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Posted on Tue, May 3, 2011 : 9:25 p.m.

Washtenaw County election coverage: School leaders thrilled as special education millage renewal passes handily

By Kyle Feldscher


Ritchie Coleman, community coordinator for the Pittsfield Township Department of Public Safety, waits to greet voters outside Carpenter School on Tuesday morning. The township's public safety millage passed by a wide margin Tuesday night.

Steve Pepple |

This story has been updated.

Washtenaw County voters passed a special education millage renewal by a wide margin Tuesday, as five public safety millages around the county also won approval.

The special education millage, one of the most closely watched votes in the months leading to the special election, received 27,262 yes votes and 8,203 no votes — a 77 percent to 23 percent passage.

The vote means local school districts and charter schools are in line to receive about $14 million in funding for special education services from the Washtenaw Intermediate School District. The levy will cost the owner of a home with a taxable value of $100,000 about $98.50 per year.

Richard Leyshock, interim superintendent of the WISD, was among the local school officials from around the county gathered at the Ann Arbor Center for Independent Living watching election results come in. Nearly every time Leyshock looked at the laptop showing the voting results, he clapped or voiced his pleasure at the numbers on the screen.

“The students of Washtenaw County schools are the winners tonight,” he said, after profusely thanking members of the community for approving the millage renewal.

For unofficial county election results, click here. More news on results is available here: Pittsfield Township public safety millage; Dexter Township public safety millages; Chelsea and Dexter school boards; and Sharon and Northfield township public safety millages.

The federal government mandates special education services, and Tuesday’s vote means local districts will still receive money from the WISD as reimbursement for those services, as opposed to paying for them out of the general fund. Many districts presented proposed budgets assuming the millage renewal would pass and were loathe to even consider the potential cuts that would have to come should the millage renewal fail.


WISD interim superintendent Richard Leyshock, center, speaks with Ann Arbor Education Association President Brit Satchwell, left, and Ann Arbor school board trustee Glenn Nelson while waiting for results from the special education millage renewal vote Tuesday night.

Kyle Feldscher |

In Ann Arbor, district officials presented budget cuts to fill a budget deficit of approximately $15 million last month, with the caveat that the deficit could grow about $6 million more if the millage renewal failed.

Interim superintendent Robert Allen said he was relieved he wouldn’t have to make additional cuts to fill a bigger budget deficit and thanked voters for passing the millage renewal.

“Many of the cuts that we’ve made already are already so deep that it would have been very difficult to make additional cuts and really stay at the level of education Ann Arbor is used to,” Allen said. “I’m very excited and I’m very happy but we still have a lot of work ahead of us.”

Here is approximately how much each district stands to receive from the millage:

  • Ann Arbor: $5.8 million
  • Chelsea: $752,000
  • Dexter: $790.000
  • Lincoln: $1.5 million
  • Manchester: $282,000
  • Milan: $403,000
  • Saline: $1.3 million
  • Whitmore Lake: $296,000
  • Willow Run: $543,000
  • Ypsilanti: $2.1 million
  • Nine charter schools: $190,000

Saline Area Schools superintendent Scot Graden said he was grateful he didn’t have to consider making more cuts to the district’s budget, saying the failure of the millage was something he didn’t even want to think about it.

“I just applaud Richard and Gerri (Allen, WISD spokesperson) and everyone at the WISD for running a very informational campaign,” Graden said.

School officials said the vote, and the impressive margin that the millage renewal passed by, showed the emphasis that voters in the area place on education.

Ypsilanti Public Schools superintendent Dedrick Martin thanked voters and said the district still faces a challenge balancing the budget but said the millage passage would help.

“We’re extremely happy and pleased we had such a strong showing from the community,” Martin said. “However, we still have to roll up our sleeves and we have a lot of tough decisions we have to make because this doesn’t solve all of our problems but we’re extremely happy with the results.”

Ann Arbor Education Association president Brit Satchwell said the passage of the millage renewal took care of one-third of local school districts' funding issues.

He said the school districts had to get past the special education millage renewal in order to deal with their deficits and cuts in funding from the state.

“This year we had three bears approach the camp site. The first bear was the one we face every year and that’s the $7 million structural deficit and we try to deal with that bear,” he said. “The second bear is (Gov. Rick) Snyder and that bear weighs $7 million. The third bear was the millage bear and we had to kill the millage bear to live to (take care of) the other two.”

Ann Arbor school board trustee Glenn Nelson said he believed voters saw the dire financial situations of many school districts and believed this was one way they could help.

Nelson said the entire county was on the same page to provide a solid future for their children in public education.

“People, of course, feel really strongly about giving their children a good future and that’s become virtually universal now in Michigan — a fear of the future for their children will not be as good as what they have now,” Nelson said. “People want to do what they can to fix that.”

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


Matt Dent

Fri, May 6, 2011 : 1:06 a.m.

Even though I expected this to pass, it is unfortunate that our society continues to fund a broken and inefficient education system. Please Gov Snyder - give us vouchers!


Thu, May 5, 2011 : 7:32 p.m.

