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Posted on Thu, Jun 27, 2013 : 5:59 a.m.

No. 3 to leave: Longest-serving member of Ann Arbor schools central office resigns for county job

By Danielle Arndt


Randy Trent, executive director of physical properties for the Ann Arbor Public Schools, stands inside the Huron High School gymnasium where newer, brighter, more energy efficient lights were installed last summer as a part of new upgrades happening all across the district. Trent will leave the AAPS at the end of July for a new job.

Angela J. Cesere | file photo

When it comes to Ann Arbor Public Schools' central administration, Randy Trent is the institutional memory of the district.

But after 28 years with the Ann Arbor schools, Trent, the executive director of physical properties, will be moving on.

District spokeswoman Liz Margolis said Trent accepted a similar position to the one he holds now with Ann Arbor at the Washtenaw Intermediate School District as the head of its facilities department. Trent announced his resignation Wednesday morning in an email to the AAPS staff.

Trent's departure will leave a big void in the Ann Arbor Public Schools, as trustees touched on during Wednesday's regular board meeting.

Trent was the longest-serving member of the district's executive cabinet. That title in his wake will belong to Jane Landefeld, director of student accounting and administrative support services, who has been with AAPS for 26 years. Margolis is the second person with the most experience in the district. She has been at AAPS for 10 years, followed by Chief Financial Officer Nancy Hoover, who has been with AAPS for nearly 7 years.

The remaining five top administrators in the district have an average of 2.6 years experience with AAPS, with the exception of David Comsa, deputy superintendent of human resources and legal services, who has been with Ann Arbor for 6 years.

Trent is the third AAPS administrator to leave in the last four months.

Superintendent Patricia Green ended her five-year contract three years early back in April, when she announced she'd retire effective July 9. Deputy Superintendent of Operations Robert Allen resigned in February to take a position as vice chancellor of the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics under former Ann Arbor Superintendent Todd Roberts.

Board of Education members praised Trent's temperament and expertise Wednesday and talked about how much his presence and breadth of knowledge would be missed.

Trustee Irene Patalan thanked Trent for his commitment to the community and for his thorough and thoughtful management of his department and the district's facilities. She said he always used the utmost care to get whatever it was that he was doing right done well and done right.

"You have always given us your 100 percent, plus-plus-plus best," she said.

Vice President Christine Stead said she has the "utmost respect and credibility" for how Trent has helped manage the district.

Trent's last day at the Ann Arbor Public Schools will be July 22, Margolis said. A plan for addressing the vacancy has not been developed.

According to the district's most recent W2 tax information, collected as part of the state's mandated transparency reporting, Trent earned $117,710 in compensation during the 2012 calendar year. Trent's new salary was not known as of Wednesday night.

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


Dale R. Leslie

Thu, Jun 27, 2013 : 10:05 p.m.

I don't blame Randy. The most qualified hands-on administrator is ignored by the board for the interim superintendent's job vs. an attorney. Best of luck, Randy.


Thu, Jun 27, 2013 : 6:10 p.m.

get out while the benefits are still good and lock in what you have. Everyone can see a sinking ship except the taxpayers who will be stuck with the mess. Maybe once the EM is done in Detroit we can have him come to Ann Arbor and straighten things out here.

Danielle Arndt

Thu, Jun 27, 2013 : 4:26 p.m.

Just to reiterate what's in the story and what many people here have already said, Randy Trent is not retiring. He will not be collecting his pension. He is resigning to take a new job with the WISD. Thanks! And on a personal note, Randy is truly a gem. I have enjoyed working with him in the capacities I have. He is always thorough and patient in making sure everyone he interacts with, myself included, has a complete understanding of the work being done around the district. He is easy to approach and ask questions of at meetings and will spend the extra time to ensure his message was communicated properly. Best of luck on this next endeavor Randy!

Wake Up A2

Fri, Jun 28, 2013 : 10:41 a.m.

Also connect the dots..... 28 years (meaning 2 years till retirement) quits to go to work for WISD at a MUCH LOWER WAGE? If he was all that to the district, why leave? Since you band one of my comments, could it be that I'm right here? Some of us know why he is leaving...... Research the cost of his work with the storm drain project in A2 and what he cost the tax payers......

Wake Up A2

Thu, Jun 27, 2013 : 6:22 p.m.

