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Posted on Thu, May 17, 2012 : 5:59 a.m.

School board preserving Roberto Clemente but not band camp funding as it identifies $4.8M in cuts

By Danielle Arndt


The Ann Arbor Public Schools board deliberates on the proposed budget reductions for the 2012-13 school year at a Committee of the Whole meeting Wednesday at Balas Administration Building. I Melanie Maxwell

The Roberto Clemente Student Development Center and busing to Ann Arbor Open appear to be safe from elimination, after a four-hour work session on the proposed 2012-13 Ann Arbor schools budget Wednesday night.

However, at least a dozen other cuts remain likely, including funding for band camp at Interlochen, mid-day transportation to and from Community High and middle school athletic directors.

The Ann Arbor school board went line by line through the proposed cuts, deliberating on the pros and cons. By about 1:30 a.m. Thursday, when the Committee of the Whole meeting came to an end, the board had identified $4.8 million in cuts that it potentially would favor.

The $4.8 million would be added to a projected $6 million in revenue, giving the board a $10.8 million start in closing its $17.8 million shortfall.

Administrators will head back to the drawing board now to draft a budget reflecting the board’s direction. The amended budget will be presented on May 23 for a public hearing and more debate.

“We could get to the board table next week and decide we want to blow this all up,” said President Deb Mexicotte.

“If we change out minds — or lose our minds — unfortunately, (the administration) cannot stop us,” she said in jest, but to demonstrate Wednesday’s conversation is by no means the final step in the budget process.

The Board of Education will discuss the budget again on June 13, at which point the budget will appear as an action item on the agenda.

Trustees were largely in agreement to take Roberto Clemente off the table — provided a thorough evaluation of the program’s effectiveness is conducted during the upcoming school year.

Closing Roberto Clemente's building and merging the program with Ann Arbor Technological High School was expected to save $400,000, plus the cost of transportation, which was estimated at $108,000.

The board did chose to consider a proposal to eliminate Roberto’s summer school program, however.

Currently, all of the district’s secondary schools host summer enrichment and credit recovery classes out of Pioneer High School. Combining Roberto Clemente’s summer school program with the others would save $80,000 and possibly more, if the district also cuts summer school transportation for Roberto students.

General education summer school pupils are not bused to Pioneer. They also are required to pay for some courses, while Roberto Clemente’s are free.

Ann Arbor Open parents can consider the decision to preserve their school’s busing a victory. Administrators proposed an alternative method for transporting AAO students Wednesday, using a “hub system” as a way to condense routes, but still provide service.

AAO parents made a similar recommendation for hub-style busing at Monday’s budget forum at Huron High School. Ultimately, district administrators project it will generate the same $98,800 in savings that eliminating busing to the school would have.


Glenn Nelson

Band camp, the last of the three hot items that community members feverishly fought for at recent public meetings, was not as fortunate. The district's $60,000 contribution to the seven-day, district-wide music camp at Interlochen was one of the items the board quickly deemed amenable to cut without any further discussion.

With regards to cutting between 32 and 64 teachers, the board largely agreed to an approach suggested by Trustee Glenn Nelson. Nelson proposed not reducing the staff by any more individuals than those 32 who have retired or resigned. In fact, he proposed replacing them with all new hires for a savings of about $960,000.

Nelson said to hire a new teacher costs the district about $70,000 per teacher, whereas to hire an experienced teacher costs about $100,000.

Not replacing the 32 teachers would save the district $3.2 million. However, most trustees agreed they did not want to see class sizes get any larger.

The board decided to preserve busing for magnet students to Skyline High School for now, with the intent to phase it out in the future. Magnet students are those who attend Skyline by choice but live outside the school’s geographical district.

Other proposals the board tentatively kept on the chopping block were:

  • Eliminating the district’s three police liaison officers, whom currently are stationed at Huron, Pioneer and Skyline ($350,000). Vice President Christine Stead was opposed to this cut.
  • Eliminating the 4 p.m. middle school bus runs for students attending after-school programs ($84,284). The board was split on this cut.

School board members were in consensus about cutting 10 percent or $500,000 from the district-wide $5 million discretionary fund for departments.

Trustee Andy Thomas proposed a 15-percent reduction, however deputy superintendents Robert Allen and Alesia Flye expressed some concern. They said this line item provides funding for staff professional development, supplies to all departments, conference fees and other needs that arise throughout the school year.

“I guess we’ll just have to get creative,” Allen said.

The remaining cuts trustees immediately agreed upon without any or much discussion were:

  • Eliminating the middle school athletic directors and delegating additional responsibilities to the high school athletic directors ($37,500)
  • Cutting four counselors, one from each Forsythe, Huron, Pioneer and Scarlett; which would increase the number of students assigned to each counselor by about 100, to 350 students per counselor ($400,000)
  • Prohibiting the use of general fund money for entry fees for voluntary, non-league sporting events and tournaments ($58,000)
  • Reducing high school lacrosse to a club sport rather than a varsity sport ($93,000)
  • Outsourcing the district’s noon hour supervisors ($75,000)
  • Restructuring the information technologies department ($200,000)
  • Reducing the budget allocated for classroom substitute teachers and giving each school building the ability to manage its own substitute budget ($200,000)
  • Doing away with the early notification incentives for retirements ($40,000)
  • Combining the bus runs for Bryant and Pattengill elementary schools ($16,560)
  • Eliminate the mid-day shuttles between the comprehensive high schools and Community High School ($230,184)
  • Removing the salaries for the Community Education and Recreation executive director and office professionals from the general fund budget and returning them to the department budget ($205,000)

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



Sat, May 19, 2012 : 3:41 a.m.

Funny how people comment and think that Roberto is practically full of "dummies" when really its just a difference in the learning approach. I can tell most of you werent from the era of where 'it takes a village to raise a child' you'd rather see little Ray Ray (who needs hands on learning fail) while your little Billy who also doesnt know a darn thing "look good" cuz he can play his butt off in lacrosse. Ann Arbor is full of pricks who dont think their racist or uppity because our city is so diveeerse its "impossible" some of you are the same ppl who if you had a child star athete and also a special needs child would put the special needs child in a closet if it werent illegal.


Mon, May 21, 2012 : 9:41 p.m.

RCDC - I am sorry you feel this way, but I can understand why. Putting both AA Tech and Roberto Clemente in the same building, as SEPARATE programs makes financial sense. Sharing bathrooms, janitors and utilities makes financial sense too. I support keeping both programs, I do not advocate that they need to be in separate buildings, but they do need to maintain their programs and staff as they exist today. If this is not supporting the program, then I am guilty of not supporting the program. I think Roberto Clemente fills a key role in the community. I just wish it was possible to catch more of the children who are dropping out and giving them the kind of support that the current students at Roberto Clemente get.