To thehawk: While what you say may be true, why 26? You could just as easily state that there are people with special needs who will need help until they're 30 or 36 or 40, or always. I would have loved to have my education paid right through graduate school as it is in many countries, but I knew it wouldn't be, so i worked hard and paid my own way through all levels of post-secondary education. And, while I do realize that there are students out there who aren't so fortunate and need extra assistance, with most of us having to tighten our belts, funding special ed. beyond the age of 18, or let's say 21, seems excessive.

Just a special ed. advocate

Wed, May 4, 2011 : 10:02 p.m.

I am only going to reply once here. I am a former special education student that was under the Washtenaw program till I was in 4th grade. I want to say thank you for continuing the program that made successful students like me who would not have an opportunity to be in college otherwise. I had severe developmental disabilities from medical malpractice, and my parents were informed that I would not be attending college. Yet, if it was not for the teachers who worked with me as a child (just to say a shout out: Mrs. C. Hall, Mrs. Heusel, and Mrs. B. Hall who are probably still in the school district), I would not be attending one of the top universities in the state of Georgia right now. It pains me knowing how much money and time my parents spent rehabilitating me, and I remember everyday when I am in college that if it was not for Washtenaw county schools. I would not be here right now. Citizens who voted for this are my heroes everyday. I try my best to copy their example because they have taught me that even though it is not my personal responsibility to watch out for someone else. I still should do it. There is no "I" factor in being a citizen of the United States, but a "we" factor. When I graduate with my science degree, I will definitely be giving back to the programs that made me. I will proudly donate to fund education.


Wed, May 4, 2011 : 9:17 p.m.

Good. Students who require Special Education services are SO deserving.

Jonny Spirit

Wed, May 4, 2011 : 9:06 p.m.

Now we took care of the 5% of the students in the Washtenaw area (Congrats), now what are you people gonna do for the other 95% of the students? Why did this one pass and the others did not, was it the pull of the heart strings. You couldn't say NO to Sp. Ed but you can say NO to all the other students. Confused? I'm sorry but every millage is needed to support our schools. We need to pass all of them!

Jack Panitch

Sat, May 7, 2011 : 5:14 a.m.

@DonBee Your credentials might mean a lot to me if I could verify any of it. But, really, I think you showed flexibility on this one, and I do sincerely congratulate you. And I think, despite your words, that when the next one of these comes up, you'll look at the facts at that time, and do what you think is right.


Fri, May 6, 2011 : 2:05 a.m.

Jack - I do know at a level that is beyond the normal non-school professional. I have been INVOLVED in education for more than 30 years, but, I don't have an education degree, I don't teach school full time and I don't manage a district. I do have time on school advisory boards, school management boards, and course development teams. I teach roughly 50 days a year at the high school and college level and am considered adjunct at 3 universities. I have children in the district and have a large extended family that has both teachers and children in the system. But that being said, what is that you know? Just back at ya!

Jack Panitch

Thu, May 5, 2011 : 9:31 a.m.

@Donbee: Hey, I don't want that last comment back, but I do want to say I noticed how you supported this one. I'm not throwing that in your face. Just saying ....

Jack Panitch

Thu, May 5, 2011 : 8:54 a.m.

@Donbee. Do you know what it really takes to educate a kid? When you do, let's talk.


Thu, May 5, 2011 : 5:47 a.m.

jeffsab - Do you know how big the varsity athletic budget is? Do you know how much general fund money is transferred to cover the cost of coaches, and sports. Not physical education, not club sports, but varsity sports? Do you know how much money the school spends on upkeep and maintenance of the athletic facilities that are off limits to non-varsity students? When you know those numbers, lets talk about cross-country.


Thu, May 5, 2011 : 2:54 a.m.

@AMOC "Cutting the non-essentials such as athletics, and establishing pay-to-play fees for sports, orchestras and bands at close to the true cost of operations is another way to re-direct a few $M in every district." School is not just readin' ritin' and rithmatic. I would say that sports, music and the arts ARE essentials. How about Michigan stops wasting money on the MEAP instead? I'd rather my daughter learn to paint or play the sax or run cross country than take standardized tests every day. Those are lifelong pursuits that are intrinsically rewarding. "Succeeding" at testing is absolutely worthless.


Thu, May 5, 2011 : 1:54 a.m.

The other one failed because McKinley pumped zillions into opposing it, and nobody on the side of the schools had enough money to counter him.


Thu, May 5, 2011 : 12:03 a.m.

Jonny - The best thing we can do for the rest of the students is to keep a relentless eye on the administration and overhead costs in the various school districts and in WISD. Washtenaw County schools are doing pretty well with funding, compared to many / most other areas in the state. Cutting the non-essentials such as athletics, and establishing pay-to-play fees for sports, orchestras and bands at close to the true cost of operations is another way to re-direct a few $M in every district. If the economy of Michigan does improve in line with Gov. Snyder's plan, there will be enough money, (maybe not plenty, as there used to be, but enough!) to pay teachers reasonably, and keep class sizes around 20 for K-3, and below 40 for the high schoolers in face-to-face classes without raising taxes. But we need to be creative, and tightly focused on education, not athletics or performing groups or administrators.

Jonny Spirit

Wed, May 4, 2011 : 9:28 p.m.

The last year I think I saw 3, (2 failed and 1 passed). Sorry did not give enough details. My Bad.


Wed, May 4, 2011 : 9:15 p.m.

What other millages did you see on your ballot? I only had one -- the WISD special ed millage.


