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Posted on Tue, Dec 20, 2011 : 5:58 a.m.

What would you ask Ann Arbor schools Superintendent Patricia Green?

By Danielle Arndt

AnnArbor.com will have its first sit-down interview with new Ann Arbor Public Schools Superintendent Patricia Green this week.

PatriciaGreen.jpg

Patricia Green

The interview will be used in an upcoming story on Green’s plans for the district. She was hired in April and took over district leadership at the start of the budget year on July 1.

We are compiling a list of topics and questions to discuss with Green and would like the community’s input.

What issues at AAPS are important to you? Do you have any questions you would like us to ask? What would you like know about your new superintendent?

Contact K-12 reporter Danielle Arndt with your questions and concerns, or post them below.

Staff reporter Danielle Arndt covers K-12 education for AnnArbor.com. Follow her on Twitter @DanielleArndt or email her at daniellearndt@annarbor.com.

Comments

Jack Panitch

Thu, Dec 22, 2011 : 1:05 p.m.

1) What is your view of the appropriate role of a Board of Education Trustee in District governance, where does the line between policy and operation begin to blur, how can our Board of Education Trustees best partner with you, and where do you see room for future growth in your relationship with our Board? 2) The depth of choice in educational pathways and subjects and how those choices help to prepare our students to succeed in college, in technical professions and in any future vocation is one of the hallmarks of the Ann Arbor Public Schools. What is your vision for maintaining that aspect of excellence against the trend of shrinking funding? 3) What partnerships are you currently working on, and what synergy do you expect them to yield? 4) You may have heard of the addage "don't drop plane to fly microphone." Still, community relations are mission critical. What are the most important operational indicators, and how does a Superintendent achieve balance in scanning those indicators, taking any appropriate corrective action and still communicating her vision to the community when and where needed?

Wake Up A2

Thu, Dec 22, 2011 : 11:50 a.m.

Question one: How do you justify giving raises to two administrators, who have no contact with kids and if they both left the kids or programs would not suffer, and yet leave that poor teacher begging for money for the planetarium which effects all the kids in the district? Question two: How do you justify hiring 6 new quasi-administrators over the last year to help another administrator do her job? Before they had a consultant, now $250,000 more worth of overhead.

J. A. Pieper

Sun, Dec 25, 2011 : 1:52 a.m.

AAPS has often had to hire consultants to help current administrators do their job. Don't quite understand why they aren't just fired, but then I am sure AAPS would never want to admit that they hired a less than quality administrator, hence they use tax payer $$$$$ to have someone else help them do their job!

Larry Works

Wed, Dec 21, 2011 : 4:20 p.m.

How *exactly* does transporting Middle School sports teams on late-model buses (w/ A/C, restrooms, radio, DVD video systems, PA systems &amp; cloth reclining seats, tables, radio, etc.) from GetAway Tours, translate to saving $$$ for Ann Arbor Public Schools? I know the kids LOVE being transported in all-black buses that look the ones used by rock stars. I just don't see how that could possibly cost less than using the Yellow School Bus fleet AAPS already owns and operates. It's not lack of buses since the AAPS fleet is one of the largest in the County. What am I missing? Please share the math. Thanks. <a href="http://www.getawaytours.net/services.html" rel='nofollow'>http://www.getawaytours.net/services.html</a> <a href="http://arborwiki.org/city/School_bus" rel='nofollow'>http://arborwiki.org/city/School_bus</a>

J. A. Pieper

Sun, Dec 25, 2011 : 1:56 a.m.

Larry, when we need to use the buses these days, we have to pay big $$$, as AAPS privatized the bus service, and it is not &quot;ours&quot; anymore. AAPS may own the buses, but that is it. Those of us who take students on field trips are just throwing money away to this private business, including a $35. inspection fee for each bus, even is if does two different field trips during the course of the day.

Lakewood Mom

Wed, Dec 21, 2011 : 2:33 p.m.

