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Posted on Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 5:59 a.m.

Teachers union president calls for superintendent pay cut as Ann Arbor considers salary reductions

By Danielle Arndt

As the Ann Arbor school district looks at across-the-board pay cuts for staff, the teachers union president is calling for Ann Arbor Public Schools Superintendent Patricia Green to be the first in line.

Salary cuts for all school employees — including both teachers and the superintendent — "are not off the table" for fall, said Board of Education President Deb Mexicotte.

The Ann Arbor district faces the need to cut $17 million to $20 million in costs in order to balance its 2013-14 academic year budget. Among the proposed reductions is a 1-percent, across-the-board salary decrease.

The salary reduction would save the district an estimated $1.3 million, according to a December budget report.


The 2013 Ann Arbor Board of Education and Superintendent Patricia Green. From left are Glenn Nelson, Green, Susan Baskett, Irene Patalan, Deb Mexicotte, Christine Stead, Andy Thomas and Simone Lightfoot.

From Ann Arbor Public Schools

To proceed with any wage reductions, the district would have to open up for negotiation its contracts with the district's unions, including the Ann Arbor Education Association, its teachers union, and the Ann Arbor Administrators Association, which includes building principals and assistant principals.

The last wage reductions at AAPS were in 2010. At that time, teachers agreed to concessions of $4.5 million and increased their number of unpaid furlough days to four, according to previous reports.

Custodial wages were cut by 46 cents per hour, and the custodians now pay $400 more for health insurance. Bus drivers also saw wage reductions of $1.59 per hour in 2010, when AAPS signed up for consolidated bus service through the Washtenaw Intermediate School District.

Report outrages union leader

As the district and its teachers union ponder possible cuts, a new report on superintendent salaries has thrown a spotlight on the salary of the superintendent.

AAEA President Linda Carter called Green's salary "absolutely asinine" last week after the Mackinac Center for Public Policy published a report showing Green's $245,000 salary is the highest base salary among superintendents in the state. Carter called for Green to take a voluntary pay cut.

"She needs to come back down here with the rest of us," Carter said.

Board members, however, said they stand behind Green's salary. The figure is what was needed to attract a qualified, experienced candidate at the time Green was hired, they said.

The database compiled by the Midland-based free-market think tank put Green's total compensation at $273,551, eighth highest in the state. However, the most recent salary and compensation report, released Friday by the district, shows Green received a total compensation package of $308,433 in 2012. Her package included $10,247 paid in Federal Insurance Contribution Act taxes, $58,244 contributed toward her pension, $2,912 in life insurance and $1,080 in long-term disability benefits.

In 2010, the year before Green was hired, teachers in the union took a 2-percent decrease to their salaries and agreed to delay their step raises to prevent 191 of the district's newest teachers from being laid off, Carter said.

She said because the union took this pay cut, which totaled about $4.5 million, she is "in disbelief" that Green's salary was set at $245,000 less than a year later.

At the Feb. 13 regular Board of Education meeting, Carter invited the trustees and Green to ride along with her in her pickup truck as she visited the schools. On Thursday, in an interview with, Carter retracted the invitation to board members and upped it to a challenge for Green.

"Forget about the board members! What I want is for the superintendent to take me up on the offer I made last Wednesday night to come out with me and to talk to members of the Ann Arbor Education Association," she said. "She can ride in my Ford F150. I'll bring her a juice box. Because if you're hanging out with Carter, the teachers will talk to you — and honestly."

Carter said Green is the 12th superintendent she has worked with during her 38 years as an educator in the Ann Arbor district. Carter also has served as the teachers union president or vice president for the past 18 years. She said most previous superintendents joined her in visiting buildings and talking to staff at least once a school year; however, Green has yet to do this.

"My members are saying, 'Well Carter, we really haven't seen her. We would love to see her,' or 'We've seen her, but we'd love for her to spend some time talking with us,'" Carter said.

She said teachers would like to get their message out about the kinds of things they do every day and about many of the "nuances" they've embraced as public schools educators in budget-crunched times.

Carter said whatever reductions the AAPS administrators intend to ask for, "they will need to come to the bargaining table to have the discussion."

"And the (administrators) at the Balas Administration Building are going to need to take a cut in the same amount, if not more. … Because if they are making six digits to my five, they really need to step up to the plate. ... We teachers took the pay cut last time," she said.

Board: Salary needed to attract the best

Mexicotte said she is "comfortable" with the way the school board made Green's salary decision and is comfortable with the way the district has addressed compensation since then. If the board approves a salary reduction for 2013-14, it likely would be "across the board or nearly across the board," she added.

Some of the district's lowest-paid employees could be excluded, school officials said.

When the board hired Green in 2011, trustees wanted to attract the best candidates in the country and worked with a superintendent search firm to set the salary scale, benchmarking Ann Arbor against other districts in university towns.

"During that time, the only thing people knew about Michigan was we had the highest unemployment rate in the nation, it's a cold place to live, the economy wasn't looking so great, and maybe they knew some things about Detroit, but that doesn't reflect very favorably either," said Board Vice President Christine Stead.

Mexicotte added AAPS also wanted to attract a sitting superintendent who had a lot of experience.

"We couldn't see training someone into the position because of the challenges we were going to have in the coming years," she said. "… We also looked at the fact that we knew there would be no time in the immediate future where we'd be looking at salary increases for them, but that there might be times we'd have to look at salary cuts."

Stead also noted the previous superintendent, Todd Roberts, left the district to take a position at a school with about 650 students where he is making $210,000. Roberts made $175,000 at AAPS.

Stead said she feels setting the superintendent's salary at $245,000 was "absolutely" the best decision at the time. She added even if the board got rid of everyone at Balas, it only would save the district around $3 million.

National data from the 2010-11 academic year, the most recent year for which data is available, reveal Green's salary is above the national average for superintendents by $83,008. Salaries paid to the district's deputy and assistant superintendents, as well as building principals, are more in line with national average salary statistics, data show.

According to a 2011 article from "District Administration" magazine, which cites a nationwide survey by Educational Research Service, the average salary for superintendents that academic year was $161,992.

The magazine article says salaries of more than $225,000 were seen in school districts with more than 25,000 students enrolled and in cities with populations greater than 400,000 people. Ann Arbor has about 16,600 students.

The article also notes that even if a superintendent of a large city school system is paid $300,000, "that same person in the private sector leading a company of (similar) magnitude would make well over $1 million."

Educational Research Service (ERS), a nonprofit organization existing since 1973, ceased operations in fall of 2011, according to a report in Education Week. For 38 years, ERS conducted an annual national survey of public school salaries and wages.

According to the 2010-11 salaries and wages report, the "mean maximum" salary for districts enrolling 10,000 to 24,999 students was $178,404 — $66,596 less than Green's salary. The mean maximum salary for medium urban communities, a category that includes Ann Arbor, was $183,955 — $61,045 less than Green's salary.

The mean maximum salary refers to the average high end of the salary range for a superintendent position in districts nationwide.

National data also show that in 2010-11, the average mean salary for deputy superintendents in the U.S. was $138,061. Ann Arbor Public Schools increased two of its deputy superintendents' salaries to $140,000 in December 2011. Prior to the raises, Deputy Superintendent of Operations Robert Allen was paid $130,556, and Dave Comsa, the deputy superintendent of human resources and legal services, was an assistant superintendent making $124,542. Comsa received a title change with the pay increase.

Assistant superintendents in the U.S. had an average mean salary of $122,333 in 2010-11. According to Ann Arbor's most recent salary and compensation report of employees making more than $100,000, which was based on 2012 W2 tax information, the district's three assistant superintendents made $108,515, $118,108 and $127,221 last year.

Ann Arbor's director of finance, Nancy Hoover, received a salary of $102,369 in 2012. The national average mean salary for this position in 2010-11 was $101,347.

The salary range for high school principals in Ann Arbor currently is set at $113,220 to $127,840, making the mean salary $120,530. The district's salary and compensation report of employees making more than $100,000 shows its high school principals received salaries of $107,453, $108,121, $123,103 and $124,000. The national average mean salary for high school principals in the U.S. in 2010-11 was $102,387.

The national average mean salary for middle and elementary school principals was $95,426 and $89,951, respectively, in 2010-11. Recent information provided by the district shows five of the six middle school principals in Ann Arbor made more than $100,000 in 2012. Their salaries ranged from $100,524 to $115,137.

Per the AAAA contract, the established salary range for middle and elementary school principals is $96,975 to $109,515.

Fifteen of the district's 19 elementary school principals, including the leader of the Preschool and Family Center, made more than $100,000, according to their 2012 W2 forms. Their salaries ranged from $101,034 to $107,559. Preschool principal Michelle Pogliano made $100,284.

The "District Administration" comparison of principals' salaries included no information about building size and enrollment.

Teachers with a bachelor's degree at AAPS earn $39,540 to $65,662, according to the current contract. Teachers with a master's degree can earn $44,539 to $78,333 at AAPS. Teachers with a doctoral degree can earn $49,919 to $86,913. There also are stipulations in the contract for educators with 10 or more years experience in the district to earn 1 percent to 2 percent more than the highest step in their salary range.

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



Tue, Mar 5, 2013 : 3:17 p.m.

Educational funding has taken hits over the last decade. The major expense of a district is people. Calling any individual salary out is a cheap shot - the head of the MEA makes $244,000 per year in base pay ( That's in the MEA's LM2 report filed with the Department of Labor. Where's the outrage over that? It's just a smoke screen used to manufacture "outrage" in the face of the real issue - funding is down, and to keep people in jobs, cuts have to be made; with salaries (everyone's) representing about 85% of the operating budget there's not much room for manuvering.


Wed, Feb 27, 2013 : 1:15 p.m.

If these hundreds of discussion comments are any indication, and I just think they could provide some subtle clues regarding people's seemingly unanimous opinion on the matter, there's a few problems here that could use some fixin'......................

kindred spirit

Wed, Feb 27, 2013 : 10:53 a.m.

Folks, the in-fighting creates glee in the Tea-Bagging and Koch Bros. circles. Schools have less money because the money was given to businesses instead, a decision republican legislatures pushed through with ALEC supported legislation. I suspect many business CEOs are paid more than Dr. Green. We need to go to the force behind the dwindling education resources. Demand that Dr. Green take a stand against Gov. Snyder about funding cuts. THAT will get her to earn her salary.


Wed, Feb 27, 2013 : 4:58 a.m.

"Board members, however, said they stand behind Green's salary. The figure is what was needed to attract a qualified, experienced candidate at the time Green was hired, they said." This is an earthenware vessel containing that which promotes the growth of plants. It didn't make sense the first time they floated those numbers (before the super-supe was hired), and no amount of justifying, wishing or spinning will make it make sense now.

John Floyd

Wed, Feb 27, 2013 : 4:10 a.m.

Perhaps the superintendent's salary is justified. What, exactly, has she accomplished that is worth what she is paid? Laying this out might make it easier for the community to accept her salary.

Joel A. Levitt

Wed, Feb 27, 2013 : 4:09 p.m.