Wed, May 4, 2011 : 6:59 p.m.

Can anyone explain why on earth in Michigan--perhaps to the exclusion of any other state?--we have to pay for special ed. students through the age of 26? This really seems to be eight more years than are necessary to fund. Also, if this millage had been defeated, the average AA home owner's property taxes would have _decreased,_ so with a renewal, since the taxes aren't going to go down now--at least with this millage in mind--this _is_ in a sense an increase.


Thu, May 5, 2011 : 7:34 p.m.

While what you say may be true, why 26? You could just as easily state that there are people with special needs who will need help until they're 30 or 36 or 40, or always. I would have loved to have my education paid right through graduate school as it is in many countries, but I knew it wouldn't be, so I worked hard and paid my own way through all levels of post-secondary education. And, while I do realize that there are students out there who aren't so fortunate and need extra assistance, with most of us having to tighten our belts, funding special ed. beyond the age of 18, or let's say 21, seems excessive.


Wed, May 4, 2011 : 8:16 p.m.

The people that receive services through 26 are learning how to lead independent lives, so they won't need to be taken care of for the rest of their lives. This is a good thing. People that need special ed services aren't always able to learn everything they need to know magically by age 18. Ever heard the saying "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure"? Extending services to age 26 is the prevention.


Wed, May 4, 2011 : 7:09 p.m.

yep I agree that it is ridiculous that services are provided until age 26. Cut that out or even just cut it down to age 21 and the savings would be pretty impressive.


Wed, May 4, 2011 : 6:31 p.m.

I voted no. Now to see what happens with WISD and how much they are paying that new sup. Going to be a sad day when tax payers cannot pay taxes and have to leave WISD in the lurch. Good luck Ann Arbor, you are going to be paying the bulk of it.


Wed, May 4, 2011 : 7:40 p.m.

Happy to do so, jns; happy to do so.


Wed, May 4, 2011 : 5:10 p.m.

I actually voted yes on this one even though I am usually a pretty strong "no" on this type of stuff and here is my rational. Special ed programs are required by both state and fed law. That means that whether the millage passed or not the money would have come from somewhere. That somewhere would be the districts general fund budget. Now I do not have any special needs kids and noone that I know does either, so this was NOT an altruistic gesture on my part. I voted yes because I did not want any more funding to be shifted from MY children towards the required special ed programs (or any other program for that matter). In the end I could have cared less if any teachers lost their jobs or if there was less money for special ed programs (or any other programs). I voted yes purely to help out my own children. Bad as it sounds, thats how it was on this one.


Thu, May 5, 2011 : 3:14 a.m.

Jonny appearantly you missed the part that I ONLY care about my 2 NON-SPECIAL ED kids, I voted yes so that they (and I guess every other non-special ed kid) did not get money taken away from them out of the general fund because the STATE AND FEDERAL MANDATED programs needed funding regardless where the money comes from. Think about what I am saying, I voted yes so that the money did NOT have to come out of the general fund, as it would have if the millage failed, which in turn would have taken from the other 95% of the students do not get special ed funding. Seems pretty simple to me, but alast it did not pass by 1 vote so what ever.

Jonny Spirit

Wed, May 4, 2011 : 9:09 p.m.

So a non-leaky roof, and good running school bus is not needed. It all comes out of the same budget. Turn down one millage and pass the other? Think about what you are saying. Lets take care of the 5% of the students and forget about the rest. It's all the same green money in the small pot!


Wed, May 4, 2011 : 5:02 p.m.

I'm happy that the millage passed, but Brit's quote about bears suggests an attitude about taxpayers that I really don't like. Taxpayer are not evil bears, they are people with limited resources that have been hammered by economic conditions. I wish the AAEA would have addressed the issue before, but Brit suggests that now is the time to turn attention to the other two bears. Does this mean teachers will come up with meaningful concessions, or will they draw a line in the sand and let class sizes increase dramatically and allow programs (including bussing) to be cut?


Wed, May 4, 2011 : 4:22 p.m.

I wonder why Mr. Berriz didn't kill this one? Does he just hate the children of the school district of Ann Arbor?

E. Daniel Ayres

Wed, May 4, 2011 : 3:56 p.m.

What percentage of the registered electorate turned out? I know that I voted, but... I believe the turnout was shockingly low!


Wed, May 4, 2011 : 11:50 p.m.

Turnout is traditionally very low for the May and August elections, which have also been the traditional time for school board elections and millages for K-12 schools, Community Colleges, and public safety. The thought seems to be that only those with a direct stake in the outcome of the elections, mostly teachers and involved parents, will bother to vote at these times.

Andrew Thomas

Wed, May 4, 2011 : 4:24 p.m.

Overall, turnout was 13.4% of registered voters, with many precincts in Ann Arbor significantly higher than this. In Ward 3, Precinct 3, for example (basically the Burns Park neighborhood) turnout was 21.7%. On the other hand, tuernout was very low in the student neighborhoods, which is not surprising, given that many have left for the summer and probably don't feel they have much at stake in a millage election.

David Cahill

Wed, May 4, 2011 : 2:12 p.m.

I'm delighted at the victory! FWIW,'s poll also predicted the millage would pass, but not by such an overwhelming margin.


Wed, May 4, 2011 : 1:57 p.m.

