Ann Arbor school board member to resume regular coffee hours
Ann Arbor Public Schools Secretary Andy Thomas will resume his regular coffee hours with the public this fall.
AnnArbor.com file photo
People can come to ask questions or express concerns about any topic regarding the schools.
"Basically it's just an attempt to be more accessible and to provide a little more transparency," Thomas said last September.
Thomas had four coffee hours last school year and found them to be very beneficial. He stopped conducting them in the late winter to early spring as the board began having more frequent community forums regarding the budget and, later, the superintendent search.
With Ann Arbor gearing up for another school year — the budget and superintendent in place — Thomas wanted to start hosting the coffee hours again, he said.
The first edition of Thomas' 2013-14 coffee hours will take place from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 20 at Sweetwaters Coffee and Tea, 123 W. Washington St.
The Board of Education permits public commentary at its meetings but, per board policy, the 45 minutes of allotted time are divided among the people signed up to comment. The policy also states trustees and district employees will not answer questions during public commentary.
Thomas' coffee hours will give the public a chance to receive replies and to have back-and-forth discussions with a school official.
"I'll be there to talk about whatever people have on their minds," Thomas said Aug. 13.
"... I also expect people will want to know more about our new superintendent. But there is no agenda, and we can talk about just about anything related to the schools."