Ricardo Queso

Sat, May 19, 2012 : 2:48 a.m.

Great, penalize the achievers and support the failures.


Fri, May 18, 2012 : 7:41 p.m.

"Eliminating the 4 p.m. middle school bus runs for students attending after-school programs ($84,284). The board was split on this cut." This would be a HUGE AND SHAMEFUL mistake. When do kids start making important decisions about life direction between childhood and adulthood? Middle school. When are kids first exposed to drugs? Middle school. When do kids first try these drugs? After school, when Mom and/or Dad and/or caregiver are working. Kids need things like homework club, track, basketball, etc.., to do after school. Sadly, these things don't happen in neighborhoods anymore. And many parents can't afford the $200 monthly cost to have their kids on hockey programs, soccer programs, and other things that have become quite a "business." Nor do many have a "stay at home" Mom or Dad who can drive around Ann Arbor all afternoon picking up kids. It's also going to further clog our roads. Our child will attend middle school next year, and now I may have to say no to any afterschool sports functions, as we both work. With how horrible Ann Arbor traffic has become at rush hour, that's an hour round trip to to the school at that time. Sadly, participation in these programs will plummet. (Maybe that's what the budget masterminds are hoping for.) Kids will go home and watch TV or play on the computer, or worse. Families of limited incomes will especially be hurt by this, including at-risk kids. Really, really disappointing.

Mark O'Boyle

Fri, May 18, 2012 : 3:51 p.m.

The remaining cuts trustees immediately agreed upon without any or much discussion were: Cutting four counselors, one from each Forsythe, Huron, Pioneer and Scarlett; which would increase the number of students assigned to each counselor by about 100, to 350 students per counselor ($400,000). Are all the Middle Schools at 2 Counselors? The Middle School concept used to be 8 classes, three elective periods, common planning time for academic teachers (and making it easy for all 4 to meet with parents) one Counselor per grade, following them from end of 5th grade thru transition to 9th and High School. That is the Middle School concept. Currently we have no common planning time, 2 elective periods, and with 2 Counselors, will be cross grade counseling, and the numbers at Forsythe will up the remaining Counselors 120 students more than they currently have, not 100. Each will be over 350. Currently, Regular Ed students who need to be in a support class, and some need two, have NO enrichment. No electives. It is not Middle School, it is sink or swim. In the future we will increasingly be doing responsive services, and less of our Comprehensive Guidance curriculum involving academic and social concerns, community outreach, business partnering, classroom teaching, study skills, Educational Development Plans, meeting with parents, recognizing achievement. Just a few that come to mind. This is what is coming.

Dr. I. Emsayin

Fri, May 18, 2012 : 5:27 p.m.

Skyline's schedule is unpopular with a good chunk of Skyline's staff from what I hear in the grocery line. Even the kids complain about the mastery learning where a student can retest until s/he earns a B grade. That will help them get into colleges. Don't know if it will help them stay there.


Fri, May 18, 2012 : 3:09 a.m.

How about eliminating the bonuses that superintendent and her staff gives themselves and have skyline go on semesters since its apparently cheaper than having trimesters.


Fri, May 18, 2012 : 11:15 a.m.

You raise an interesting point that I have yet to see addressed by the board, namely the experiment of the trimester system at Skyline. We were sold a bill of goods about how much cost savings would happen by the trimester system and the Skyline admin was touting that after a few years of this model the other schools in the district would switch from semesters to trimesters because of this. Well, it has been 4 years now and not one word has been raised about this "tremendous" cost savings. I would like to see a thoughtful analysis of the 2 models.


Thu, May 17, 2012 : 10:48 p.m.

1. If skyline magnet students get bussing to school, why can't Community students get the same privilege. 2. Why don't we eliminate some administrators at balas and let kids get to classes at Community, Pioneer, Huron, and Skyline.

Steve Norton, MIPFS

Sat, May 19, 2012 : 4:40 a.m.

JA Pieper, you and others have made that claim before. I have been told authoritatively that while Dr. Green may have shuttled back and forth in the first weeks of her work here, this simply is not true and has not been true. So will you stop repeating it?

J. A. Pieper

Fri, May 18, 2012 : 9:13 p.m.

And don't forget people, the new superintendent works Mon. - Thur., and then goes home to Pennsylvania for a three day weekend. And we are paying her more for working less?


Fri, May 18, 2012 : 12:08 p.m.

Mr. Norton - As I posted on another thread, since 2004 the total of the 4 FID lines that deal with administration is UP not down. One dollar in 8 of the general fund now goes to those 4 lines in the FID. If I need to I can haul the numbers out again.

Steve Norton, MIPFS

Fri, May 18, 2012 : 12:47 a.m.

Or, maybe we've sliced so much out of Balas in the past 5-7 years that there are already a lot of things that need to get done which aren't getting done? AAPS has been cutting for years, but most people didn't notice because they did it where it would be least noticeable. Who would you cut - the people in charge of managing the money, or the people in charge of the teaching in our schools?


Fri, May 18, 2012 : 12:10 a.m.

Because the superintendent won't let you touch Balas nor her hefty pay scale the board so richly gave her. Stinks doesn't it?


Thu, May 17, 2012 : 9:28 p.m.

Gretchen- I'm a retired custodian after 30 years, but when I was there, if help was needed in the lunchroom, I was there regardless that it was also my lunchtime.


Fri, May 18, 2012 : 12:06 p.m.

owlnight - Thank you. sh1 - When I went to school, the teachers ate in the same lunch room as the students. They sat together at their own table. The wrath of the teachers if you messed up in the lunch room was legendary. No one ever did (which is part of why it was legend). It worked. In high school we had 3-20 minute lunch periods, again the teachers ate in the lunch room, again it worked. Some had their own tables that students clustered to, others sat at the teacher's table.


Fri, May 18, 2012 : 1:13 a.m.

I appreciate that you gave of your time. And you could always eat your lunch before or after you helped out. Teachers aren't able to do that since they're with the kids all day.


Fri, May 18, 2012 : 12:09 a.m.

Union changed all the rules. Now you need at least 5 breaks just to make sure you are making quota. That is what I was told.


Thu, May 17, 2012 : 7:26 p.m.