Ah the self-righteous attiudes of those up on their pedestals labelling all others.....more than a bit arrogant, I'd say. There are people who are suffering, having lost jobs and in fear of losing their homes. There are people, poor and elderly, who need to plan for the major tax increases being imposed by the current Republican legislature and do not know how they are going to manage. The "let them eat cake" attitude is disgusting. If you were pro-millage, fine. But to insult the "have nots" who are suffering and trying to live within a severely reduced budget, well, shame on you.

Jack Panitch

Thu, May 5, 2011 : 9:13 a.m.

@Cash: I would agree with you, but I went back and looked at the principal comments and could not identify a single one your observation was responsive to. I completely agree that we need to be sensitive to the actual effect of taxes on real people who are hurting and could have benefitted from relief. I also understand the critical need for the success of the vote. Which emphasizes the imperative not to throw this money into a black hole. But I am convinced by everything I see our public schools accomplish with our kids that this is not, in fact, a black hole. Far from it.


Wed, May 4, 2011 : 7:26 p.m.

grye, Of course we all know that anyone trying to sell a house in this economy is out of luck. So that "suggestion" is beyond belief. Unbelievable. In other words "Let them eat cake". That is exactly the attitude I was speaking to.


Wed, May 4, 2011 : 6:33 p.m.

As I agree with Cash, Ann Arbor is going to bite the bullet with this one. The ones who can't pay the tax? Will leave and leave Ann Arbor business footing the bill on this one because if Snyder has his way? No one will be able to afford anything. Good luck to those who voted yes. I voted no. One tax I do not want to pay.


Wed, May 4, 2011 : 6:15 p.m.

There are options for those who can't afford the tax to deal with it. Move to a smaller house or condo. Rent an apartment. Move out of the city or county to a less expensive place. I know you think that these are ridiculous responses but they are alternative choices. It may not be what someone wants to do but it may be what they have to do. When I lost my job a year and a half ago, I was prepared to leave the area, possibly have my family stay here while I worked somewhere else. I was fortunate enough not to have to do it. However it was an option. People have choices. No one is forcing them to stay. It is a free country.


Wed, May 4, 2011 : 1:03 p.m.

Hurray! Now they wont need to cut ANY of the teacher assistants for the special ed. students!


Wed, May 4, 2011 : 11:03 p.m.

actually i was being facetious. although the millage was targeting towards helping special education kids, there will still be cuts to special ed. since it is like pulling teeth to get what is needed onto an IEP.

Jonny Spirit

Wed, May 4, 2011 : 9:13 p.m.

Not true, the budget still needs to be paid. And if they can reduce the amount of Para's or TA's from the budget they will. It all depends on the students IEP, if a Para is not required, then they will be let go. If they only need 8 and they have 10, they will not keep anyone around just to "Help Out" Sorry!

Wolf's Bane

Wed, May 4, 2011 : 11:40 a.m.

Whew, thrilled and relieved that the school millage passed!!! Now, things don't look quite so bleak.

Lac Court Orilles

Wed, May 4, 2011 : 10:35 a.m.

It's really too bad that there isn't a way of separating the money so none of it would go to WISD which only provides comfortable careers to educators that don't want to work as hard as teachers in a school building. The WISD building is so void of any student noise it's almost as if the place is a morgue. The WISD millage had to be passed because it would have been the regular education students that suffered if it had failed. Since the state mandates special education services no matter what had happened, cuts would have been to the regular education students. I know that separating WISD from this millage sounds like another hateful Republican idea, however, I am a strong Democrat who feels money sent to lazy educators at WISD is WRONG!


Wed, May 4, 2011 : 11:15 a.m.

Special Education is a Federal mandate and all students would have suffered with the defeat of the millage renewal


Wed, May 4, 2011 : 10:19 a.m.

Agree with DonBee When times are lean (and they will be for Michigan for the foreseeable future), we need to make sure as many education dollars as possible are spent providing the best classroom experience for our children (as well as important services like busing). This millage will boost funding for education (a good thing), but does nothing to assure the additional funding is directed to the classroom (a bad thing, considering keeping reasonable class size seems to be at the bottom of the priority list for the administration. Please read articles on the subject if you have not). Voting yes was the easy part. Please keep lobbying your school district to make sure the money actually goes to the kids.

Peter Jameson

Wed, May 4, 2011 : 5:58 a.m.

dang, i should have voted.


Wed, May 4, 2011 : 5:05 a.m.

Well that's democracy at work. I voted no and will accept the will of the voters. I won't ask for a recall, challenge the election in court, complain, or bad mouth anyone. The people have spoken and I respect their voice.


Wed, May 4, 2011 : 4:01 a.m.

Renewal or not, this is the last millage I vote in favor of for any reason. Until the county school districts consolidate administrative services and focus more money on the classrooms. The administrative costs as a percentage of revenue are out of line compared to not only Plymouth-Canton, compared to AAPS, but for the whole county compared to other counties in other states with far higher student populations. Laying off teachers and stopping buses instead of reducing administrative overhead is the wrong answer. Further, rethinking the alternative high schools (e.g. why to different physical facilities), expansion of on-line course (e.g. language training) and other innovations to get students learning more and give teachers smaller class sizes is important for the school boards to really think about. In the case of AAPS the BOE has become a rubber stamp on the administration, so of course there will be no administrative cuts, after all friends don't lay off friends. As to accountable, no one can hold AAPS accountable, they hide all the numbers behind "privacy", "FOIA required", and "You would not understand if we told you" - Good luck at holding AAPS to any form of accountability to the community.

