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Posted on Sun, Jun 9, 2013 : 5:57 a.m.

School board stipends: Fair compensation or a luxury of the past?

By Danielle Arndt


Ann Arbor Board of Education members earn $130 per month for attending meetings. Broken down per meeting, that's about $43. Other school board members in Washtenaw County earn $25 or $30 per meeting — or nothing at all.

Courtney Sacco | file photo

Desperate times call for desperate measures.

It's a statement that recently has played out in school districts across the state of Michigan, as the number of traditional public schools facing staggering deficits and elimination of key educational services for Fiscal Year 2014 grows.

In Ann Arbor, high school transportation; more than 80 employees, including about 50 teachers; middle school pools; and several athletics programs are on the chopping block for the 2013-14 academic year.

However, one item not on the table is school board members' per diem stipends.

According to officials, trustees in the Ann Arbor Public Schools earn a stipend of $130 per month or $1,560 per year for attending meetings. Multiplied by seven school board members, and the cost to AAPS for board salaries is $10,920 — a pittance in reality, at less than 0.2 percent of the district's $8.67 million deficit.

But is eliminating these payments a necessary symbolic gesture in tough financial times? Some school trustees across Michigan have thought so.

The Michigan Association of School Boards doesn't know very many local districts that offer board members compensation anymore, said Communications Director Pam Jodway.

Brad Banasik, legal counsel for the MASB, said he wouldn't call giving up these stipends a trend, but added he has heard of it happening more and more frequently.

"First and foremost, the main reason boards do this is as a show of support to teachers and the community," he said. "Schools are making a lot of difficult decisions right now. And even though the board stipend is such a minute part of a school district's budget, some members believe: how can we expect teachers to make concessions and the community to accept layoffs and programs being cut (if we keep our stipends)?"

The idea of board sacrifice and symbolic gestures was debated recently in Ann Arbor, when the Board of Education agreed to slash $65,000 from next year's budget for discretionary food purchases for meetings and events throughout the district. And at the same time, the board expressed it would maintain a $5,000 line item for food for trustees and administrators during school board meetings. Only one trustee, Secretary Andy Thomas, has verbalized a desire to sacrifice the board's food expenditures.

Payment history

Board service in Michigan is considered a voluntary position and language that called for public school trustees to be offered per diem allowances was struck from the books in about 1996 or 1997, Banasik said.

"When the school code was revised, it was the intent of the Legislature to provide more local control to school boards," he said.

A section of the state's Revised School Code does still address payment for members of an intermediate school district board. This section states:

An intermediate school board member shall receive a per diem allowance for attendance at meetings convened in accordance with the bylaws of the intermediate school board or held pursuant to law. Except as provided … the intermediate school board, by resolution, may authorize compensation which shall not exceed $30.00 per meeting, subcommittee meeting or authorized duty, if the duty is related directly to the member's responsibility as a board member and if the duty is authorized in advance by resolution of the board. … A board member shall not receive compensation for more than a total of 52 meetings … unless the majority of the board votes to remove this limitation.

Banasik said this same language previously was applied to local public school districts as well. But because it isn't any longer, any compensation for local school boards would need to be outlined in their governing bylaws.

"… This was just one of the restrictions (the Legislature) took out (to give control back to the schools), but a lot of the boards went ahead and just continued that amount," he said. "I see no problem in allowing a stipend for local board members. Almost all public, elected officials receive some type of stipend for their work and service to the community."

Banasik said the MASB does not advise local districts one way or the other on the topic of stipends. He said the organization believes that's a local decision that should be made while considering the district's financial means and community values.

It is not clear how many school districts in Michigan still have provisions permitting school board member stipends. The MASB will conduct a survey "every so often" of school districts on the topic to see, Banasik said. But he added the most recent survey data is more than 10 years old.