Spend some time researching the costs to the district on mistakes under his tenure. There is a real reason he stepped down.


Thu, Jun 27, 2013 : 4:25 p.m.

Wonder if this had anything to do with the fact that he didn't get the interim superintendent job? (In fact, none of the Board members voted for him.) Tends to make a person feel undervalued and unappreciated when they're passed over in favor of someone who has been with the district for much less time.

David Cahill

Thu, Jun 27, 2013 : 3:19 p.m.

As the AAPS loses some administrators, perhaps it could consider abolishing the "Superintendent's Cabinet". Such self-aggrandizing does not serve the public interest.


Thu, Jun 27, 2013 : 3:09 p.m.

This is not a retirement. Mr. Trent will still be participating in the same retirement program, and continuing to accrue retirement credit.

Stan Bidlack

Thu, Jun 27, 2013 : 2:04 p.m.

Randy Trent is THE BEST. He gave the District 28 years of 100% excellence and professionalism. He is going to leave some gigantic shoes to fill!


Fri, Jun 28, 2013 : 3:22 a.m.

So true! He worked tirelessly and with a smile!


Thu, Jun 27, 2013 : 2:02 p.m.

I will echo Mr. Ranzini's comment. Consolidation of building maintenance should be done, at the WISD level under Mr. Trent. It is a perfect opportunity to do so with the position vacant. We will not get another chance like this for a long time. The same goes for the other central services, move them all under WISD, and pay for the services as used. In fact with the exception of a very few positions give Balas to WISD and let the administration at Balas service as many districts in the WISD territory as possible.


Fri, Jun 28, 2013 : 3:11 p.m.

A2NativeGirl and DonBee - Actually, I am quite aware of the services WISD offers. Having previously worked for another ISD in Southern Michigan that was much more visible to their constituency, I can say that WISD was decades behind them in offering relevant services to their constituent school districts. For many years all WISD really did was to offer Special Education services and run a charter-type school. While those are good things, it was a very narrow view of what the role of an Intermediate School District is in Michigan. Of the numerous areas I have lived in within Michigan WISD was the least visible in the community. Only within the last few years have they begun to expand their services to the Washtenaw County school districts. Among those was the ill-fated transportation consortium that DonBee mentioned, a consortium that all but one district, I believe, has withdrawn from (AAPS). So, while I am actually a fan of the role of Intermediate School Districts, and of the consolidation of services, I have sincere doubts in the capability of WISD to be the coordinator of such.


Thu, Jun 27, 2013 : 6:26 p.m.

a2grateful - I am making a suggestion that the time to discuss it may be now when there is no incumbent in the role at AAPS. We should at least explore the opportunity. If you know something we don't then please step forward and tell us. Alarictoo - When I look at WISD salaries and compare responsibilities with AAPS - the numbers in most cases do not look out of line. While WISD has done some things poorly (e.g. the first year of busing) they do many things well (e.g. special education). In most businesses economy of scale once you are beyond the innovation phase of the business are critical to being successful. This is an opportunity to look beyond the status quo.


Thu, Jun 27, 2013 : 4:40 p.m.

Please consider that Mr. Trent may not desire the consolidated job that you advocate.


Thu, Jun 27, 2013 : 3:34 p.m.

DonBee, good points. alarictoo, it seems you don't have a clue what WISD does for Washtenaw County.


Thu, Jun 27, 2013 : 3:13 p.m.

DonBee - Were WISD more competently run I would likely agree with you. However, for far too many years WISD has done as little as possible, and paid their employees at more of a premium than AAPS. I do not believe that a full consolidation of central services into WISD is in the best interest of Ann Arbor, or the other districts of Washtenaw County.


Thu, Jun 27, 2013 : 1:20 p.m.

Jane L already has her hands full with her other duties. Not sure how she will be able to adequately add major responsibilities to her very full plate.


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

OOP! I misread the part about Jane, she's not taking over his title, only his record for longevity in the district.


Thu, Jun 27, 2013 : 1:04 p.m.

Here are some links that will shed some light on work after retirement for public schools. THE PUBLIC SCHOOL EMPLOYEES RETIREMENT ACT OF 1979 Working After You Retire,4653,7-206-36502_36516---,00.html


Thu, Jun 27, 2013 : 1:50 p.m.

