises have been frozen to the point that those who are suppose to receive them get about 1/4 of the total step. I am as frustrated as everyone else, but teachers expenses go up in their home lifes like everyone else. Gas prices affect teachers as well. What do you recommend the teachers do long term to help? Should they take a pay cut every year over the next 2 years, 5 years? Just wondering what you have in mind?


Thu, Jun 9, 2011 : 12:35 p.m.

Sures smells of bad fiscal management when the school system heavily relies upon funds generated by football parking fees. Just how do other school systems handle the lack of revenue in their budgets when they are not conveniently located next to the Biggest Capacity Football Stadium in the country? Either communities needs to be able to generate local additional monies above state funding or our local school systems need to review how other schools systems handle their limited funding.


Thu, Jun 9, 2011 : 6:07 p.m.

Bad fiscal management would be NOT taking advantage of the parking situation. Other school districts would love to have the same windfall.


Thu, Jun 9, 2011 : 12:26 p.m.

Thanks, Governor Snyder. You really have Michigan moving forward.

Charlie Brown's Ghost

Thu, Jun 9, 2011 : 12:01 p.m.

I feel sorry for the teacher that will be cut into thirds. Good Night and Good Grief.


Fri, Jun 10, 2011 : 12:46 p.m.

i also love your name and tagline!


Fri, Jun 10, 2011 : 12:41 a.m.

Thank you for the giggles. I was wondering that myself. Any trade secrets any magician is willing to give?


Thu, Jun 9, 2011 : 11:54 a.m.

&quot;The biggest issue trustees faced during this budget process — and will continue to deal with — was the inability to raise revenue locally for the district.&quot; Oh NO! We can't raise revenue (aka raise taxes)! Whatever shall we do now? Government's solution to every problem involves &quot;raising revenue.&quot; It's a reflex. It's also pathetic.


Thu, Jun 9, 2011 : 9:59 p.m.

leaguebus - We spend more per student than any other country in the world on K-12 education. Yet our results are poor. I would love to figure out what it will take. I doubt it is throwing more money at the problem. I believe it is re-thinking education in the US. Completely rethinking it. Germany has better scores and has a very different education system. I doubt it would work as is here, but it would be worth doing the comparison.


Thu, Jun 9, 2011 : 8:56 p.m.

The reason our people are having trouble competing is that we have cut money to education so far that our graduates now test around 25th in the world. Its the attitude that we need more tax cuts, (we have one of the lowest tax rates of all the industrial nations) that is going to sink our ship. We need to give the government more money to educate, make us safe, and fund innovation. If you think private business invented the internet, GPS technology, and computers, think again, it was DARPA federal money that did this. We literally used federal funds to change the world to what we have today. Now, because of some short sighted supply siders, we will be also rans to the Chinese in a few years.


Thu, Jun 9, 2011 : 8:09 p.m.

johnnyA2 - I guess that is why most software is now done in India or China, businesses in the US raised prices for programmers and the global players jumped in and offered a lower cost. Thousands of Michigan Citizens who used to write the software for cars, factories, and applications are now looking for other jobs. Finally the market price for Michigan based programmers dropped low enough to attract GE and a couple of other firms. But raising prices drove the business overseas.


Thu, Jun 9, 2011 : 3:48 p.m.

Funny how right wingers think that government should be run like a business, then when the school board wants a BUSINESS decision (raise revenue), the right wing says the only way to success is to cut spending. I have yet to see a business succeed cutting its way to the top. They raise prices and succeed through revenue.

Ken Boyd

Thu, Jun 9, 2011 : 2:23 p.m.

Revenue should be reduced. The school age population is in decline in the state, and as a result, services need to contract with them. The problem is made worse by the current economy, and services are being reduced more because of it. All school boards need to think outside of the box and find ways to make the most of the resources available to them. I think raising parking prices is an excellent idea.


Thu, Jun 9, 2011 : 12:42 p.m.

SonnyDog - I'm not following your argument. This isn't about raising taxes. There is no possibility of that occurring in the foreseeable future. It's actually the opposite that is true. &quot;Revenue&quot; is being reduced, which is why the schools have to reduce services.


Thu, Jun 9, 2011 : 12:02 p.m.

Raising revenue is also, in some circumstances (NOW!), the correct approach.


Thu, Jun 9, 2011 : 11:51 a.m.

seems strange all these big decisions being made and our new $uperintendent is in no way a part of it?


Thu, Jun 9, 2011 : 2:18 p.m.

@ViSHa - I suspect that she will be enjoying the &quot;plausible deniability&quot; that she has during this budget. ;^)


Thu, Jun 9, 2011 : 1:49 p.m.

i realize $he hasn't started yet, i still think it's strange when these are critical decisions that will effect her when she starts. maybe $he has input behind the scenes?


Thu, Jun 9, 2011 : 12:27 p.m.

She could help the cause though by reducing her salary back to what Dr. Roberts earned--he was one of our best supers.


Thu, Jun 9, 2011 : 11:58 a.m.

The new Super has not started on the job yet, so she isn't of the discussions. No different than any other business continuing to do its business as employees come and go.

Dr. I. Emsayin

Thu, Jun 9, 2011 : 11:26 a.m.

Sad to hear that counselor Ms. Sapper was cut from Pioneer because of budget cuts.