Comparing local stipends

Despite a section in the Revised School Code allowing ISD board members to earn up to $30 per meeting, the Washtenaw Intermediate School District board has not earned an allowance since early 2010. WISD Communications Director Emma Jackson said the board voted at that time to suspend the stipend indefinitely.

But the Ann Arbor Public Schools is not alone in Washtenaw County in compensating its Board of Education members. However, it is the only district that receives a monthly stipend. Most of the other school trustees receive a per-meeting amount, some for just regular and special meetings, while others also are paid for subcommittee or standing committee meetings.

Broken down per meeting, AAPS trustees make about $43 per meeting, based on a schedule of two regular meetings and one study session or subcommittee meeting per month.

Saline school board members earn $30 for each regular and special board meeting they attend, payable at the end of each calendar year. Typically, Saline has 21 board meetings in a year — two per month, except July, August and December — so this equates to about $630 per board member or $4,410 in total annual cost to the district.

Plymouth-Canton schools in Wayne County pays its board members $30 per meeting, but it also pays for workshops and committee meetings. Plymouth-Canton is larger than AAPS with 17,998 students enrolled in fall 2012, compared with Ann Arbor's 16,635, according to the Center for Educational Performance and Information.

Trustees in Willow Run earn $25 per regular, special or standing committee meeting, according to current board policy.

The number of meetings Willow Run has conducted this past school year has exceeded the typical number as a result of the consolidation effort with Ypsilanti Public Schools, which does not give its board members a stipend. Prior to the merger being passed, Willow Run had two meetings per month, so board members would have earned $600 annually, at a total cost to the district of $4,200. However, several trustees do not accept the stipend or donate it back to the district, said Superintendent Laura Lisiscki.


Ann Arbor school board President Deb Mexicotte.

Courtney Sacco | file photo

Three Ann Arbor school board members - Deb Mexicotte, Christine Stead and Andy Thomas - also do not keep their stipends. They donate their board salaries to the Ann Arbor Educational Foundation. Several Saline trustees also donate their stipends to the Foundation for Saline Area Schools, officials said.

Chelsea School District board members also earn $25 per meeting that they attend and are paid at the end of the calendar year. They do not get paid for committee meetings. The Chelsea school board also typically meets about 21 times per year, so trustees earn $525 annually, which costs the district a total of $3,675.

Manchester Community Schools Board of Education members earn $5 per meeting. However, administrative assistant to the superintendent Pam Lee said all of the board members give the stipend back to the district by not accepting payment.

Lincoln school trustees cut their $25 per-meeting stipends and struck them from board policy in August 2006 in a round of budget reductions, said district administrative assistant Jean Fensch.

Ann Arbor board president Mexicotte said eliminating or reducing the board's stipend has been discussed on and off through the years since she was first elected in 2003.

"But no one ever brought a motion to the table," she said.

Mexicotte said she believes the board has a general "discomfort" in saying someone else doesn't need the money or deserve to be compensated for the work they do.

"On the one hand, it certainly isn't life-changing money. It's there for the purposes of making travel or incidentals that might go along with board service just a little easier," she said. "But we can't walk in each other's shoes. ... It's hard for people to decide that it's not appropriate or that someone else doesn't need that amount of money ... when we're all sacrificing our time and energy for the service of the district."

Mexicotte said donating the money or not accepting it should be a personal decision. As a whole, the board believes people should be appropriately compensated for the work they do — it's a concept the board applies when thinking about Ann Arbor's teachers and other staff. She said trustees spend typically 10 to 15 hours per week on board-related tasks and meetings. So it is similar to a mini part-time job, she added.

Board members also are expected to attend graduation and award ceremonies, as well as other events at the schools.

"The other hesitation is once it's gone, it's gone. We nor any other board will reasonably be able to vote to put (the stipend) back," Mexicotte said. "So you think about how that might affect people wanting to volunteer for board service in the future."

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



Tue, Jun 11, 2013 : 12:55 p.m.

