List: 80 employees, high school busing, middle school pools among $8.67M in proposed cuts
AnnArbor.com file photo
The Ann Arbor Public Schools administration presented its recommendation for how to close an $8.67-million budget gap Wednesday.
The budget proposal for the 2013-14 academic year includes eliminating high school transportation, closing the middle school pools and cutting a total of 80 staff members, including teachers, counselors, custodians, a theater technician and central office staff.
It also outlines $287,685 in reductions to the athletics department budget and an estimated $225,000 in additional revenue through higher pay-to-participate fees and other increases to the contributions players must make to their sports.
The list of recommended cuts presented on Wednesday did not differ much from the list of preliminary proposals presented by the administration in December. The Roberto Clemente Student Development Center for academically and socially struggling teens was pulled from the chopping block, as was a proposal to eliminate instrumental music for fifth-graders and to reduce the number of media specialists in the district's libraries.
Superintendent Patricia Green said a decision on Roberto Clemente will be delayed until the administration can complete its redistricting study that the board requested in December. Green and her administrative team have been working on a series of reports on the district's capacity and enrollment trends, transportation costs, building replacement costs and maintenance of the district's physical properties. She also previously expressed a desire to have an outside consultant complete a feasibility study.
"That redistricting study may impact school closures ... so until that piece comes full circle, it's being delayed," she said of the Roberto Clemente proposal.
Green added cutting fifth-grade music and changing the number of media specialists in the district both ended up being contractual issues the administration could not pursue. She said the instrumental music is contractual in terms of it is required planning time for the elementary school teachers.
The proposal to eliminate block scheduling at Community High School also was taken off the table until the administration can engage in a second phase of studying the district's alternative education programs, of which Community is one. The first phase was the administration's research into Roberto Clemente, Green said.
Sharing elementary school principals was reconsidered as well and removed from the list of proposals.
"Looking at the size alone of the students of what some of the principals would be responsible for, I had some concerns about the safety of our young people, especially in light of some of the tragedies that have taken place around the country," Green said.
Read the complete list of what was recommended below.
Recommended budget reductions to instructional services:
- Reduce teaching staff by 32 FTE (full-time equivalents) for a savings of $3.2 million.
- Eliminate all of the district's reading intervention teachers (10 FTE), $1 million.
- Reduce the number of counselors by 3 FTE, $300,000.
- Reduce fine arts and physical education positions through attrition (3 FTE), $200,000.
- Reduce theater funding by $77,068, or 38.5 percent of their budget.
- Eliminate the theater technician (1 FTE) at Pioneer High School to make the Pioneer program equitable with the other high schools, $50,000.
- Eliminate the seventh-hour option at Huron and Pioneer (5 FTE), $500,000.
- Reduce noon-hour supervisors by $71,000 and recruit volunteers.
- Freeze library material purchases for one year to save $100,000.
- Eliminate high school transportation, $466,000.
Recommended budget reductions to athletics:
- Increase fees for ice hockey to $600 per student to help cover rink rentals, $36,000.
- Increase fees for golf to between $225 and $400 per student for tee times, $21,000.
- Reduce district funding of equipment by $30,000.
- Reduce athletics transportation funding by $120,000.
- Reduce the number of middle school club sports from 28 to 23 for a savings of $18,989.
- Eliminate middle school baseball and softball, $31,000.
- Eliminate seventh-grade girls and boys basketball, $30,696.
- Increase pay-to-participate fee at middle schools from $50 to $100 for $75,000 in revenue.
- Increase pay-to-participate fee at high schools from $150 for the first sport to $250, $150,000 in revenue.
Recommended budget reductions to district operations:
- Freeze furniture and fixtures purchases for one year to save $200,000.
- Reduce natural gas purchases by negotiating a lower price, $100,000.
- Energy savings of $200,000 through previous sinking fund improvement projects.
- Reduce grounds personnel by 1 FTE, $50,000.
- Restructure custodial services (15 FTE), $600,000.
- Eliminate custodial crew chief (1 FTE), $80,000.
- Reduce 100 percent of the district's food allowance for meetings, $70,000.
- Reduce conference and travel expenses by 33 percent for a $50,000 savings.
- Close the middle school pools, $70,000.
- No longer rent tables for school events and activities, $15,000
- Reduce central office positions (6 FTE) and restructure, $477,540.