Why does the AAPS district continue to use outside law services such as Collins and Blaha, when their on staff lawyer, Dave Comsa, is said to be &quot;under utilized&quot; and just received a raise?

KeepingItReal

Wed, Dec 21, 2011 : 2:21 p.m.

The question I would like to pose to the Superintendent is now that you have introduced a new concept, the &quot;Discipline Gap&quot; as one of AAPS new educational initiatives, have you thought about introducing another initiative called the &quot;Integrity Gap?&quot;

J. A. Pieper

Sun, Dec 25, 2011 : 1:57 a.m.

Don't forget the Financial gap!

treetowncartel

Wed, Dec 21, 2011 : 4:08 a.m.

One other thing, what happened to vocational education? People are still going to need things buitl and fixed in years to come.

J. A. Pieper

Sun, Dec 25, 2011 : 2 a.m.

Can't have that available in AAPS, don't you know that we are strictly a college prep school district? So if your child is interested in any vocational education, they have to go to the program offered through WCCC.

treetowncartel

Wed, Dec 21, 2011 : 3:58 a.m.

Why are the school &quot;hot&quot; lunches for elementary school so nasty?

Grumpy

Wed, Dec 21, 2011 : 12:39 a.m.

AA.com. Don't you think this is an important enough local issue to leave up on your front page river for a bit longer than you did today?

thecompound

Wed, Dec 21, 2011 : 3:56 a.m.

I have been saying the same thing. I almost didn't even see this article until i clicked on the &quot;news&quot; and scrolled a bit. I guess UM sports and new recipes are more important! And I have the same suspicions as J.A. Pieper.

J. A. Pieper

Wed, Dec 21, 2011 : 1:06 a.m.

Grumpy, I am sure that AAPS has a hidden account where they pay AA.com to bury the controversial issues several pages back s no one can find them. It is probably part of the 35% increase in Dr. Green's salary so she does not have to read about what is going on in the district!!!!

Macabre Sunset

Tue, Dec 20, 2011 : 6:27 p.m.

You recently introduced a new term into the AAPS lexicon: The Discipline Gap. Do you believe that Ann Arbor teachers are unfairly disciplining minority students for the same infractions that go unpunished with white students? If so, are you planning to get rid of these problem teachers? And if not, do you believe you're causing harm to minority students by giving them a free pass until offenses become so severe that they interfere with their ability to succeed as well as those around them? Do you worry that your new policies are inconsistent with the new requirement that each school district addresses bullying in a fair manner for all children, including white children?

keri

Tue, Dec 20, 2011 : 6:02 p.m.

When will the district switch to all day kindergarten at all schools?

Beth

Wed, Dec 21, 2011 : 4:33 p.m.

I've been waiting in vain to hear about this, too. There is SO much research to support the benefits of this, yet only 6 schools currently offer it to all K students. It is incredibly unfair that some parents have to pay, while others get it for free. If the district wants to close the achievement gap and improve early childhood education, start by offering universal, district-wide (free!) all-day K.

DonBee

Wed, Dec 21, 2011 : 2:54 a.m.

Sarah - I think it is next year or the year after where the schools will be docked for not providing full day Kindergarten (the law was passed before Governor Snyder took over). This means that to get the full money from the state, they will have to provide free full day Kindergarten to all students. Half day will mean approximately 1/2 money to the district.

Sarah

Tue, Dec 20, 2011 : 6:22 p.m.

Cosigned. The current kindergarten options are completely inequitable. Why should I have to pay $4500/year for full day kindergarten for my child when other schools have it for free?

Steve

Tue, Dec 20, 2011 : 4:16 p.m.

Others are mentioning Ann Arbor Open as both a desirablre and sought-after model of education. However, AAO is struggling mightily to try to maintain its philosophy and progressive education focus. AAO is nowhere near what it used to be compared to even a decade ago, as teachers continue to lose autonomy in regards to curriculum and creativity in the classroom. On the one hand, I agree that the demand for this program is greater than supply. But at the current rate of watering down of the program due to over-testing and district mandates that do not support progressive education, I am extremely skeptical of increasing the program. People are leaving the district for private and charter schools whose programs actually match in practice the progressive education approaches they claim to support. Are you open to really supporting our alternative schools, not just with lip service, but actually allowing our program to return to its roots?

treetowncartel

Wed, Dec 21, 2011 : 4 a.m.