FYI: Not all board members accept the stipend.

Blazingly Busy

Mon, Jun 10, 2013 : 11:43 a.m.

WHy is the poll closed? :( I vote no, they should not get a stipend.

Blazingly Busy

Mon, Jun 10, 2013 : 11:55 a.m.

Oh and I know this particular article is not about the $5000 for food during meetings but I would like to point something out... Today is Skyline High School's graduation ceremony. The choir is singing at the ceremony. My child got to school at approximately 7:15 AM. She will go through her full day of school, get out at 2:30 PM and have to be back by 3:30 PM for "call time" to get on the bus to go to EMU for graduation. (In other words, not worth taking the bus home and finding a ride back). Dinner/snacks are NOT being provided and they won't be home until 8:30 PM. So basically, my daughter will be at "school" for over 13 hours without any meals/snacks provided by the school. (We packed lunch, snacks, dinner for her). She is singing for graduation and it is counted as her final exam for choir so she MUST be there. If the kids can't even have a snack provided by the schools when they are doing something FOR the schools, I think that the board should be able to go without their cookies. Thanks for listening.


Mon, Jun 10, 2013 : 12:22 a.m.

Unfortunately the AAPS BOE doesn't have common sense to realize that even if this is only .2% of the budget it is the perception that hurts the reputation of the board. With a new superintendent coming, it would be good to see a new BOE along with the replacement of several key district leadership.


Sun, Jun 9, 2013 : 10:55 p.m.

It all begins with failure to obtain revenue, because we flatly refuse to ask those who can best afford it to contribute. There's no money for anything anymore because the same 171 people own virtually all the wealth.

Real Life

Sun, Jun 9, 2013 : 9:19 p.m.

A stipend? You're joking right? $5000 for food at meetings? The Principals' Union (there's an oxymoron) thinking about a 1% salary reduction (from a $185,000 average salary) while there are layoffs and a 3% reduction from everyone else? These people not get the memo?


Sun, Jun 9, 2013 : 5:11 p.m.

The board members make less at these meetings than they could make at Burger King, and yet people want to take even that small amount away? Yet they'll complain when they don't agree with the decisions made? Let the complainers run for the board, and do it for free.


Sun, Jun 9, 2013 : 5:30 p.m.

joech - When I retire, I intend to do just that. Right now because of job related travel, I would missing at least 50% of the meetings, and that is not fair to the community.


Sun, Jun 9, 2013 : 5:01 p.m.

@TryingToBeObjective: Were you ever offered payment for your "Volunteer" work and then asked to give it up? Would you be so willing to give it up if you were receiving it? I don't think so. If you have so much free time available to volunteer, why don't spend some of that time on the board? Oh, because they actually have to "work."


Sun, Jun 9, 2013 : 5:27 p.m.

Wrong, @joech. I would give it up. You also don't get that it's a gesture. It's a statement to make to the parents of this community that the BOE would be willing to give up this stipend. Three of them already do. Are you running for the BOE? Do you volunteer? Oh wait, that would entail working, not just running your mouth.


Sun, Jun 9, 2013 : 5:07 p.m.

Oops. Why don't "you" spend some of that time on the board?


Sun, Jun 9, 2013 : 4:58 p.m.

In fairness, if the board reduces teacher/staff salaries by X%, they should reduce their own stipends by the same amount. They shouldn't have to work for free, though.

Basic Bob

Mon, Jun 10, 2013 : 4:20 p.m.

how about they follow state law 30 per meeting not 43


Sun, Jun 9, 2013 : 4:54 p.m.

Forget the school board stipend. That's chump change. Why don't we pass a resolution that ALL elected officials work for free?? "For the Kids"

Blazingly Busy

Mon, Jun 10, 2013 : 12:02 p.m.

I see an angry pattern here. Are you a school board member?


Sun, Jun 9, 2013 : 4:39 p.m.