Many of the justifications for the cuts to the budget talk about saving money but they say very little about the costs these cuts impose on students. For example, it seems really unfortunate that to save money, a new teacher will be hired over a more experienced one or that cuts will be made to the summer music programs. Every school should include new hires, but as a parent, I want my child to benefit from teachers that have years of experience in the classroom, mastering the material and managing the class. This skill must be learned over time and the decision to favor new hires in effect penalizes teachers with experience. In addition, summer music programs are incredibly enriching and the experience cannot be replicated in any other way. To treat this cut as something parents can just take care of is so insensitive to the financial situation of most parents.

Steve Norton, MIPFS

Thu, May 17, 2012 : 9:26 p.m.

OK, but what's your alternative? The original proposal was simply to eliminate 32 teaching positions; the compromise proposal saves those positions but only reduced the deficit by a third as much. We're running out of options.


Thu, May 17, 2012 : 7:18 p.m.

I recently read a story that the state of Michigan would begin regulating "BARBER POLES ! !" Are you kidding me??!!!!! Let's regulate fuel costs to the school districts, let's regulate the cost of heating a school building. Does anyone know if there were any local politicians at this budget meeting? There has to be a way to cap (per gallon) the cost a school district pays for fuel. Isn't this the main reason all this budget stuff has come to a head? There should also be a flat rate or fixed pricing for heat and electricity. THESE ARE THE IMPORTANT THINGS THAT SHOULD BE REGULATED.


Thu, May 17, 2012 : 6:03 p.m.

Why is outsourcing noon hour needed? Each school has a staff of teachers ect. can't they find a way to do the noon hour in house?


Fri, May 18, 2012 : 5:11 p.m.

There is a misnomer - Teachers don't get a lunch HOUR. I teach middle school, I get a 20 minute lunch. And one 53 minute prep (to prep for 3 subjects.) During my 20 minute lunch I switch subjects between science and math, eat, check and answer e-mail and if there's a few minutes to spare, go to the bathroom. As a person who transitioned from business into the field of education, it was a shocker to see how intense the school day is in terms of structured time. There IS no uncommitted time in the school day.

J. A. Pieper

Fri, May 18, 2012 : 1:24 a.m.

Owlnight, I use my lunch hour to prep for my afternoon, gather materials for lessons, make materials, contact parents, participate in some meetings, confer with other teachers, and there are some days I supervise my students for something beyond classroom time restraints. How about you volunteer on your lunch hour? it might be valuable for you to experience what it is like in the lunchroom and on the playground. My school has almost 400 students, maybe we could benefit from your expertise?

Gretchen Ridenour

Thu, May 17, 2012 : 9 p.m.

I'm pretty sure the students will have a better afternoon education if the teachers have time to eat lunch and a break from them. Maybe owlnet should consider giving up his/her lunch at their job and spend it as a lunch monitor. Should be no problem, huh?


Thu, May 17, 2012 : 7:06 p.m.

If a school has a staff, teachers, ect. of 25. and needed 8 lunch supervisors, i would hope they could find a way to save some money by taking care of the children in house.


Thu, May 17, 2012 : 6:44 p.m.

Here, here to Unusual Suspect's comments! I am a retired teacher and I needed each and every moment of my lunch hour to re-fuel for the afternoon. Quit taking from the teachers and take from the administrative powers-that-be in the lofty offices.

Unusual Suspect

Thu, May 17, 2012 : 6:18 p.m.

So you're saying teachers shouldn't be able to eat their lunch?


Thu, May 17, 2012 : 5:05 p.m.

No administrator was harmed in the making of this budget! The administration, their salaries and benefits are completely teflon - no board member is willing to touch them, and the administration protects their own. I suspect that the whole $500,000 in discretionary fund reductions will come out of building funds, rather than Balas consulting funds. PEG you get another $200,000 next year I suspect.


Fri, May 18, 2012 : 2:45 a.m.

Why is there NEVER any mention of PEG in these budget talks?


Thu, May 17, 2012 : 5:03 p.m.

•Eliminating the 4 p.m. middle school bus runs for students attending after-school programs ($84,284). The board was split on this cut Why are the taxpayer paying for this????? Get your own kid home after football practice parents!!!

Steve Norton, MIPFS

Fri, May 18, 2012 : 3:59 p.m.

The point is, the late MS bus allows kids who rely on buses for transportation to participate in all kinds of after-school activities. There are clubs, homework help, time to meet with teachers, and so on. While lots of different kinds of kids ride the buses, they are especially important for our low-income student populations. Ending that service does disproportionately affect at-risk students. Even if the district can't afford it, I would argue that it's something we as a community should join together to support.


Fri, May 18, 2012 : 9:27 a.m.

Um did you really have to point out that the kids at Scio Farms Estate are the ones with financial trouble? Seriously, some regard for privacy is in order, even if you mean well.

Dan Ezekiel

Fri, May 18, 2012 : 12:52 a.m.

I teach at Forsythe. Many of our students live at a mobile home park called Scio Farms Estates, which is 7 miles away from the school. A lot of the students there have a single parent or parents holding several jobs and really struggling to keep the bills paid and kids fed. Those students are able to participate in after-school extracurriculars by riding the activity bus, which runs three days per week. By the way, no AATA bus goes to Scio Farms. There is no football at middle school level in Ann Arbor. The activities we're talking about here are Chess Club, Homework Club, etc.


Thu, May 17, 2012 : 4:01 p.m.

They want to eliminate mid-day shuttles FROM comprehensive high schools TO Community. Does that include the other way around?


Fri, May 18, 2012 : 12:07 a.m.

They tried to do this last year and failed. Parents needed a place for their children so that parents can work longer. At least this is what I was led to believe. I really don't see a cut in this as of late. Why? Because of the sports programs. The middle school would have to cut a sports program due to lack of transportation. Go figure.


Thu, May 17, 2012 : 7:43 p.m.

Yes, does anyone know the answer to this question?

Danielle Arndt

Thu, May 17, 2012 : 7:13 p.m.

towncryer, yes it does. I have updated the story to make that a little more clear.

Haran Rashes

Thu, May 17, 2012 : 3:58 p.m.

Regarding Music Camp (Band Choir and Orchestra), why does it seem that the arts are always on the chopping block and most sports seem sacrosanct. I would appreciate AnnArbor.Com doing some digging as to what the financial subsidy from the district is per athlete per sport. I am sure some people will be surprised at the results.


Fri, May 18, 2012 : 12:05 a.m.

Haran? Correction. We choir people are paying $360. Unless it goes up.