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Thu, May 5, 2011 : 4:36 p.m.

DonBee wrote: "Sorry, I am not going to be quiet until we get what the school board promised, transparent information on finances, monthly postings of the check register, quarterly financial reports. These were all approved by the BOE to be posted, the administration was directed to do so, and .... WHERE ARE THEY?" You've been harping on this for months--for MONTHS. So have you attended a single school board meeting and put on the public record the board's failure to follow through on its promises? And, BTW, I don't recall EVER seeing the board make the promises you attribute to it. Given that, in the past (not to mention today's post in anther discussion about businesses leaving the state of Illinois, which they are not), you have been fast and loose with the "facts," can you provide any sources to your claims about those promises? Don't worry. No one will be holding their breaths waiting for those links. Good Night and Good Luck


Thu, May 5, 2011 : 5:44 a.m.

As to Plymouth-Canton, the layoffs were to adjust staffing by department and in order to get to the right level in each department all junior teachers have to be laid off, thank the wonderful union contract. The vast majority of those teachers will be back in the class room in the fall. But, they are not allowed to say "oh we have 3 too many math teachers, so we will pink slip the 3 with the lowest seniority" no they have to pink slip everyone with less seniority than the most senior math teacher, then recall the teachers that are in areas that are not overstaffed. Oh, and then their is bumping by more senior teachers to get back into the schools.


Thu, May 5, 2011 : 5:44 a.m.

Jeffsab - So shut up and let the professionals do their job with no oversight, no questions from the public, just open the wallet and shell out what ever the school district asks for? Like in Detroit, where the administration stole millions from the students? Like in Detroit where the president of the school board committed lewd acts? Sorry, I am not going to be quiet until we get what the school board promised, transparent information on finances, monthly postings of the check register, quarterly financial reports. These were all approved by the BOE to be posted, the administration was directed to do so, and .... WHERE ARE THEY? Right now months go by without any financial information. The budget posted is from before the state decreased the cuts for the 2010-2011 school year, but no updated budget was posted. Requests for information on how the special education money is being spent were ignored. In short, AAPS is not following their own promises to the tax payers. Can you prove from the information available that all the money is being well spent? Can you prove that the 2010-2011 finances are in order from the information available to the public? If you can please post your sources. I can not. I am not out to do in the schools, but I am out to hold them to the promises they made to be open and transparent. Promises they have ignored. They want my money, up to a point I am happy to give it to them, so long as I know how it is being spent. Sorry, they promised and they owe it to the public to keep the promise.


Thu, May 5, 2011 : 1:51 a.m.

jeffsab I love you. You said it perfectly.


Thu, May 5, 2011 : 1:19 a.m.

@DonBee I would like you to quit demonizing the public schools. They are OUR schools. They work for OUR kids in OUR community. You have every right to involve yourself in the system and work to make it better. But when you and the other people who always criticize public education mouth off instead of doing anything productive -- note the paucity of opposition school board candidates in the recent election -- you align yourself with some very powerful forces that want to destroy public education, like the governor. That doesn't help your kids or my kids or the kids in Plymouth-Canton or Detroit or Grand Rapids or anywhere else. And FYI, Plymouth-Canton just pink-slipped over 250 teachers.


Wed, May 4, 2011 : 9:10 p.m.

jeffsab - If they offer schools of choice, I might just do that. And so might a number of other families on the East side of town, especially since it would be much less hassle to get our children to an Plymouth-Canton bus stop, then to an AAPS high school after next year. But they don't and I do care about how the school is spending money. I want more money spent in educating students, not in paying for administration. I want to see money spent wisely and with an open and transparent financial process. I am not a fan of "You are not an education professional, so you can not understand". Are you? I would hope not if you have children in the district. But, then maybe you are a teacher or better yet and administrator?


Wed, May 4, 2011 : 5:51 p.m.

DonBee, I agree with you that the AAPS board could shine more sunshine on its finances. But screwing over the kids by voting against millages is not the way to handle it. Do you really think that further de-funding of the school district is going to cause it to be more forthcoming with numbers and statistics that most parents could care less about? Absolutely not. The only way to enact the change that you seek is to get involved. And to anyone making a comparison with the Plymouth-Canton district -- one of the favorites talking points of the AAPS haters -- I have two things to say: 1. If I wanted my kid to go to the Plymouth-Canton schools I would live there. But I live here, so my daughter can go to school here, in a better district that represents and reinforces this community's values. I do not want Ann Arbor to become more like Plymouth or Canton, in any way. 2. Feel free to move there yourself. Wayne County is just 15 minutes away.


Wed, May 4, 2011 : 4:03 p.m.

@donbee, i didn't mean you ;)


Wed, May 4, 2011 : 1:37 p.m.

gyre - As I have indicated before, If the BOE meetings were on the weekends, I would run. But with an out of town job, it does no one any good for me to run and miss 90 percent of the meetings. ViSHa - Try to get real numbers from AAPS, see what happens. You will get frustrated too. The BOE passed a motion to put certain information on the website on a monthly and some on a quarterly basis. None of that is being done.


