You are viewing this article in the archives. For the latest breaking news and updates in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area, see
Posted on Wed, May 8, 2013 : 5:59 a.m.

3Q financial report: Ann Arbor schools must add $1.3M to 2012-13 deficit

By Danielle Arndt


The Ann Arbor Public Schools Board of Education will talk about the 2013-14 budget and hear a third-quarter financial report for the current school year Wednesday night. For the first time, the board is faced with needing to borrow money from the state to make summer payroll for employees.

Courtney Sacco | file photo

The Ann Arbor Public Schools is yet another $1.3 million over budget for the 2012-13 academic year and will be faced with needing to borrow money from the state of Michigan — for the first time — in order to make its summer payroll for employees.

This information was released in the district's third quarter financial report. The report is on the agenda for Wednesday's regular Board of Education meeting.

Officials with the AAPS finance department will go through the report with board members at the meeting in more detail, but an initial review shows the district had to budget an additional $700,000 for transportation due to increased fuel costs, maintenance and substitute drivers, as well as increased costs associated with transporting a growing number of homeless students.

Also according to the report, the district's substitute teacher budget was increased by $300,000, and an extra $300,000 was budgeted for health care to cover anticipated usage through the remainder of the fiscal year, which ends June 30.

School district budgets often change throughout the year and little adjustments at each quarter are not uncommon. However, for Ann Arbor, the $1.3 million shortfall revealed in the third-quarter financial report is in addition to an approximately $2.5 million current-year shortfall the district saw in February, when central administrators presented its second-quarter financial report.

The $2.5 million shortfall was attributed in part to the district receiving less revenue than projected for meeting Gov. Rick Snyder's "best practice" criteria. AAPS expected to be awarded $2.6 million but instead was given $860,000.

About $1.4 million of the $2.5 million shortfall total was the result of AAPS employing 24 more teacher assistants and five more teachers than it budgeted for, according to the second-quarter report. Eight of the teacher assistants were said to be required for classroom "overages." The teacher assistants were assigned to teachers with more students in their classes than the maximum agreed upon in the district's contract with the Ann Arbor Education Association.

The remaining 16 teacher assistants were necessary by law to accommodate the district’s special education programs and the number of special needs’ Individualized Education Plans (IEPs).

Superintendent Patricia Green enacted a spending freeze in February to try to close the then-$2.5 million gap. She personally is approving or denying all requests and purchase orders that come through the district until the end of the year to help control spending and curb unnecessary expenses.

Green also decided not to fill Deputy Superintendent of Operations Robert Allen's position after he resigned in late February to take a position in North Carolina. She said this decision also was intended to aid the district's current budget situation.

If $3.8 million is not reduced from the district's expenditures by the end of the school year, or attained through new revenue, the district's fund balance, or primary savings account, will dip to $6.8 million, according to the third-quarter financial report. The Ann Arbor Public Schools started the academic year with $16.63 million in fund equity.

School officials have said previously that the district needs about $9 million in its fund equity to be able to avoid borrowing money from the state to make payroll during the summer months, before the state issues its first per-pupil foundation allowance allotment in the fall, the start of the state's fiscal year.

There is a resolution that would authorize the district to obtain a line of credit on the agenda for Wednesday's school board meeting. The resolution calls for a line of credit in the sum of not to exceed $10 million.

Ann Arbor Public Schools is in the process of establishing a budget for the 2013-14 academic year. The district is facing an $8.67 million deficit for fall and a number of painful cuts to athletics, teachers and other employees, high school transportation and high school theater, among others.

Wednesday's Board of Education meeting starts at 7 p.m. on the fourth floor of the downtown Ann Arbor District Library.

Danielle Arndt covers K-12 education for Follow her on Twitter @DanielleArndt or email her at



Thu, May 9, 2013 : 1:51 a.m.

The solution is to pay what you can afford or wait for the emergency manager to tell you how to fix it which will be that same solution. The unions run the place, pure and simple. The administration has given away the farm. This isn't that difficult to figure out. Unpopular? You bet. Painful? Absolutely. Necessary? No doubt................There is nobody who wants to do this but it has to be done.

Burr Oak

Thu, May 9, 2013 : 12:34 a.m.

Why can't families pay a reasonable fee to use the school bus service (as they do for athletics) and provide a scholarship for families who can't afford it? The schools know who those families are because of the reduced lunch lists. Why are we laying off teachers so that some families have free transportation? My guess is that many high school families would rather pay a reasonable fee than have all services ended. Gas costs more? Why does this have to come out of the classroom budgets? Transportation is not the enemy, but needs to be rethought under these challenges.


Thu, May 9, 2013 : 3:16 a.m.

aamom - Only 1 time since 1994 has the Ann Arbor School System seen a decrease in total revenue. That decrease was less than 3% of the total revenue. I would suggest you do some looking at the past audit reports, and see how much the revenue has grown from all the new sources of revenue that the district has... Medicaid, Title1 and 2, corporate grants, WISD special education reimbursement [local millage], sinking fund [local millage], building bonds [local millage], technology bonds local millage], state Durant settlement reimbursement, etc. With the exception of the building bonds most of these are new revenue sources since Prop A was passed.


Thu, May 9, 2013 : 2:24 a.m.

Sounds like our legislators need to change the law. Maybe that law made sense at some point, but now they are cutting funding and then refuse to let us fund ourselves. It's ridiculous that we can't charge for busing.

Ruth Kraut

Thu, May 9, 2013 : 1:30 a.m.

You are not allowed to charge for transportation. State law.


Thu, May 9, 2013 : 1:30 a.m.

Michigan law does not require school districts to transport students, but does forbid charging families who use the busses. Federal law requires transportation be provided for some special education students and homeless students who were previously enrolled for the rest of the school year.


Thu, May 9, 2013 : 12:16 a.m.

There are two approaches other school districts have recently followed, one worked, the other led to emergency management. - You can open up contracts and cut payroll which has grown by more than tax funding has been able to provide. Saline has followed this approach with success. - The alternative is to kick the can down the road, ignoring responsibilities, and go into debt. It is a hard but obvious choice. If you can not afford your costs now, why would you be able to afford these unsustainable costs later with the added interest payments. Detroit has tried this with its school system and city government without success. Michigan teachers are paid far above the national average, both in wadges and benefits. Come down to Earth and do what is responsible for the students and school.


Thu, May 9, 2013 : 3:11 a.m.

And Ms Kraut locked the door for the next 5 years. Which means more reduction in teaching staff over the next 5 years.

Ruth Kraut

Thu, May 9, 2013 : 1:31 a.m.

The school district just reopened the teacher contracts, for a projected savings of nearly $3.4 million.

Andrew Smith

Wed, May 8, 2013 : 8:04 p.m.

This is crazy! The AAPS should not borrow money. Creating a debt will only make the situation even worse.