Thu, May 17, 2012 : 5:03 p.m.

skigrl50 - Transfer from the general fund to the athletic fund to cover varsity sports this year - just over $3,200,000.00 Pay to play money - just less than $1,000,000.00 Check the AAPS posted budget for detailed numbers.

Haran Rashes

Thu, May 17, 2012 : 4:21 p.m.

skigrl....I am sure that the "pay to play" program on the athletics side does not pay for the entire program. In addition, music and drama are academic (for credit) courses. As a parent of children who are in the high school arts programs, we do pay our own way. For example, the Interlochen program costs $375 per student (payable by the parents). In addition, Band, Choir, Orchestra, and Theater at each school does constant fundraising and charges parents left and right for this and that.


Thu, May 17, 2012 : 4:07 p.m.

Ummm... seems to me that kids have been paying to play for a couple of years now. I don't think up until this point that the music or drama programs have had to pay to play.

Haran Rashes

Thu, May 17, 2012 : 3:56 p.m.

My daughter is already signed up for summer band camp. I consider that a contract with the AAPS. Will they now breach the contracts, I and other parents have entered into, and face the possible legal consequences of such? Parents have already made summer plans based on the dates we were given for summer music camps. It is irresponsible of the Board of Education to change such with less than three months notice. The program at Interlochen has been one of the most academically, developmentally, and socially rewarding program my children have participated in with the Ann Arbor Public Schools. To cut such will severely diminish the educational quality of the district. Further, why do the arts seem to be on the chopping block when


Fri, May 18, 2012 : 12:03 a.m.

I am not sure if you got the email from the director or not. From what I am reading they will honor the price agreement. What happens in the fall no one knows for sure. As for sports? I have no idea why sports take precedence over choir and band. Kind of stinks doesn't it? Mine is in choir. I totally know where you are coming from. Ready for a bake sale?


Thu, May 17, 2012 : 2:20 p.m.

Why are they cutting counselors at Huron & Pioneer where there will be a ratio of 1:350 while the ratio at A2Tech is 1:80?


Thu, May 17, 2012 : 3:40 p.m.

Agreed - all the measures listed there make sense *except* cutting counselors. I don't see how they expect them to be able to do any good if they're over-worked. Great, more kids falling thru the cracks at the big schools.


Thu, May 17, 2012 : 1:57 p.m.

Is the board president Mexicotte a flake or what is her deal? Why is she always quoted saying silly things about serious issues? It doesn't instill confidence in her leadership, that's for sure.


Thu, May 17, 2012 : 8:08 p.m.



Thu, May 17, 2012 : 1:51 p.m.

Also, I see that both Pioneer and Huron are losing a counselor. Why not Skyline? Don't all three schools currently have the same enrollment numbers, and same staffing? Why is Skyline not losing a counselor?

Steve Norton, MIPFS

Fri, May 18, 2012 : 12:40 a.m.

As it was explained at the meeting, there are retirements happening in some buildings. But they will be transferring people as needed to make sure they stay under the new limit. Still, not a good thing by any means.


Thu, May 17, 2012 : 1:49 p.m.

Since they decided to combine bussing for Pattengill and Bryant, when are they going to consider combining the schools again. Both schools are under-enrolled. The AAPS has never shown that the'super-pair' has any scholastic benefits, and it just cost us more money! FOr that matter, both Mitchell and Pittsfield are significantly under-enrolled! Time to look at all the buildings in the district and get real about whcih ones to close or merge!

J. A. Pieper

Fri, May 18, 2012 : 1:15 a.m.

davecj, Bryant and Pattengill are combined currently, into an early elementary school, and an upper elementary school. So what you really mean is to separate them back into individual K - 5 schools. The issue here is that the Pattengill school area is an aging out community, and they would not have enough students to keep the building open. the district made this very clear to both communities last year. Also, how much "extra" do you think these paired schools cost? You shouldn't make this comment unless you have facts to back up what you are saying. Share facts before opinions!


Fri, May 18, 2012 : midnight

This will never happen. The parents like their community schools. Look at Mitchell and Pittsfield. One across the street from the other. I do agree, time to merge some schools and close others.

Julia Mattucci-Clark

Thu, May 17, 2012 : 10:54 p.m.

I do not believe our schools, Bryant and Pattengill are under enrolled. Let see, and I am looking at a current school directory: 6 Kindergarten classes, 5 first grade classes, 5 second grade classes, 4 third grade classes, 4 fourth grade classes, 5 fifth grade classes. Please tell me how this is under enrollment? How does our Super Pair school cost more money? If they were two separate buildings AAPS still needs 2 Principals, etc.


Thu, May 17, 2012 : 5:46 p.m.

They would have to redistrict everybody because although both buildings have low enrollment, neither building can fit all 700 students. So it would end up affecting all the elementary schools.

Basic Bob

Thu, May 17, 2012 : 5:20 p.m.

Funny you mention Mitchell and Pittsfield, schools who are not a big draw to the district. Many parents perceive these schools as not much better than Ypsilanti. A significant number of students are lost to charters. These students bring the same value in state aid as any other student. Are we willing to let east side students go elsewhere when the problem could be fixed by closing some schools and adjusting boundaries?


Thu, May 17, 2012 : 5:20 p.m.

Yes, I agree wholeheartedly! There are too many schools under-capacity, especially at the elementary and middle school level. They need to be consolidated for efficient use of resources. Unlike the high schools aimed at specific vulnerable populations, the elementary and middle schools share similar goals.


Thu, May 17, 2012 : 2:23 p.m.

They just had an opportunity to merge two schools to save money and they chose not to. The board isn't making the tough, yet necessary decisions.


Thu, May 17, 2012 : 1:27 p.m.

Why don't we cut football programs. I'm sure it would save a lot more than cutting music camps. In Ann Arbor there are very few kids who go on to play at the next level. Many of the kids who play football have never even played before. Anyone who is actually serious about football has always gone to a local private school where football is taken seriously. Are we really doing high school kids any good with football? With new research on the effects the head injuries have on lids we should definitely consider discontinuing this sport in Ann Arbor. It doesn't seem right to send kids to college with lesser learning ability than they had entering high school.


Fri, May 18, 2012 : 12:02 p.m.

Unusual Suspect - If that is not the reason, then why build new mulit-million dollar weight rooms and locker rooms for the exclusive use of the Varsity athletes? If it is simply to learn teamwork, and sportsmanship, one would think that a summer practice schedule and then an hour a day of practice after school during season would be enough. I would talk to a current player about what the expectations are for the team and its members, it is almost a job for the children who want to play in Ann Arbor. One of mine just got the "talk" from a senior at one of the high schools about what was expected of him over the next 4 years. I was shocked and I played at both the high school and college levels. Talk to a player, find out what is expected and then tell me they are not running a minor league for the NCAA.