Wed, May 4, 2011 : 1:02 p.m.

is it really necessary to be snide?


Wed, May 4, 2011 : 12:30 p.m.

If you feel strongly that there needs to be administrative changes to control or lessen administrative costs, then run for the school board. Be part of the solution, not just a voice of dissent. I agree that additional changes could and should be made. The Ann Arbor Public Schools has been cutting back in many areas for several years. With the annual decrease in taxes collected, govt funded organizations need to look at consolidation areas and find ways to trim what fat is left. This will take a push and a shove from the boards that oversee these organizations.

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Wed, May 4, 2011 : 12:13 p.m.

"Renewal or not, this is the last millage I vote in favor of for any reason. " Gee. That means that, the next time this comes up, it will pass by 19,057 votes rather than 19,059 votes. Good Night and Good Luck


Wed, May 4, 2011 : 11:46 a.m.

The school district doing the right thing will never happen as long as we keep throwing money at them.

Susan Montgomery

Wed, May 4, 2011 : 3:43 a.m.

Results by race: <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>

Steven Harper Piziks

Wed, May 4, 2011 : 2:55 a.m.

It's not a new tax. It's a renewal of an existing tax. This benefits all students because special education is mandated by federal law, and the school district MUST fund it, no matter what. If the millage hadn't passed, the district would have had to take the special education money out of the general education fund, hurting regular ed students. Thank you, Washtenaw Country, for doing the right thing!

Jonny Spirit

Wed, May 4, 2011 : 9:21 p.m.

Isn't 1st - 12th grade mandated by federal law. Ummmm I think we should then pass every millage not just one so district MUST/CAN fund it. Lets hurt the regular ed students by not passing the other millage's, but help the Special Ed by passing this one. Confused?


Wed, May 4, 2011 : 10:09 a.m.

Not only is special ed required by federal law but it provides an essential service. I'm not one to usually vote for millages (I voted against the last one) but this one was pretty straight-forward and necessary IMHO.


Wed, May 4, 2011 : 5:42 a.m.

It's on sale so if I buy it I save money reasoning. No wonder we're in debt 10 trillion dollars.


Wed, May 4, 2011 : 2:52 a.m.

Just goes to show you the haters and negative nellies on sites like ann arbor dot baloney may be the loudest, but they are not a majority.

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Wed, May 4, 2011 : 5:25 p.m.

&quot;Deflection: A tool used by Liberals when they have nothing.&quot; + &quot;The real Ed Murrow would be appalled by your use of his name.&quot; = Cinnabar cannot explain and/or provide support for his absurd statement. Didn't think he could. Thanks for the confirmation. Good Night and Good Luck


Wed, May 4, 2011 : 5:09 p.m.

The real Ed Murrow would be appalled by your use of his name.


Wed, May 4, 2011 : 5:04 p.m.

Deflection: A tool used by Liberals when they have nothing.

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Wed, May 4, 2011 : 4:54 p.m.

Merely speculating about the meaning of &quot;I feel the $86,000 per student that I already pay is more then enough to get the job done&quot; (direct quote from your post above). Emphasize: $86K per student that YOU pay. So: 1) Was your tax bill somewhere between $600 million and $1.4 Billion which is what it must have been if YOU paid $86,000 per student as you claim, -or- 2) Do you have property valued at approximately $6.2 million, if your school tax bill was $86,000 (maybe what you meant to say) -or- 3) Did you mean to say that ALL OF US (not just YOU) pay $86,000 per SPECIAL ED student (again, not what you said, but maybe meant to say)? Or is there a 4th possibility? Inquiring minds want to know. In the meantime, we are left with Kyl-isms. Good Night and Good Luck


Wed, May 4, 2011 : 4:43 p.m.

&quot;We actually insist on FACTS.&quot; OK I'm waiting. Not.

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Wed, May 4, 2011 : 4:41 p.m.

Dividing what number into what number tells us that individual taxpayers pay $86,000 per student? Since my TOTAL school tax bill in 2009 came to about $1800, someone must have picked up the other $84,200. Who did? So, please, I've shown my numbers. You show yours. Please show the calculus that shows that an individual is paying $84,200 in taxes per student. Good Night and Good Luck


Wed, May 4, 2011 : 4:27 p.m.

The $86,000 per student referenced by cinnabar7071 is based on dividing the number of Full Time Equivalents that AAPS reports into the total amount AAPS spends on special education. Based on that set of numbers, the $86,000 is correct. However.... The reality is that most students recieving special education services are not full time, so the actual amount spent on a single student is much less. Self-contained class rooms for students who are not mainstreamed are very expensive, there are laws about the ratio of students to teachers and in many cases aids are required to help with these students. Fortunately most students do not need this level of support. What I don't know, is how much is actually being spent on Occupational Therapy, Speech Therapy and other services. AAPS has refused to release even aggregate numbers of people involved on either side (student or staff). So frankly, I can understand the frustration of cinnabar7071 and why the $86,000 number is used. AAPS can do a much better job of informing the taxpayers on what it takes to deliver services.

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Wed, May 4, 2011 : 4:22 p.m.

Yes, you should have. We actually insist on FACTS. Not Kyl-isms. Good Night and Good Luck


Wed, May 4, 2011 : 4:11 p.m.