Thu, May 9, 2013 : 1:52 a.m.

Why not, the US government does it and we find that to be acceptable...............

Thinkin' it Over

Wed, May 8, 2013 : 7:17 p.m.

AMOC, MSG, DonBee, Ranzini and others, Your facts are incorrect regarding meeting times and sub usage. The vast majority of IEPs, department meetings, district wide meetings and professional training take place after school, during times while students are in other classes, or on days when students are not present, including during the summer. Subs are not required for most meetings. If teaching is the cake job you say it is, why haven't you earned your credential and gone into teaching, or started teaching without a credential in a private or charter school? Everyone thinks they work harder than other people. The truth is, everyone works hard. Also, everyone pays taxes that support our schools, including teachers, who then spend their salaries to buy materials for their students. It sounds like you and so many other A2 bloggers on this site enjoy making as many clever, bitter and snarky remarks as possible, as if that will somehow make things better for our kids and our schools. I don't get it. Our schools have leaky windows and ceilings. There are classrooms with cracked windows that have not been replaced for years. Students have outdated equipment and limited supplies and materials, including paper and pencils, and even kleenex! The kids have to read literature books that are falling apart from being read over and over again. How about figuring out ways to make A2 schools more incredible instead of constantly complaining and whining and being sarcastic? Get into our schools and help! It's time!

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Thu, May 9, 2013 : 2:51 p.m.

@RU: Bonds are permitted for very limited purposes. A bond is not an operating millage. And those of us who have been paying attention know that the AAPS has been cutting for 20 years. Accounting for inflation and for student population, the annual AAPS budget is short roughly $20 million over where it was when Prop A became law. But go ahead. Keep cutting. Send the schools to an emergency manager as many in this conversation advocate. That will do wonders for property values. GN&GL


Thu, May 9, 2013 : 2:37 p.m.

What was that technology bond thing, Murrow? Are you saying Prop A makes it impossible for any new money to come into the AAPS via property taxes? That seems unlikely. But even if that's the case, my point is that the problems are probably more due to irresponsible spending and peopel doing a bad job than everyone just needing more money.

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Thu, May 9, 2013 : 12:47 p.m.

RUkidding: You apparently don't understand that under Prop A there can be no increases in the operating millage? GN&GL


Wed, May 8, 2013 : 10:09 p.m.

Thinkin' it; you're right. Let's just pass another millage, only this time let's make it 10. No, 20. No, let's say 30 mills. Maybe 40. Because they're not making bad decisions, they just need more money. How about 50? C'mon, it's for the kids, let's say 70, and next year we'll see if that was enough. Okay, 80.


Wed, May 8, 2013 : 9:57 p.m.

Dear Thinkin' It Over - You need to think again and check your assumptions. I am the regular volunteer and the parent of 3 special needs kids in the district. I have been repeatedly told over the past 15 years that it is not possible to hold IEP meetings outside school hours without paying the teachers overtime. Therefore, IEP meetings are held outside school hours only if the parent flatly refuses to attend otherwise. The overtime money was cut in this years' budget, so the teachers I've been dealing with are even more insistent that they CANNOT and will not schedule IEP meetings except during school hours. I have previously served as a volunteer technical resource on STEM education, as a specialist consultant to the (now defunct) district assistive technology committee and in other volunteer jobs within AAPS. Every single one of those meetings, most of which had multiple teachers in attendance, was scheduled inside school hours. A friend who was asked and agreed to serve as a community reviewer of the Technology Plan also reported that every single one of THOSE meetings was held in normal school hours, though there were relatively few teachers involved in that effort. If there are still cracked windows and leaky roofs in AAPS, then your quarrel should be with the district's Facilities Manager and former Construction Bond Manager, not with commenters on this site. The taxpayers of this community gave AAPS hundreds of millions of dollars to build Skyline High School and fund multiple renovation and construction projects at every single building in the school district. That's in addition to the Sinking Fund money which is designated for exactly that kind of building repairs.


Wed, May 8, 2013 : 8:25 p.m.

Thinkin' it Over - I will mirror Mr. Ranzini comment, I don't think I have eveer commented on eithr item. I teach from time to time in high schools, colleges and even grade schools. I enjoy it, but I don't have to do it day in and day out. I have never taken issue with teachers in general, the union, yes, the administration yes, the system yes, some specific teachers yes. Teachers in general no...go back and look at my history, it is all on the site.

Stephen Lange Ranzini

Wed, May 8, 2013 : 7:23 p.m.

@Thinkin' It Over: To the best of my recollection, I have made no statements "regarding meeting times and sub usage." In fact I taught a class two weeks ago at Pioneer High School. It was a lot of fun.


Wed, May 8, 2013 : 5:25 p.m.

Where did the school system fail in meeting best practices? It would be great of the State would provide a list of best practices.


Thu, May 9, 2013 : 8:55 p.m.

You sound like Detroit city council people. "It's not that we spent more than we had, we were just not given enough of the people's money". "We have the solution to the problem, just give us more money".

Ruth Kraut

Thu, May 9, 2013 : 1:29 a.m.

The school system did not fail to meet best practices. The state reduced the amount of funding available for best practices after the budget was adopted. The state has been diverting money (over $1.8 billion and counting) from the school aid fund over the last two years and there are plans to divert even more, with no plans to replace that money.


Wed, May 8, 2013 : 7:04 p.m.

grye - 30 second Google:,4615,7-140-6530_6605-258500--,00.html


Wed, May 8, 2013 : 4:47 p.m.

Does anyone know if the teachers' contract can be reopened or is it binding for 10 years? I agree with Snoopdog--the new contract should have all the cuts he mentioned but I fear AAPS administrators and BoE botched that as well. It is not the fault of Gov. Snyder, Gov. Engler or the Republican legislature. It is the new reality and it's finally affecting Ann Arbor. The money isn't there and never will be again. The BoE, AAPS administrators and AAPS teachers can demonize whoever they want but they can't escape the economy. Teachers must work longer hours and more days of the year, period. We cannot afford to pay for substitutes every time a teacher has a meeting. We cannot afford to pay teachers for "planning time." All professional development must occur outside of the school year. Why do AAPS middle school kids have yet another day off today? Is that for the benefit of teachers or students? Public education should be all about the students not about the teachers. AAPS needs to look at the competition--what are private schools paying their teachers? What are charter schools paying their teachers? There are five families on my street in Ann Arbor, all with multiple children, who do not attend AAPS. They go to private or charter schools or are home schooled. You can whittle away at transportation and extracurriculars but real cost savings will only come from cutting positions (teachers and administrators) and changing the teachers contract.


Thu, May 9, 2013 : 9:51 p.m.