Unusual Suspect

Thu, May 17, 2012 : 3:28 p.m.

"In Ann Arbor there are very few kids who go on to play at the next level." This is not the purpose of high school sports. The purpose isn't to provide a minor league for the NCAA.


Thu, May 17, 2012 : 2:51 p.m.

lliketurtles: "It is hard to find a sober student in the first three rows of the student section." I'm not sure what football games you are referring to in your statement. These are high school kids, and yes, I've attended many local high school football games. Students are not drunk; I'm not sure if that's what you meant to say. They do socialize a lot at the football games, but are not drinking.


Thu, May 17, 2012 : 2:33 p.m.

I think you may be forgetting the point of sports as in many school based activities... teamwork, building character and building school community. Just because a students doesn't go to the next level, are you saying it hasn't made them a better person, a better student? If one follows your logic, if a student participates in band, orchestra, choir, theater and doesn't participate in that at the next level, are you saying it's not worth it??


Thu, May 17, 2012 : 1:31 p.m.

In addition to this, has anyone seen the student atmosphere at football games. It is hard to find a sober student in the first three rows of the student section. None of the kids actually care about the game. Any kid who actually wants to watch a football game stays home to watch whatever pac 10 game is on on Friday.

Not a valid excuse for a newspaper

Thu, May 17, 2012 : 1:15 p.m.

Those are tough choices, but overall I'm in agreement with the Board here. I'm pleased to see the cuts are not disproportionally centered on either the least privileged or the most in need. I am encouraged that the Board is listening to the community and responding accordingly. I appreciate that many of the cuts are extraordinarily difficult and affect each family with school-aged children in multiple and different ways. I look forward to seeing how the Board continues to work inclusively together for the good of all our youth, and to witnessing how the community steps up to fill in some of the funding gaps.


Thu, May 17, 2012 : 1:14 p.m.

Roberto Clemente + Community = Real world... But it will never happen lol


Fri, May 18, 2012 : 3:23 p.m.

At least Community has a 99% graduation rate. As for Clemente? Let them do it at Stone School. Much better option. Can save money as well by not busing them out there. Just a thought.


Fri, May 18, 2012 : 11:57 a.m.

jns131 - Roberto Clemente students do well on graduation. That is why they have the low student/teacher ratio. These are children who would have been dropouts otherwise. Stephen - Community is a highly unstructured school, Clemente is a highly structured school. See any problem there? There is room for separate programs in the AA Tech building (Stone School) without having to blend the programs. That is probably the right thing to do.


Thu, May 17, 2012 : 11:57 p.m.

Clemente students have a rather low graduation rate. This place does not include a real world experience. Only the real world can do that one.


Thu, May 17, 2012 : 10:55 p.m.

could you elaborate a bit here

Ron Granger

Thu, May 17, 2012 : 1:14 p.m.

How much have they cut out of the secret extra-curricular sports budget? Why is that not mentioned?


Thu, May 17, 2012 : 1:13 p.m.

Ann Arbor is going to miss the boat with Lacrosse. Lacrosse is the fastest growing sport in the United States. Its become really big. U of M just this year went from a club to a varsity sport and joined the NCAA. Its too bad that they can't keep up with the Northville, Novi, Grosse Point ect.....

Gretchen Ridenour

Thu, May 17, 2012 : 8:50 p.m.

How unfortunate to change lacrosse from a sport to a club when there are local varsity teams at other high schools, as well as universities.


Thu, May 17, 2012 : 3:51 p.m.

Keeping it real Have you ever been to a lacrosse game at U of M. They had a indoor field that they were turning people away at the door because they could not fit 1 more body ( I was one of them). They moved it to the big house this year. As I said "growing" sport. The ohio state game drew 4,000 people. Out East they average game is between 5,000 to 10,000 people. Although I love U of M baseball they average about 1,000 per game.


Thu, May 17, 2012 : 3:41 p.m.

Lacrosse is a *hugely* growing sport. There maybe funds to support it at the club level but that sure won't help it be competitive. Disappointing, indeed.

Unusual Suspect

Thu, May 17, 2012 : 3:27 p.m.

"Lacrosse is the fastest growing sport in the United States. Its become really big." Then you should have no problem with fund raising.


Thu, May 17, 2012 : 2:47 p.m.

Harry. Guess which sports funds the UM Lacrosse team. You guessed it right! UM Football! It may be fastest growing sport in the US but it does not produce revenue. Plus, Lacrosse is not diverse. Football is.


Thu, May 17, 2012 : 1:09 p.m.

We band parents currently pay about $400 per child for camp at Interlochen, with scholarships available for those who need them. This additional $70 will be added to the cost for each student. Time for more fundraising!


Fri, May 18, 2012 : 3:14 a.m.

its different for every school and every program, some pay more and some pay less depending on the amount of people that are going to attend.


Thu, May 17, 2012 : 11:56 p.m.

Wow. We are paying $360 for choir this summer. Add $70 and it is a drop in the bucket compared to say what Camp Storer prices us out of.

Dr. I. Emsayin

Thu, May 17, 2012 : 12:26 p.m.

Pioneer losing another counselor? Pioneer has lost one or two counselors every year for the past 4 years. Students have complained about getting new counselors every year as they approach applying to college. This year both college counselors were moved to Skyline. It is not fair to Pioneer students and families to lose the consistency of counselors year after year.


Fri, May 18, 2012 : 1:09 a.m.

Jns, how can you dangle that carrot in front of us, lol. Inquiring minds and all ;)


Thu, May 17, 2012 : 11:53 p.m.

I hate to say this, but I hear from our counselor on a weekly basis. This person does the class scheduling for the fall. Ours just contacted us to let us know we need to rearrange the schedule due to something that cannot be said here. A Pioneer secret that will be revealed shortly.


Thu, May 17, 2012 : 3:52 p.m.

Barb, Sorry, my comment was not intended to be insulting to anyone. I agree with you that the Pioneer counselor's student ratio is far too high, especially when my two oldest were at Pioneer. That is why I had to help my two older children so much, and stay on top of things for them. The two I currently have at Pioneer have never met with their counselor, and I still have to make sure as students they stay on top of things. The staff push much of the burden onto the student, and their family, and no, it is not right. I agree that they are swamped, and I know it's difficult to see them. My observation is that they don't give much guidance, as they did when I was in high school, back in the eighties. My counselor knew everyone by name, and we had regular "face time" with them.