"Laying this out might make it easier for the community to accept her salary" or to fire her after her contract has run.


Wed, Feb 27, 2013 : 2:43 a.m.

The school board should stop making excuses and admit they screwed up by paying Dr. Green such a ridiculous amount of money. It will set a great example for our children, when you make a mistake admit it and fix it.


Wed, Feb 27, 2013 : 2:34 a.m.

A few observations: - Todd Roberts is a very tough act to follow. Dr. Green doesn't seem to have the same people skills, but she may yet prove her value if she really implements zero-base budgeting. Wouldn't it be nice to finally know where the money goes? - Being a member of the school board is incredibly difficult and these folks deserve our thanks. If you don't like how they do the job perhaps you should run for the office. - Most AAEA teachers are doing a good job - a few bad apples to be sure - but most do a good job and many are exceptionally good at their jobs. - The current math seems to require a mixed that includes salary cuts along with increased class sizes and increased use of technology to save dollars. BTW - the tech bond should help us save some money by allowing a teacher to hold a class in more than one location at the same time. More course offerings for kids and less payroll for the schools. I hope can follow up on this. - In sum, we still have great schools but some painful cuts are needed, including asking teachers to take a cut. Let's let the AAEA and AAPS work on something that is equitable and affordable.

Jack Panitch

Wed, Feb 27, 2013 : 3:23 a.m.

aataxpayer: My turn to thank you.


Wed, Feb 27, 2013 : 1:19 a.m.

School boards and search consultants share culpability in the market rigging process that produces gold-plated salary "packages" of superintendents who serve ever shorter terms. As a first step, search consultants hold community feel-good surveys that yield predictable answers in order to simulate buy-in for an opaque hiring process. They play on the insecurity and vanity of board members who are eager to do a national search to find "the very best:" Consultants bring forth "candidates" who are usually clients of the firm. A web search shows how many of these candidates are regularly short-listed but never make the cut. How many might be on retainer from the search firm? These firms are run by former school administrators who know the inside players. These firms are not disinterested in the final pay package--even when they accept a flat fee for organizing a search, a fat deal for the winning candidate enhances their reputation in what's become a national marketplace. Through a perverse illogic, high pay for a superintendent confirms to the board that it has found quality. Search firms know how to play on this combination of naivte, vanity and insecurity. The result has been escalating salaries for mediocre short-termers who have little commitment to the community in which they work, but a strong sense of their own economic self-interest and an understanding of how the salary-spiral game is played. Ms. Stead's claim that a high salary was the only way to attract the best candidate is, on the face of it, a wholly ludicrous assertion. Leaving aside the ridiculous list of comparable districts provided by the search firm (Seattle???), Ann Arbor has a national reputation for the quality of its schools, its university, and the resources of its community. Next time, skip the consultants. Include members of the community on the search team, and maintain complete transparency. What is happening now is a con.

J. A. Pieper

Thu, Feb 28, 2013 : 12:14 a.m.

Thank you for sharing this information. I am willing to bet that most people in Ann Arbor are totally unaware of how this system works. You have it pegged perfectly when you mentioned that candidates "...have little commitment to the community..." Most of us already believe she is here to pad her retirement anyway, not exactly the best person to have for a very important job.


Wed, Feb 27, 2013 : 1:37 a.m.

Completely agree with you about the market rigging process.


Wed, Feb 27, 2013 : 1:17 a.m.

Besides cutting salary of the superintendent whose salary is about the salary of the Chicago Public Schools superintendent (many more students and problems), cut the salaries of those who offered the superintendent that salary. I'm not a teacher and I'm no longer the parent of a school age child.


Wed, Feb 27, 2013 : 12:52 a.m.

"Mexicotte said she is "comfortable" with the way the school board made Green's salary decision and is comfortable with the way the district has addressed compensation since then." Well, the rest of us are not comfortable with the way you made that decision, nor the way other administrator salaries were increased late at night. The strength of this district lies in the people who work in our schools day in and day out, not the ever-changing roster of administrators. If salaries must be cut to deal with state funding shortfalls, then administrators should shoulder part of the burden in solidarity with the truly important members of the team.


Wed, Feb 27, 2013 : 12:25 a.m.

I look forward to the state taking over the school system and gets rid of useless administrative positions!


Wed, Feb 27, 2013 : 12:20 a.m.

If she was in corporate, she would have been fired long ago! I say 50% of her salary is too much to pay her.

say it plain

Wed, Feb 27, 2013 : 12:18 a.m.

The strangest and most disturbing aspect of this report at first glance anyhow is the quote from Trustee Stead. Did Ann Arbor really elect a woman who believes that "the only thing people knew about us is [that our general region has relatively] high unemployment and that it gets cold"?! Are you serious!? Ann Arbor, as and UM is so often telling us, is *renowned* for its schools and for the wonderful college town that it is. I wouldn't want to hire someone at the level of *school principal* here who didn't know some stuff about Ann Arbor that distinguished us from much of the rest of the state, and from Detroit... never mind a *superintendent*. No, really...this is Stead's story about why they needed to offer $65K more than her predecessor to attract someone decent?! Where in heck is *she* from?! And why would we want her to represent us on the board? Green has a PhD, right, please, pray tell us that she knew that AA was a desirable place to live, and that the schools here have a decent reputation and that we aren't somehow an extension of Detroit etc etc... Even if her husband doesn't want to give up his dental practice in MD and she feels more a part of the College Park life than the UM scene...please don't play like we needed to offer her megabucks to attract her to this backwater we live in?!

say it plain

Wed, Feb 27, 2013 : 5:03 p.m.

Oh, @Panitch, I meant to say "paraphrase", and my paraphrasing was pretty close, so in the worlds of most people, that wouldn't count as not meeting an argument head-on lol. Maybe you can ask her if your interpretation of her statement is correct, because alas for me when I see something articulated that clearly I probably would let it be. The only thing (note the 'only') that anybody knew about Michigan (see, I shortened Michigan to MI in my paraphrasing, but they are pretty much equivalent) was that it was (paraphrase alert!) experiencing economic difficulty and cold, and maybe they knew something about Detroit, but that's not a selling point of course, proximity to Detroit. And as @kris points out, for many people who spend time at airports and have relatively big jobs, why would you want to move *to* a place requiring you to fly in and out of DTW? Well, the airport is actually not too bad these days, but the moving vans are *not* doing lots of business sending people here and hadn't been since even before "that time" Stead references. Which is exactly why it was the *wrong* time to decide it was necessary to do a national search and try to use our money to attract with a giant paycheck someone with few ties to MI. Thus, even if you interpret Stead's statements as somehow meaning that potential hires *understood* ( as opposed to the *ignorance* she seemed to be indicating in her actual words about the issue) Michigan and the problems a superintendent might face, you could still argue that she made a bad move with setting the search parameters. At the time, btw, three of her colleagues on the Board disagreed with the idea of offering up lots more money and 'going national'--Thomas, Lightfoot, and Baskett said no to it.


Wed, Feb 27, 2013 : 4:08 a.m.

As someone who moved to Michigan from another state several years ago, I can attest to the some of the beliefs Stead cited. Many neighbors and colleagues had no qualms about telling me that they couldn't believe I would move to Michigan....the failing auto industry, the crime, the undesirable Midwest location and on and on. I recall the United Van Lines moving company representative scratching his head as he was writing up my contract, saying "We are moving people to Texas, we are moving people to Colorado and heck we are even moving folks to Alaska, but you are the only one we are moving to Michigan."

Jack Panitch

Wed, Feb 27, 2013 : 3:18 a.m.

You just misquoted Trustee Stead again. Here's the actual quote from above: "During that time, the only thing people knew about Michigan was we had the highest unemployment rate in the nation, it's a cold place to live, the economy wasn't looking so great, and maybe they knew some things about Detroit, but that doesn't reflect very favorably either," said Board Vice President Christine Stead. I'm not sure where the mistake is, but the misquoting makes your commentary unreliable. In my world, if you don't meet an argument head on, it's a huge speed bump. Now, don't get me wrong, here, I haven't spoken with Trustee Stead, so I am making an over-educated guess, i.e., interpretation is my educational training and what I have always done for a living, so, yes, I feel pretty comfortable here. But if you want to pose your concerns to her in a respectful way, I'm sure she will be delighted to address them herself.

say it plain

Wed, Feb 27, 2013 : 2:32 a.m.

With all due respect @Jack Panitch, how is that to be gleaned from what Ms. Stead actually *said*?! To extrapolate out to those arguments you'd have to have quite the access to her thoughts, or else it's yours that is a "misquote/mischaracterization" lol. All she said, as quoted here, is that "the only (!) thing that people knew about MI at the time was that the economy was bad and it's cold" really feel comfortable attributing to her all this theorizing about sure, Ann Arbor has some things going for it, but there's that pesky MI legislature and applicants would be comparing funding issues to Mass? Sorry, that 'leap' is as big as deciding Ann Arbor is suddenly comparable to Seattle. Maybe bigger. Because Seattle is a city with students to serve, just like Ann arbor is; but Stead's statement seemed so very squarely about how "nobody knew nothing" about Ann Arbor and money needed to do the talking.

Jack Panitch

Wed, Feb 27, 2013 : 1:44 a.m.

This opinion relies on an abridgement amounting to a misquote/mischaracterization of Trustee Stead's argument. Consider a schools executive's first impression of potentially coming to Ann Arbor. Yeah, Michigan, isn't that the state with the aging population where radical reform lobbyists have the legislature's ear and they're talking about a 20-year cycle back to economic health? I hear the cuts to K12 funding are relentless. Why would I want to go there and deal with that? I've heard Ann Arbor is a great town, but can I really make any difference there? Maybe I would rather move to Massachusetts if I have the opportunity.

C.C. Ingersoll

Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 10:58 p.m.

'A salary of this size is required to attract the best superintendent possible to accept the position'? Funny how that works for the board but not when it comes time to recruit and pay the TEACHERS that actually teach and interact with the students....


Wed, Feb 27, 2013 : 4:25 a.m.

C.C. - Not true. AAPS pays their teachers above-market salaries too. Michigan as a whole pays teachers very well, and Ann Arbor is among the top districts in Michigan when it comes to teacher compensation


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 9 p.m.

Every time does an article about Dr. Green, there are so many accusations about her lack of interest and investment in our town and schools. I think should write an article about Dr. Green and invite her to be interviewed. All this secrecy is ridiculous. Does she live here or not? Does she work 4 days a week or 5? Her defensive quotes from the past are unacceptable. This could be her chance to let us get to know her and also to answer some important questions. Her silence seems suspicious.


Wed, Feb 27, 2013 : 1:25 a.m.

apparent? It tis the beginnings of a dictatorship? Maybe. But it sure smells like no one wants to do their job.


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 10:40 p.m.