@DonBee I know the contract is for 5 years, but I thought I have read articles that stated a school district could impose cuts if in a deficit, or possibly just reopen a contract if they could show it was needed due to financial reasons. I am curious if this is true or would apply to this situation.

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Thu, May 9, 2013 : 12:40 p.m.

"With the cost of retirement for the teachers . . . " As you well know, Donbee, retirement costs ARE NOT contractual. They are mandated by the State of Michigan under the MSPERS system. GN&GL


Thu, May 9, 2013 : 3:10 a.m.

Ms Kraut - The AAEA (teachers union) is the largest expense the district has. With the cost of retirement for the teachers and benefits, it is about half of the total expenses. While saving $3.5 million sounds like a lot, if the district needs to find $9 million - for next year (based on the overruns that looks like about the right number) then the savings is about a million short. That means the only way to get it is to reduce the number of teachers by 10 (each teacher costs the district on average $104,000 including retirement and other benefits). That is not the way things should be. And the lock for the next 5 years means that the only way to get additional savings for the next 4 years is more reduction in teaching staff. This is the wrong way to balance the budget, but to paraphrase Willy Sutton "That's where the money is".

Ruth Kraut

Thu, May 9, 2013 : 1:31 a.m.

The new contract is expected to save the district nearly $3.5 million next year.


Wed, May 8, 2013 : 7:03 p.m.

MSG - The contract is 5 years. Very little changed from the prior contract, based on what information is available. A Voice of Reason - We don't have the details of the contract yet, I still don't see the AAEA contract on the AAPS website. So if you have a copy of it, you are ahead of the rest of us.

A Voice of Reason

Wed, May 8, 2013 : 5:56 p.m.

No, they did not botch it. The timing of their settlement and amount was planned. We were told that the contract could be open at any time by either party, lets see how that goes....


Wed, May 8, 2013 : 2:44 p.m.

Hartland school didtrict just passed their millage extention. They will probably have a surplus. I've had kids in Ann Arbor and Hartland schools. The Ann Arbor education system was a disgusting exerience. The poor administrative abilities of their schools passes on and gets ingrained in the childred. It takes 2 years to 're-educate' them. The first year to build trust with the new leadership. A second year to catch up with the high-fliers. You people deserve the government and the schools you have. Keep at it. The rest of us will need fodder for the third world jobs coming here. YOUR schools will barely be able to get this done. Even the photos of your school leaders tell a tale.


Wed, May 8, 2013 : 5:29 p.m.



Wed, May 8, 2013 : 2:07 p.m.

Disgusting. But hardly surprising


Wed, May 8, 2013 : 1:15 p.m.

We need a federal Emergency Bailout. Or, is that only for banks and private sector corporations (who force workers to take 50% pay cuts)?


Wed, May 8, 2013 : 2:02 p.m.

We need an emergency new BOE. Cut the fat at BAlas!


Wed, May 8, 2013 : 1:44 p.m.

The only bad thing about socialism is that eventually you run out of other people's money. - Lady Thatcher


Wed, May 8, 2013 : 1:43 p.m.

L,chaim - Billions of dollars in stimulus funds were given to Governor Granholm's administration. Some of that was to retain teachers. It was supposed to last the state through this school year when the funds expired. Governor Granholm decided to accelerate the spending, which left the fund empty 2 years early. We got it, we spent it and we did nothing with it but pay expenses, so there is no long-term benefit from these billions.

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Wed, May 8, 2013 : 1:10 p.m.

I have shows the numerics complete with web links that support the following before. If you don't believe me, do the research yourself. Bottom line: using 1992 as the baseline (the year Prop A became law) and adjusting both for inflation and for enrollment, the AAPS is operating this year on $20 million less than it ought. So much for the myth of profligate spending. GN&GL

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Thu, May 9, 2013 : 12:38 p.m.

Interesting Numbers, Donbee. They are, of course, entirely beside the point. 1) Without prop A, the people of the AAPS would have had the ability to adjust tax rates to reflect falling property values. 2) Without Prop A, the majority of revenue came from local tax sources and therefore was VERY predictable, whether property values were rising or falling, making possible meaningful long term budget planning. Under Prop A neither is true. Schools get to guess what their state support will be and, at best, find out what it will be barely two months before the school year begins, and there being absolutely no knowledge whatsoever of what the next year's support will be, much less where it will be in five or ten years. 3) Even accepting all of your #'s without the above explanations, the fact remains that the AAPS are operating with a budget that is $20 million less than it was when Prop A became law when adjusted for student population and for inflation. You suggest that that would be the case even were Prop A not in effect. Who knows if that is true. But what we do know is that the school district's budget is roughly 16% less than it ought to be. And so my original point stands: The myth of profligate spending by the district is smashed, and anyone who has been paying even the least bit of attention to the AAPS budget for the last 20 years understands this. GN&GL


Wed, May 8, 2013 : 7 p.m.

Sorry - the numbers formatted poorly The 3 columns are year, taxable value and the percent increase over the prior year. Note the percentage increase from 2007 to 2013 is low to negative.


Wed, May 8, 2013 : 6:59 p.m.

ERMG - We may have but we would still have a budget crisis in the school - Taxable Value has not risen in the last few years in AAPS. According to the Washtenaw Country website, the taxable value for AAPS since 2000 has done the following: 2000 5,096,024,336 7% 2001 5,468,183,923 8% 2002 5,899,493,453 5% 2003 6,179,236,164 6% 2004 6,552,025,538 6% 2005 6,925,134,329 7% 2006 7,388,565,467 6% 2007 7,818,222,440 2% 2008 7,939,602,092 0% 2009 7,945,379,786 -5% 2010 7,577,828,686 -2% 2011 7,452,814,496 0% 2012 7,479,430,305 2% 2013 7,637,454,458 Since 2006 if there was no proposition A, there would have been no additional money for the district. In addition I doubt that the Sinking Fund or using Bond Money for technology or buses would have been authorized if there was no Prop A. Finally with the Headlee Amendment, some of the 2000 - 2005 increase MIGHT have been spread over the 2006 to 2011 time period, but it may not have either. We don't know if property values would have risen as much with a heavier tax burden. There are many "what-If's" that we don't know. What we do know is that Ypsi, Willow Run, and Lincoln would have struggled with heavy decreases in property tax collections. So there may or may not have been $20 million more in the General Fund, probably $15-20 million less in sinking fund and bond money and more students trying to find a spot in Ann Arbor - many moving in to the townships just inside the boundaries, more trailer parks anyone? Overall Prop A has benefited the children of the state, Ann Arbor may or may not be a special case, but without a time machine we will never know.

Wake Up A2

Wed, May 8, 2013 : 1:02 p.m.

The best part is AAPS is paying someone to read all of these comments are reporting them back. So both our tax money is spent to read these and then processed and not acted on. So why pay for someone to read them or report them. Why have that person at all.... oh balas so I guess its ok.