Thu, May 17, 2012 : 3:36 p.m.

"I've got two kids at Pioneer currently, and enrollment is down, with the addition of Skyline. They rarely have a need to visit with their couselor... [sic]" Congrats! My son's counselor at Pioneer, who he did need quite a bit, never had time to meet with him because she was so swamped. And this was 2 years ago. It would be helpful to realize that just because your kids don't need one thing, doesn't mean that other kids aren't losing out when those things are cut. Public Education is supposed to be for *all* the kids in the area. Not just the ones to whom it comes easy.


Thu, May 17, 2012 : 1:45 p.m.

I appreciate your point of view, Dr., but as a Pioneer parent, I have a different perspective. I've had two students graduate from Pioneer, in 2009, and 2010. Student enrollment was at nearly 3000 students when my oldest was at Pioneer. The counselors did not do much for my students; my kids were responsible for getting paperwork submitted on time, on their own. As a parent, I helped each of my kids, as needed, with college searches, scholarship searches, meeting deadlines, ordering Pioneer transcripts, and scheduling class changes as needed. I've got two kids at Pioneer currently, and enrollment is down, with the addition of Skyline. They rarely have a need to visit with their couselor, but one is available if they have a question. A lot of the responsibilities are on the student's shoulders. Pioneer does a good job of hosting many universities and colleges, and students can visit with them to gather more information. As aamom said, a lot of families do hire outside professionals to help their high school students with college searches, scholarships, and essays. High school counselors do not "hold hands" for four years, as they did when I was in high school. I think many students are very capable of making a lot of decisions on their own, and those who need some help still have couselors available to them. I don't see the consistency issue as a problem, IMO.


Thu, May 17, 2012 : 1:02 p.m.

Additionally, how can we expect a counselor with 350 students to do an adequate job? You'll be lucky if they remember you, let alone help you find a college that might be a good fit. My children aren't that old yet, but I know several people who have hired outside counselors to help them with their college search, review entrance essays, finding scholarships etc. I guess maybe that is what is coming.


Thu, May 17, 2012 : 12:01 p.m.

Students receive academic credit for participating in music department classes. they do not receive academic credit for sports activities. I would like to know how pre-season sports practices are paid. Even if they are in town, cost for staff and space must be covered.


Mon, May 28, 2012 : 3:28 p.m.

I would just like to clear this up. One year of a sport can be used to waive the one half credit P.E. requirement. There is another half credit (Personal Fitness) that cannot be waived. Certain years of marching band can also waive the credit. A sport is not a class and while parts of marching band take place during a class, there are large portions of after-school time. Arts credit is earned through music classes and music classes are not pass/fail. Students have playing tests and participation grades.


Thu, May 17, 2012 : 11:52 p.m.

I forgot to include this in, choir band and orchestra are considered Art credit. This is included in transcript and as for grading the PE? Must be a pass/fail grade.


Thu, May 17, 2012 : 11:50 p.m.

Haran? If a child is involved in hockey, soccer, skating or what ever sport, then they can go on line thru Community's on line program and get credit thru them. You cannot pay the coaches or the instructors though. This has to be like thru a rec center or a place that offers the service. Then and only then can you count this as PE. I know. Mine is involved in this program. I sponsor my child by making sure she can get to each activity. You have to be dedicated to this. And you have to have 90 credit hours by last day of school.

Haran Rashes

Thu, May 17, 2012 : 4:24 p.m.

A student can fulfill his or her PE requirement through sports. It is not a graded class and I do not believe it appears on their official academic transcript. On the other hand, Band, Orchestra, and Choir are academic programs that are graded and appear on the transcript.

Unusual Suspect

Thu, May 17, 2012 : 3:25 p.m.

Arts credit is earned through music classes. Phys Ed credit is earned through sports and, I believe, marching band.


Thu, May 17, 2012 : 1:15 p.m.

Maybe students shouldn't receive academic credit for music department classes?

Stephen Lange Ranzini

Thu, May 17, 2012 : 11:59 a.m.

University Bank's Kids B'Cause Fund will be sending a check for $5,000 to the Ann Arbor Schools Community Foundation to be used for scholarships in support of low income children from Ann Arbor who wish to attend the Interlochen Summer Band Camp. I would encourage other local citizens and businesses to join in this effort. As a seven year alumnus of Interlochen's National Music Camp and the beneficiary of some scholarships that made it possible for me to attend Interlochen when I was growing up, I am glad to have this opportunity to "Pay It Forward."


Thu, May 17, 2012 : 5:02 p.m.

Thank You for this gift of encouragement!


Thu, May 17, 2012 : 3:15 p.m.

Thanks! I'll see what I can find out about that. And we do appreciate the assistance with the pool! It will be worth the wait till 2013 to get a new pool. Very exciting!

Stephen Lange Ranzini

Thu, May 17, 2012 : 2:24 p.m.

@ypsilistener: University Bank's Kids B'Cause Fund provided a $5,000 donation to Friends of Rutherford Pool, Ypsilanti recently to help finish the fundraising for the complete rebuild of the pool. If you have a suggestion for a non-profit based in Washtenaw County that has a deserving program dedicated to serving low income and disadvantaged children in Ypsilanti, we'd be glad to help!


Thu, May 17, 2012 : 2:02 p.m.

Mr. Ranzini, Might University Bank be able to send a little of that love to Ypsi, too? We would sure be grateful!

Andrew Thomas

Thu, May 17, 2012 : 12:27 p.m.

Stephen, this is very good news. Thank you University Bank for your generous support.

Tony Livingston

Thu, May 17, 2012 : 11:56 a.m.

So LaCrosse alone is $93,000. And that is not even an expensive sport like football. I cannot justify cutting transportation to school and leaving these very expensive high school sports programs in place. It does not make sense.


Fri, May 18, 2012 : 11:53 a.m.

That is $93,000 out of a general fund transfer of $3,200,000. It is a first step. The whole of the 32 teacher cut is in that transfer.


Thu, May 17, 2012 : 1:38 p.m.

To be clear, Lacrosse was actually cut as a varsity sport, saving $93,000. But if your point is that the remaining expensive HS sports should be on the chopping block before transportation, I completely agree.


Thu, May 17, 2012 : 11:51 a.m.

They should also do a through evaluation of Ann Arbor Technical High School. Maybe the programs there could be divided up. How many students in it's program are the ESL adults learning English? The GED program could be housed elsewhere. The property it sits on, within the city of Ann Arbor could bring in needed dollars. We pay many tax dollars to the WISD, can it find space for some of the programs?