I agree her silence speaks volumes in different ways. Here are some guesses: --I think that she does not feel the need to speak to the press or the public because she designates that job to Liz Margolis, the communications director. --I think that she sees the elected board members as the public servants with a duty to speak to the media, not her. --I think that is why Christine Stead has commented online and offered to meet with citizens last Saturday. Deb Mexicotte last week also defended Green. --Dr. Green has punted this image problem back into the laps of the people who hired her. I think she views her job as an executive role only. Her focus is to implement a series of tasks and execute how she wishes. --She won't answer to anyone but the board members who have hired her and signed her contract. --She feels free to hire new VPs at whatever rate she can justify. She surrounds herself with a fresh new choir to preach to. --The departure of Robert Allen is bad news for Balas but probably good news for him and his family. --If this is on point, then it would mean that the only hope is if the board orders her to get in Linda Carter's truck, and then she would do it. --But the board in slippery-slope fashion will say that they cannot tell the top administrator what to do. That is meddling. Maybe Susan Baskett will try to speak the truth and be shut down per usual by fellow trustees. --I think if citizens are fed up with how things are going, it might take a recall campaign or petition to change things or another grass roots efforts to protest other issues such as the increase data collection on students to tell the PR story of success with the achievement and discipline gap. -Soon a millage increase will be the next topic punted to voters to change the focus of all this media coverage that is starting to really move closer to the heart of what is going wrong in the district's leadership.


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 10:14 p.m.

Then I guess what we need is some investigative reporting. Offer her a chance to talk, and if she won't then do an expose! She is a public employee, is she not? I mean this is ridiculous. I would think someone at would enjoy writing an article about this.

original perp

Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 10:01 p.m.

Her silence speaks volumes.


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 9:24 p.m.

She does not respond to requests for interviews. You see say that in nearly every article about her.


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 8:56 p.m.

It's an insult to our intelligence to suggest that all an applicant for the position of superintendent of AAPA knew about Michigan is that it's cold and Detroit has problems--I know the quote said "people" but "people" weren't in line for the position. Ann Arbor is known nationally and internationally for the University of Michigan. Anyone who is a professional school administrator knows about Ann Arbor and sure did research on AAPA before applying for the position. To suggest we have to pay an enormous salary to attract a school superintendent is absurd. I'd say it's a pretty plum job. Too bad our superintendent isn't invested enough in our community to actually live here and take advantage of all Ann Arbor has to offer. It has driven me stark-raving mad for years that our school system doesn't promote from within. We hire consultants to decide what we want/need in a superintendent, then we hire a head-hunter to find us one. I know there are better uses for that money. No one knows better what our school system needs in a superintendent than the administrators, teachers, staff and parents who have tried to work with the string of superintendents we've had in seemingly rapid succession.

no one 221

Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 8:48 p.m.

Little fact correction. The Custodial and maintenance union took an 8% pay cut. All but the tier 2 custodians took an additional .46 cent pay cut. They couldn't cut the tier two's anymore because that would put them below minimum wage. Adding in the lost vacation time and sick time plus increase of insurance co pay the ustodial and Maintenance personal took about 13 to 15 percent cut. Then after that was done hired a new superintendent fo $60,000 more then the old one.


Wed, Feb 27, 2013 : 1:19 a.m.

It's thievery when after cutting the earnings of bus drivers and custodians significantly, the Superintendent is offered way to high a salary for a district the size of Ann Arbor.


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 8:48 p.m.

I don't usually agree with the unions, but I would have to agree in this case..............


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 8:11 p.m.

Add an extra 5% cut to her pay over the teacher's salaries!


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 8:05 p.m.

I'd sure like to make $300,000.00! That is the craziest thing I've ever heard of; how can she possibly be worth that much money? Aren't teachers worth more than the superintendent? You have go to be kidding me; she makes how much? Time to wake up and smell the coffee folks; demand a reduction in her salary - don't ask!


Wed, Feb 27, 2013 : 1:22 a.m.

They hired her when AAPS budget was tight. Everyone was watching the spokes burn. Now? Her salary is safe while everyone is expecting to get laid off? I so don't think so. Balas needs to be revamped.


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 8:03 p.m.

My husband and I are so fundamentally disgusted with the Ann Arbor School Board these past few years that we have officially given up. In 2004 we moved to Ann Arbor when our children were babies SPECIFICALLY for the reputation and quality of the school system. We're so fed up with the school board's infighting and the flagrant disregard for what's best for this city's students that we moved our kids to a nearby charter school (outside of AA) mid-year when the opportunity arose. Ann Arbor schools are going to have an increasingly difficult -- bordering on impossible -- time competing with these new thriving programs where the focus is on creating opportunities for our children, not on which school board member is going to be the most "right" at the end of the day. Ridiculous.


Wed, Feb 27, 2013 : 1:21 a.m.

I pulled ours out of a charter when we were able to put her into an AAPS school. Now? I am highly regretting it ourselves. But there is no hi school charter to put her into. The teachers and the administration do act arrogant and I for one can't wait until she graduates. Then maybe move to Canton for the next generation.


Wed, Feb 27, 2013 : 12:31 a.m.

The climate in the Ann Arbor school system has changed considerably over the past few years, and it is because of the administration, specifically the superintendent. As superintendent, she is responsible, end of story. Forget cutting her salary, fire her!


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 7:57 p.m.

Ann Arbor must cut salaries across the board starting with the superintendent. We must renegotiate our teachers contract with a lower pay scale. Ypsilanti teachers took a 22% pay cut this year. Pinckney teachers took a 20% pay cut. All other neighboring districts are cutting pay and positions. Why is Ann Arbor so special? Why does the Ann Arbor School Board take its taxpayers for granted? I have kids in Ann Arbor public schools. Some of their teachers are great, some are just awful. Why are all teachers paid the same regardless of performance? Teachers have challenging jobs but so do all professionals. I know many Ann Arbor families that home school or send their kids to charter schools. Michigan's tax base is shrinking and will never be as high as it was in the 90s. The demographics can't be denied--we are losing students to non-public schools and an aging population. We need a new model for education. It cannot be business as usual anymore.

Susie Q

Wed, Feb 27, 2013 : 2:10 a.m.

AAPS has cut salaries, benefits and positions. I know that more cuts are coming and more personnel will be lost. But gutting education is not a wise choice. This is a manufactured crisis to send all public education into the private sector and make huge profits for corporations at the expense of school children, taxpayers and employees.


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 11:05 p.m.

Can you provide links to your statistics? Here is an article about the Ypsilanti teacher pay. Certainly no where near a 22% pay cut.


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 9:27 p.m.

You'll never convince these arborites that this is the how it works, the utopia is finally sinking in.

Jay Thomas

Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 7:39 p.m.

The Union should have done this a long time ago. Until now they have had no incentive for doing so because their prime directive has always been to get more money from what they view as the undertaxed commoners. Roberts at least led by example while this woman is playing the longest game of duck and cover I've ever seen.

Danielle Arndt

Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 7:36 p.m.

I just wanted to add this link to the discussion: This 2010 story explains more about how Superintendent Patricia Green's salary was set. It says the AAPS Board of Education used the following districts to benchmark against when setting the new superintendent base salary: Seattle Public Schools, Knox County Schools in Tennessee, Lincoln Public Schools in Nebraska, Milwaukee Public Schools, Cambridge Public School District, Albuquerque Public Schools, Sacramento City Unified School District, Iowa City Community School District and Socorro Independent School District in Texas. The average student count for the above nine school districts was about 48,000 students, and the average superintendent salary worked out to be $248,000, according to the post.

Susie Q

Wed, Feb 27, 2013 : 2:12 a.m.

Danielle, you rock. This is some awesome fact-checking and good, honest reporting. Good luck and keep up the good work.


Wed, Feb 27, 2013 : 2:10 a.m.

I completely agree with the above couple of comments. We have fewer students by far than the average of comparative districts, so the Sup "should" have even more time and availability. And we're paying the same!? Her continued silence isn't helping change her perception as a hands-off leader who isn't in touch with what is going on at a ground level.

say it plain

Wed, Feb 27, 2013 : 2:04 a.m.

Perhaps the BOE is totally happy with how she's behaving *because* they decided that AAPS is actually Seattle PS, or some similarly-sized district, and it should be run as such, by more of a "I'm CEO and I don't 'do' interviews or school visits" type 'leader'. I suppose it is possible that they've totally bought into the delusion, and feel she's justified in creating 'deputies' to do the dirty work of interacting with people while she reads reports and generates, uhm, more reports. To 'lead' a 16000 student district where one can drive from one end to the other in 20 minutes.

J. A. Pieper

Wed, Feb 27, 2013 : 1:03 a.m.

I think that when certain people continue to support this AAPS superintendent, then more of us want additional facts, want to see her more, and sense with the comments on this article that the prevailing feeling is to dig ones' heels in about the kind of job she is not doing.

say it plain

Wed, Feb 27, 2013 : 12:44 a.m.

But, just to be clear, AAPS has what, about 16,000 students? And all but a couple of those 'comparison' units are 4 times larger in population as well? There is much that is puzzling...


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 7:35 p.m.

HOMESCHOOLING is the answer GIVE mothers $ 2000 amonths so they can stay home and teach there children .saving on Cars, gas, lunches( teacher are to fat) , Office , pension ,vacation 401 etc et .Mothers do the best job and the children have a Home NO more out sourcing .plus with Computer ONLINE teaching from th e"best" universities , college etc.. NO more snowdays or springbreaks or 5 day workweek at 4-6 hours a day and all that Homework for the at last Thank God free at last.

kindred spirit

Wed, Feb 27, 2013 : 10:40 a.m.

Name calling is a logical fallacy used to redirect people away from the truth. Please, while I foresee homeschooling to result from the Koch Bros. Incorporated Schools plan being implemented, saying teachers are too fat is offensive. If teachers are fat, it is because they are checking papers for your kids into the night rather than getting an hours exercise.

Joel A. Levitt

Wed, Feb 27, 2013 : 3:48 a.m.

Why not pay qualified and willing home-schooling-mothers at the same rate as we pay our teachers: $75,000 per annum/12 months per anum/25 students per class = $250 per student per month.


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 10:53 p.m.

Judging from your post, you probably shouldn't be home schooling your children.


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 7:09 p.m.

Danielle, can you verify if Green gets a vehicle, clothing and housing compensation on top of her top dollar salary? If Dr. Green is truly a leader she will make herself available to EVERYONE and will show her face at AAPS events at all of the schools. Not just at graduation, where I have never seen so many role their eyes when she spoke. A true leader will be the first to take a pay cut, based on the her current track record she will not do anything which shows she is NOT a true leader and has wasted AAPS time as well as money?


Wed, Feb 27, 2013 : 12:35 a.m.

Leader? that is funny! She is someone who has been staying mute, and hiding out to keep her fat cat salary and benefits. I would like someone to point out 3 example of her so called leadership.


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 7 p.m.

For those who adorate the business mode as needed to run government and school systems please elaborate. ENRON was run like a business. Lehman Brothers was run like a business. Michigan's own GM was run like a bailed-out business. There are millions of "run-like-a-business" failures. But how could that be? They were all run like a business. In fact the glorified business-run free-market global economy might just have something to do with the lack of government (taxpayer) funds for schools, health care, retirement, NASA, and very soon your own national security. So let us run the school system with an archaic business model that has proven it can't run anything for long without self-destructing? How long has the public school system been around? Or the U.S.A. government? A lot longer than most run-like-a-business systems.