This BOE failed miserably by allowing the incompetent financial managers at AAPS to get to this point where there is a multi-million dollar deficit. Obviously, they too are incompetent. Get rid of the BOE, and certainly fire all the financial managers at AAPS and hire one person who can do the job.


Sun, Jun 9, 2013 : 4:34 p.m.

"However, one item not on the table is school board members' per diem stipends." Why are we not surprised?

Lynn Liston

Sun, Jun 9, 2013 : 3:02 p.m.

All civic/organization posts, whether strictly voluntary or elected, do incur some personal expenses for the holder which the stipends only partly off-set. People who aren't doing a time-consuming volunteer job may not realize how much personal time it takes and how many little expenses the person just donates out of their own pocket. The Board stipend is very small, probably doesn't cover the real expenses incurred on the schools' behalf and probably would not be greatly missed by those who receive it, especially those who donate it to the Foundation. Why not just suspend the stipend for the current year without eliminating it completely? I do think they should keep the food budget because Board members often attend breakfast, lunch or dinner meetings or miss those meals for incidental meetings with parents and community members. They shouldn't have to brown bag it. $5K doesn't go very far in today's prepared food market, they aren't getting luxury meals, probably just pizza and sandwiches.

Blazingly Busy

Mon, Jun 10, 2013 : 12:03 p.m.

Why not? I have to brown bag it for meetings at work that are outside the schedule. My daughter has to brown bag it today for a 13 hour day so that her choir can provide music for graduation. What makes the board so special?


Sun, Jun 9, 2013 : 2:51 p.m.

$1500 barely covers the costs of parking. The structural mess this system is in won't be solved by removing this stipend. BTW, how are the negotiations going with the principals?

Blazingly Busy

Mon, Jun 10, 2013 : 12:03 p.m.

Where do you think they park? Wow. That's a lot for parking.


Sun, Jun 9, 2013 : 4:40 p.m.

I doubt we will hear much about the principals' negotiations until some later date. They don't want the public to know while school is still in session......


Sun, Jun 9, 2013 : 2:26 p.m.

Here is a better question: Are taxpayers paying AAEA Union leadership to perform Union business? See 3.500 Released Time for Association Business in the contract.


Sun, Jun 9, 2013 : 1:54 p.m.

Seems like complete fiscal irresponsibility and corruption. Attendance of meetings should be a MANDATORY REQUIREMENT OF THE EMPLOYMENT CONTRACT.


Sun, Jun 9, 2013 : 2:03 p.m.

Clearly you do not watch or attend the board meetings

Nick Danger

Sun, Jun 9, 2013 : 1:49 p.m.

I would not do there job for 5 times the money.The hours are way to long,they are subject to abuse for their decisions even when out in public.They get blamed for things they have no control over.They work tirelessly for next to nothing compensation. They donate their time and energy even if they don't have children in the district.No one on the school board is getting rich off the stipend. I don't understand the work for nothing mentality


Sun, Jun 9, 2013 : 1:47 p.m.

Reality check: there are hundreds, if not thousands of parents who VOLUNTEER every day for the KIDS in the AAPS. Not a one if us gets a stipend, expenses paid, or fed at every meeting. Many of us spend WAY more than 10 hours per week on our kids schools. We don't expect any compensation, because we are doing it for the right reasons. Ask yourself, what could be saved, for the kids, if the board at least suspends their stipend, as well as their food allowance? What could come off the chopping block? After all, the children should be the priority here. If they're not, we need new board members.


Sun, Jun 9, 2013 : 7:39 p.m.

And yet again, you miss the point. It's a gesture. And I don't do just "fun stuff" with kids. Many jobs are unseen, they just need to get done. IT'S A GESTURE.


Sun, Jun 9, 2013 : 5:32 p.m.

