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Posted on Tue, May 8, 2012 : 5:51 a.m.

Election Day: Ann Arbor schools technology bond, Ypsilanti income tax, Water Street millage

By Staff


Ypsilanti residents Barton Bund and Jamie Weeder leave the Ward 3 polling place at Emmanuel Lutheran Church on North River Street after voting in Tuesday's city election. Bund and Weeder both said they voted against the Water Street millage and the city income tax.

Steve Pepple |

Voters in some areas of Washtenaw County will head to the polls on Tuesday to vote on proposals to set new taxes.

Facing voters in the Ann Arbor Public Schools is a $45,855,000 technology bond.

Voters in Ypsilanti face two decisions: Whether to approve a millage to retire the Water Street debt and whether to levy a city income tax.

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In addition, voters in Washtenaw County District 7 will elect a county commissioner. Democrat Felicia Brabec is running against Republican Richard Conn for the remainder of the term of former commissioner Kristen Judge. The district mostly covers Pittsfield Township.

Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Coverage of the issues from

Ann Arbor Schools Technology Bond

Voters to decide fate of Ann Arbor schools' $45.8M technology millage on May 8

Ann Arbor schools seek advice from Google, Thomson Reuters, other technology professionals

Ypsilanti taxes

Ypsilanti staff offers glimpse of budget without income tax and Water Street revenues

Two sides seek to educate voters on Ypsilanti tax proposals as election nears


Tim Evans

Tue, May 8, 2012 : 7:16 p.m.

Can anyone please tell me WHY Skyline was built just years ago and they are now talking consolidation? Has nothing to do with why I voted YES today, but I went through this scenario in my hometown 30 years ago and eventually a school was closed and looked on as a mistake that could be avoided..


Tue, May 8, 2012 : 10:41 p.m.

Mr. Evans and belboz - The forward curve for student populations was already trending down when the discussion of what became Skyline started. But both Pioneer and Huron had portable classrooms, so the thought was, it was a good time to ask. The community advisory settled on a magnet school of 1200 students with no sports teams. The administration decided on a comprehensive high school with sport teams. So, instead of the magnet programs being launched for 9-12 all at once and really reducing the overcrowding, the coaches asked to have it done one grade at a time to not upset the current teams. So the three largest year groups had to stay at Huron and Pioneer to graduate, while the smaller 9th grade class moved. The magnet programs are in place for Skyline students, but the rest of the district does not get to play in them. The building cost was more than double what the magnet school would have cost and the promised "only 19 more staff positions" was quickly overrun, the total new hires was never clearly discussed, but one board member admitted that it was more like 60 new positions. The idea of a new high school, was probably good - the execution was a huge set of mistakes.


Tue, May 8, 2012 : 9:44 p.m.

It was straight line thinking. As in, they looked at a population growth chart, and assumed it would keeping going up. When it didn't, and we are currently at an enrollment that is smaller than pre-skyline days, we end up with a very inefficient school system. And, we end up with voters not willing to just keep throwing money at a system that is not very judicious with it.


Tue, May 8, 2012 : 6:49 p.m.

It's a misunderstanding to think that kids will not have technology upgrades without this millage. They will. The upgrade will happen. If the millage is not passed, AAPS will need to use money from general fund.


Wed, May 9, 2012 : 12:25 a.m.

Wow, DonBee you sound so cynical. Usually you present a pretty rational front. Bad day?


Tue, May 8, 2012 : 10:32 p.m.

dotdash - You are right, they will lay off teachers, and hire more administrators and consultants. They will build more athletic facilities and transfer more of the general fund to athletics. Because administrators and sports are critical and teachers are not! ...Or so the actions of the Board of Education and School Administration indicate.


Tue, May 8, 2012 : 8:26 p.m.

And lay off teachers to do so. Money doesn't come from no where.

Tim Evans

Tue, May 8, 2012 : 6:34 p.m.

