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Posted on Thu, Apr 18, 2013 : 5:58 a.m.

Ann Arbor school board sets initial parameters for superintendent search

By Danielle Arndt


The Ann Arbor Board of Education deliberates at a 2012 Committee of the Whole meeting. At Wednesday's meeting, the topic of deliberation was launching a new superintendent search.

Melanie Maxwell | file photo

The Ann Arbor Board of Education approved several parameters Wednesday night for a superintendent search that trustees hope will yield a new leader of the district by late July.

School board members voted on a four-item list at the close of its meeting at Huron High School. The parameters approved were:

  • An expedited search to try to have a permanent superintendent candidate fully vetted and hired in time for the 2013-14 academic year.
  • Using the Iowa-based consulting firm Ray & Associates to help conduct the superintendent search.
  • Scheduling a special meeting (start time to be decided) for prior to the April 24 regular meeting at which the board will develop a superintendent profile that outlines what the board is looking for in a candidate.
  • Appointing an interim superintendent from within the district in the short-term.

Even though a few trustees raised some concerns about specific items on the list, the list passed unanimously.

Every board member was in favor of using the search firm Ray & Associates for a second time, given that the bulk of the firm's services will be free. The board cited the benefit of being able to start the search immediately and not having to go through the lengthy process of bidding out and selecting a search firm again.

Ray & Associates was the company the Ann Arbor Public Schools board contracted with during its 2010 search that resulted in the district hiring Superintendent Patricia Green, who resigned on April 11 to enjoy retirement.

Green's resignation came less than two years after her initial date of employment in the district, evoking a "satisfaction guarantee" clause from the contract between AAPS and Ray & Associates. This clause states if the employment relationship between the district and the superintendent is dissolved via resignation, retirement or termination within a two-year time period, Ray & Associates will conduct a new search at no cost to the district, except for "reasonable expenses."

These expenses could include things such as travel, food and lodging to bring Ray & Associates consultants to Ann Arbor, as well as some printing and survey costs associated with the search and the cost of advertising for and posting the position, said Board President Deb Mexicotte.

The initial contract with Ray & Associates was for $21,000, but the firm only charged AAPS $14,000, said board assistant Amy Osinski. She said the incidentals that Ray & Associates consultants racked up last time "probably was not much more than $1,000." The remainder of the $29,919 the district spent in total on the 2010 search is not clear.

Ann Arbor Superintendent Resigns

Previous Coverage:

The district did pay for six candidates to come to Ann Arbor for site visits and interviews, which Mexicotte said the board could choose to do differently this time or to reduce the number of candidates included in this stage of the process.

Trustee Susan Baskett said she would push for doing this search as cost effectively as possible, which could include using some of the same materials as last time and having Ray & Associates fly to Ann Arbor less.

"They've met us; we've met them… They just need to hear from us, so let's use Skype or speaker phone or whatever," she said.

The majority of the board wanted to move quickly on the search, with a target of having a candidate selected around mid to late July and able to start prior to Sept. 1, if not earlier.

Vice President Christine Stead was apprehensive about the quick turnaround and concerned it could add to the stress felt by community members. She said she can't imagine sending out surveys to the community about what it would like to see in a new superintendent at the same time the board is "vetting what massive amounts of cuts it would like to make" for the 2013-14 budget.

"I would like to keep those a little separate if at all possible… I just don't know that (doing both simultaneously) is going to generate the focused attention from our community that this (search) deserves … and in a positive way," Stead said.

Ray & Associates assured the board there still would be good candidates out there if the district starting searching right now, Mexicotte said.


Vice President Christine Stead and President Deb Mexicotte, right, interact at Wednesday's meeting about the superintendent search process.

Danielle Arndt |

"If we don't find what we want, we can always pause, regroup and go on until we do find it."

Stead said in the district's superintendent profile this time around, she does not want to set a single number as the target salary. She explained this was something Ray & Associates pushed for in 2010, but she would be more comfortable with a range. She added anyone interested in applying for the job could easily look up the past salary at AAPS, as well as national averages and superintendent salaries statewide.

To select an interim candidate, the board will request a recommendation from Green. Each board member also will be able to propose someone.