Bertha Venation

Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 7 p.m.

If cuts are made, they should be across the board, including the superintendent.


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 6:56 p.m.

Bus drivers lost big time when they were privatized to WISD. Most drivers were making more then $18 an hour. Now? If you are retired? $22. Otherwise expect to be capped out at $16 with nothing more to gain from this. Plus they are still dragging their heels with negotiations with the MEA union and getting the drivers and monitors a fair union contract. As for the custodians? Their contract is up again for negotiations. I expect them to be hacked and slashed. Sorry custodians, no one can save your jobs now. Bottom line? Balas. They need to lay off over staffing at Balas. Stop hacking the teachers, which by the way get their wage loss back in 3 years. This is a nightmare that does not need to be repeated. Balas needs to be redone. Glad to hear this is being considered but yet, they are again looking in the wrong direction. Don't look to the drivers, monitors and custodians. We don't have anything left to slash. Balas is next.

Shaniqua Jones

Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 6:50 p.m.

It amazes me how cuts always start at the bottom and the top never experience cuts only raises. She (the Superintendent) seemed to have waived her magic wand and granted raises to a chosen few when others were told no raises due to budget constraints. The raises that the Superintendent had the BOE vote on during the wee hours of the morning were done sneaky and under handed, which seems to be the way she choses to operate. It also amazes me how all income that the district takes in isn't reported or doesn't show up in the district budget reports. Rec and Ed brings in money from building rentals. Are there any other schools in the district that bring in revenue for the district? Is all revenue being reported? From my conversations with school district employees, it is my understanding that employees of the district are being asked to pay more out their pockets for benefits and have experienced no raises for the last several years, some have already taken pay cuts and now SHE is asking for MORE!!! How are the people experiencing the cuts expected to continue to live with their checks getting smaller and smaller while administrations checks are getting fatter and fatter? These cuts that she want to impose could be the beginning of a trickle down effect of employees not being able to survive.


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 6:35 p.m.

The Super @ the school system where my daughter teaches drives a Mercedes. She told my daughter, when my daughter asked if she was ever going to get her promised raise she had been promised at hiring and had not received after 3yrs., that "people all over town are hurting, so now is not the time to be giving raises." The superintendent had received 3 raises during this time period. She's a die hard republican, and certainly thinks like one...

kindred spirit

Wed, Feb 27, 2013 : 10:36 a.m.

What school district?


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 6:13 p.m.

Perhaps Ypsilanti's highly regarded staff/community-involved leader Sharon Irvine might consider a position in AAPS....?


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 5:52 p.m.

What I really hope, from the recent string of news about AAPS, especially about the superintendent and the BOE, is for people to open their eyes and really think hard about the quality of AAPS, about how we can really give our children a good education, and how we can really spend our money on education in the most meaningful ways. It is not enough to simply open our wallet everytime someone says "but it's for the children". It is not OK to simply reelect a familiar name when it comes to BOE elections. There has to be ways of improvement that are within reach. One issue that has always been on my mind is the lack of communication between AAPS and parents. I don't ever remember being asked whether, as a parent, I am satisfied with the education that AAPS provides to my kids. There have been parent surveys, usually on very specific issues and have no room for me to tell them what I think about the general quality of AAPS education. I know many parents who want to see significant improvements, and yet we are not heard. All we hear is how great AAPS is, the school rankings, test scores, etc. But there is no way for us to know how much credit goes to the families and the kids themselves, and how much credit AAPS can take. Just look at how many families are swarming toward alternative schools, how many parents build and run enrichment programs at their kids' schools, how many parents enroll kids in supplemental academic programs, there is no way I can be convinced that AAPS is as good as it thinks it is. I think we need to obtain a realistic picture of how much AAPS schools are really contributing to our kids' education, before we can decide that we need to pay top salary to the super.


Wed, Feb 27, 2013 : 12:43 a.m.

I totally agree. I have kids in the AAPS system as well, and am dumbfound at the arrogance. I have taken the attitude that it is up to me to make these people do their job when it comes to my children. It should not be a constant fight, filled with excuses. I say it is time to clean house!

J. A. Pieper

Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 11:27 p.m.

I totally agree with your post. I have great students in my classroom, and I can't really take credit because they arrived at the school door ready to learn. They are hard workers, and their parents are involved, and this means more than signing that field trip permission form! My experience with my own children was that there were some great teachers who did a lot to guide their learning, but not as many as there could have been. Some parents do their job as the first educator, and these are the students who are successful in AAPS.


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 7:26 p.m.

I agree with you. I recall a long time ago (back when was still in print form), Dr. Roberts saying he really wanted to focus on "customer service" including exit questionnaires for families who leave the AAPS but not Ann Arbor. I know several families who have left AAPS and the attitude was more like "don't let the door hit you on the way out". I don't have confidence that this will change any time soon.


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 5:09 p.m.

"Board members, however, said they stand behind Green's salary. The figure is what was needed to attract a qualified, experienced candidate at the time Green was hired, they said." Well, of course that's the going rate nowadays. That's just the inevitable inflationary effect of rampant gov't spending without any accountability. We can gripe all day about how Green should "do the right thing" and take the pay cut. But even if she did it would be an aberration. Human nature dictates that we act in our own self-interests so this type of thing will always happen as long as we allow it. The only way to truly end it is to starve the beast. The public sector will always resist the reality of economic conditions tooth and nail and continue to suck as much from the taxpayer teat as they can get away with. Only by ending the cycle of tax-borrow-and-spend and starting to truly live within our means will this ridiculous excess ever end.

Ron Burgandy

Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 4:55 p.m.

I bet the school board and superintendent are thinking that another Huron/Pioneer post-game brawl would come in handy right about would have something else to focus on for about 6-months! Just kidding....this is important information and Ms. Arndt is doing a good job reporting the facts.


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 4:52 p.m.

It is interesting that we aren't hearing from certain school boards members on this issue like we did last week during the 4 day work week debate. Wonder if they are slowly getting the message or pretending it isn't an issue. BOE, where are Dr. Green's recommendations for this years budget cuts? Usually this is out in public for people to discuss and debate. If teacher pay cuts is all they have right now, the whole district is in trouble. Anyone know what plans they have for this 17 million dollars?

Peter Eckstein

Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 4:39 p.m.

Stepehn Lange Ranzini said it perfectly: "A great leader always makes the sacrifice she or he asks of the team. Leadership by example is a powerful tool to ensure a sense of fairness in a team". We need not relitigate the compensation superintendent was originally offered or even evaluate her performance to recognize that this should be the guiding principle. Leadership should be willing to take at least as large a percentage cut as that asked of any other employees.

John Floyd

Wed, Feb 27, 2013 : 4:23 a.m.

Well said, Peter.

Plz think beyond the end of yer nose

Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 4:57 p.m.

Good luck with that. It's ME FIRST 'round these parts. Doesn't have to be though. YES! Elect conscientious school board members and perhaps change the system so that school administrators are responsible to the taxpayers!


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 4:36 p.m.

Before anyone complains on this board, they should in fact run for school board. That is where the clean up is needed. You will always find carpet baggers willing to take a big check, but if not for the school board, none of this would be a problem. Put your effort into attending meetings, run for office, and make a difference. You really think anyone will read these comments and change? it starts with YOU!


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 4:33 p.m.

I am confused...if the district needs to cut 17 - 20 million, and the teachers proposed salary reduction "would save the district an estimated $1.3 million, according to a December budget report" will this help? Cut ALL the administration salaries by at least 5%, lay some off or go part-time and leave the teachers, bus drivers, custodians, etc be. We need to stop chopping at the teachers and instead take bold moves to restructure the department from the TOP down! Lead by example.

Tom Todd

Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 4:31 p.m.

Time to call us CHINA and everyone can make 5 cents an HOUR since we are so jealous of our neighbors.


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 10:29 p.m.

BJBudSonic, But she has more than a grade school education.


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 5:58 p.m.

Maybe somewhere in between the two extremes would be a nice place to settle? Dr. Green made more in pension contributions in one year than my last years gross.

Plz think beyond the end of yer nose

Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 5:13 p.m.

helpful, thanks


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 3:57 p.m.

It sounds like the Ann Arbor Board of Education is much like the Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners more worried about the employees they have under them than the Taxpayers. If Green does not her pay being cut she can always quit and move back to Maryland.

Morty Seinfeld

Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 3:47 p.m.

It's really quite simple.....lead by example. You don't need a MBA or doctorate to figure that one out.


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 3:46 p.m.

AAEA President Linda Carter called Green's salary "absolutely asinine" I could not agree more. Need to hold the BOE more responsible for this idiotic move!


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 3:44 p.m.

Effective superintendents get out of their offices and visit the buildings and attend events.


Wed, Feb 27, 2013 : 2:54 a.m.

I have never seen her at Skyline nor has anyone seen her at Pioneer, Huron, etc high schools.


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 3:40 p.m.

I would like to hear from ANYONE that has seen Dr Green in any of the schools. Or even if you have seen her in a local business. Here is your chance just reply and tell us where you have seen her.


Wed, Feb 27, 2013 : 12:12 a.m.

I did see her at Carpenter School at a community meeting encouraging voters to vote for the technology bond.

J. A. Pieper

Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 11:20 p.m.

JCJ, she has dropped by some building for a tour, but only when some schools complained that they had never seen her!


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 10:29 p.m.

At last a game I can participate in. I saw Dr. Green at Weber's in January, on a FRIDAY!

Shaniqua Jones

Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 7:22 p.m.

Is this Where's Waldo? She will probably be in a lot of buildings now since it has been stated again that she hasn't been.


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 6:57 p.m.

jcj- So far I've encountered Dr Green at the McDonalds on S. State, at several meetings held at WISD, at three different (open to the public) meetings of parent groups which were held at 3 different schools, and at the two Board of Education meetings I've attended in person since she was hired. BoE meetings are after hours, but are part of her job. I've also met with her in several closed meetings as an officer of one of those parent groups whose meetings I often attend.


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 5:56 p.m.

I have seen her in two local businesses, ( talked to her in one) and she attended the board meeting of the Ann Arbor PTO Thrift Shop last month, where she spoke to the assembled school reps ( around 35 people). I also saw her getting out of a car in a residential neighborhood and going into a house. So I am proof she does exist outside Balas haha.


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 3:48 p.m.

We could make a game of it:


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 3:36 p.m.

And we need to cut principals salaries a bit too. They have summers off and great pensions, paying over 100k is too much, especially for grade schools. Cut at the high end and hire more teachers.

Tyrone Shoelaces

Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 10:20 p.m.

Which other high schools matter?

Chester Drawers

Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 5:37 p.m.

Only at the comprehensive high schools.

Tyrone Shoelaces

Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 4:27 p.m.

Principal is a 12-month job.


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 3:33 p.m.