Open school is a joke, did it myself in the 80's. How many &quot;open&quot; jobs are out there waiting to be filled?

Joel A. Levitt

Tue, Dec 20, 2011 : 3:51 p.m.

Do you plan to install instruction through computers in the manner of the Khan Academies?

Beth

Tue, Dec 20, 2011 : 3:47 p.m.

How can the administrators and school board possibly be still considering putting just Scarlett and Mitchell onto a year-round &quot;balanced calendar&quot;? This needs to be either 100% districtwide, or else these schools need to become schools of choice. AA Open always does have a big wait list - why can't Mitchell/ Scarlett become another K-8 School of Choice? Make those schools somewhere people are proud to send their children, instead of schools they flee from. Also, where on earth would the money come from to support this calendar? Adding A/C to the schools (a necessity!), paying extra busing/staff/food/heating costs during the &quot;intersessions&quot;, renegotiating staff contracts..... Please LISTEN to parents - do a district-wide survey, or at least use the results of last year's parent survey (which overwhelmingly was NOT in favor of this change).

treetowncartel

Wed, Dec 21, 2011 : 4:02 a.m.

Wow, sounds like Scarlett has the Scarlett letter.

a2roots

Tue, Dec 20, 2011 : 3:39 p.m.

How much time have you spent in each of the high schools and middle schools as an unidentified and invisible observer? Why not earmark time to fill in for teachers as a substitute to gain a hands on experience of the reality of a classroom?

J. A. Pieper

Wed, Dec 21, 2011 : 1:01 a.m.

She only goes to the &quot;elite&quot; schools. Dr. Green knows a lot about Community, AA Open at Mack, Skyline, but not the ordinary ones.She has raved about the three top elementary schools in the district (as listed by the state) and complimented them on their achievements, but what kind of populations do they have? I talked to one support staff member at one of these schools and she has nothing to do!

Dog Guy

Tue, Dec 20, 2011 : 3:36 p.m.

Does your autocratic hiring and promoting indicate a god complex or a Mayor Hieftje complex?

a2schoolparent

Tue, Dec 20, 2011 : 3:01 p.m.

I went to the budget comment sessions two years ago and each table made essentially the same three points, none of which have been implemented. 1. Many school systems have gone to a later wake up for high school. Research shows that the natural waking diurnal rhythm of teenagers is later going to bed and later waking. They are not learning at 7. Also we are heating and lighting buildings in January in Michigan at 7 am, which does not seem like a good use of funds. When will Ann Arbor start hang high school start at 9? 2. Both Ann Arbor Open and Community High have wait-lists that are two to four times the size of entering classes. When will Ann Arbor expand alternative, project based, student centered education. (Those schools test well too.) This would stop some parents from going private and increase the count. 3. We should partner with the AATA to get high schoolers to school and save on busing costs. All of these would improve the budget.

J. A. Pieper

Wed, Dec 21, 2011 : 12:57 a.m.

They certainly aren't heating the elementary schools by nine, what is the heat set at down at Balas, anyone know?

a2schoolparent

Tue, Dec 20, 2011 : 2:31 p.m.

I just signed up so that I can comment on this. Busing has been cut in a large scale and affects many, many students. Some have to walk almost 2 miles to school. My children's school started mixed-grade classrooms this year. Programs are cut, teachers are let go, retired teachers are not replaced, custodians are taking pay cuts. How can you possibly raise your top administrators' salary by such a large percentage and feel justified? How could you possibly hire someone and give out top salary without knowing the hiring procedure of the district? The annarbor.com poll showed that 95% of those who took the poll do not approve of the salary raise. Are your inexperience and disregard of public opinion in these matters in-line with your 35% raise over your predecessor?