The suggestions will be submitted to Mexicotte who will work with Green to determine the best candidate or candidates to bring forward to the board in about a month in a formal recommendation.

Previous Superintendent Todd Roberts, when he resigned in 2010 to take a job in North Carolina, recommended the board appoint then-Deputy Superintendent for Operations Robert Allen as the interim leader. Mexicotte said the board favored Allen as a temporary superintendent at the time because he was not interested in holding the position permanently. She said knowledge of a viable internal candidate sometimes can impact the overall pool of candidates a district is able to attract.

The board decided Wednesday that this time it would consider an interim who wanted to apply for the position long-term, and he or she would not be discouraged from doing so.

The idea of an interim superintendent from outside of the district, such as a retired administrator, was debated around the board table but eventually was dismissed due to the fact that this interim position is expected to be very short-term. Board members felt having someone with an established knowledge of and trust within the district would be better suited to serve as a temporary, "strong and informed caretaker" of the district, as Mexicotte described it.

Green will be with the district until her resignation is effective on July 9, so the greatest length of time an interim superintendent would serve would be less than two months, if all goes according to plan. But Stead stressed it could be longer if the board has to extend its search to find a permanent replacement.

Stead, Baskett and Trustee Simone Lightfoot said they want to see the board do more work to evaluate the backgrounds of the proposed interim candidates and to select the best one, rather than be given a recommendation from Mexicotte. They stressed the timing with the budget and the need for the interim to handle key transitions in AAPS, to implement the cuts the board will approve and to prepare the district for the start of the school year.

"I liken it to selecting a babysitter for your kids," Lightfoot said. "If there are two parents in the house, you may not be as selective. But if one parent dies, your going to be more careful about who you get to watch your kids… The kid down the block may have sufficed in a different time. But when there has been trauma … special considerations need to be taken into place."

Mexicotte said the board could go back at any time and revisit the topic of an interim superintendent and could appoint a new interim if the search takes longer than expected.

Stead was not in favor of hiring an interim, followed by another interim and then possibly a permanent: "That doesn't feel like the best we can do for families in the community."

The type of search the board would conduct — be it national, Midwest, statewide or local — was not finalized at the meeting by way of a vote, although most trustees discussed launching another national search. Mexicotte said a national search does not preclude internal candidates from applying.

"The type of search we conduct is really how wide we cast our net," she said. "The idea that if we cast a wide net, we somehow aren't catching the close fish, that just isn't the case... Internal candidates were in the process last time."

Baskett suggested being more creative, and perhaps having an initial application window solely for internal candidates, prior to opening the position up to the outside. She said this is how the Ann Arbor Administration Association posts principal positions.

Other components of the search that are still to-be-determined include how and when the board plans to engage the community.

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



Fri, Apr 19, 2013 : 3:18 p.m.

Please, please, please give priority consideration to internal candidates. We have an amazing amount of talent in this community, and I would argue that someone who already resides here loves the community and wants to improve it. I hate the notion of spending money for a search committee when I suspect we have the talent right here.


Thu, Apr 18, 2013 : 10:04 p.m.

You've already let Mr. Allen leave. Perhaps you should look inside


Thu, Apr 18, 2013 : 9:41 p.m.

Wee, there is a very high level administrator/educator who will be available in A2 in 2014. She has lived here for 11 years and had great success in her school system.

Nicholas Urfe

Thu, Apr 18, 2013 : 5:04 p.m.

Question 1: Have you ever quit a job suddenly, and without explanation? Question 2: Have you ever signed a contract with a specific duration, and then bailed out before the term was complete?


Thu, Apr 18, 2013 : 7:20 p.m.

Answer #1 No Answer #2 No Thanks for asking.


Thu, Apr 18, 2013 : 4:03 p.m.