Fri, May 18, 2012 : 11:52 a.m.

jns131 - No worse than walking down Jackson Road to one of the schools for the children who are on the Western edge of the district, or Plymouth Road for those from the Eastern end. Or...any of the other areas on the edges of the school district.


Thu, May 17, 2012 : 11:46 p.m.

To get to WISD by AATA they would have to go to Liberty and Wagner and walk from there. This is not a safe walk by any means.


Thu, May 17, 2012 : 4:44 p.m.

"The property it sits on, within the city of Ann Arbor could bring in needed dollars." I disagree. This property is just down the road from the "blighted Georgetown Mall" that was referred to in and article a few days ago. This property is unlikely to move any faster than the mall property due to the costs of razing the building to make it useful for other purposes.


Thu, May 17, 2012 : 2:23 p.m.

Many of the folks that enroll in the GED program have to take public transportation, I don't believe AATA goes out to the WISD.


Thu, May 17, 2012 : 11:39 a.m.

When AAPS did the detailed budget presentation last year, there were 80 kids at Clemente, at a cost of $1.8 million to run the school. 5 Instructors per student, with 19.4 support staff per student. This is $23k per student. Enroll these kids at Pioneer, at a cost equal to that of every other student, which is $8.2k per student, this generates over $1.2 million in savings. Instead, I see AAPS continue to push cuts for kids that are already on the low cost of the money spent per student. Band Camp, Atheltics, all things that are being pushed on the parents to bare the cost of. Well, put the extra $15k per student to be enrolled at Clemente. Then see how many stay enrolled. It is disappointing to see the board react to the students and staff of Clemente. Of course they are going to stand strong for their school. But, how about AAPS listen to the thousands of other taxpayers who did not show up in support. I'd also appreciate seeing some of the Special Education spending be on the table. Currently, we spend over $60k per student on special education. This does not seem very efficient.

Nancy DeMarco

Fri, May 18, 2012 : 1:37 p.m.

Since this is public money being spent I think the discrepancy between what is spent on students at Clemente and on students at the comprehensive high schools is a valid point to address. How is it that AAPS can spend so much public money on one school and continue to cut from the others without more explanation to the taxpayers? Both my kids went to Pioneer between 2004-2012 and each year since 2008 there have been painful cuts at Pioneer. Will these cuts push more kids into a need to attend Clemente? If the Clemente community members want the rest of us to support their very expensive school they need to be flexible too and find some ways to save. Also, please stop referring to the big high schools as "drop out mills".


Fri, May 18, 2012 : 2:02 a.m. As you will see, on page 45 of the AAPS data, there were 80 kids enrolled the last time they published the detail budget data per school. If you have more recent data, I'd be curious to see it. My data is absolutely perfect. And since it is, how do you respond to that? Clearly you must be equally dismayed that so much money is spent on so few? I know exactly what Clemente is for. I know kids that go there who are friends of my kids. My point is, if the general student body was being awarded $18k per student, and the kids at Clemente were provided $8k, you'd be on here complaining about the inequity. Keep it open. Just find a cost structure that is more in line with the rest of the district and the attention provided to kids. Otherwise, there are 4 other High Schools to choose from. Most districts have one and only one. People have the same reaction to Special Ed when it is stated that over $60k per student is spent. "Oh, that can't be right. Your data is wrong." Completely inneffecient, and as stated above, unfair.

Skylar Woodman

Thu, May 17, 2012 : 10:03 p.m.

Pardon me, but I think your figures are inaccurate. The student body at Roberto Clemente is actually in the hundreds, during the school year. Perhaps you're referring to their summer school program, which may still be eliminated to save funds. Your comment about re-enrolling (because many of these kids actually transfer from Pioneer- that's not enrolling. It's re-enrolling.) these students at Pioneer just demonstrates how much you have learn about what Roberto Clemente Student Development Center does. The culture at Roberto is designed to nurture kids who require a more individualized style of learning than Pioneer, Huron, or Skyline could give them. I don't think there is anything disappointing to see the school board react to the students, staff, past alumni, community organizers, parents of students, and even a University of Michigan professor who all felt moved enough to show up and express the importance of this educational resource. I think it's fantastic. The Roberto Clemente family took me in when every other high school at the time told me to get lost. They took a chance on me and ended up building me into a scholarship winner and college dual-enrollee with years still to go as a High School student. That sort of thing will earn you life long loyalty, and I'll go to bat for the Roberto family every chance I get.

Steve Norton, MIPFS

Thu, May 17, 2012 : 9:15 p.m.

So, you seem to think that the Clemente program serves no purpose? Regardless of the outcome of the review, it's hard to argue with the fact that there are a fair number of kids who need more support than is available at the larger schools. So if we are serious about offering a great education to every student, we need to support programs like this - in whatever form. Special Education spending is largely controlled by Federal and State law, and the Feds in particular require detailed justification of any reductions in special ed spending. We can talk about efficiency all we want, but the room to maneuver there is very small.


Thu, May 17, 2012 : 2:12 p.m.

How about Unfair! "I'd also appreciate seeing some of the Special Education spending be on the table. Currently, we spend over $60k per student on special education. This does not seem very efficient."


Thu, May 17, 2012 : 11:31 a.m.

Responsible mamagement would have eliminated most of these items without a budget shortfall. Hey, bad spending is simply bad spending. Why is there a $5 million "discretionary" fund? This sounds like another of Ann Arbor's popular "slush" funds for pet projects that nobody really wants or needs. Why not a 5 million save to the budget? It is very clear that the school board is dominated by "feel good" & politically correct (oxymoron) people as opposed to the business professionals needed to run a huge and very expensive enterprise.

J. A. Pieper

Fri, May 18, 2012 : 12:59 a.m.

The discretionary funds pay for the supplies the school/students need - paper, pencils, all these little things that add up to a big part of the daily functioning of the classroom learning experiences. We can't cut this fund by much, especially as far as supplies go. This is not a "pet project", it is a necessity.

Andrew Thomas

Thu, May 17, 2012 : 11:06 a.m.

I usually don't jump in on these discussions as I get my chance to speak at the Board table. However, I would like to correct the headline which is very inaccurate and misleading with regard to band camp. The only item up for discussion was whether or not the district would continue to cover a relatively small portion of the cost. The assumption is that band camp will continue, but will be completely funded by the participants and the booster clubs. There was no intent to eliminate the program. The result will be an increase in cost of approximately $70 per student. Danielle's story is accurate on this point, but the headline is not.


Thu, May 17, 2012 : 6:04 p.m.