Wed, May 8, 2013 : 1:01 p.m.

Living large has finally caught up with AAPS. We say this coming years ago but did AAPS truly do what was necessary to avoid getting here, of course not. Once again it is going to come down to cutting programs like athletics, band, music etc which hurts the kids and gives parents fewer choices in educating their children. At some point, the teachers union has got to be run out of town. Education is about the children not teachers unions. The folks in the private sector in this state have been suffering for over ten years now. 95% of them do not have pensions when they retire, 95% will not have healthcare when they retire. Why is it then that they must provide these benefits to public employees? The excuse used to be that public servants were paid less so it was only fair to give them "cadillac" benefits. That is no longer true, the average public employee makes almost 20K more per year than the private sector worker. It has now become the private sector servant serving the public sector worker. There is a real simple fix to AAPS's situation. Cut the cadillac benefits, give teachers 3 sick days instead of 12. Take out "personal" and "professional" days off. Cut out automatic step raises, raise dedecutibles to meet what private sector workers pay themselves. And lastly , cut salaries whatever percentage is needed to balance the budget. Good Day

A Voice of Reason

Wed, May 8, 2013 : 1:50 p.m.

The BOE are in the back pocket of the MEA and AAEA. They receive contributions from the MEA. Remember, we are paying half of the AAEA President's salary and give her/him a "leave" from teaching. I wonder if the step increases are still included when they return? Teachers are not the enemy, their union is the problem. Did an outside organization actually count of the vote? Just wondering?


Wed, May 8, 2013 : 1 p.m.

Robert Allen's and Patricia Green's resignations/retirements are making more and more sense as each bit of bad financial news comes to light. The Ann Arbor community, not just the AAPS administration and BofE, is going to have to work together, and respond quickly and creatively, to overcome this very dire financial situation that our public schools are in. As a community, we must prioritize our public education goals and values, and start cutting. We can waste time and energy blaming the governor and the state legislature but we must get our financial house in order. Now.


Wed, May 8, 2013 : 12:58 p.m.

'The $2.5 million shortfall was attributed in part to the district receiving less revenue than projected for meeting Gov. Rick Snyder's "best practice" criteria. AAPS expected to be awarded $2.6 million but instead was given $860,000.' Why is there no discussion of why the district did not receive these funds? What specifically was Rick Snyder's "best practice" criteria, and how did AAPS not meet it? That's a huge amount of money not awarded and a further explanation is needed.


Wed, May 8, 2013 : 5:25 p.m.

@Susie Q is correct. School districts do not get ANY of the money if they do not meet the 'best practices' criteria. Eventually it becomes a process of determining whether the amount the district will receive is worth the costs associated with the changes required to meet those arbitrary 'best practices'.

Susie Q

Wed, May 8, 2013 : 3:06 p.m.

The problem wasn't that AAPS didn't meet the criteria, the problem is that Snyder has decreased the "best practice" funds. There is even less next year. AAPS already does most of Snyder's "best practices".


Wed, May 8, 2013 : 1:01 p.m.


Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Wed, May 8, 2013 : 12:45 p.m.

The ultimate goal of Prop A has finally come to fruition: the ability to drive into the ground even the most successful public schools in the most affluent of communities. GN&GL

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Wed, May 8, 2013 : 2:01 p.m.

Hey @Stephen: Your point and mine are not mutually exclusive. I think both are true. But, by my calculations (as noted below), using 1992 as baseline, the AAPS are underfunded today to the tune of nearly $20 million. That ain't chump change. @You: the baseline established in 1992 was based on what the local school districts were then spending on a per pupil basis. A2 received more state funding than did Milan, et. al., precisely because it was willing to spend more of its money to educate its students, a right that Prop A took away. If Milan, et. al. wanted to receive more money from the state, they needed to show a willingness to spend more of their own money before Prop A took effect. Yep. I have no doubt that they are angry that AAPS receives more per pupil funding that Milan, et. al. The problem is that that anger is born of ignorance, as is true of most anger expressed on's pages. GN&GL


Wed, May 8, 2013 : 1:41 p.m.

Ed, Prop A has actually benefitted AAPS. Look at the per pupil dollars AAPS gets compared to surrounding Districts. Prop A was supposed to level the playing field and equalize per pupil expensitures. That hasn't happened! Districts like Milan, Chelsea, Dexter, and Saline have little empathy for AAPS when they have been "overpaid" by the state for the last 20 years! Bottom line is AAPS is mismanaged and held captive by the union interests.

Stephen Lange Ranzini

Wed, May 8, 2013 : 1:26 p.m.

Hi @ERM's Ghost! I did not support Prop A, but Prop A isn't to blame for the many problems with financial controls that have cost millions of dollars over the last several years at AAPS. Please see my comment about about the need for better internal audit and especially my reply to my own comment with more detail explaining my comment (with apologies in advance for the double posted reply due to a computer malfunction).

A Voice of Reason

Wed, May 8, 2013 : 12:42 p.m.

Sorry, teacher assistants for special education is paid for by the Federal Government and WISD. I am sure the funding increase for provided to offset this expense, so this should not account for a budget deficit. Nice try!

A Voice of Reason

Wed, May 8, 2013 : 12:42 p.m.

are paid for


Wed, May 8, 2013 : 12:37 p.m.

At the middle school level, the seventh grade choir is taking a trip the Friday before Memorial Day to CEDAR POINT. This is an all day trip from 8:30 am to 9:30 pm. While I understand the need to "perform", taking a trip hours away at a middle school level on a holiday weekend, with excessive bussing costs perhaps associated with the timing, as well as with the distance us just plain IRRESPONSIBLE!! These choir teachers have other classes which then require subs for the day, another cost. How do the middle school principals, such as Janet Schwamb at Forsythe, and others, authorize such a fiscally irresponsible trip when there is the NEED for budget cuts at so many levels? If the choir wants to go to CEDAR POINT, they need to do it 100% on THEIR OWN DIME!! Alo, this trip was apparently used as an "incentive" (otherwise known as a bribe), to "encourage students to take choir in seventh grade. This is truly sad on so many levels. The administration and teachers need to WAKE UP, and reexamine these ludicrous trips. Again, I'm not against the choir performing, but find someplace a LOT closer, which isn't as COSTLY!!! You wonder why they need to find $, it starts with all the STUPID stuff that is allowed to happen.


Thu, May 9, 2013 : 2:37 a.m.

KidsR, some people HAVE had their kids given such an incentive as a Cedar Point trip to salvage poor choir class enrollment. So some people CAN make such educated comments. As I said, the reality is nothing against choir performances, but with NO educational tie between choir singing and an amusement park, some common sense decisions need to be made. The eighth grade class trip at Forsythe was changed from DC to Chicago due to a lack of affordability. A common sense decision, which apparently has not transpired at all AAPS middle schools YET. If an objective look could be made at some of these trips that benefit few but cost a lot, there may be money available for other areas where it's really needed. What's the priority- a choir teacher getting a sub to go to an amusement park, or a reading intervention teacher getting paid to tutor a group of kids that are still way below reading level???