A good superintendent has to be willing to lead--sometimes that involves making tough decisions. When you have many long-time connections in a district, it is very often difficult to make those tough decisions that may impact the turf of one's long-time friends and colleagues. That is one of the trade-offs of internal hiring for a leadership role such as a superintendent. In addition, inbreeding often leads to solutions that are "same old, same old." Bringing in folks with considerable experience in other districts can broaden a district's perspectives on how to address challenging issues. It seems that Dr. Green may not have been a very good fit for Ann Arbor--and that her departure may indeed by good for everyone. If that is true, then it seems important to understand why we offered the position to someone who was not a good fit...and try not to do the same thing again. All superintendent positions are challenging by nature of the position. Ann Arbor with its strong community commitment to public education and its relatively stable financial situation (compared to other districts around the state and across the country) is certainly NOT one of the most challenging situations to work in. So, let's look calmly and professionally at what it was about Dr. Green's background, approach, and skill set that was not a good fit for our district, and what it was about her compensation and retirement package that encouraged her to believe that it was in her financial interest to exit after two years. And let's do a much better job next crafting a compensation and retirement package that encourages longevity, and in selecting a candidate who will enjoy working with the Ann Arbor community to develop good educational possibilities and outcomes for our kids. Good superintendents enjoy those challenges--and are the kind of leaders who can help us all believe that the wonderful benefits of a great public education are well worth the challenges.

I can't believe I'm doing this

Fri, Apr 19, 2013 : 1:48 a.m.

Very well written. Totally agree!


Thu, Apr 18, 2013 : 3:47 p.m.

Criteria for being a school superintendent in the US. 1. Political animal. 2. Politically correct. 3. Tall- if male. 4. Good at making weepy banal speeches about how much he loves the kids. 5. Reacts quickly to every parent demand at the expense of ethics and education. 6. Brings in a "new" approach which changes nothing substantial and cost a lot of money. 7. Discreet in taking kickbacks from books suppliers, software suppliers, ect. 8. Arrogant and vicious behind the scenes.

C. Montgomery Burns

Thu, Apr 18, 2013 : 3:33 p.m.

How about pulling random names out of a hat.....a lot less expensive and probably equally effective results.


Thu, Apr 18, 2013 : 2:12 p.m.

The school board should have long ago implemented a plan to develop leaders from within through training, rotation through various positions, personnel exchanges with other districts, etc. so that there would be an internal "bench" of desirable candidates. This would reduce the need to rely on costly search firms, and lengthy national searches that always end up finding some ambitious hired gun with their own career agenda to put ahead of the AAPS's. They should set up a task force including HR execs from local businesses to figure out how to do this and implement it pronto.


Thu, Apr 18, 2013 : 3:22 p.m.

DeeDee - This has been on the list that fills the bushel basket of Superintendent priorities (MUST DO's) since Dr. Roberts came to town. There were a number of articles and discussions about how the Superintendent needed to create a succession plan and mentor the best internal candidates. But with 30 to 50 MUST DO's from the board, that one seems to never get done.


Thu, Apr 18, 2013 : 2:20 p.m.

An excellent idea, but...... Our BOE will never adopt a suggest such as this on the basis that they did not create the idea in the first place. They have demonstrated time and time again, that they only follow their own lead, even if illogical. In fact, they can't even get along together, nor can they conduct efficient meetings. Here you go - got me started again! An excellent idea, DeeDee!

Jim Mulchay

Thu, Apr 18, 2013 : 2:08 p.m.

Finalists for Plymouth/Canton (from the Adrian Daily Telegram 02/14/13) - Chris Timms (Adrian); Rick Mills, CEO of Minneapolis Public Schools in Minnesota; Michael Meissen from Milwaukee Public Schools in Wisconsin; Curtis Cain, associate superintendent for educational services at the Shawnee Mission School District in Overland Park, Kan.; and Brodie Killian, executive director of business services at Plymouth-Canton. Michael Meissen was selected; - Plymouth Patch -


Fri, Apr 19, 2013 : 2:28 p.m.

One of the few comments with any constructive info. The salary they are paying is $212,000, so that's probably around what we will have to spend, at a minimum. The idea that we could pay what Todd Roberts was making or less is ridiculous.


Thu, Apr 18, 2013 : 2:03 p.m.