Grumpy

Tue, Dec 20, 2011 : 2:26 p.m.

Do you anticipate next year's tech bond millage passing with ease after the recent pay increases given to AAPS executives?

J. A. Pieper

Wed, Dec 21, 2011 : 12:54 a.m.

Everyone should vote NO NO NO NO more of our money!

A2Dave

Tue, Dec 20, 2011 : 2:21 p.m.

Has it dawned on you that your first six months are not perceived as a success? And what do you plan to do, specifically, to change that perception? We do not need bloated, overpaid bureaucrats--we need effective teachers enabled to deliver a superior eduction in a system that is fair and efficient in its services. Period.

Steve

Tue, Dec 20, 2011 : 2:02 p.m.

The President of the United States has a cabinet. The Ann Arbor Public School district is not the United States. One justification for the recent pay hike was that the person was now in a &quot;cabinet level&quot; position. Would you please consider calling your department heads &quot;managers&quot; instead and paying them accordingly.

Blerg

Tue, Dec 20, 2011 : 1:32 p.m.

Are you willing to take a pay cut, and give pay cuts to Balas administrators, in an effort to cut 14 million from the district and stay in line with the pay cuts that your teachers, custodians, and bus drivers have all taken? If not, how do you justify insulating yourself and those closest to you when the vast majority of your employees shoulder the financial burden?

Mike

Tue, Dec 20, 2011 : 1:32 p.m.

You came into a district with serious financial troubles and have demonstarted that you are not fiscally conservative by handing out large raises for administrators. How can we trust moving forward that you will make good financial decisions and not just throw money at problems?

DonBee

Tue, Dec 20, 2011 : 1:18 p.m.

The only question that matters is how will you take the $14 million out of the budget without impacting the classrooms. Are you willing to: 1) Reduce administrative overhead 2) Cut varsity athletics 3) Consolidate more services with the WISD 4) Merge school districts 5) Other non-classroom cuts 6) Consolidation of high schools (e.g. the two smallest ones) Are you willing to focus any remaining bond fund money and sinking fund money on energy efficiency to reduce the long term cost of running buildings? Are you willing to sell excess real estate like the Dixboro Elementary School?

treetowncartel

Wed, Dec 21, 2011 : 4:06 a.m.

Objection, that my friend is a compund question. Play by the rules, you can only ask one question. BTW, there are sisx highs schools last I checked, which two are the smallest?

A2anon

Tue, Dec 20, 2011 : 1:26 p.m.

That is NOT the only question that matters.

A2comments

Tue, Dec 20, 2011 : 12:39 p.m.

The community has a strong belief that: - the district lacks transparency - the district is top heavy with administrators - the community has ideas of how to save money, but the district doesn't want our input - you've accomplished little in 6 months, and have been very quiet Please give SPECIFIC answers as to how you will address these things. Not fluff.

Grumpy

Tue, Dec 20, 2011 : 2:17 p.m.

Agree with all of the above. I guarantee the answer to your first question will be, &quot;The Sunshine Review gave us high marks on transparency,&quot; as stated on the front page of the AAPS website. All the bureaucrats in this town aspire to be that shining city on a hill that is Boulder, CO. So WWBD? I wonder if their taxpayers have demanded their school system impliment the OpenBook software utilized by A2Gov. Where are the answer's to the FAQ listed in the AA Chronicle article promised after the most recent budget forum? Gather DonBee's questions documented on this site and repeated over and over again, year after year, and finally provide answers to them.

A2anon

Tue, Dec 20, 2011 : 12:26 p.m.

Research into Best Practices tells us that in-depth, project-based, cooperative learning is the optimal way for children to really learn. Yet the push for more and more high-stakes standardized testing pushes our classrooms farther and farther from this ideal, into more fact-based, linear curricula. At what point does the AAPS push back against this movement that we all know is deeply flawed and occuring to the detriment of our kids?

J. A. Pieper

Wed, Dec 21, 2011 : 12:51 a.m.