Wed, May 8, 2013 : 9:35 p.m.

People who have no clue about the details of such trips or events should refrain from making comments about them. It makes said people appear ignorant and only serves to pass on misinformation which serves no one and only contributed to a ignorant mob mentality.


Wed, May 8, 2013 : 2 p.m.

Philly, who pays for substitute teachers? Certainly not fundraising. The school does, no doubt. I am in support when there are fundraisers, etc. but I highly doubt this is the case. Also detracts from classes, as those who do not attend the trip are left in half empty classrooms, and somewhat of a wasted school day. Also, doesn't address using Cedar Point as a "bribe" to get kids to take choir. They should be fully invested in th elective, otherwise there are kids goofing off when they really don't want o be there. Voice, I hear ya. Should be in the summer, or during a vacation.

A Voice of Reason

Wed, May 8, 2013 : 1:54 p.m.

All those choir teachers had to accompany the 15 or so students to Italy too (Huron and Bonnie Kidd from Tappan). That cost the district $1000 plus in substitute days to benefit 15 kids who could afford to go. Why isn't this trip in the summer when the teachers are off?

Wake Up A2

Wed, May 8, 2013 : 1:42 p.m.

Its not the only cedar point trip in the district. Or trips to restaurants....


Wed, May 8, 2013 : 12:53 p.m.

Do you know how the choir Cedar Point field trip was paid for? I don't know the specifics about this particular field trip, but from my own children's field trip experiences, all were paid through a combination of fundraising, donations, and paying out of pocket. None were paid with school funds.

Paula Gardner

Wed, May 8, 2013 : 12:34 p.m.

The third-quarter budget report is 94 pages. It is the 3rd item in the 11th subsection of tonight's agenda, following typical agenda items like student performances, public commentary and both the superintendent and board president reports. With the meeting starting at 7, it may be late before the discussion turns to this item. The resolution for the line of credit follows that. Here is the link to the board page:


Wed, May 8, 2013 : 1:39 p.m.

This is the standard quarterly report, that requires a degree in educational accounting to understand. There are no notes on deviations in the report, there are no comments, no illumination. It is a pure dump of the accounts and status of the accounts. In other words it is data, not information, and certainly not knowledge. This report continues to be a disservice to both the community and the board. I have figured out how to read it, and taken the time to know what many of the account numbers means, but it takes WORK to get to that point. And...nothing in the report provides any insight into why the numbers are what they are. Shame on the administration for doing this to the board, and Shame on the board for letting them do it. This is pure willful disregard for the board by the administration.

Stephen Lange Ranzini

Wed, May 8, 2013 : 12:31 p.m.

In addition to the better and more rigorous budgeting process that Superintendent Green was advocating moving to that she focused on in her letter of resignation (the current budgeting process is clearly broken beyond repair), a good *internal* audit process is required. The fact that the board is finding out about cost overruns so late in the fiscal year is an indication of a breakdown in financial and dual controls, or that the financial and administrative controls in place are being ignored by administrative staff.

Stephen Lange Ranzini

Wed, May 8, 2013 : 1:21 p.m.

To further illustrate my point about why better internal audit is required to get the AAPS' budget deficit under control, here is a quote from one of my Common Cents columns from May 2012: "3. How much money does each school system spend each year on internal audits to ensure that the formal policies and procedures of the board and senior management are followed and not violated? Several recent scandals that exposed where over a million dollars was being lost each year by actions in violation of established policies indicate that some schools have a culture in place that ignores official policy and an ineffective system of controls and checks and balances." "For example, the AAPS was wasting $766,800 a year paying for employee dependents receiving health care benefits who were in actuality not eligible as legitimate dependents and AAPS was wasting $500,000 a year because the board policy on the distance between bus stops was being ignored by bureaucrats for years." "A strong internal audit would ensure that waste is caught timely, the board's key policies are followed, and that administrators are doing their job properly. Business leaders understand that a strong risk focused internal audit function in a large business is critical to their ability to trust but verify that what is happening throughout the organization is in line with expectations." See:

Stephen Lange Ranzini

Wed, May 8, 2013 : 1:16 p.m.

To further illustrate the point, here is a quote from one of my Common Cents columns from May 2012: "3. How much money does each school system spend each year on internal audits to ensure that the formal policies and procedures of the board and senior management are followed and not violated? Several recent scandals that exposed where over a million dollars was being lost each year by actions in violation of established policies indicate that some schools have a culture in place that ignores official policy and an ineffective system of controls and checks and balances." "For example, the AAPS was wasting $766,800 a year paying for employee dependents receiving health care benefits who were in actuality not eligible as legitimate dependents and AAPS was wasting $500,000 a year because the board policy on the distance between bus stops was being ignored by bureaucrats for years." "A strong internal audit would ensure that waste is caught timely, the board's key policies are followed, and that administrators are doing their job properly. Business leaders understand that a strong risk focused internal audit function in a large business is critical to their ability to trust but verify that what is happening throughout the organization is in line with expectations." See:

Stephen Lange Ranzini

Wed, May 8, 2013 : 12:22 p.m.

...and people wonder why when Superintendent Green resigned her letter of resignation focused on the urgent need to improve the budgeting process! If as the article states she has been personally approving all expenses and this is still happening, the financial budgeting and control process is clearly broken and needs a radical overhaul.


Wed, May 8, 2013 : 1:02 p.m.

Exactly. If the CEO has to approve all expenses, that indicates a fiscal breakdown at all levels of the budgeting process. Are the financial managers who report to her incompetent? What is the chain of command and who was given the authority to approve purchases prior to this last ditch arrangement? AAPS has never lived within its means.

Chris Blackstone

Wed, May 8, 2013 : 12:12 p.m.

Until we know specifically what makes up the $700,000 for increased transportation $250,000 for increased subs, and $300,000 for increased health care costs, it's really not helpful to blame the board or Balas. Now, if details emerge that the administration could have done more to lessen these costs, then there should be consequences. Don't forget, however, that the staff of AAPS are the ones actually responsible for approving all the individual expenditures that make up this deficit. School Boards work in broad swaths, but it's not their responsibility to manage to the degree that some on this thread seem to be advocating.


Wed, May 8, 2013 : 12:10 p.m.

Why is this news, this is following the steps just like Chicago districts and many other defunct school districts around the country are facing, incompetent and loyalists to unions, why does no one understand the consequences that the BOE has no insight when it comes to managing budgets, we continue to follow blindness leaders to oblivion and yet we continue to applaud how wonderful they perform. Must be the twilight zone.