If there are truly hundreds or thousands of parents volunteering at the schools, maybe some of them should help out by running for the school board instead of doing the "fun" stuff of volunteering with "the children." Maybe then you'd see what a thankless job the board members have and cut them a little slack for the ~$5.00/hr they make at these meetings. And, you'd get a little Reality Check of your own.


Sun, Jun 9, 2013 : 5:09 p.m.

Well if $5,000 is just pennies, then $10K is about a dime, correct? I'm not making excuses, I am an active parent, a very frequent volunteer. You just don't get that it's not the stipend, it's the gesture. It's making a statement that the BOE is willing to do anything THEY can to help the current situation. You might find more BOE support if such measures were taken.


Sun, Jun 9, 2013 : 2:27 p.m.

Typical excuse.


Sun, Jun 9, 2013 : 2:24 p.m.

I would, except I am already invested in umpteen FREE hours invested in the schools.


Sun, Jun 9, 2013 : 2:03 p.m.

So go ahead and run for the board.


Sun, Jun 9, 2013 : 12:54 p.m.

I think it's perfectly appropriate to reimburse board members for their transportation to and from meetings, but the stipend for each meeting isn't big enough to be an incentive to attend and should be done away with, as should the food. It's insulting to all the parts of the AAPS community to not have the board "sacrifice." I bet the meetings would be shorter, too.


Sun, Jun 9, 2013 : 12:36 p.m.

It's very odd how much suffering and pay cuts people wish upon seems to me quite clear the problem at this point is a lack of funding, and it isn't some difficult problem to fix....


Mon, Jun 10, 2013 : 9:48 a.m.

@ basic, what about the excess money the past two years? What should be done with it?

Basic Bob

Sun, Jun 9, 2013 : 7:29 p.m.

No one is wishing pay cuts on people. The state of Michigan's expenditures exceeded revenue every year from 2002 to 2010, in fact by almost $4 Billion in 2009 alone. Now this money must be repaid by cutting expenses. Education is a major responsibility of the state government, in fact they spend more than $15 Billion every year. The lack of funding can only be corrected by general improvements in the economy, which lead to more tax being collected, or cuts in other big programs such as Medicare, prisons, and road construction. You don't have to convince me that we are spending far too much on prisons, but cutting money on law enforcement and corrections is not an issue that resonates with voters, either conservative or progressive. Until the economy improves, the difficult problem of funding education will remain. There are many cost savings that can be made and we can't keep giving incompetent administrators a pass.


Sun, Jun 9, 2013 : 6:42 p.m.

It's not difficult to figure out the solution but implementing it will never happen. Too much promised and not enough income to pay for it. What do you do when this happens to your personal budget? You probably don't wring your hands over whether you a re going to spend .13% of you income on something. You make cuts, painful, unpleasant cuts, and you do without. That solution only seems to exist in non-governmental situations


Sun, Jun 9, 2013 : 5:23 p.m.

I agree with you that the problem is a lack of funding, but I disagree that it "isn't some difficult problem to fix." You can't just tell the state, "We need more money," (especially this current administration) and expect them to throw it at you. People seem to ignore that lots of other school districts in Michigan have the same budgetary problems.

Claude Kershner

Sun, Jun 9, 2013 : 12:27 p.m.

Putting yourself in the public eye takes courage. Even more so today with social media proving instant access to every action, misstep and perceived flaw. The AA BOA has been a ready made piƱata as they careen badly from crisis to crisis but they still show up to the board meetings and do their best. We as voters have the ability to out new people in office should they choose to run (and many of us hope new people do!). That said, the stipend should remain. It's a token but an important one that symbolizes a recognition the time and effort IS a valued service.


Sun, Jun 9, 2013 : 9:09 p.m.

"Putting yourself in the public eye takes courage" I would argue that it takes something other than courage for some of these board members! The word gall comes to mind.


Sun, Jun 9, 2013 : 4:42 p.m.

What exactly is this "valued" service, as they allowed the financial disaster to happen.

