You are viewing this article in the archives. For the latest breaking news and updates in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area, see
Posted on Thu, Jan 19, 2012 : 12:56 p.m.

Ann Arbor school board rejects time limits

By Danielle Arndt

A discussion among members of the Ann Arbor school board pertaining to time limits at meetings died on the table Wednesday when no action was taken.


Simone Lightfoot

The members were largely in consensus that the current practice of “as long as it takes” works well for them and is in the best interest of the district.

Trustee Simone Lightfoot said the discussions the group has are thorough and on important subjects.

“We have a loaded agenda and I believe it’s going to be even more loaded as we take on the challenges of the budget,” she said. “I honestly don’t see a lot of fat here.”

Trustee Irene Patalan said each person is passionate about his or her duties as a board member and that can at times add to the length of discussions. But she agreed with previous statements made about having more self-discipline.

Trustee Andy Thomas was the only board member in favor of establishing a set of guidelines, not time limits, but more “codes of conduct” to eliminate some of the “redundancies” that often plague the lengthier discussions, he said. However, he was outnumbered.

To read more about the topic of meeting time limits, read this previous story: WITH POLL: Ann Arbor school board to discuss time limits at organizational meeting.

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



Fri, Jan 20, 2012 : 4:40 p.m.

As an occasional public commenter at AAPS Trustee meetings, I have always been subjected to fairly strict limits on my remarks. It has been claimed that this is to allow more people to have a voice, without unduly lengthening the meetings. That sounds logical, and is a reasonable way to approach sharing a time-limited forum among all the people who wish to voice an opinion or concern. A time limit of 5 minutes or less per association should certainly be imposed on the groups who report at each meeting, though this limit will very rarely need enforcement unless the AAEA or AAAA is having an election or or sponsoring a recall. I think Board meetings would be much more productive and somewhat shorter if the Trustees also set and enforced a time limit for their own remarks on each issue. Further, it would be a distinct improvement if trustees cooperated to limit their statements of thanks, agreement or opinion after each presentation or on each issue to only one speaker per "side", with a quick way for those who feel the same way to put their position on the record. There are several trustees who seem to feel compelled to spend 2-10 minutes holding forth on *every* *single* *issue*, even when they have nothing new to add to the discussion and are saying almost exactly the same thing as the previous 3 or 4 speakers. A more time-effective way should be found to allow trustees to show support or opposition on an issue that won't necessarily be voted on at that meeting. On issues where trustees want to ask questions or raise concerns with staff members or others making presentations to the Board or inquire more deeply into district operations, they should continue to "take as long as it takes".


Fri, Jan 20, 2012 : 12:30 a.m.

Democracy is full of "drivel" the alternative is to silence the opposition. Maybe these democrats want to institute an "Emergency Discussion Manager" or EDM for the sake of brevity.

Joe Kidd

Thu, Jan 19, 2012 : 6:43 p.m.

From the limited information here, my support has to go to Mr. Thomas. There is nothing more frustrating, boring, or proof that people elected to some positions contain too much hot air when you attend public meetings. Good to see someone wants to limit the drivel and focus on getting some work done.


Thu, Jan 19, 2012 : 7:58 p.m.

Let the Yawneriffic Times roll!