A Voice of Reason

Wed, May 8, 2013 : 11:48 a.m.

I heard that AAPS would not disclose the substitute teacher cost to the News (think it was local 4 or 7( when all other district did in Michigan. Talk about transparency! There is something fishy going on with the substitute hours. Teachers are always absent (meetings, elective surgery, trip to conferences), etc. Can't this all be done at the end of the school year. Just remember, the BOE negotiated a teacher's contract that we cannot afford.

A Voice of Reason

Wed, May 8, 2013 : 2:01 p.m.

It doesn't look like a pay cut to me, just a lack of pay increase (I am not 100% sure because it is very muddy). Also, health insurance premiums are rising, so staff benefits are increasing in value. I am guessing that we are not allowed to shop out health care or require a co-pay to off-set these increases. The cost of employing our teachers in AAPS looks like it is going up next year and the BOE is offsetting this by decreasing the number of teachers.


Wed, May 8, 2013 : 1:07 p.m.

Well, if you are asked to take a pay cut, then teachers and assistants may be taking off all of their sick and personal days each year, whether or not they are actually "sick." Employees do this in all organizations when they feel they are "owed" these benefits. The private sector is less generous with paid sick and personal time off, and many times in the private sector pay is related to performance, so there is an incentive to perform well and not milk the system.

A Voice of Reason

Wed, May 8, 2013 : 12:31 p.m.

trips to conferences


Wed, May 8, 2013 : 11:47 a.m.

The biggest cost is locked for the next 5 years. The teachers have a new union contract. The only way to deal with that cost from now on directly is to lay off teachers. Changes to work rules in the contract could have saved the district millions and preserved a number of jobs. In the rush to get a new long-term contract, none of this was addressed. Stopping transportation will do nothing about transportation for students with IEPs or for children who are homeless, both are Federally protected. Dismantling some of the key special education programs (which is quietly underway) will not reduce costs because yet more aids will be required in classrooms. We watch while the administration takes no cuts, and the board continues in their policy only role. There are hard choices to make and the board has avoided them. 1) Do they sell excess property - like the Dixboro School? 2) Do they reduce the administrative overhead in a real fashion 3) Do they keep one of the largest arrays of sports in the state and continue to spend millions each year on new facilities for those sports 4) Do they really install a set of wind turbines that will only produce 10% of the electricity in current value (lifetime) that it will cost to install them? 5) Do they make the members of AAAA management employees or leave them union employees managing other union employees? 6) Do they re open the school contract and rationalize the school year to reduce the cost of utilities. School runs a month longer because of the union calendar. 7) Do they implement zero based budgeting 8) Do they set minimum class sizes for face to face classes and push smaller classes at the high school and middle school to on-line learning (which by the way offers a large array of classes) 9) Does the district bite the bullet and clean up some of the administration in schools driving children to charters 10)...

Stephen Lange Ranzini

Thu, May 9, 2013 : 7:55 a.m.

@Chester Drawers: HaHa! Your point is well taken. Anyone who wants to send me good intel can do so via the U.S. Postal Service and maintain their anonimity. My work address is 2015 Washtenaw Avenue, Ann Arbor, MI 48104. Oh, and I am 48 and started using mainframe computers at NASA's Langley base when I was 15, in 1980!

Chester Drawers

Wed, May 8, 2013 : 10:33 p.m.

Mr. Ranzini, I was made painfully aware of how young you must be compared to me when I read your suggestion as to how DonBee will maintain his anonimity if he contacts you via email. Even though I have been using computers professionally since you were probably in preschool school, and email to communicate since its inception, my first thought would have been to tell Don to type up the list and snail mail it to me in plain brown envelope w/o a return address!


Wed, May 8, 2013 : 3:55 p.m.

Suzie Q - Some of the dates are county wide and tradition, but there are a large number of days/weeks/partial weeks that do not correspond to any other district. One of my boys put the time off this way a couple of weeks ago... Pre-winter break, early winter break, winter break, late winter break, later winter break, late late winter break. He was complaining that they had not had a full week of school in 4 weeks because of various days off. I did not put him up to it. Yes, a couple of weeks of break are set by the county or tradition, the rest is a local issue. I really love the 2 hour accelerated days in the high school and the 1/2 days - like today. Then there is my favorite - High School Testing weeks - for semester exams. Go to school take 1 exam and come home for the rest of the day. My children think it is a complete waste of time and money. Why the high schools have to have 2 and 3 hour blocks of time to do semester exams is beyond me. Mr. Ranzini - I will contact you off list, but I will not meet you in Ann Arbor, If I did not say this in public I suspect there would be people at Cafe Zola trying to see who you ate breakfast with for the next couple of months. I don't want the wrong person outed.

Susie Q

Wed, May 8, 2013 : 2:59 p.m.

DonBee, The calendar is not set by the union. Most of the calendar is out of the hands of AAPS or the union. The stae requires 1098 instructional hours and mandates that school begin after Labor Day. We have to have a county-wide calendar for the major breaks (the December and April breaks). The professional development days/hours are also mandated by the state; the "extra" PD days are something the AAPS wants, not the union. I am sure many of the teachers would just as soon teach a full day rather than have meaningless PD. And I am sure the mid-winter break could be eliminated. I think many of the parents enjoy that break, too.

Wake Up A2

Wed, May 8, 2013 : 12:42 p.m.

Dont forget the dozens of AP courses. It would be cheaper to send the students to WCC then to spend $15, 000 a year per hour plus the costs of supplies plus sending the teachers out of state for certification for only 14 kids.... AP means we get on a list that is only for PR.... if the student wants a college level course, send them to WCC. Five world languages. .... five? The state pays for the basics, thats it. We want to run programs that in the past we could afford. So we go to the basics or be forced to under an emergency manager. ..either way you get the same thing.

Stephen Lange Ranzini

Wed, May 8, 2013 : 11:57 a.m.

@DonBee: In a previous post you stated that you had a list of 40 ideas for ways to cut costs and gain efficiencies at AAPS. Could you please either post the entire list or send me a private email at with the entire list? If you do I will work to publicize the ideas. I promise as a professional bank president to keep your secret identity totally secret if you email me the list. Also, you have a standing invite to have breakfast with me at my expense at Cafe Zola any time convenient with the same commitment from me to absolute secrecy.


Wed, May 8, 2013 : 11:42 a.m.