I find all the comments on here about miss-use of funds, macs and ipads not needed, to many administrators, and cuts in state budgets for pupils as rather humerous. For those who object to the bond, vote NO and then send your kid to school without a first rate computer. As your kid/kids fall behind in the technology that YOU assume is not as important, then don't run around complaining. For those who feel this is a vote YES issue, know in your mind you are putting your child's future ahead of all other needs. If the bond fails, buy your child a mac or top of the line PC and make sure they have everything THEY need to move ahead. There all always those who complain about issues, but they get left behind and complain louder the next time. I choose to VOTE YES and will deal with the outcome ( YES or NO ) by supporting my school with any funding or donations to keep it up to date. ( You pay to have your leaves picked up, but can't see the wisdom in providing for our future.. no wonder this country is falling behind in math and science !!! )


Tue, May 8, 2012 : 9:43 p.m.

And English. Humorous :)


Tue, May 8, 2012 : 6:21 p.m.

I voted NO - computers do not replace teachers... and when the AAPS can show some fiscal repsonsibilty, maybe you can convice me to vote yes. VOTE NO


Tue, May 8, 2012 : 6:37 p.m.

Talk about cutting off the nose to spite the face. If you truly valued the teachers and the education of the next generation of citizens, then you certainly just cast a vote against your interests. I hope you realize that local millages to support the general fund are not allowed under state law. If you want to leave more money available to keep teachers on staff and pay for general operations, millages like this are the only way to achieve this on a district level. If this doesn't pass then technology upgrades will still have to be paid for, but from the general fund. So in essence you just voted to cut staff, programs, and perhaps close a school or two. If that's what you're after then fine, but I just hope you realize what you were voting for (or against).


Tue, May 8, 2012 : 6:16 p.m.

My spouse and I will be voting NO on this millage today. There are many reasons why, but here are a few. 1. Live within your means--A2 schools receive a larger per pupil amount than many surrounding districts but have yet to implement real solutions to the crisis the State funding has put districts in. No real sense of urgency to control costs. 2. Timing-many districts have decided to NOT ask for a tech millage/bond as the economic times are tough for families and it isn't prudent now to ask for more $$. Many districts have decided to use general fund money for tech upgrades at this time instead of the cost of running a special election and possibly having it go down to defeat. Those in charge here have no problem asking for more $$ and running a special election in May when voter turnout is minimal at best. 3. Supt. Green-her leadership decisions are very questionable and after the debacle of approving raises at a Board meeting well into the wee hours of the am, after it was supposed to have been tabled, that equates to my no votes. Food for thought....whenever it is something they want, like a bond, you always hear the phrase "what's best for the kids." Did you hear that phrase anywhere at the Board meeting when the outrageous raises were handed out? Of course was best for administration AT the expense of the kids.

David Baum

Tue, May 8, 2012 : 5:03 p.m.

Brian Kuehn, bunnyabbot and others -- I understand and respect your concerns about the timing of the election. But please don't let that be the reason that you cast a "No" vote. In my view, that would amount to punishing the kids due to a concern that is unrelated to the merits of the bond proposal. I hope you will reconsider.

Brian Kuehn

Tue, May 8, 2012 : 4:42 p.m.

I resent the fact that the Ann Arbor School District leaders seem to find a way to hold elections on dates that do not coincide with any other vote. Some advance planning might have put this bond vote on last November's ballot. The insistence by the School District of holding elections at times other than November strongly influences my decision in the negative direction.


Tue, May 8, 2012 : 5:37 p.m.

I agree! We should only have to vote once a year. Better yet, it would be nice if I could just vote on Facebook. This would make democracy so much easier. I want to click my vote from a recliner.


Tue, May 8, 2012 : 4:34 p.m.

Whether or not you have children in the Ann Arbor schools, sooner or later you will benefit if the A2 tech bond passes. It may be trite, but it's true: the children are our future. They will be better neighbors as a direct and indirect result of support like that represented by this bond.


Tue, May 8, 2012 : 4:25 p.m.

Well considering the state is attempting to end all education funding, somebody's got to pay for it. That's basically why I voted yes.

David Cahill

Tue, May 8, 2012 : 3:41 p.m.

I just voted NO on the technology millage. Join me!


Tue, May 8, 2012 : 3:23 p.m.

I will be voting after work and I will be voting NO. I agree with others, why open the poles for ONE issue. Seems a waste of resources and totally could have waited until the November election.

David Baum

Tue, May 8, 2012 : 2:48 p.m.

