You are viewing this article in the archives. For the latest breaking news and updates in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area, see
Posted on Thu, Jun 27, 2013 : 5:50 a.m.

Ann Arbor school board approves 3 employee contracts to save $266K

By Danielle Arndt

Previous coverage:

The Ann Arbor Board of Education on Wednesday voted to approve tentative agreements with the district's final three collective bargaining units, for a total general fund savings of $266,000.

comsa-dave- head.jpg

David Comsa

The savings represents 3 percent in wage concessions given up by the Ann Arbor Administrators Association (the principals and assistant principals union), the ASCSA (Department of Recreation and Education employees and other middle management staff, such as coordinators and supervisors) and the AFSCME (technical support staff).

The ASCSA and AFSCME memberships both agreed to unpaid furlough days to equal the 3 percent cut from their unions, while the principals union negotiated a 3 percent cut to its members' compensation, which Deputy Superintendent of Human Resources and Legal Services David Comsa said includes salary and other supplemental pay that the principals receive.

The contracts were not released to the public Wednesday following the regular school board meeting at 7 p.m., at which the tentative agreements were approved.

No details about the contract amendments were provided during the meeting. School officials declined to answer questions about the details of the agreements, other than to say the 3 percent expected concessions were met.

Comsa said because the agreements were tentative, the language of the contracts has to be cleaned up and proofread before the documents can "go to the printers" for printing. He said because everyone is gone from school for summer vacation, this process may take a little longer than usual. He anticipates the contracts will be available online for the public by the end of July, he said. has submitted a Freedom of Information Act request for the tentative agreements as approved Wednesday by the school board.

The district's three other major employee unions — the Ann Arbor Education Association, the AAEA Paraeducators and the AAEA Office Professionals — agreed to take 3 percent, one-year pay cuts in March.

The non-affiliated employees of the Ann Arbor Public Schools also agreed to reduce their salaries by 3 percent in April. These staff members included Superintendent Patricia Green's 10 executive cabinet members, executive secretaries, department directors and crew chiefs. This group of non-collective bargaining personnel saved the AAPS $114,290. The AAEA saved Ann Arbor $3.2 million.

The Ann Arbor Board of Education already had banked on the nearly $270,000 in concessions from the three remaining collective bargaining units, when on June 13 it approved its general fund operating budget for 2013-14. However, the number reflected in the budget was a $270,000 estimate. The board voted Wednesday to adjust that number in the district's financial statements to have them show the more accurate $266,000 figure.

In order to do this, the board had to approve spending about $3,000 more of its fund equity, or primary savings account, than it first agreed to on June 13.

The board also had to authorize using an additional $380,000 in equity — on top of the $3,000 — to correct an arithmetic error that school trustees and officials overlooked on June 13 in the budget vote pertaining to charging students for seventh hour.

These budget adjustments passed 4-2, with trustees Simone Lightfoot and Christine Stead voting "no" and Andy Thomas absent. Lightfoot and Stead did not agree with dipping further into the district's fund equity, which will be below $6 million next year.

The final amount of fund equity being used by the Ann Arbor Public Schools to balance the budget is now $1.56 million, instead of the $1.18 million that was approved during the budget discussion two weeks ago.

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



Thu, Jun 27, 2013 : 6:17 p.m.

At least they get the day off on furlough while the taxpayers get cut short on services, most of us get a pay cut and are expected to work anyhow..................must be nice


Fri, Jun 28, 2013 : 3:33 a.m.

Furlough days are found everywhere. Whether you are working or sitting at home, the cut in pay hurts.


Thu, Jun 27, 2013 : 3:41 p.m.

$380,000 in math errors... Not surprised, it is of a piece with this whole effort. Mr. Comsa was short with a reporter, not surprised. What will surprise me is if the budget lasts until school opens. Overall - I hope Danielle gets a nap today. She has my thanks for all the work and stories.

Basic Bob

Fri, Jun 28, 2013 : 4:28 a.m.

If current trends hold, the budget will be wrecked before school starts, but the damage will not be admitted until February.


Thu, Jun 27, 2013 : 1:43 p.m.

"The principals union negotiated a 3 percent cut to its members' compensation...which includes salary and other supplemental pay that the principals receive." Danielle - Can you please get more information about principals' "other supplemental pay"?


Thu, Jun 27, 2013 : 3:20 p.m.

"David Comsa was very vague and succinct in answering my questions" Shocking i tell you, just shocking!

Danielle Arndt

Thu, Jun 27, 2013 : 3:02 p.m.

PhillyCheeseSteak, yes I intend to. David Comsa was very vague and succinct in answering my questions, so I hope to find out more details asap.


Thu, Jun 27, 2013 : 1:27 p.m.