I should have known better then try and have a conversation with a liberal, you people are all the same.

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Wed, May 4, 2011 : 2:48 p.m.

Yes, Cinnabar, I'm saying that it is wrong that you (or anyone) paid $86,000 per student. If you paid that and lived in A2, the county's largest district, your tax bill would have been roughly $1.4 billion (16,400 students times $86,000 per student). If you lived in Manchester, one of its smallest, your bill would be $636,000,000 (7,400 students times $86,000 per student). Did you pay that kind of a tax bill to any school district in Washtenaw County? Of course you didn't. Or perhaps you meant to say that you paid $86,000 in school taxes rather than per child. OK, let's work with that. I have no idea where you live, so I cannot speculate on the milages you pay. But I pulled out my 2010 tax bill and will apply the millages thereon to calculate the approximate value of your property. I pay a total of 13.7 mills in various taxes that support various schools. Applying that 13.7 mills to your $86,000 school tax bill, if that is what you meant, means that your property value is $6.3 million ($86,000/.0137). Do you really have property valued at $6.3 million? Of course you don't. A Kyl-ism. Or by &quot;you&quot; did you mean &quot;we&quot; as in all taxpayers? Gee, then that would be yet another Kyl-ism Good Night and Good Luck


Wed, May 4, 2011 : 1:13 p.m.

So Ed are you sayiny the $86,00 per student is wrong? What numbers are correct, or do you just like to hear yourdelf type?


Wed, May 4, 2011 : 1:11 p.m.

@Bogie, sorry for the misunderstanding, but we the people (who vote and get our way) claim to be the majority. Until you get your people to take the time to fill out a ballot, those opinions will only matter in blogs.


Wed, May 4, 2011 : 12:58 p.m.

Well, first off, It was not a tax increase. I don't think anyone here, is wanting to dismantle the school system, but they do need a lot more restraint. Small government people, may not be the majority in this &quot;liberal, progressive mecca,&quot; but they are in the country as a whole. You might give it a try, before we become the new &quot;europe.&quot;

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Wed, May 4, 2011 : 12:24 p.m.

$86,000 per student is a Kylism, named after John Kyl, who, after claiming that &quot;well over 90% of Planned Parenthood's budget went to abortions (it's closer to 3%) released a statement that the &quot;well over 90%&quot; claim &quot;was not intended to be a factual statement.&quot; So the $86,000 per student claim fits well into the John Kyl approach to facts. It is a Kyl-ism. Good Night and Good Luck


Wed, May 4, 2011 : 12:11 p.m.

cinnabar, you pay $86,000 per student? You must own a lot of expensive property.


Wed, May 4, 2011 : 11:52 a.m.

Amen to DBlaine's comment. The anti-public sector conservative and libertarian voices on this site are very prominent, far more so than in the general population.


Wed, May 4, 2011 : 11:51 a.m.

Or it might show that some that supported the millage are quiet mindless drones. But that is not what I think. The voters have spoken and I have no problem with that. But I believe we all need to continue to demand that the school board show a little bit of common sense. Offering the moon to the new super before even starting the search was the single most STUPID thing I have ever witnessed!


Wed, May 4, 2011 : 11:44 a.m.

I don't know if thats true DBlaine, as a hater as you put it I choose to sit this one out because it would have cost me more money to vote then just paying the millage. But go ahead and call me a hater even tho I feel the $86,000 per student that I already pay is more then enough to get the job done. I'll be sure to make the vote next time. Thanks for wakeing me up.

dading dont delete me bro

Wed, May 4, 2011 : 2:49 a.m.

ONE item on my election ballot and 'they' wonder why there was a light turn out?!? how much did it cost to run that one item ballot in my district?


Wed, May 4, 2011 : 3:13 a.m.

Being a Pittsfield resident we had two items. Makes all the difference! ;-)


Wed, May 4, 2011 : 3:01 a.m.

Dading - We actually had a higher turnout (almost 11% of voters) in this county than I would have expected, given the very small number (1 in my area too) of ballot items. The August School Board-only elections in Ann Arbor frequently had turn-out below 5% of voters. My understanding is that WISD paid about $30,000 to run the millage ballot item in the entire county. Where there is no other issue on the ballot, WISD must pay the whole cost of the election. In areas with additional ballot issues, WISD shares the cost with the Township or City involved.

Tom Bower

Wed, May 4, 2011 : 2:38 a.m.

Kyle, In your article you reference &quot;official county election results.&quot; However, the county clearly labels the results as &quot;unofficial.&quot; You may want to edit your article.

Kyle Feldscher

Wed, May 4, 2011 : 3:05 a.m.

Thanks Tom, I'll change that.

Tom Bower

Wed, May 4, 2011 : 2:34 a.m.

Ninety four of 119 precincts reporting, yes votes total 77 percent. Canvass Report: <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>


Wed, May 4, 2011 : 2:33 a.m.

&quot;Early returns on the special education millage renewal are looking good for local school officials.&quot; Actually, they're looking good for local students. Every kid in this county stands to benefit from the special education millage renewal today. Good on those of us who voted for doing the right thing.


Wed, May 4, 2011 : 2:32 a.m.