Danielle Since you are interested in the truth, will you find out how many of the schools has Mrs Green actually visited? And it would be helpful to get a direct quote from her and not a spokesperson.

J. A. Pieper

Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 11:19 p.m.

Visit might mean drop by and get a tour by the building administrator, which is really not what we want. Spend a half day in a building, especially a challenging building. Go to more events where you can actually talk to parents and teachers!


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 3:39 p.m.

Call her Friday afternoon to ask. Kill two birds with one stone.


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 3:24 p.m.

It's a very interesting picture of the school board. Does that look like a group of seasoned executives with years of business experience or a group of politically correct liberals? If you wonder why things are so expensive and the results so hard to understand then ask yourselves this question "If this were a business would you invest in it?". I believe we need business executives running the school board. We can leave the teaching to the teachers.


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 3:19 p.m.

Americans have a something-for -nothing attitude. If you want a well-functioning, high quality education system (or anything else) you need to club together and pay for it, with those who have cash to spare paying most. It's a novel idea called taxes. The alternative is a race to the bottom. Mississippi, anyone?


Wed, Feb 27, 2013 : 1:06 a.m.

There is a big difference between a "race to the bottom" and choosing NOT to overpay your top executives.

Jay Thomas

Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 10 p.m.

That's true about the something for nothing. But don't kid yourself that throwing money at the schools is going to fix anything.


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 3:16 p.m.

So my question is why didn't the board hire someone in the middle of the pack or an up and coming administrator type with lower salary requirements? This budget stuff is not a new issue.

Retiree Newcomer

Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 3:08 p.m.

Danielle -- Is it really true that AAPS has had 12 superintendents in the last 38 years ... an average tenure of slightly more than 3 years? If so, there is something wrong. Tenure of school superintendents has no doubt decreased in the past several decades, but 3 years as an average is too short. It takes at least a full year for a newly hired superintendent to get fully up to speed on her/his job. If the 12 superintendent/38 year statement is correct, what are the reasons for that?


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 3:04 p.m.

Here's the reality of the situation....thanks to another poor decision by the "consultant happy" school board, we are stuck with Dr. Green until 2016 or else more of our money will be wasted by giving her a generous contract buy we need to make the best of a bad situation. Dr. Green, you need to get out to the schools and listen to the teachers, parents, students, stafff. I used to see Todd Roberts attend functions at my kids' elementary & middle schools quite frequently....I have yet to see you at one event. Get out there, and do your job, quite commuting back and forth to Maryland and engage yourself in the community you were hired to serve. AAPS Board, you are lousy decision makers and negotiators...perhaps if you would have offered half the salary increase you gave to Green when you hired her, to Dr. Roberts, maybe you could have got him to stay. He was very hands-on and I thought he did a decent job. As for us Ann Arbor Public School District voters, we need to clean house when it comes time for the next school board election, otherwise they are going to continue to spend our way to the bottom.


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 6:49 p.m.

Piledriver, if you haven't seen Dr. Green at one school event yet, you just haven't been to the right events. So far, I've seen Pat Green at budget forums, PTO Council sessions, and student-parent support group meetings I've attended. Plus I heard from my kids or other parents that she attended such events as a Challenge Day at Huron and a Disability Awareness Workshop for 4th graders. While I agree that the Board of Education had no need at all to raise the salary range when replacing Todd Roberts, he left Ann Arbor more for the personal reason of proximity to aging parents than because he was dissatisfied with his paycheck or other aspects of his contract. When I have changed jobs based on such considerations, being offered more money did not and will not change my decision. I doubt there was any chance we could have retained Dr. Roberts in Ann Arbor once he had a reasonable offer in hand in his preferred location.


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 2:55 p.m.

Maybe A2com could ask the ultra-conservative Mackinac Center "think tank" whether they actually have a better "thought-out" plan to improve Michigan schools other than privatization to enrich their corporate cronies and thus themselves.. Anyone can cut but can they teach? No. Mexicotte pushed that cute round-robin salary game being played by greedy "career" superintendents across the U.S. No different than the excessive bank and corporate board pay raise club. She almost lost the last election, too, except that her competition was yet another "run it like a business" person. The lesser of two evils won. This time. While the Koch brothers (particularly David) are paying millions to undermine public schools and unions including funding the Mac-attack Mackinac Center , hopefully Ms. Carter is smart enough to grasp the strategy and go after all of the true causes for Public School funding decline.


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 2:52 p.m.

Carter is right on with her assessment/suggestion. I hope the Board concurs. We are still dismayed with how the superintendent can justify $185 for each hour...4 days' per week work, although she surely DOES occasionally put in more than 4 days per week into her job. We are still wondering where her heart really is by her decision to not live in the district -- we're talking school district -- where she is employed. And, the $185 per-hour rate would be for a full she here during the summer months? We need to hear from her.

kindred spirit

Wed, Feb 27, 2013 : 10:29 a.m.

Superintendents work the entire year.


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 2:37 p.m.

Of course she should take a cut, first. But, it is really, really funny reading the comments from the TP/GOP crowd. For decades they have told us that "the government needs to run like a business". They also told us that when it comes to CEO pay, "you get what you pay for" and those top earners DESERVE to make 400 times what their employees make. (and BTW, they deserve to pay less % in tax than you and I). Now they want better government employees for less pay. Kind of reminds me of the "sequester" talks..."We need smaller government!! How dare Obama let Government shrink! Does he not know this will cost jobs in my district! "

Jay Thomas

Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 10:27 p.m.

Catholic schools cost less and deliver better results. Are you telling me that if we pay the public school teachers more they will deliver those better results? Because that would be something. Of course the union is against pay for performance.... BTW: CEO's undoubtedly pay a higher rate of tax on their salary than ordinary folks because the liberals made it "progressive". However everyone qualifies for the same capital gains tax rate thanks to that man-of-the-people Bill Clinton. So Warren Buffet and his $500,000/year secretary had the same rate of taxation on whatever capital gains they had.


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 9:24 p.m.

clownfish: General Motors Co. wants to pay its chief executive $11.1 million in total compensation this year — an increase of more than 20 percent over 2012 - and offer raises to most of its highest paid executives, according to a document turned over to Congress. I guess you can thank our government (tax payers) for this one. All the government want to do is reduce the the increase from last years budget which will still be higher than last years, no jobs and the entitlements will pretty much be the same, its the health care that this administration put into place that might take a hit, that the majority did not want in the frist place.


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 6:26 p.m.

clownfish - Based on test scores (consider this like quality control in private industry) and drop out rates (consider this like the scrap rate in a factory) - most school districts in Michigan would be outsourced to China. In private industry - quality control, including scrap rates, cost and product innovation keep CEOs in jobs. OBTW - I hate comparing students to factory products, but I could not come up with something else that made the point - I apologize in advance if the comment offends someone.


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 3:37 p.m.

Nobody forces anyone to buy anything from a particular company. Everyone is FORCED to pay taxes. See how that works? Thought not.

Plz think beyond the end of yer nose

Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 2:35 p.m.

Same sentiment here! Each piece of an organization is benefits the whole, but when it comes to the slashing and picking over the remains of course those in charge of the hen house get the most eggs. It's time to do something about it people! Complaining is just words, then some more. Our public school system is based on democratic values. Most of the school board members seem to agree with whatever those in charge dream up. (could it be that they are scared to be unpopular or maybe don't want to take the time to hash alternatives to the boss). Those in charge are the Superintendent and the mysterious Financial Directors and other unseen administrators. Go to a school board meeting; they let you speak, but then don't have to respond to you at all. And they don't if its contrary to what they want. I was a full time bus driver at DEXTER. We took over a 50% pay cut two years ago. Bus drivers now pay 30 % of their health care benefits which are not premo! Okay, so the cuts were made off the backs of the little people and they were needed to balance the books. Who do you think increased their staff? The financial directors office of course. A para pro friend works at the school for 20 years now makes 12 something dollars an hour with NO BENEFITS! Can DEXTER or ANN ARBOR operate without their help? NO. But the staff do their best everyday, and they are the best which does prove the board members wrong when they use the argument to attract the best we need to throw more money at the problem. Bring back DEMOCRATIC VALUES. Be the first to use them Superintendent Green!

Chester Drawers

Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 2:23 p.m.

Several years ago, a local superintendent (I believe it was Pinckney Schools) went out into his school community and spent time working alongside employees of every job description. I remember that he was humbled by how hard folks work, and how few skills he personally had for some of the jobs required to run a school district. The only job he was legally barred from doing was driving the bus!

kindred spirit

Wed, Feb 27, 2013 : 10:26 a.m.

No better way to build a rapport with one's employees but to work alongside the employees themselves. And no other way to get to know these people personally. And no other way to get support of the workers for contract time and press releases.

J. A. Pieper

Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 11:15 p.m.

Yeah, I would have loved to have her in a classroom I know about were a student was wiping their own poopy hands on adults and classmates! Doing this, she could almost earn her salary!


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 10:23 p.m.

So he was mopping floors, serving lunch, crossing guard duty, etc. and getting paid to be a superintendent. I'd like that job.


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 3:38 p.m.

Are you actually suggesting that Dr Green be seen in public?


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 2:14 p.m.

Deb Mexicotte needs to take a cut or shut up for justifying the superintendent's salary. Deb Mexicotte was hired to make sound decisions, and this one was a bad one! If Dale Leslie had been elected, he would have never supported such an extravagant salary especially for a superintendent who isn't even aware of the buildings, staff, and students she's supposedly managing. In just three years this woman will be a millionaire! That's not right for tax payers. Just a few years back, A2 Schools operated quite well without a superintendent. This indicates that one isn't even needed. With her salary, five teachers could be hired. If it weren't for unions (I don't belong to one), things like this over the board salary wouldn't even reach the attention of the public. Linda Carter has earned more than her salary! Good job Linda!


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 10:19 p.m.

Sour grapes from a Leslie supporter!

Jack Panitch

Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 3:56 p.m.

Dear Estate: You can't cut what amounts to virtually nothing. The Board receives compensation equal to nothing (but an infinitesimally small parking stipend). They are the most honorable public servants imaginable: they sacrifice their time, talent, and home-life on our behalf for absolutely nothing. And as far as I know, none of them have any aspirations for any higher office. They have dedicated a portion of their lives to the service of the students of the Ann Arbor Public Schools and the greater community. "Just a few years back" appears to be a reference to Robert Allen's dual stint as CFO and CEO (Superintendent). While Mr. Allen did an admirable job pf handling these two positions under pressure, he would be the first to admit that the budgeting process that year was a bumpy ride, primarily because it was more than one person should reasonably be asked to handle without any political cover.

Nicholas Urfe

Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 2:13 p.m.

I'm guessing taking a pay cut was not in her "Objectives" for the year. Do not taunt the ivory tower.


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 2:12 p.m.

If you are serious about understanding what leadership means then you should read John U. Bacon's book titled "Bo's Lasting Lessons". Yes it's about Bo Schembechler and his leadership of the Michigan football team. But it's really meant to show how leaders at all levels should be doing their jobs. It's not about money or fancy schemes, it's simply how to develop a long term plan for success. The beauty is that it will work anywhere. I read a lot and it's one of the best books I've ever encountered.