A2person, great article... AAPS is right there!

a2person

Tue, Dec 20, 2011 : 1:58 p.m.

SORRY! Wrong link -- try this one: <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/19/education/new-york-city-student-testing-over-the-past-decade.html?_r=1&scp=4&sq=Wine%20rip&st=cse" rel='nofollow'>http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/19/education/new-york-city-student-testing-over-the-past-decade.html?_r=1&amp;scp=4&amp;sq=Wine%20rip&amp;st=cse</a>

a2person

Tue, Dec 20, 2011 : 1:52 p.m.

For a great New York Times look at how completely inane and arbitrary and useless these test results actually are, read here: <a href="http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/subjects/n/national_assessment_of_educational_progress/index.html?inline=nyt-classifier" rel='nofollow'>http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/subjects/n/national_assessment_of_educational_progress/index.html?inline=nyt-classifier</a>

J. A. Pieper

Tue, Dec 20, 2011 : 12:14 p.m.

At what point do you plan on really visiting all of your schools, and not just the favored ones?

local

Tue, Dec 20, 2011 : 12:09 p.m.

How did you not know that you couldn't hire new people within your inner circle without board approval and then giving them top dollar money without having proven their worth? How could you be part of allowing 12 and 7% raises to occur under your watch? How do you plan on selling your tech bond (that really is needed) to the public after these pay raises were just given out? Why haven't we heard boo from you since you took over on big issues? (balanced calendar, pay raises, etc..) What is your plan for cutting 14 million dollars without getting concessions (which is highly unlikely from unions after giving out pay raises and paying new hires top dollar)?

thecompound

Wed, Dec 21, 2011 : 3:59 a.m.

I think the two people he is talking about are Flye and Linden from the previous article.

cette

Tue, Dec 20, 2011 : 9:32 p.m.

I'm not sure about this question. Rob Allen was interim superintendent last year, and before that was Deputy Superintendent. He worked at far less than Dr. Green last year, and then he went back to his job at his pay 2 years ago now, so, give me a break, a raise for him was not out of line. No Comsa apparently has taken on two roles, and he's been working for the district. These two are not new hires., they are proven employees. Settle down.

Stephen Lange Ranzini

Tue, Dec 20, 2011 : 11:54 a.m.

President Obama's Secretary of Education says that the traditional long Summer break hurts kids and the data is clear that is does hurt low and moderate income children. Why can't we adopt a balanced calendar so that we can decrease the &quot;failure to graduate rate&quot; materially here in Ann Arbor? Why don't our children go to school 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., the same hours that parents work? This would decrease many of the problems brought on by unsupervised latch key kids and better train children for the work force. Why can't AAPS disclose it's check registers in a timely basis? The &quot;Monthly A/P Check Register&quot; currently only has the information through January 2011. Since the AAPS annual fiscal year ends in June, this means that we cannot compare the budget, the annual audited financial statement and the check registers to see what budget cuts might be possible using the actual data. How much money does AAPS spend each year on internal audit to ensure that the formal policies and procedures of the board and senior management are followed and not violated? Several recent scandals where over a half million dollars was being lost each year by actions in violation of established policies indicate that there is a culture in place that ignores official policy and an ineffective system of controls and checks and balances. Prior to last year, the Ann Arbor Public Schools had 200 supposed employee dependents receiving health care benefits who were in actuality not eligible as legitimate dependents. This was costing the AAPS $766,800 per year. The district discovered the problem last year, and the ineligible dependents were immediately deleted from the district's health insurance plan. What steps has AAPS taken to recoup any of this money and how much has been recouped to date?

Wake Up A2

Thu, Dec 22, 2011 : 11:52 a.m.

&quot;Why don't our children go to school 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., the same hours that parents work? This would decrease many of the problems brought on by unsupervised latch key kids and better train children for the work force.&quot; And we could pay the teachers then like babysitters! Right? Ann Arbor Public School Daycare.......Has a nice ring to it!