I agree with Debbie Harris...Patricia Green should have absolutely NO input in the superintendent search. Her 2 years (out of a promised 5 years) here was largely ineffective. She is an awful communicator, what makes the BOE think that her opinion should be relevant or valid? Well, when she hires in at another district (watch, it will happen), maybe the BOE will see things differently. Unless they already know about it and are keeping it quiet due to confidentiality and embarassment.


Thu, Apr 18, 2013 : 1:59 p.m.

Listen to the voices of the people who are the consumers of A2BOE products: Ms. Mexicotte does not seem capable of leading this process. Interim superintendent? We need an interim BOE president (I nominate Steve Norton) who will bring something fresh to this process. Ask Pat Green for recommendations? Absolutely NOT! She cares little for Ann Arbor's public school students, staff, parents: she should have NO NO NO input into this process. Wake up Ms. Mexicotte and move over.

Steve Norton, MIPFS

Thu, Apr 18, 2013 : 4:01 p.m.

While I appreciate the implied compliment, we all need to remember that current members of the BOE are elected by the people of Ann Arbor, and have been doing their best during very difficult times with little or no thanks (let alone compensation). I was very hopeful about the two finalists for the superintendent position two years ago, and have been impressed with Dr. Green's efforts to address many things AAPS has avoided facing for years. I also got a sense of her core values with respect to education and the children in our schools, and was very reassured. I wish more people had the chance to see that facet of Dr. Green. It's very unfortunate that things have not worked out the way most of us hoped, and that this search for new leadership comes at such a difficult time. But we need to remember that no one can work miracles, and our schools need our constructive support most of all right now.

Dog Guy

Thu, Apr 18, 2013 : 1:48 p.m.

In response to tom swift jr.: The AABOE members are not demonstrating insanity by doing the same thing over again; they want the same results; they enjoy the notoriety and power of their dysfunction.

Debbie Harris

Thu, Apr 18, 2013 : 1:14 p.m.

I Attended The Meeting Last Night And Was Appalled At The suggestion That We Even Consider Having Dr green Make Any Recommendation As To Who her Successor Should Be, Whether Interim Or Long Term. She Should Have NO Input Whatsoever. Deb Mexicotte Seemed Determined That All Recommendations Come Thru her, Yet She Is Obviously Not Open To Input, Discussion, OR The Voice Of The Community. I Understand The Appeal Of Some To Bring In A Business Manager, However, I Think It Is Imperative That We Look To Education Administrators With Experience In Our District. Why Is The Board So Hesitant To Focus On Qualified Internal Candidates? Mexicotte Pushed For The Return Of Ray And Assoc, She Said "National Search" Repeatedly....It Seems She Had Her Mind Made Up Which Direction She Will Lead This Board In. I'm Sorry, But This Is Not Her Sole Decision. The Board Needs To Reach Out To The Teachers, Administrators, And Parents And Heed Their Input On What Is Needed. A Business Manager Can't Tell Our Teachers How To Improve The Graduation Rate Of Black males In This District....Which Is Below 50%!! This has To Be Someone With Education Experience And Background. We Are In The Business Of Educating Children. Would You want An MBA Performing Surgery On You, Or A physician With Experience And Training? I Opt For Experience, In The Classroom, As A school Administrator, With Certification To Actually Be A Superintendent.

Debbie Harris

Thu, Apr 18, 2013 : 7:44 p.m.

I Apologize For The Capitalization On Every Word.....Something Funky With My Phone :(

A Voice of Reason

Thu, Apr 18, 2013 : 5:21 p.m.

The BOE comments are "SCARY"! Business people would not handle the way they budget in AAPS. Dreaming about new revenue streams so they do not have to make the hard choices.


Thu, Apr 18, 2013 : 2:09 p.m.

When You Capitalize The First Letter Of Every Word, It Is Very Difficult To Read, Especially, If You Don't Bother With Paragraphs.


Thu, Apr 18, 2013 : 2:08 p.m.

Time to vote Mexicotte out in the next election! Why in the world would you ask Dr. Green for a suggestion? Move on!


Thu, Apr 18, 2013 : 2:01 p.m.

Thank You! Your comments are eye-opening.


Thu, Apr 18, 2013 : 12:26 p.m.