For once I am in complete agreement with Trustees Lightfoot and Stead. This BoE is killing the school district by: A. Depleting the fund equity (savings account). B. Taking out a 10 MILLION dollar line of credit. This is the path to an EFM (Emergency Finance Manager). How ironic that we are a "Hold Harmless" district and a LARGE portion of our school taxes are going to other districts in the state.


Fri, Jun 28, 2013 : 3:21 p.m.

Basic Bob - I am not sure which 'huge supplemental millage' you are referring to. If it is the tech bond millage, like any other ear-marked millage, it cannot be applied to the General Fund Budget (which is where salaries and other general operating expenses are paid from). That was all established in Proposal A. And, make no mistake, I believe Prop. A needs to be retooled. All that aside, the AAPS BoE has continually chosen not to make the hard decisions, the ones that they fear may cost them in political capital, that may make some of their neighbors or friends angry. But, those decisions need to be made instead of being kicked down the road and covered over with the district's rapidly disappearing fund equity.

Basic Bob

Fri, Jun 28, 2013 : 4:27 a.m.

How ironic we have a huge supplemental millage, get extra money from the state, and still can't make do. How hard can it be? Maybe we should hire the entire administration from someplace else and see how they do it just as well for thousands less per pupil.

Charles Curtis

Thu, Jun 27, 2013 : 12:37 p.m.

$380 k arithmetic error? Really? Every damn month there is some error or surprise with this district. How do you make these type of errors? Do we have anyone who knows how to do the job of budgeting in the district? I would think by now we would have the district take a very close look at all numbers they discuss. Unbelievable!


Thu, Jun 27, 2013 : 11:59 a.m.

This pretty much flies in the face of union hater comments. So much for greedy union thugs. Now if we could get the top 2% of income earners to agree to a 1.5% tax increase to help the federal and state budgets. Would they be willing to absorb 1/2 what these unions did? Nah, that would be too much to ask, Teachers should take another 5% cut to keep that from happening. After all, the 2% are too busy creating all of these really cool jobs that have appeared in the last 3 years.

Basic Bob

Fri, Jun 28, 2013 : 4:25 a.m.

We couldn't get the top 2% of earners in the school district to take a larger percentage pay cut. In fact, they decided to just go someplace else, all except for Dave Comsa who will probably get another huge raise for being the interim superintendent. Then after he has increased his market value he will leave for more money. Where were the teachers when everyone took 20% pay cuts and had their benefits gutted? Very few are making what they were 6 years ago, outside of the public sector of course. Keep sucking money out of the economy to pay for perpetual benefits for retirees and see how many good jobs that creates.

J. A. Pieper

Thu, Jun 27, 2013 : 2:56 p.m.

And, I do agree that the employees with the higher salaries should have taken a higher percentage pay cut, or more positions should be eliminated, period!

J. A. Pieper

Thu, Jun 27, 2013 : 2:54 p.m.

Because the way you wrote it makes it seem you believe that teachers should have taken a 5% pay cut. I know it is hard to keep thoughts organized when writing on this site, as I am a sometime responder on issues related to AAPS. Your second comment is much more clearly stated!


Thu, Jun 27, 2013 : 12:49 p.m.

Curious to those that vote down...why do you think educators should take a 3% pay cut to help balance a budget, but those that the very top of our economic structure should not take a 1.5% tax increase to help balance our budgets?

Paula Gardner

Thu, Jun 27, 2013 : 10:18 a.m.

Danielle was up most of the night writing stories from the school board. In addition to the three that were published at the time our daily newsletter came out at 6 am, we'll have a principal update shortly. We've already emailed about following up on this fund balance info that's in this story. I expect that she'll have a fuller story on the additional $383,000 in savings that AAPS will use to balance next year's budget.


Fri, Jun 28, 2013 : 3:24 p.m.

Paula - I quite understand. I was running low on caffeine as well, I think... ;^) Danielle - I have it on good authority that she has been conspicuously absent from the Balas building of late, as well.

Danielle Arndt

Thu, Jun 27, 2013 : 2:59 p.m.

Anonymous, I don't know the specific reasons about Pat Green's absence last night. It was announced during the meeting that she was away and unable to attend the meeting so David Comsa, who also will be the interim superintendent starting in July, was filling in. I asked Comsa whether her time was done with AAPS and he said no, that she just was unable to attend and that her last day is still expected to be July 9.

Paula Gardner

Thu, Jun 27, 2013 : 2:14 p.m.

@alarictoo: That's not bad advice. I'll also take is as a sign that sometimes there just isn't enough coffee flowing in my house at 6am.


Thu, Jun 27, 2013 : 1:22 p.m.

"a fuller story"? Seriously? Paula, you may wish to replace "fuller" with "more detailed".


Thu, Jun 27, 2013 : 11:47 a.m.

Is there a story about the superintendent's absence at last nights meeting? Doesn't her contract take her through July 9th? Is she officially done early since Comsa has stepped in?