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 2:07 p.m.

So let's get this straight. The AAPS has been dumping on the staff that do the work for years, and they are paying the super that much. Now wonder I hate working in AA. AAPS was a leader in pushing the entire county to privatize substitute teachers in 2006, with PESG. Here is what the district gained by that move. Subs were generally paid $75 per day. They district also paid the employer portion of medicare and SS taxes (7.65%) and roughly 15% into retirement, as well as other fees / taxes unemployment insurance, workman's comp, ect (no insurance or benefits). Let's say for the normal sub those totals added up to $100.00 total per day. Just with that move alone the district now pays PESG (employer of subs in the district), the pay rate (still $75 per day), the cost of the payroll taxes and fees (roughly) $10.50 per day, and a reported 5% fee (3.75). In total AAPS is paying roughly $89.75 for subs after the privatization. That savings may not seem like a ton, but if you figure the AAPS likely has on average 80 subs per day every day during the 180 day school year, we are talking substantial money, as in several hundred thousand per years in savings. Subs also have not seen any pay rate increase in at least 10 years, and likely closer to 15 years. Also, the AAPS has decided to change how former employees were handled in other departments.Certain employees in the REC and ED department were taken off payroll and moved to independent contractor status (which is similar to other similar organizations for the same employees). This saves the district the payroll taxes they needed to pay these employees (7.65% per year). That cost is now shifted to the employees as self employment income, which requires the employees to pay both the employer and employee portions of the tax. In addition, it requires these employees to obtain their own liability insurance coverage instead of being covered under the school districts liability coverage.


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 1:59 p.m.

1. The quotes from Linda Carter made me smile -- anyone who knows her, knows that's who she genuinely is. 2. I don't think $245,000 is out of line for a great superintendent; but Green's not that, and she's not earning it. 3. Excellent reporting, Danielle. Thanks for the balanced coverage.


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 10:17 p.m.

Do you teach here, work in the schools or perhaps are a board member? Or did you just make up the statement that Green is not earning it.


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 1:57 p.m.

I find it baffling that in Ann Arbor hires for high paying, high profile jobs are regularly low profile and under achieving performers. What is it about the hiring process that leads to these absolutely awful hires?

Jay Thomas

Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 11:22 p.m.

Political correctness and diversity mumbo jumbo helps a lot in selecting the final candidate.


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 9:11 p.m.

Sounds like a mission statement for Public and Federal jobs.


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 1:57 p.m.

Surprised the school union hasn't ratified a new contract like Taylor School district has and the city of A2 to insure that for the next 10 years dues will continue to be paid, maybe they can get one going before the March deadline.


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 2:10 p.m.

Given the role the union plays in the school districts I think you will see very few teachers opt out of paying union dues when this law goes into effect. Granted the law does legalize theft from the unions by requiring them to cover employees who are not paying for the benefits of coverage, but there are other benefits the employees will still get by being members, including a voice politically.

Andrew Smith

Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 1:57 p.m.

In addition to cutting Green's salary, there are other ways the AAPS could save money. Outside consultants are still being paid to advise the Board and the top-level administrators how to make decisions. Outside presenters are paid to speak to groups of teachers and administrators. The district may own unused buildings after the next round of program cuts: they could be rented out and turned into a source of revenue instead of expense. In the past, parents and business leaders from the community have suggested concrete ways to save money. It's time to follow that advice.


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 10:38 p.m.

"Outside consultants are still being paid to advise the Board and the top-level administrators how to make decisions." I would think that this "decision making process" should be the reason someone is hired. Do they not interview people for these kinds of positions first to see if they have the proper skills to do the job for which they are hired? Just a thought.


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 2:16 p.m.

AAPS buildings are regularly rented out. The Rec and Ed department "rents" the buildings they use from the school district even though they are part of the school district. Part of the problem is the rent isn't even getting what it used to get. Go into one of the MS gyms for Rec and Ed basketball or volleyball on a weeknight or evening. Make sure you keep your coat on because the facilities will be freezing cold. The rent doesn't even pay to keep the heat turned to a reasonable level anymore. AAPS is making it harder and harder for people to enjoy the programs that Rec and Ed offers by providing facilities that are less appealing then other competing organizations. This is hurting the Rec and Ed programs in AA.


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 1:52 p.m.

Carole - It had nothing to do with a millage when Dr. Roberts and his cabinet took an 8% pay cut to open negotiations with the Teachers (and Administrators) unions. The district got a step freeze out of that round. That is, the pay for teachers or administrators at a given step on the salary table was frozen, but school staff still got raises whenever they reached the seniority or additional education levels for the next step in the table. This means that most teachers got small raises approximately every other year. I believe that part of the reason the enhancement millage failed the next year was that the teachers DIDN'T take a pay cut, and that the pay "freeze" was very slushy. That said, Dr. Greeen and her cabinet should lead by example and cut their own pay by at least as much as they ask for from the teachers (and administrators). Our BoE set the new superintendent (whoever it would be) up to be a magnet for controversy with that entirely unjustified raise in the target compensation.


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 1:51 p.m.

If school employee pay cuts are up for discussion then this should be inclusive, eg, include administrators, staff and teachers

Plz think beyond the end of yer nose

Wed, Feb 27, 2013 : 2:11 p.m.

It wasn't two years ago. Should be doesn't cut it when the fox is in charge of the hen house!


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 1:50 p.m.

What does Pat have to say about that? Nothing? Shocker. Q: You're obviously coming into a big raise in Ann Arbor. How are you going to be able to deal with budget cuts and ask for shared suffering when the new superintendent's salary has been a point of contention here in Ann Arbor? A: I'm not even going to go there. I'm not going to talk about my salary, I haven't signed a contract yet but I'm clearly not going to discuss my salary.

Chip Reed

Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 1:48 p.m.

@Danielle- Did Board Vice President Christine Stead really say all those offensive remarks about Michigan? If she truly believes that it is such a hardship to live here...


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 1:43 p.m.

Hmmm ... overpaid superintendent versus union president. Make sure if you add a poll that it has the choice to vote against both of them.

Joel A. Levitt

Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 1:41 p.m.

"Salary needed to attract the best [central administrators]" If we attracted the very best teachers and the very best building administrators, we could do without most of central administration. Our children are our future, the future of our state and of our nation, and should, therefore, be our highest prioity funding objective. We should: (1) repeal the Headley Amendment; (2) amend the state constitution so as to permit the imposition of graduated taxes; (3) do away with property taxes, the sales tax and all other excise taxes, and (4) impose an adequate progressive income tax. Our city and state were built by those who came before us. We have no right to just consume our inheritance. It is our duty to continue the building.

Joel A. Levitt

Wed, Feb 27, 2013 : 3:25 a.m.

Doug, Your charm is only exceeded by your probing intellect. But, don't take this too seriously. There was no middle school in my day.


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 10:10 p.m.

Brilliant! All Indians and no chief. Did you really graduate from middle school?


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 1:39 p.m.

"$245,000 salary" I'm don't earn that money. Period. You do not do "work" equivalent to that pay. This is a glaring example of what is wrong with this WORLD...not this country mind you...this WORLD. People being paid WAY WAY WAY more than the work they do. Since she doesn't actually earn that money through work....that means someone...or some people....are working MUCH MUCH harder than they are paid for. See why this is a huge problem? Yes of COURSE I'm talking about the Proletariat and the Bourgeoisie......Marx sure had that part 100% right.


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 10:06 p.m.

You're right, Billy. She should go on welfare and collect an average of $40 an hour in "free" money, housing, phone, etc. Those welfare recipients work hard for their money.


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 1:38 p.m.

Should the superintendent take a pay cut? YES


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 1:37 p.m.

I don't usually agree with unions, but in this case, of course the superintedent should take a pay cut. She shouldn't be making anywhere near what she makes in the first place. If she was really concerned about the district and was truley a team player, she would have volunteered to reduce her pay months ago.


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 1:25 p.m.

RE: Linda Carter.....I think I'm in love, lol. Seriously, it's nice to hear that someone is finally listening to concerns of teachers/employees/parents, etc...and also interesting to hear the two mouthpieces from the last Green article are "comfortable" with everything and using Detroit as an excuse. Danielle, is it possible to find out how many administrators Green has either hired or okay'd an increase in their salary besides Comsa and Allen? I remember the two women from the 2am meeting but I am wondering if there have been more?

Tyrone Shoelaces

Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 1:12 p.m.

You people are so mean. A cut in her salary might mean she and her husband would have to fly coach instead of first class between DTW and BWI.


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 1:06 p.m.

If cutting administrative pay meant more dollars flowing to students, I'd be all for it. Unfortunately, that sort of move usually tends to free up funds for higher teacher compensation (cash or otherwise), which is rarely based on anything but seniority.


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 2:58 p.m.

@Steve: Increased expenditures on healthcare, and allocations to teacher pensions do not increase student outcomes in a system where teachers are not retained based on merit. I hope that short explanation suffices.


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 1:33 p.m.

Since "higher teacher compensation" is going to the person who is working with the students on a daily basis, please explain how that money isn't going to the students?


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 1:15 p.m.

Please cite your evidence here:


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 1:03 p.m.

Thanks Danielle for an informative, balanced article. This is the first time I recall reading details about the BOE's thinking process and strategy that went into hiring Green. I am very surprised that Green seems to have done nothing to answer the continuing and growing criticisms regarding her public visibility and salary.


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 12:58 p.m.

$58K added to her pension for one year's work at a $245K salary? That's 24%. It's not a deduction, it's in addition to the paycheck. But - if it wasn't for those darn unions, we'd be flush with cash, right?


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 12:50 p.m.

How about union leaders and staff taking a pay cut,I didn't think so. Should go all across, less money for employees less money for the unions.


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 5:16 p.m.

GoNavy, more than half of Ann Arbor's teachers are not at a place on the pay scale where they have steps anymore.


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 2:23 p.m.

@Sh1: AAPS contracts provide for generous step increases in salary based solely on years of service. These were not eliminated or cut in any way. Thus, simply staying on another year as a teacher guarantees a pay increase. If you don't understand pay scales and step increases, I suggest you read more into them rather than attacking the source. AAPS teachers also get 1% annual bonuses after 10 years of service, and 2% annual bonuses for reaching 14 years of service. Neither of which have been "cut" or "reduced." Requiring teachers to pay more for their retirement simply reduces the giveaway to public sector employees. To reiterate my point: Pay "cuts" and "freezes", in the context of public sector employees, simply mean a reduction in the rates of increase in pay.


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 1:14 p.m.

GoNavy, you are incorrect. Teachers have taken percentage cuts from their salaries and after that several years of salary freezes while paying more for benefits.


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 1:09 p.m.

@ sh1: "Pay freezes and cuts" in the public sector, and among unionized employees, means a freeze in the rate of increases, or a cut in the rate of increase. It rarely means what you think it does, which is an absolute decrease in payments.


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 1 p.m.