The absence of community outcry on the BOE's lack of responsibility, led by President Mexicotte, is astounding. Do we need the Ann Arbor Board of Realtors to educate the community about housing prices and the perception of school quality that has helped draw families to Ann Arbor. I target this group of voters because they are the voters who might just vote to approve the millage I am sure will be proposed soon by Mexicotte and her bubbly rambling that lacks any effective leadership. The district is in crisis and it's been known and discussed for years. What is the BOE going to do other than hold community discussion sessions and then agree as of recently to type up a list of feedback ideas and then ask for a millage to bail them out. All of these problems that predated Mexicotte's leadership have worsened under her hand, and it's not all because of state funding cuts. A simple move that doesn't involve a recall is asking her to step down as president and putting a more competent board member in her place or a combination of two board members in her place as co-presidents. I really want to know why the sum total of Don Bee's comments over time in and Ranzini's points more exclusively about finance, are not an active part of the board's discussion.

Paula Gardner

Wed, May 8, 2013 : 11:40 a.m.

Shocked to see this number this morning. I keep thinking about how parents at two elementary buildings in the district told me recently that they haven't been able to get paper supplied in a timely manner.

Stephen Lange Ranzini

Wed, May 8, 2013 : 12:27 p.m.

@Paula Gardner & @DonBee: In addition to the better budgeting process that Superintendent Green was advocating moving to, a good *internal* audit process is required. The external auditor's role is only to opine that the financial statement as presented by management is materially true and correct. With a budget as large as AAPS "material" errors as large as $500,000 would probably be "passed" on and only noted in the management letter, if detected during the audit.


Wed, May 8, 2013 : 11:55 a.m.

I am not shocked. Overruns were quietly managed in the past. With little or no oversight, it is an easy thing to do. Remember the $3 million dollar "slush fund" that came to light last year? Not even the board was aware of it. A number of conflicting explanations were given for what it was and why the board was not informed. The board decided to just let it go. With the same audit firm for more than a decade, no one with fresh eyes has taken a deep dive on the budget in a long time. The reality is that to untangle what happened and why it took months to "discover" it will take a really good fresh auditor. The question is does the Board care enough to get a fresh set of eyes this year and to back the zero based budgeting or will they let this one go too?


Wed, May 8, 2013 : 11:30 a.m.

So we all do know that the school is putting some amount of money into the "this doesn't make sense and everyone knows it" wind mills project, right? That IS happening. And do we remember the expensive "costs more than the pool cover we already have" oil slick for Skyline? Whether it's a $1,000,000 or $14,000 or even $1000, the problem is the spending mentality. When they are willing to put thousands of dollars into a boondoggle project that really, at the end of the day, no matter how you slice it, is ludicrous, that means someone needs to be fired. That kind of wasteful spending is criminal in the best of times. In this budget crisis that they've been yammering on about for a while now, it is completelyn insane. How can we take anything they say seriously when they have committed to the windmill expenditure, in the face of insurmountable evidence that it makes no sense? Why are we putting up with this? Why are people not getting fired? Are parents yelling at any of these people?


Wed, May 8, 2013 : 11:29 a.m.

Blaming the homeless students for the budget problem is a new low for the current BOE and administrative leadership. Frist spending cut, escort Superintendent Green off the premises and stop paying her, she is not doing her job nor fulfilling her five year contact. Next, close the Balas building and sell it. Distribute administrators who have a vital function to the school district buildings so they won't be isolated from the educational process. Stop endless meetings in the Balas building that generate more deficits. Don't hire three new principals, school buildings need to be closed, so consolidate their positions. Cut assistant principal positions and require principals to do their jobs, not delegate their jobs to multiple assistants. Don't borrow money, it only makes budgeting in the future even more difficult as you need to pay loans back! You have the right to appoint your own Emergency Manager, or one may be appointed for you. Don't expect Lansing where all three branches of government are controlled by one party to bail you out with more money. BOE, we have a problem. The BOE needs to become part of the solution, right now they are part of the problem. When is the next election and how many BOE members can be replaced? Perhaps can start exploring good candidates for the BOE to replace the current members.


Wed, May 8, 2013 : 9:41 p.m.

Sadly, some students and their parents claim to be homeless to get their kids into Ann Arbor schools. We have students who caused problems in the district and who, upon further investigation, did not live in the district, be turned away only to have the family claim they are homeless. This is hard to substantiate and the schools are forced to accept someone if they make this claim. It is a big, underreported scam.


Wed, May 8, 2013 : 11:37 a.m.

Well said!

Wake Up A2

Wed, May 8, 2013 : 11:20 a.m.

Time to finish cutting the dead weight at balas. Target 20 positions. I would name each one, but the comment would be banned. There are twenty down there that could go and our kids would still be taught tomorrow. Then trim the three principals from the high school down to two and then share them at the elementary level. Thats how you save the money without borrowing. So start now. The problem has always been the gravy train at balas. Btw: close and sell it and move balas to the third unused floor of skyhigh.


Wed, May 8, 2013 : 10:25 p.m.

I could not agree more. There is too much top heavy Balas and they can buy out those who are only there to waiting to retire. Half of Balas can be privatized and I too shall remain quiet on who can go as well. Wake Up A2 is extremely correct.

J. A. Pieper

Wed, May 8, 2013 : 10:10 p.m.

IF Balas were to be moved, they should not go to the newer Skyline, they do not deserve that! They should go to one of the older buildings, with bare ceilings, no air conditioning.

Wake Up A2

Wed, May 8, 2013 : 9:47 p.m.

Data center 1980's.... Cloud 2010's..... use technology. ..


Wed, May 8, 2013 : 8:09 p.m.

In my earlier comment I was not saying that Balas does not have some positions that could not be cut. I was simply pointing out that relocating AAPS Data Center would be a very expensive undertaking, and it would take many years to recoup the cost of doing so. That being the case, as a taxpayer I do not endorse spending that money irresponsibly. Balas is definitely administration heavy, and a number of positions could, and likely should, be eliminated.


Wed, May 8, 2013 : 7:41 p.m.

There's a lot of additional personnel at the top of the special ed group. 15 years ago, it used to be one person and a secretary. Now there is a head honcho, three senior underlings and support admin for all four. If we sent back to the staffing level 15 years ago, we could save between $500,000 and $1,000,000 right there. These people don't touch the students. Bottom line: Balas isn't going to cut Balas.


Wed, May 8, 2013 : 5:13 p.m.

Trying to close and relocate Balas would be EXTREMELY expensive. It is where their Data Center is located.

Jack Gladney

Wed, May 8, 2013 : 11:02 a.m.

Time for Gov. Snyder to appoint an emergency manager. These people are incapable of executing their fiduciary responsibilities. This will also free up some of their time so they can monitor windmills spinning at Pioneer, a task that matches their pay grade and skill sets.


Wed, May 8, 2013 : 10:48 a.m.