It's even a fairly high turnout for an off-season election. The Washtenaw clerks' unofficial tally pages shows that just over 10% of the registered voters in the county have voted. That's in contrast to 50-65% in a Presidential election, and at least 30% in an off-year November election. I'm glad the Special Education millage passed. However, a part of me is sorry that WISD's election timing tactics were successful, because that makes it more likely that they will use the same approach in the future.


Fri, May 6, 2011 : 12:57 a.m.

ERMG - This election was much talked about in this particular forum. It was barely even mentioned in other media, and it certainly didn't result in a blizzard of direct mail pieces (except to special ed parents county wide) or robo-calls the way I've come to expect in November elections. The school districts also made absolutely sure to remind their staffs and parents of current students to vote. This is the way our local school administrators have been running things for at least the past 30 years, in a cozy arrangement where they try very hard not to be noticed except by the people with an interest in voting for more tax money and electing sympathetic School Board members.


Thu, May 5, 2011 : 5:03 a.m.

ghost,they might miss a minute of american idol or the kardashians if they took time to vote.Cant have that


Wed, May 4, 2011 : 10:29 p.m.

Thank you, &quot;Just a Special Ed Advocate.&quot; I had good friends whose son went to school through age 26. He then went on to vocational training through a federal program. He had Down's Syndrome, though not severe. Both his parents are dead. Guess what? He makes a living and lives independently. He would have never been able to do this on his own without all the help from taxpayers. And guess what? Since he works and lives independently, he actually pays taxes. Over his lifetime, that's a pretty good return on our tax dollars. Rather than costing us money, since his parents are dead and he would need ongoing care, he's contributing to the tax base. He's a loyal, dependable worker. Education is a good investment, not only in lives, but also in the tax base for the community, state, and country.


Wed, May 4, 2011 : 10:17 p.m.

There is often an education election at this time of the year, it's not unique to this year. I'm with Ghost. It took me about 3 minutes, too. No excuse for not voting, even if it's voting 3rd party or write-in if you don't agree with one of the mainstream parties. No reason not to vote.

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Wed, May 4, 2011 : 12:36 p.m.

The voters who failed to vote in this well publicized and much talked about election bear no responsibility for the turnout or for the outcome. Yeah, that makes sense. It took me less than three minutes (I clocked it) from the time I walked in the door to my polling place to the time I walked out the door. Anyone who could not bother to vote cannot complain about the election's outcome, nor can anyone complain about the election's date. People have died to earn and defend our right to vote. Is taking the time to vote on a May election date really so much to ask? Good Night and Good Luck

Martin Church

Wed, May 4, 2011 : 2:07 a.m.

I guess I will now have to make further cuts to my spending for my family. and who is holding the school districts responsible for the money. Guess no one. I wish the schools would make the same cuts I am making I lost 25% income and now more money to the schools with no results. Thanks Washtenaw

Jonny Spirit

Wed, May 4, 2011 : 9:26 p.m.

I keep forgetting everybody must feel the pain just because one person lost money. Why do people want everybody to hurt if they hurt. I lost $20 at the Tigers game yesterday, could you people feel my pain so I don't have to write a post about it?


Wed, May 4, 2011 : 11:43 a.m.

@AMOC, who on the AA school board is a former teacher or spouse of one?


Wed, May 4, 2011 : 2:52 a.m.

Martin - It is a tax renewal, and if your property value has gone down, as most have in this county and the state, you will pay a little less in property taxes, including this one, this year. On the other hand, your comment about no-one holding the school districts accountable has some validity. The school boards in this county are full of ex-teachers, spouses of teachers, and others who nearly always support the status quo when it comes to school programs. So follow your districts' school board meetings, and also the WISD county-wide programs. Speak out in support of consolidation of services if not of entire school districts. Help make the schools accountable to the taxpayers who fund them.


Wed, May 4, 2011 : 2:44 a.m.

i am glad it passed, but if it was suppose to end this year per the language on the last millage, doesn't extending it technically make it a new tax?


Wed, May 4, 2011 : 2:38 a.m.

&quot;and who is holding the school districts responsible for the money.&quot; Well, I for one am. I am at my daughter's school volunteering every week and going to as many meetings as I can find the time for. I share my thoughts and opinions with other informed and interested parents. And in Ann Arbor, the district listens to us. Public education is partnership between kids, parents, the schools, and the community.


Wed, May 4, 2011 : 2:29 a.m.

Free, ugh., please allow us to edit our post for spelling, pretty please.


Wed, May 4, 2011 : 2:28 a.m.

If you cancel your internet subscription you can save some money. Just hit up McDonalds for some fee wifi and a cheap meal.


Wed, May 4, 2011 : 2:18 a.m.

You are obviously oblivious to this election. It was just a renewal. No new tax.

Bridget Thomas

Wed, May 4, 2011 : 2:16 a.m.

@Martin Church-- you obviously did no reading about the millage before posting your comment. This is not a new increase at all. In fact, it is slightly less than when it was first passed in 2004. This is simply a renewal.


Wed, May 4, 2011 : 1:56 a.m.

Thank goodness people chose to help schools. As a public school student I salute those who voted for my future.


Wed, May 4, 2011 : 1:51 a.m.

Thank you for doing the right thing.


Sun, May 8, 2011 : 4:36 a.m.

grye...why are 9 charter schools only getting 190k and others get over 5 million? Is that right?