The article states that teachers will likely be taking another pay cut after years of pay cuts and freezes. That is being discussed by the union, who would just like to see Balas administration involved in the cuts as well. So your accusations don't really pertain here.

Great Lakes Lady

Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 12:45 p.m.

The middle class in Michigan and throughout the the country have had to bite the bullet with pay cuts, cuts in benefits, cuts in hours, layoffs, and unemployment due to jobs going overseas and the dismal economy. Mich lost population in the latest census and cannot sustain an infrastructure to support a decreasing population. Why should government workers or any group or class of workers be exempt from the belt tightening most of us have endured?


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 10:34 p.m.

"Why should government workers or any group or class of workers be exempt from the belt tightening most of us have endured?" I don't know? Let's ask Obama and Congress the same question!


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 6:18 p.m.

sh1 and Gyre - If you look at the increased deductions in a average White Collar (Master's Degree) professional in Michigan and the pay freezes and reductions they have had to go through, the teachers in Ann Arbor have gotten off very lightly. It is NOT good that anyone has had to suffer a reduction in pay and/or benefits and had to pay more for the same or less in the way of benefits, but that is the reality of the situation. If the AAEA wants to claim their treatment by AAPS has been unfair compared to the private sector, if a dollar for dollar comparison for the last decade is done, the teachers will end up with egg on their face. Be thankful that you have not suffered the same level of cuts most of the private sector has in Michigan over the last decade.


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 6:04 p.m.

The cuts teachers have endured are not necessarily a reduction in their base salary. Their pay has been frozen, raises that normally would be provided at the beginning of the year are held until the end of the year, and more % of pay towards benefits. However they also have more children in their classrooms, more state requirements that necessitate hours working at home during evenings and weekends, less supporting materials for the classroom that enhance and invigorate the learning process, more students requiring individual attention, additional personal funds for classroom expenses .... The list goes on. These additional responsibilities and costs cannot be ignored just because a base salary has not been decreased. Frankly, teachers are not overpaid, despite what many may think.


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 1:50 p.m.

Sh1- No pay cuts for AAPS teachers. There was a very slushy pay freeze, and you've had to pay more for your benefits, but the salary paid to teachers has NOT been cut this century.


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 12:58 p.m.

Teachers are not exempt. Ann Arbor teachers have taken pay cuts, pay freezes, furlough days, and benefits cuts.


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 12:34 p.m.

This is terrifically predictable. Whether the board can justify its decision to increase the superintendent's salary as well as the two superintendent's direct reports, everyone could see that these were terrible decisions in the current economic climate. When these changes were first announced, my immediate thoughts were that the salaries would be like scarlet letters on these peoples' chests. Personally, I also preferred to be slightly (but of course not grossly) underpaid so that everyone viewed me as a tremendous value and an important piece. A few thousand to the other end of the scale and everyone looks at you as very expensive and a luxury piece. Luxury pieces often get laid off in tough times.

Basic Bob

Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 1:45 p.m.

In the public sector, top administrators get guaranteed long-term contracts and extensions. They are treated like baseball players but with longer careers and retirement benefits.


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 12:25 p.m.

It's about time we heard from you, Carter! In the "olden days" superintendents AND board members often were seen in schools rubbing elbows with the trench workers. This has not happened in ages. It is imperative that the administration actually SEE and HEAR what the issues are first hand. Believe it or not, it is NOT always whining-come on down and have a listen!


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 12:16 p.m.

Way overpaid for 9 months work!


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 9:58 p.m.

thinker, 9 months work? Say that to any educator and you'd be laughed under the table.


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 1:48 p.m.

All of them Ann Arbor Public Schools is a very generous employer to their full-time staff. Less so to their contractors and part-timers, but still far above average in a state that pays educators much better than average when local cost-of-living is considered.


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 1:39 p.m.

Central Administrators work year round. Are you referring to teacher salaries or school year employees in general?

Martha Cojelona Gratis

Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 12:15 p.m.

She should at least consider it...


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 2:40 p.m.

Cut her pay and see if she is still dedicated to the Ann Arbor School District or if she will look for employment elsewhere.


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 2:29 p.m.

No, she should DO it.


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 12:14 p.m.

And yet we haven't seen what Dr. Green has come up with for a budget for next year. I understand a small pay cut yet again, but what is she proposing when it comes to finding this 17 million (which I still don't know how they get tis number). What I think is that once again cuts are coming on the backs of teachers because no one is willing to make some tough and unpopular cuts in AAPS. As a teacher, I can't vote to cut my pay again without knowing her plan for finding the other money amounts. Teachers and other players in the district have given more towards retirement, health insurance, and pay over the past 4-5 years, something else must give. If you think morale is bad now, wait until this is pushed through because Green and the BOE doesn't want to make hard and tough decisions.

Jay Thomas

Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 7:21 p.m.

AMOC is right. AAPS has been engaged in an endless baseline budgeting deception designed to make it look like they are suffering real cuts when they are not.


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 6:13 p.m.

Local - The number is easy to come up with. Take all the things you wish you could do and make a budget, including all the pay increases required by the teacher's step table and other automatic raises that people get, the increased cost of health care, etc. That is the "budget" - now take the difference in the total revenue for the district (and remember it will rise next year - but not at the rate to cover the wish list). This is an annual issue, because the wish list is always bigger than the increase in revenue. Years ago the decision was to use a 5 percent increase in revenue annual as the target, since they have not gotten 5 percent in several years, we go through this annual dance and will annually until this assumption changes and the contracts are adjusted to deal with the reality of school funding.


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 1:46 p.m.

Local - Ann Arbor teachers have not taken an actual pay cut during this century. They had a period of several years where the steps on the salary table were frozen, but step increases were still given on schedule. Teachers have had to pay more towards the cost of their pensions and benefits, but this has been true of almost all workers in the private sector as well, with many fewer private sector workers seeing raises for seniority or educational-attainment. Yes, the amount you can take home to spend as you will is lower. Welcome to the reality of the economy in Michigan these past 10 years. The $17M in cuts is a public relations fiction as well. That amount to be cut assumed a 5% increase in funding would come from the state of Michigan. This has not been true for approximately 10 years, but for some reason AAPS keeps on building an increase into their budget, then wailing and weeping about how much they have to cut. It's gotten old as far as I'm concerned. We have fewer students now than we did in 2005. Why should we expect to get a compounded 25% more money to educate them 7 or 8 years later?


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 12:13 p.m.

Do not renew Green's contract. Give her responsibilities to Roberts and let him spread the work among other administrators. Save $275,000 per year.


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 3:16 p.m.

Sorry, meant Robert Allen. He seems pretty competent.


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 1:57 p.m.

Hey, Robert Allen has resigned and is moving south to work with Todd Roberts, who has been gone for almost 2 years now. That ship has sailed.


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 12:07 p.m.

She should take the cut. She is no better than the school bus driver that picks up my kid each morning. In fact, she should be able to handle the cut better than these bus drivers that carry our most precious cargo. Stand up and take the first step--- lead by example -- take the cut.


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 12:05 p.m.

Patricia come to the front of the line - 10% cut to start is appropriate and would send a good statement.


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 6:08 p.m.

Applehazar - I would rather see a $66,000 cut based on the research in the article above. Then an overall 25% reduction in the total amount allocated to administration and overhead (the 4 categories AAPS has to report to the state). Then we can talk about other cuts as needed. Remember the total revenue that AAPS will get next year from all sources will actually rise a small amount.


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 12:01 p.m.

It's amazing how the board continues to justify the huge increase in the superintendant's salary, making her the highest paid see intendant in the state, while the teachers and support staff continue to be paid less, have to pay more for benefits and still worry about the security of their jobs. Meanwhile, Christine Stead says that if they got rid of everyone at Balas it would "only" save about $3 million. So using that logic, she certainly wouldn't have an issue with Patricia Green taking a 1% cut in salary, right?


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 11:55 a.m.

It's a sad time for MI public schools. . .

Jay Thomas

Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 7:15 p.m.

@Great Lakes Lady: When government's share of our GNP was 25% there were plenty of jobs. Now taking 43% of the economy... not so many.

Jay Thomas

Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 7:11 p.m.

@Cindy: You just pulled that number out of thin air... We don't have a defense budget in the TRILLIONS (which it would have to be for that to be true). The truth is that we have cut the defense budget a dozen times since the second world war and never once had a real cut in domestic/entitlement programs (which most other countries have done at varying points). Considering they are growing at a rate faster than our income (and politicians refuse to keep inventing new ones), eventually cuts will have to be made.


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 4:52 p.m.

And, it's beyond tragic that 55% of federal tax dollars go to killing people and blowing things up in ever growing locations around the world. Putting even a part of those funds into our schools, infrastructure, etc. could begin to untangle the mess we're in.

Great Lakes Lady

Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 12:47 p.m.

It's a sad time for the U.S. economy.....there are NO jobs!


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 11:54 a.m.

The argument that you have to pay top dollar to get talent is a bogus argument at best and fundamentally demeaning to all other employees of a district. I served for many years on a board of education and never once did I see a superintendent educate a single student. Yet, thousands of students are educated every day by teachers who are asked to more for less every year. Perhaps, this board of education, should study the business model of Ben and Jerry's or Costco to realize that every employee contributes to the success of system.

andy kelly

Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 11:49 a.m.

Let remember that this board voted in the middle of the night to give raises to Allen and Comsa because Green said it was wise to do so. This is the kind of messaging that we get for the money we pay Green? The picture of the board above with Green should be publicly burned in effigy and the ashes delivered to a board meeting with a bow on top as a goodbye gift. Genuine LEADERSHIP is the first step to making good for everyone - Green is not a genuine leader, but more of a leach.

Stephen Lange Ranzini

Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 11:47 a.m.

I'd like to see AAPS be excellent. As CEO of an organization with 329 employees, I offer the following thoughts: 1. Excellence always starts with getting the right people on the bus. Great people come up with the answers to meet every challenge an organization faces and make the organization great. Sometimes it takes money to get and retain the very best, but not always. Are all the key people at AAPS great? If not, immediate changes should be made. 2. "Management by walking around" is one of the techniques great leaders use to learn what is on the mind of their staff, to communicate their vision of what is needed to be done and to discover unaddressed problems and weaknesses in the organization. 3. A great leader always makes the sacrifice she or he asks of the team. Leadership by example is a powerful tool to ensure a sense of fairness in a team. A "leader" who dishes out pay cuts to the team without first taking one, is not actually a good leader, let alone great or excellent.

Stephen Lange Ranzini

Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 10:10 p.m.

@DJBudSonic: Thanks for your interest. Please just send me an email to since it's the single best way to reach me. I may or may not be the best person for you to talk to (or the best community bank) and I'll get you to the best person for whatever your specific need is more quickly if you first reach out to me that way.


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 9:31 p.m.

Stephen, I worked in both sectors unfortunately I had an opportunity to witness how managers and directors performed, I'll pick the private sector.Merit vs seniority I can deal with, granted some public sector have great leaders but they are far and few.


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 5:39 p.m.

Mr. Ranzini, I need banking help, may I ask for you personally at your main branch?