Ypsi What we do know is he is leaving the position he has now. What we don't know is if he is taking his pension and I don't care. He earned his pension just as I earned mine. I just wanted people to know there are some rules governing where you work and how much you can earn after retiring.


Thu, Jun 27, 2013 : 1:46 p.m.

I am not condemning him If he is taking his pension and is eligible to work for WISD and earn another pension. I was just providing the facts as to how it would work. I do not think his pension with Ann Arbor will increase by not applying now.


Thu, Jun 27, 2013 : 1:36 p.m.

jcj, No one said he was retiring. He's just leaving the position he has now.


Thu, Jun 27, 2013 : 1:07 p.m.

Rules for Working After Retirement If you return to work directly for a Michigan public school reporting unit: bullet Your earnings limit is 1/3rd of your Final Average Compensation (FAC). Example: If your FAC is $60,000, then you may return to work directly for a reporting unit and earn $20,000, (your FAC divided by 3). bullet If you exceed the earnings limit, you will forfeit both your pension and retiree insurance premium subsidy until your employment ceases. The forfeiture will begin the month you first exceed the limit. You may choose to remain enrolled in the insurance, but you must pay the higher, unsubsidized premium rate. You may resume your pension and be eligible for the insurance premium subsidy after you're no longer working for a public school reporting unit.

Momma G

Thu, Jun 27, 2013 : 1:02 p.m.

Randy's shoes will be hard to fill. He is probably the most qualified, most dedicated and definitely the most friendly cabinet member the school district could ever ask for. Best wishes to Randy!


Thu, Jun 27, 2013 : 12:43 p.m.

Thank you for your service to the district Mr. Trent. You are one of the truly positive influences the district has to offer. WISD is lucky to have you. Hopefully, your work will still somehow impact the schools in Ann Arbor.


Thu, Jun 27, 2013 : 12:38 p.m.

Anyone else feel like the school district is collapsing?


Mon, Jul 1, 2013 : 9:51 p.m.

They need to privatize most if not all of Balas and recall the BOE.


Fri, Jun 28, 2013 : 3:17 a.m.

Why can't we keep employees? Well, how would you like to be flogged and gossiped about in such a public forum?!


Thu, Jun 27, 2013 : 1:37 p.m.

Just the district? How about the entire state? This is the big plan for the reinvention of Michigan's education system. The state has continually pulled funding from public school entities (even with the illusion of the recent change (for Ann Arbor is was $5 per pupil this year, which does not make up for the over $200 pulled a few years ago). The next step in the reinvention is to create charter and virtual schools as the only public options left, then divert funds to private schools like Florida has done. Having worked in private school, my perception is that Governor Snyder doesn't have a clear understanding of what public school teaching is or looks like. He perhaps, like many people do, bases it on his own K-12 experience, or that of his daughter in private school.

Bertha Venation

Thu, Jun 27, 2013 : 1:34 p.m.

This says a lot to me about the BOE, (i.e., reason we can't keep anyone?) Maybe it's time for the board of education to seek employment elsewhere.


Thu, Jun 27, 2013 : 11:44 a.m.

I had multiple opportunities to work with Mr. Trent on several projects when my children attended AAPS. Mr. Trent was knowledgeable, creative, personable, practical, flexible, humble, reliable, accountable, and efficient. He was an amazing person to work with, and truly one of AAPS shining stars. He will be missed greatly at AAPS. His contribution to our children and school system is significant! Thank you, Mr. Trent! Your smiling face, pictured above and seen often everyday, was and is greatly appreciated. Best wishes for you and yours, and in your new position with WISD.


Thu, Jun 27, 2013 : 2:31 p.m.

Yes - it was a pleasure to work with you, Mr. Trent! I appreciate your attention to detail, diligence and work ethic. I wish you the best in your future endeavors.

Paula Gardner

Thu, Jun 27, 2013 : 11:37 a.m.

It's really unfortunate that the person who best knows the AAPS buildings won't be around while the district finally starts its redistricting.


Thu, Jun 27, 2013 : 11:37 a.m.

Good luck to you, Randy. You truly have been an asset to the Ann Arbor Public Schools! Ann arbor's loss is the WISD's gain.

Stephen Lange Ranzini

Thu, Jun 27, 2013 : 10:42 a.m.