Dan Ezekiel

Sun, Jun 9, 2013 : 1:20 p.m.

Oops, I meant to Vote Up and accidentally hit Vote Down. Claude, your comment is right on.


Sun, Jun 9, 2013 : 12:26 p.m.

Luxury of the past.


Sun, Jun 9, 2013 : 12:24 p.m.

The amount is not the question here, it is the perception of the community. Moving the last two budget meetings from the library, what does that say? Debating the food allowance for way too long, without coming to a decision, what does that say? Not asking for a full internal audit after the credit card statements were posted, what does that say? Not digging into the discretionary fund after being surprised by it last year, what does that say? Not really digging into why the overruns were MONTHS late in being reported to board, what does that say (You mean the administration did not know they were cutting pay checks to too many people, based on the budget?) Never telling the community if they recovered the almost $600,000 in health care premiums that were paid for people who should not have been on employee's programs, what does that say? The checkbook that the administration was told to post monthly, but has not been for more than a year, what does that say about the board's willingness to follow thru? In short, the board is showing the community that they can't follow up and they are not willing to find the root causes of problems.


Mon, Jun 10, 2013 : 5:26 p.m.

I do not believe Dexter is a school of choice. Last I knew Dexter was the only school in Washtenaw County that was not a school of choice


Sun, Jun 9, 2013 : 5:27 p.m.

TTB Objective - One of the major issues I hear from parents is not the driving to and from, but the fact that there is give on when the students have to be dropped off and when they have to be picked up. AAPS has a policy at the high school level or so it seems that students cannot enter the building early and have to leave almost immediately after class, regardless of weather. This to many is a far larger issue then driving to and from, most other schools have a different policy or implementation of the policy. Putting a 14 year old student on the sidewalk in January, in the dark (or soon to be dark) with no supervision and very cold weather is inviting problems. All it takes is 1 fender bender, and a parent might be 30 or 45 minutes late, even though they left work or home to be on time in picking up their student. This issue is the common one I hear when the issue of bussing going away is raised. The majority of new students in the AAPS school district are in the townships, beyond AATA busing anyway, so this will have a growing long-term impact. I hope it is only 30 students, but I fear it will be many more.


Sun, Jun 9, 2013 : 5:03 p.m.

Thanks for the info. The person whose comment was removed said something about you as well as 500 kids leaving due to bussing. So, if I have this correct, you're saying that some of these families can figure out how to get their kids to all of these other schools? Is the main issue then that the bussing cuts are the last straw, but not an actual lack of transportation? Is the online learning that you speak of WAY Washtenaw, or the mivhs classes that are currently available through the district? I do applaud parents taking action now, not waiting until August. Just trying to understand the thought process. I already drive my kids. Haven't been a fan of the bussing for years now. Personally, I think it will take cutting the bussing for at least a year to see what the fallout is. I've heard of other districts that have tried, only to reinstate bussing a few years down the road. I'm not advocating for the cut, just trying to understand all perspectives.


Sun, Jun 9, 2013 : 2:49 p.m.

TTB Objective - Obviously the comment was about the end of high school busing. I don't know what the numbers will be, I do know several families who are leaving the district if it ends. Some will go to alternate programs, the IB, Washtenaw Technical Middle, EMU, etc. Some will bite the bullet and pay for private schools, since they now have to deal with transportation anyway. Some will use computer based/on-line learning and home school, and yes a few will move. A few more will use schools of choice to go to Saline, Dexter, etc, since most of them are closer to these schools anyway. What will the numbers be? I don't know and no one else does either, but it will be more than 30 and less than 400. I would have said 30 to 40 originally, but I keep hearing more and more parents who are tired of dealing with it, and have already made plans to do something else next year with their children.


Sun, Jun 9, 2013 : 2 p.m.

Okay, now that my comment makes no sense, since the comment above was deleted.......


Sun, Jun 9, 2013 : 1:59 p.m.