Stephen Lange Ranzini

Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 5:07 p.m.

@Clownfish: University Bank did NOT take any TARP money. We lost market share and were damaged by TARP and would have been better off if the mega banks had all gone to their well deserved grave! Perhaps you missed my speech after the special showing of Inside Job, which won the Oscar for best documentary that our bank hosted a week ago Sunday? Because of an excellent business plan, University Bank grew through the Michigan depression and tripled in size. As a result, we were selected as both the "Community Bankers of the Year" by American Banker magazine and the American Bankers Association and noted as the second fastest growing business of any type in the Greater Detroit Region by Crain's Detroit Business. Our IDC Rating of 282 out of 300 makes us the 8th best rated bank headquartered in Michigan. Rather than suffering pay cuts, our employees will receive record profit sharing payments for their hard work in 2012 when the bank's audited financials for 2012 are finalized in the next few months. Our hard work and sacrifices paid off for us.


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 4:47 p.m.

Also, Steve; Did you take a pay cut when the Hockey players were locked out? How about when Hostess bakeries was closed? Will you take a pay cut now that Congress making budget cuts? How about taking a pay cut since the Ravens won the Superbowl?


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 3:08 p.m.

Thanks, Stephen. Did you take a cut in the late 2000's when public employee benefits and salaries were being slashed? And when banks nation wide were taking public money to stay afloat? UB may not have taken money directly, but they sure did benefit from TARP, as did every bank in the country.

Stephen Lange Ranzini

Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 3:05 p.m.

@Clownfish: When University Bank went through some tough times in the late 90s, I cut my pay as CEO of the bank to $60,000 a year with no benefits other than health care and it stayed there for many years until the crisis had passed. I have always led by example. There is no other way to do right by your team! @walker101: Good management practices apply whether you are a leader in private, public or non-profit enterprise.


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 2:30 p.m.

How much of a pay cut have you taken in the last 4 years? Not saying she is not overpaid, just wondering if you have set the example for public sector workers to follow.


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 1:42 p.m.

I don't believe that AAPS or just about any public sector would follow any of these general rules, the fact that they would have to follow a private sector or successful enterprise would totally create a culture not acceptable to the public sector. Your only as good as your leader.


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 11:43 a.m.

Amen to Linda Carter and her offers to the superintendent to visit the schools and to get a "real" feel for the comings and goings in the schools. I remember seeing Dr. Roberts at my home school on at least a half dozen times and he always had time to chat with everyone from the principal to the folks doing noon hour. I believe that the salary cuts should start at the top as they did when Dr. Roberts took a 10% decrease when the mileage was not passed a few years back. The Board, in my opinion, were way out of line in upping the super's salary by $65 and then letting her hire another administrator at a huge salary after she was told not to do so. Let's get real here and let's get in touch with the reality of what goes on in the schools and what keeps them running smoothly and safely for our children.


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 1:35 p.m.

Carole - It had nothing to do with a millage when Dr. Roberts and his cabinet took an 8% pay cut to open negotiations with the Teachers (and Administrators) unions. The district got a step freeze out of that round. That is, the pay for teachers or administrators at a given step on the salary table was frozen, but school staff still got raises whenever they reached the seniority or additional education levels for the next step in the table. This means that most teachers got small raises approximately every other year. I believe that part of the reason the enhancement millage failed the next year was that the teachers DIDN'T take a pay cut, and that the pay "freeze" was very slushy. That said, Dr. Greeen and her cabinet should lead by example and cut their own pay by at least as much as they ask for from the teachers (and administrators). Our BoE set the new superintendent (whoever it would be) up to be a magnet for controversy with that entirely unjustified raise in the target compensation.


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 11:38 a.m.

The Board needs to wake up. The best candidates have always flocked to AA because of its size and the proximity to UM. It's a resume builder for many candidates, otherwise why would we have had 12 superintendents in the last 38 years. They come here, build a reputation, then move on.


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 6:03 p.m.

AAPS is a wonderful building block in the resume, Todd Roberts said this several times in conversation. I heard it from 2 others in conversation. Only 1 superintendent has left the district is a manner that their stay did not help their resume while here.


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 11:32 a.m.

Christine Stead's comments about Michigan being an undesirable place to work are simply ignorant. First off, Ann Arbor is a nationally (mostly because of U-M) known city, that has a traditionally strong reputation in education. If she can casually justify overpaying a superintendent that doesn't even communicate with teachers, and casually justify salary and position cuts for the teachers and school staff that do the REAL work, then maybe she should be next to go.

Jack Panitch

Wed, Feb 27, 2013 : 12:02 p.m.

We aren't talking about teachers, we are talking about superintendents. So, the argumentative approach is about as sound as a comparison between Ann Arbor Public Schools and Plymouth Canton, i.e., there is no legitimate comparison for the intended purpose, so there is no arguable point. But that's Commenter X for you.


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 6:01 p.m.

Michigan produces roughly 10 K-5 teachers for every opening in the state. That is why so many young teachers leave the state - contrary to the Michigan is undesirable. The American Federation of Teachers ranks Michigan as one of the top places to work when salary and benefits are taken into consideration against the cost of living for teachers. The National Education Assocation makes a similar ranking on their website. I find the "undesirable" label completely unjustified, but that is Ms. Stead for you.


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 11:40 a.m.

Logical gymnastics to defend an unjustifiable situation by out-of-touch decision-makers......


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 11:26 a.m.

Green's salary is an absolute outrage and the whole gutless board should be recalled for defending her. How can a compensation package of $308,433 be justified for a disagreeable person whose real residence is in Maryland and who works here only 4 days a week? The $58,000 contributed annually to her retirement plan alone exceeds the median annual Ann Arbor household income of $56,612 reported for 2011.


Tue, Mar 5, 2013 : 7:40 p.m.

Check the numbers for MEA leadership - don't cast stones in a glass house....

Jack Panitch

Wed, Feb 27, 2013 : 11:25 a.m.

You are missing the point in three ways. First, you're right that no sitting superintendent would bring a libel suit, and I didn't mean to suggest otherwise. The suit is initiated after things end badly b/c of swirling rumors. The second point you are missing is that the difficulty of winning the case wouldn't justify the public's behavior. The third point is that wouldn't be a defendant. And I guess there's a fourth point: who wants to risk financial hardship, when it's so easy to avoid by not perpetuating stuff in print you don't know to be true.


Wed, Feb 27, 2013 : 4:37 a.m.

Jack Panitch: the sheer thought of AAPS attempting to sue over internet libel, due to false statements about the superintendent's work schedule, is the most hilarious thing I've read on here! Especially since internet libel cases are hard to win, and almost impossible to win if someone is commenting on a site that isn't theirs. But I guess it would make use of those high-powered attorneys on retainer!


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 10:38 p.m.

@Jack, Thanks for your comments.

Jack Panitch

Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 6:01 p.m.

Towncryer: Funny you should say that. I thought I was acting more as an sycophant. But seriously, do you expect me to just sit back while anonymous commenters display the height of this town's appetite for incivility. I love this town, this community, my home, and I think we can set a better example.


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 5:33 p.m.

good to know an AAPS lackey is keeping everyone in check

Jack Panitch

Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 4:24 p.m.

A view of how it would work from a legal perspective, hypothetically speaking: Either before or after filing a John Doe complaint for libel (e.g. targeted party v John Doe), the plaintiff's attorney would issue a subpoena to for John Doe's account information. There is likely no applicable shield privilege. With's information in hand, the plaintiff's attorney might be able to identify the offending party or might have to issue a subpoena to the ISP. Regardless, the law suit probably would not remain a John Doe action for long. This libel action involves a public figure, so the plaintiff would probably have to prove "actual malice," which is likely evident from the printed comments themselves. After a brief period for discovery, the defendant would have no proof, and the plaintiff's attorney would move for summary disposition on the basis of an affidavit. Damages? Well, that depends. . . . That's how it works. is acting responsibly here.


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 3:30 p.m.

Danielle And just as a cautionary note to readers, we will now be blocking comments that perpetuate this false information. Thanks! How thoughtful. I do not know if Mrs Green works 5 or 7 days a week. BUT I know is not as concerned about other false information that is spread on this blog.


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 2:28 p.m.

So, one person saying she works 4 days a week beats the other person saying she does work more? Is this a case of "I read it on the internets so it must be true"?


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 1:34 p.m.

More "denied" than "refuted". A refutation implies proof, which last time I looked isn't the same as a statement from a PR person.

West Side Mom

Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 1:14 p.m.

Danielle - It's been denied, not refuted by any objective evidence. There is a difference. And, I don't think anyone has established that Dr. Green's legal residence is Michigan, though it is reported she maintains a home here. Perhaps Mich Res and Alum is also perpetuating false information, albeit unintentionally?

Alan Goldsmith

Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 1:13 p.m.

If 'refuted' means a PR flack giving a statement, backup up by statements from the Board that mistakenly hired her without actually taking to Green, then I guess it was 'refuted'.

Danielle Arndt

Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 12:30 p.m.

The four-day work week was refuted. Thanks Mich Res and thinker for pointing it out. Here's a link: ... And just as a cautionary note to readers, we will now be blocking comments that perpetuate this false information. Thanks!


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 12:21 p.m.

I thought the 4 day work week was refuted.

Mich Res and Alum

Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 12:17 p.m.

I agree that she should be first in line for a cut, but don't let facts get in the way of your outrage. Her residence is in Michigan and she works a normal schedule.

Momma G

Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 11:25 a.m.

I totally agree with Linda Carter. Why should other employees take a cut. Green's salary should be cut by the percentage over everyone else's salary that she makes. I also agree she needs to get out in the schools to be seen and heard. She should see what teachers are dealing with these days - especially the behavior problems that seem to be increasing. You want to help students, get to the parents before they have these kids.


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 11:20 a.m.

I hope the superintendent makes time to accept Linda Carter's invitation to go out for long overdue visits to the school buildings to meet more teachers in all the buildings. Carter is a long-time Ann Arbor teacher who has a solid reputation for doing right by kids. Green could also benefit from some one-on-one time with an experienced staff member who has seen this district over time. If Green's car gets better gas mileage than Carter's Ford F150 Truck, then Green should drive Carter to these visits and not create an expense account to cover the travel. These visits should be covered in her salary! I support a pay cut for administrators at all levels starting at the top with the superintendent. @ Danielle Arndt - thanks for following up on this story and getting comments from the teachers representative. I hope to see more quotes from Carter regularly in education stories in

Joe Hood

Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 10:09 p.m.

Don't the teachers still get their step increases?


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 12:46 p.m.

Thinker, this isn't "us vs. them." Teachers are taxpayers, too. Pay cuts and pay freezes are all they've known for several years, while their benefits have been cut as well. We're all in this together.


Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 12:22 p.m.

Why should they all take a cut? Because our taxes have kept going up despite our house values going down, and we can't AFFORD to pay your outrageous salaries anymore!

Basic Bob

Tue, Feb 26, 2013 : 11:12 a.m.

How's that experienced superintendent helping manage the budget or keep top employees in place? Not so well. A rookie could have done as well.