With change is opportunity. Why not now consolidate the management of physical facilitities with WISD and Ypsilanti Community Schools, since WISD runs both? Put Mr. Trent in charge of all three to save money and drive efficiencies.

Stephen Lange Ranzini

Thu, Jun 27, 2013 : 8:43 p.m.

@a2grateful: First thanks for your kind comment about my comments! I also appreciate your comments and agree with and vote up many of yours. I am not advocating consolidating districts or the boards, just some back office services. As to consolidation of back office operations, this happens in many industries including banking. In our bank we buy services from shared back office service providers that also serve our competitors including software for deposits, loans, credit cards, debit cards, human resources, web sites, various online services. In total we buy vendor services from 174 different vendors. We do very little in house, and mostly, operations and back office management focuses on managing, changing and hiring and firing those vendors. The city and county share one IT center. Why couldn't AAPS, WISD and YCS also share one IT center, or even share the city/county IT center? Or, share the co-location facility in Southfield that we and many thousands of firms in SE Michigan use? I do know also that beyond school buses, the plan on the bubble is to consolidate and share operational software including accounting & human resources software applications. I have been advocating for this for over a year in my posts & Common Cents column. There usually are efficiencies of scale gained in facility management. We have 31 schools plus Balas at AAPS. If a larger group managed more school facilities it would save money. Facility management is not core to the mission of educating students, so sharing those services or buying services from an outside vendor might work. As with all consolidation and back office initiatives, the devil is in the details & the contracts & service level agreements must be carefully thought through & then carefully documented in the contract, with well defined exit clauses that can be triggered if the vendors fail to provide quality services & violate the service level agreement.


Thu, Jun 27, 2013 : 6:22 p.m.

a2grateful - There are a number of functions that are already consolidated. Buses, some purchasing, some special education services, etc. Why not talk about the next step when there is an opportunity to do so?


Thu, Jun 27, 2013 : 3:46 p.m.

Mr. Ranzini: I enjoy reading your contributions here, appreciating your frequent and thoughtful contributions. Although consolidation ideas often have merit, sometimes consolidation advocacy may go too far. For example, would you advocate consolidating local bank administrations across institutional boundaries as well, thus avoiding organizational cost duplicity? For example: Why not consolidate bank administration for University Bank, Bank of Ann Arbor, and Ann Arbor State Bank (one president, one board, etc)? WISD and AAPS are separate organizational entities, and are not currently inviting consolidation, just like our local banks. Some might see the issue differently, as is common for those standing outside looking in.


Thu, Jun 27, 2013 : 10:36 a.m.

It is called "Two Scoops," as in "Double Dip." This does not happen in the private sector. What our elected officials need to address is this question" If you keep re-hiring oldsters, when will young talent have an opportunity to develop? Federal law clearly states that if a corporation or govt entity has a retirement-plan-in-place, Retirement can be Required at age 70. The Federal Age Discrimination law does Not apply! Sssssshhh . . . that's a secret the politicians keep from us taxpayers. Check it out . . .


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

Ypsi Are you sure his pension will be larger by waiting? I don't think so.


Thu, Jun 27, 2013 : 1:35 p.m.

PWG, No one ever said he was retiring. He's leaving the position, but that doesn't automatically mean he's filing for retirement benefits from AAPS. Nothing requires him to file for benefits now, and the longer he waits to claim his retirement benefits, the larger his pension check will ultimately be.


Thu, Jun 27, 2013 : 1:08 p.m.

SonnyDog09 You might want to look at some of the links I posted below to make sure what the rules are concerning working after retirement for a public school employee.

Ed Kimball

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

How is that any worse than the IRAs I have from three different private sector companies I worked for? The benefits derive from the time and contributions put in while I worked for each, just as Trent's do. And if you were a customer of any of these companies (or a customer of their customers, etc.) then, yes, you paid part of that bill, too.


Thu, Jun 27, 2013 : 10:31 a.m.

He must have been good since Deb Mexicotte didn't publish a letter of praise....


Thu, Jun 27, 2013 : 10:28 a.m.

Leave the position vacant. Save the middle school pools.

Usual Suspect

Thu, Jun 27, 2013 : 1:11 p.m.

It seems to me like if you're going to have pools you would also need a director of physical properties.


Thu, Jun 27, 2013 : 12:40 p.m.

Unlike the silly curriculum positions which can be handled by teachers, this one cannot.