You really think that will save money? Think of the expense of having janitorial services to clean up afterwards. It is cheaper to go to camp then to do it at the schools. Plus all three hi school get to see what the other has to offer. What a shame this has to be cut. Get rid of Clemente and combine it with Stone.


Thu, May 17, 2012 : 12:51 p.m.

I wouldn't be surprised if it ends up being a camp run at the school though. People will complain that not everyone can afford to attend the camp at Interlochen so it will be moved to the school so it's affordable for everyone.

Danielle Arndt

Thu, May 17, 2012 : 11:31 a.m.

Andy, we have added "funding" to the headline to make it clear that it is the district's contribution that would be cut, not the camp itself. I hope you find this change suitable. And thanks very much for your comment!

Nora S.

Thu, May 17, 2012 : 11:24 a.m.

That's very good news. Thanks, Andrew.

Nora S.

Thu, May 17, 2012 : 11:06 a.m.

It's very unfortunate that the Band & Orchestra & Choir Camp at Interlochen has been cancelled. This ends a nearly 65 year tradition tying AAPS with the founders of Interlochen, some of whom taught in Ann Arbor and established the foundation for our Grammy Award winning music department. About 900 students participate in this week long stay. Not only do the students learn music fundamentals, they learn team building and bond together to be ready for the new school year.


Thu, May 17, 2012 : 6:03 p.m.

I just got the email. $60.000 funding removed from band/choir camp. Eliminate Clemente. Save Interlochen. There is already one one school why do we need two? Wow. So, lets see $70 more? Can we afford that?


Thu, May 17, 2012 : 4:18 p.m.

For some parents, $70 is no small sum. This will impact who and how many kids can attend camp.

Tony Livingston

Thu, May 17, 2012 : 11:58 a.m.

I doubt it will be cancelled. The money will come from elsewhere like parents pocket book.

Andrew Thomas

Thu, May 17, 2012 : 11:12 a.m.

Nora, band camp has NOT been canceled. There is no reason it cannot continue as it has in the past. It will just cost $70 more per student. See my post below for more details.


Thu, May 17, 2012 : 10:52 a.m.

By not combining the 2 schools in question, the district now has 2 buildings to up keep, pay electric bill, water bill, etc... instead of 1. Fiscally responsible? The board caved to community pressure when a good sum of money could have been saved over the long haul by combining these two programs into one building. Other cuts they are going to recommend seem fine, but they are still going to have to dip into there fund equity at close to 7 million!!

Steve Norton, MIPFS

Thu, May 17, 2012 : 9:09 p.m.

The point is that this proposal to move and or combine Clemente was not worked out in any detail. They decided to hold off a year and take a close look at the programs and their costs. In any case, the building itself is not the major part - half of the identified savings came from eliminating one principal and office staff. But that might not have happened anyway if they simply moved the program to A2 Tech.

Gretchen Ridenour

Thu, May 17, 2012 : 8:41 p.m.

If it's acceptable to combine Clemente and Stone School, then why can't money be saved by combining Community with Pioneer or Huron?

Stephen Lange Ranzini

Thu, May 17, 2012 : 10:50 a.m.

"School board members were in consensus about cutting 10 percent or $500,000 from the district-wide $5 million discretionary fund for departments." Question, is this another $5 million discretionary fund or the same $5 million fund controlled by the Superintendent that it has been asserted which is used to pay for, among other things, many of the consultants at Ballas?


Sat, May 19, 2012 : 12:59 a.m.

Mr. Norton - Walk around Balas, you can't miss the Southfield people, they are working on procedures and other items, they are being directed by deputy superintendents. I am glad PEG is being reduced, it should go away. Even $70,000 will pay for a 1st year teacher. As to best guess, I am counting people who are consulting and the amounts 3 principals told me they got for building funds. That is what I have a best guess. I can't get closer because the real split has not been reported.

Steve Norton, MIPFS

Fri, May 18, 2012 : 3:53 p.m.

DonBee, what Southfield consultants? Who are you talking about? I think they are ending the contract with PEG, but in any case that was reported as being at most around $70K per year. On what is your "best guess" based, besides your innate mistrust of district officials?


Fri, May 18, 2012 : 11:49 a.m.

Best guess is that roughly 1/2 to 2/3 goes to the sites (buildings) and the balance is spent at Balas on things like PEG and the Southfield consultants that seem to be everywhere. I would give you a better answer, but the numbers are not clear from any financial document that is available to me. Since they stopped the check register on the website, instead of being more transparent, AAPS is less transparent.

Stephen Lange Ranzini

Thu, May 17, 2012 : 9:40 p.m.

Thanks for the clarification @Steve Norton, MIPFS! The article above was very unclear about that point.

Steve Norton, MIPFS

Thu, May 17, 2012 : 9:07 p.m.

This is not "another" such fund. It's the same one, and the "assertions" were wild speculations on this web site, not actual information. This is the fund that pays for everything from professional development to paper and pencils.


Thu, May 17, 2012 : 10:23 a.m.

Sounds good to me. What I find interesting is that the cuts being made are things that have crept into the budget over the past thirty years that used to never be in some ways this is just righting itself... Band Camp can be held at school for a week or two like most other schools in America do it. Lunch supervisors in most school districts are parent volunteers, not paid positions, etc.


Fri, May 18, 2012 : 3:03 a.m.

Not every school in America is internationally known for there fantastic music program. Before you comment on this topic heartlessly, please put yourself in the positions of these students first.

J. A. Pieper

Fri, May 18, 2012 : 12:51 a.m.

Halter, there is no way the district can have "volunteer parents" supervise the lunchrooms in our schools. There would be to much inconsistency and managing the students is a really tough job. I give our supervisors a lot of credit, they get our students at a tough part of their day, for minimal pay! Volunteers would do a couple of days, and never return.


Thu, May 17, 2012 : 6:26 p.m.

Parent volunteers for lunch supervisors? Are you kidding? PAID lunch supervisors have their hands full keeping the kids safe on the playground AND in the lunch rooms is a real challenge. And I am a retired TEACHER making $10.00 to watch and protect the kids. VOLUNTEERS?? Ha! We have enough trouble keeping things under control--


Thu, May 17, 2012 : 6 p.m.

How about removing sports altogether and cutting their funding? That stinks that Clemente wins and the choir/band camps loose. Send Clemente to Stone School. Save the choir/band camps. What a stunner.


Thu, May 17, 2012 : 5:13 p.m.

How about get rid of the buses that takes the kids home after sports practice. That seems like an easy one. ($84,000)