What I don't understand is, how would 500 kids leave? Where would they go? Are they just going to hang out at home with mom and/or dad? Will they move? How do they know already that they will leave, three months before the school year begins? Are they unwilling to make ANY effort to find an alternate transportation solution? They have 3 months, not 3 days. I don't get it. Any answers?


Sun, Jun 9, 2013 : 12:01 p.m.

Unless I am misreading the article, Ann Arbor is the only board that gets paid by the month. Does that mean they get paid whether or not they attend or just that they get paid once a month?


Sun, Jun 9, 2013 : 11:52 a.m.

First, they don't "earn", "make", or "get paid" these stipends. These are the people who decide if there should be a stipend, so they "pay themselves" or "compensate themselves" or similar. Self-serving Boards and executives all over the country play that game. I don't buy that a Board couldn't put back the self-compensation, either. I can't see a Board raising compensation for themselves, but it would make a lot of sense to set the compensation for a future Board, some reasonable time in the future so that the current members aren't helping themselves. These are unusual times. They should cease stipends now, and make it a policy that when the district has had five straight years of surpluses to put into reserves, the stipends come back, not to exceed the stipend for the Washtenaw intermediate district Board. They should also end the meeting meals budget in the same way.


Sun, Jun 9, 2013 : 11:52 a.m.

Why do we even need school boards? What other multi-million dollar organization can you think of that is governed by a group of people who may have no specific qualifications in that field?


Sun, Jun 9, 2013 : 5:23 p.m.

Congress comes to mind.


Sun, Jun 9, 2013 : 1:47 p.m.

And what multi-million organization pays them nothing?


Sun, Jun 9, 2013 : 12:33 p.m.

Great question, what do they do exactly?


Sun, Jun 9, 2013 : 11:29 a.m.

"Less than 0.2 percent" It's less than 0.13%. With all the issues out there there are other things to focus on. Discretionary fund for example. This is an example of trying to distract attention from what matters.


Sun, Jun 9, 2013 : 11:26 a.m.

Given the fiscal crisis and pink slips to teacher, it is offensive that Mexicotte is defending the board stipends. If anyone on the board now is there because of this stipend, they should resign now. Mexicotte's judgement and reasoning continue to demonstrate poor leadership and connection to the school community. She seems to want to make a point that board members are devoting many hours volunteering so symbolically they should receive symbolic money. This is similar to her $5000 is pennies comment for the board snacks. $5000 and $10K are not symbolic, that is part of the salary for an employee who works directly with students. Mexicotte needs to resign or someone else on the board needs to take over as president. She continues to embarrass the district and inflame tensions by justifying board member stipends while teachers are pink-slipped and reading intervention specialists are on the chopping block. Mexicotte and Nelson seem to always be making this point: Hey Ann Arbor parents, you want great schools, you need to pay for them. Property taxes are already high. The board is not listening to parents say they want accountability and transparency in finances from the board and adminsitrators. Where is the accounting for the building off-the-books discretionary funds or the credit card statements Ann Arbor Politico released with records of more than 15K in meals and treats for only a few months? If any future candidate does not put his/her name on the ballot because of the stipend, the district does not need them. If any candidate on the board now wants to die on a sword over demanding they have a right to this stipend issue they should resign. If we end up with empty board chairs, I believe people in the community will step up. Many people don't want to be on the board because they see years and years of dysfunctional leadership, not because it doesn't pay enough.


Sun, Jun 9, 2013 : 7:53 p.m.

Agree completely aaparent. And yes Maria and babmay I have been to board meetings and watched Deb Mexicotte run a totally dysfunctional, unorganized meeting. I see a rare ability to get to the periphery of any problem faster than anyone else.


Sun, Jun 9, 2013 : 6:36 p.m.

You should volunteer/run for the board, it looks like you have it figured out.


Sun, Jun 9, 2013 : 1:45 p.m.