One step AAPS could take to significantly reduce their costs for substitute teachers would be to schedule the majority of meetings teachers attend for outside of school hours. Right now the AAEA contract limits required meetings to one per week and a very few additional hours each school year for parent conferences and curriculum nights. That means AAPS requires IEP meetings, subject teacher team meetings, building-level meetings, new tech training, and all other meetings to take place only during school hours. That means substitutes are needed to cover those teachers' classes while they participate. Why are parents and teachers required to miss work by this wasteful policy? And before anyone whines about how teachers don't only work during the 30 hours per week that class is in session; I know. Professionals in private industry don't work only 40 hour weeks either.


Wed, May 8, 2013 : 10:39 a.m.

This is a spending problem, not a revenue problem. The mindset has long been one of comfortable excess -- that AAPS could spend any amount on any project, and simply assume that the money would follow. Now, the challenge for the current board and the next superintendent is to find ways to reign in the spending while minimizing the impact on what actually happens in the classroom. Based on what we've seen recently, though, expect that to be exactly the spot most impacted by the coming cuts.

Stephen Lange Ranzini

Wed, May 8, 2013 : 10:38 a.m.

Without immediate changes, the AAPS will end this fiscal year with a deficit of $9.83 million and the fund balance will drop from $16.63 million to $6.8 million. Updated budget projections indicate a $8.67 million deficit for the 2013-14 school year a deficit of about 5% of revenues, which will bring the fund balance to negative $1.87 million. Even the $10 million line of credit from the state will be insufficient to make Summer payroll next year since they need a minimum fund balance of $9 million to have sufficient cash. The best practice for a local unit of government is to maintain a fund balance of 15% of revenues, which for AAPS would require about $28.5 million. Translation = The fiscal situation is dire. Immediate cuts of at least 5% across the board are required or targeted cuts of greater than that are required. Are the members of the AAPS BOE capable of fixing the problems?


Wed, May 8, 2013 : 11:31 a.m.

Looking at periodic, summary numbers is not micro managing.


Wed, May 8, 2013 : 11:25 a.m.

Mr Ranzini - The simple answer is no. They decided 8 years ago to not "micro-manage" the district, and have pulled back to a "policy only" from the board. This means they stopped looking at financial results in any detail, approving any expenditures beyond the budgets and basically rubber stamped personnel decisions. This board decided 8 years ago that they did not want to know the details, go back and look at the statements they made back then.


Wed, May 8, 2013 : 10:34 a.m.

"an initial review shows the district had to budget an additional $700,000 for transportation due to increased fuel costs, maintenance and substitute drivers, as well as increased costs associated with transporting a growing number of homeless students." If this additional $700,000 was just realized but had been being spent all year, someone needs to be fired. If this was known, but the info was held until the quarter ended, someone needs to be fired. Maybe Deb Mexicotte wants to rewrite her glowing, inappropriate, assessment of our departing superintendent... Why do homeless students cost more to transport? Do they not ride the buses?


Wed, May 8, 2013 : 1:39 p.m.

I see a lot of blue taxis everyday at my middle school. I wonder if they are offering the best price or if AAPS gave the contract to them for a specific reason? Considering how I've seen SOME of the drivers drive and the condition of the cabs, I wouldn't want to put my kid in those vehicles.


Wed, May 8, 2013 : 11:17 a.m.

Danielle - We probably will never get the breakdown of the actual reasons for the $700,000 increase in transportation spending. We don't know if the homeless part was $1 or $699,000. The same goes for fuel and substitute drivers. If it is the usual situation, they will be presented as a lump sum. Knowing the root cause and the size of the root cause makes a big difference in deciding what to do. This is another situation where the sunshine laws should be used to get more detailed information across not only the current $1.3 million but the whole of the cost overruns and whether the budget for these areas was reduced from the prior year in an unrealistic fashion.


Wed, May 8, 2013 : 11:09 a.m.

The school I teach at we are putting multiple families into a taxi everyday because they no longer live in Ann Arbor,but because they started the year in AAPS in the homeless shelter they get to stay. I understand the families situation, but at some point I also think folks begin to find some residence and they need to go to the school that is closest. This is a huge cost everyday as three and four different taxis show up at our school. I can't imagine what that cost for a whole year.

Danielle Arndt

Wed, May 8, 2013 : 10:54 a.m.

A2comments, per the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, all public school districts and charters are required to provide free transportation for homeless kids to their schools of origin. So if a child has to bounce around because her or she is homeless and needs to stay, for example, with a relative, family friend, at a shelter or in a hotel within another school district where the child cannot catch a bus to their home district, then the home district must pay to come and transport the child to and from school. Sometimes this involves the home district paying for an additional bus or shuttle, gas reimbursements, taxis or public transportation bus passes, etc. This previous story, which is linked above too, provides many more details about how this works: All this being said, I am not sure of the details yet regarding AAPS' specific additional costs associated with transporting homeless students. I hope to find out tonight what those costs might have included.


Wed, May 8, 2013 : 10:45 a.m.

The law requires schools to allow homeless students to keep going to the same school, even if the shelter, relative or friend's house, etc. where they are currently staying is outside the school district. The district has to pay for transportation, which can be taxis or gas money for parents. So no, they don't always ride the buses.


Wed, May 8, 2013 : 10:12 a.m.

So Pat Green and the Board lost another Big Million even in the couple of weeks after she resigned... what next? It's time to demand that the school board include some other voices in their process of choosing the next superintendent. We need a hiring committee that includes principals, teachers, students, and parents.


Wed, May 8, 2013 : 10:06 a.m.

Once again, the AA BOE has proven to be fiscally irresponsible. The voters need to demand changes immediately from our AA BOE. Based on their poor decisions and inability to work through confronted issues, they are once again going to make decisions that will 'gut punch' our education system and process – by reducing teachers versus keeping expensive overhead positions. Listed below are some of the major shortcomings of our current BOE that need to change immediately: 1 – They have fostered a culture of elitism, individualism and arrogance. 2 – They have made financial decisions based on incorrect revenue projection thresholds. 3 – They have allowed their 'direct hires' to build organizations that do not bring any value to the process they serve – the education of our children. 4 – They have fostered a process of hiding critical information from themselves, as well as the community that they are supposed to serve. 5 – They have made decisions that are actually working to degrade the AA education process, hinder positive growth and lower our standing amongst our peers and other school systems. 6 – They refuse to totally embrace the community they serve – the voting public, key community leaders and education professionals. As stated previously, key community leaders and a large group of our community need to make the BOE aware that these issues need to change immediately. Unless we do something, we will see our education process and system continue to slide downhill. The damage that our BOE is causing will be very hard to reverse. Go figure!


Wed, May 8, 2013 : 10:14 a.m.

Itchy - you're up awful early, eh!? Unfortunately, I agree with your assessment. Hopefully, the Ann Arbor voters wake up and demand changes before it is too late. Thank you for echoing some of the issues we have with our BOE as reported and commented by others. Once again, it is up to the community to demand the needed changes before it is too late and more damage is done to our school system.