Please get out and vote "Yes" on the Ann Arbor Schools Technology Bond. You may not agree with every dollar that the AAPS administration spends, and you may not even agree with every one of the proposed expenditures on technology that this bond is meant to cover. But the facts are these: in order to maintain (and improve upon) the high quality of education our students currently enjoy, the technology must be maintained and upgraded. So if this bond does not pass, AAPS will make many of these expenditures anyway using money from the general fund. And because the State of Michigan has cut back its contribution to K-12 education so much that AAPS is receiving the same level of funding that it did 10 years ago -- and that's without an adjustment for inflation -- the school district is already going to undergo very significant and painful cuts. If money from the general fund is used to pay for technology, this will lead to still more significant and painful cuts. A "No" vote is a vote against the quality of our children's education. Please vote "Yes" to support excellent public school education for our children.


Tue, May 8, 2012 : 2:43 p.m.

What is really sad? No matter how this vote goes, AAPS and the children will loose in the end. No vote in the world can end a sad day like this. Good luck school districts, this is not a great economy to be in right now. Glad mine is almost out and doesn't have to experience loosing everything that the school she attends might loose next year.


Tue, May 8, 2012 : 5:02 p.m.



Tue, May 8, 2012 : 1:42 p.m.

I voted about 8:30AM and was only the 11th voter. Sad. Of course that's why they have it on the May ballot, people.


Wed, May 9, 2012 : 12:40 a.m.

And my wife voted around 4:30 and she was #66. How sad is that? Less than 10% turnout they are saying.


Tue, May 8, 2012 : 1:22 p.m.

Ann Arbor schools may be among the best funded in the state, but that is like being the one-guyed guy in the land of the blind. Our schools only get 1/2 to 3/4 of what ordinary suburban districts in other serious-about-education states get per pupil. Let's get the AAPS some money for tech infrastructure (it is *not* all about computers) so they don't have to cut teachers to pay for it in the fall.


Wed, May 9, 2012 : 12:24 a.m.

Here you go. Not hard to find. Michigan is right there next to Lousiana in the rankings, and spending 58% of what NY does. And that was in 2009, before the cuts of 2010 and 2011 even started. There are districts on LI, CT, and NY that get $22,000+ per pupil. So no, we are not overly generous here in MI, even in AA.


Tue, May 8, 2012 : 10:28 p.m.

dotdash - Please provide your sources, I can not find any list like that out on the internet.

Dog Guy

Tue, May 8, 2012 : 1:09 p.m.

This "buy now, pay later" bond issue will still be tipping homes into tax foreclosure decades after the funds have dissipated without a trace, but such real estate bargains are not its only benefit. The bond money will take a load off other parts of the AAPS budget, making administrators' jobs easier. Some of this "earmarked" fund might be spent on computers to entertain kids, making a teacher's day easier and keeping down the escape rate to private schools, charters, etc. Invest in teachers. Invest in their future. Wake me when it's time to retire.


Tue, May 8, 2012 : 6:39 p.m.

At any home value...I would like to choose where to spend my $25, $51, $77...and it will not be on the AAPS where the overspending has been rampant for many years.


Tue, May 8, 2012 : 1:33 p.m.

From the article the link above connects us to: "According to AAPS, voters whose homes have a market value of $100,000 would pay an extra $26 per year. Residents with a $200,000 to $300,000 home would owe $51 to $77 more." So $77 more in taxes on a $300k home is going to put "homes" in foreclosure? Ann Arbor being a rich people town I think they can survive it.

Robot Charles

Tue, May 8, 2012 : 12:25 p.m.

I voted no because property taxes are too high already and AAPS are one of the highest funded districts in the area. Having this vote was a waste of tax payer money and a waste of my time. From now on it's an automatic no vote on any millage for me.


Tue, May 8, 2012 : 3:25 p.m.

Guess that offsets my automatic yes vote. In addition, I am bringing 6 yes votes to the polls.


Tue, May 8, 2012 : 11:51 a.m.

Get out and vote. Ann Arbor schools are already one of the best funded in the state, but they keep insisting they need more and more. Taxpayers need to put a stop to this and tell them to live within their budget like taxpayers do.


Tue, May 8, 2012 : 11:26 a.m.

Thanks to those behind the AA school millage for making us have to spend money on an election just for your one issue. And thanks also for putting it to a vote now so as to maximize your chances by minimizing voter involvement. Hopefully our children are paying attention and taking in the lesson on character.