This article and most of the comments illustrate exactly what is wrong with this community and why no one wants to run for school board. The school board members all spend a lot of time doing the necessary and critically important work of the school district, in times when all funding is being cut, cut, cut by the Republicans in Lansing. I don't see those firing constant criticism stepping up to the hassle of running, attending meetings, being visible in the community, etc. just constant negativity and complaining. Yeah, take away that $40 per month! It'll make a huge difference. The selfishness and mean-spiritness are unreal. Drive away anyone who might actually think of helping our district through these tough times. I'm sure finding a good superintendent at 1/2 the price will be easy, given the welcoming attitude here. And the press is the leader in the insults and nastiness - this warrants a whole article? Wow, must be a slow news day. Or should I say a slow gossip day? Congratulations on stirring up the devisiveness in this community. The analysis of Deb Mexicotte's performance and the public comments couldn't be more wrong here, I wonder if those making the comments have ever been to a BOE meeting, have ever looked at the actual financial records, have looked at the state budget or understand what Lansing has done to our school district, or have the faintest understanding of what is going on. Most just seem to depend on the comments here and the general ginning up of bad feeling, just jumping on that bandwagon, anonymously of course. Deb Mexicotte has given a huge amount of her time and energy to this district, and has done an amazing job under the circumstances. The community is lucky to have her. I completely agree with Maria.

Maria Huffman

Sun, Jun 9, 2013 : 12:07 p.m.

I couldn't disagree more with your analysis or conclusion of Deb Mexicotte's service as trustee. The situation is extremely difficult, and she has a rare ability to see the big picture, parse down into little pieces and then draw a reasonable conclusion. She doesn't even keep her stipend, but turns it right around and donates it to the school fund.

Jack Gladney

Sun, Jun 9, 2013 : 11:16 a.m.

I wonder if the writer (reporter?) has a spare "pittance" lying around that she could let me have.

Wake Up A2

Sun, Jun 9, 2013 : 10:46 a.m.

If they are truly there for the sake of the kids they would give up the pay, food, computers, secretary and what ever others perk they get. Remember the kids folks.....

Danielle Arndt

Mon, Jun 10, 2013 : 3:08 p.m.

thecompound: the high school busing cut will be finalized when the complete 2013-14 budget is voted on, which could take place as early as Wednesday's regular board meeting or the June 26 regular board meeting, or the board could schedule a special meeting for another time this month. Legally, the BOE has until June 30 to pass a balanced budget for the next school year. One other note, most of the board members are leaning toward cutting high school transportation, so it looks likely, but they could change their minds. At $466,000, high school busing is one of the largest 'big ticket' items on the chopping block.


Sun, Jun 9, 2013 : 2:02 p.m.

I agree. The gesture of suspending the stipend PROMPTLY would speak volumes. Garner the publics respect for a change. Show us what really matters- our children.


Sun, Jun 9, 2013 : 12:40 p.m.

I agree with DonBee completely. I do wish the poll had a third option of temporarily ceasing the stipend, especially considering the superintendent debacle that sits squarely on the BOE's shoulders---from the beginning, middle and end. On another note, is the canceling of high school bussing a done deal and if not, when will it be known so parents can make plans/decisions?


Sun, Jun 9, 2013 : 12:17 p.m.

Topher - No, but there is symbolism in what you do, and it echoes in the community. The teachers stepped forward first, and took a 3 percent pay cut. What does that say to you? The principals - put out a long list of cuts, but was there anything on the list that touched their members? Pay cuts? Shared principals? Anything? No, what does that say to you? The board has twice debated (for way too long) a $5,000 food budget at meetings. The decision so far, no cuts. What does that say to you? This is how the community sees the various groups in the school: Teachers - digging in and giving Principals - not about to give up anything Board - ???


Sun, Jun 9, 2013 : 11:16 a.m.

Just like teachers - everyone should do it for free (or next to nothing). For the kids, right?