We will get what we voted for (or skipped voting for). A dysfunctional board and a hurried pick of an educator with a bushel basket full of priorities from a mercenary search firm. The district needs someone in charge who can and will deal with the budget, and all the pieces of it, to put it on firm ground. Dr Green brought in a fantastic education person in Alesia Flye. She needs two more years to have implemented what needs to be implemented from her current position and then she could be a great superintendent. The problem is going to be, whoever is the next superintendent is going to have to break almost every special interest "egg" in the district to make the budget work. By the end of two years the community will be up in arms. Hiring a budget specialist as a 2 year interim could be the best thing this board could do. But they won't - they will repeat history, so they can repeat history again and again, hoping for the result to be different. Wonder what Dr. Einstein would have thought?

Jack Gladney

Thu, Apr 18, 2013 : 12:41 p.m.

Dr. Einstein would probably bring up a couple of points dealing with insanity and problems being solved the minds that create them. Oh... Never mind.

tom swift jr.

Thu, Apr 18, 2013 : 12:19 p.m.

You know, they say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Welcome back, Ray and Associates.


Thu, Apr 18, 2013 : 2:21 p.m.

Don't you mean welcome back, BOE?


Thu, Apr 18, 2013 : 12:06 p.m.

FYI - often salary is the last thing that comes up during the interview/hiring process at this level. And, it is usually based on the candidates previous/current salary, not the salary of the person who just left the job. So there is definitely wiggle room around the salary issue. Plus, the rather low cost of living in Ann Arbor compared to most large cities provides another rationale for keeping salary on the lower side.


Fri, Apr 19, 2013 : 2:33 p.m.

Not true, these positions are posted with salary, which then can be negotiated.


Thu, Apr 18, 2013 : 3:59 p.m.

Especially, if they don't live here.


Thu, Apr 18, 2013 : 12:29 p.m.

@jmac - That is only assuming that the AAPS BoE does not head into the negotiations with the salary already stated. Like they did the last time.

Ricardo Queso

Thu, Apr 18, 2013 : noon

If a stylist botched a haircut would you return for a second even if it was free?


Thu, Apr 18, 2013 : 5:58 p.m.

better metaphor: if the concierge at the hotel recommended a restaurant and the food/service was awful, would you ask him to recommend a place for dinner tomorrow night?


Thu, Apr 18, 2013 : 12:16 p.m.

Or a plastic surgeon?


Thu, Apr 18, 2013 : 11:50 a.m.

We should only hire someone who reflects how really, really clever we are here.


Thu, Apr 18, 2013 : 11:26 a.m.

Danielle - Often search firms receive a fee equal to a significant percentage of the candidate's salary when an individual that they put forth is hired by an employer. Could you find out if that was the case with this search firm and Patricia Green? Also, if there was a fee, is all or a portion of that fee voided with the short duration of Patricia Green in the role for which she was hired? Thanks!

Danielle Arndt

Thu, Apr 18, 2013 : 6:23 p.m.

A2Realilty, I do not believe Ray & Associates did receive such a fee, but one of the search firms AAPS considered in 2010 did receive payment this way: I am still looking into the total costs of the 2010 superintendent search. I will let readers know what additional details I find. Thanks for reading and for your questions!


Thu, Apr 18, 2013 : 11:26 a.m.

So what 'guiding principles' would we like the board to consider when selecting the next super? What's your top 1 or 2 most important priorities? Clearly long term committment is important, but is that the number one priority? Also, if the BOE wants community input, why don't they hold another town meeting similar to the budget cut meetings they just held? I realize that not everyone will be able to attend, but I like that they solicit input in a dialog format, where we can all hear the questions and responses.


Fri, Apr 19, 2013 : 2:39 p.m.

A contract is always "at will" on the employee's side here. So there is no way to know how long someone is going to stay. The average tenure of superintendents overall is something like 3.5 years. I also remember Todd Roberts saying his kids were going to graduate from AAPS (the oldest was 5 at the time). So you really have no way to know how long someone is really going to stay. In fact, I think we should always be ready to conduct a search and hire a new superintendent at all times. Especially with the history of this district.

Danielle Arndt

Thu, Apr 18, 2013 : 6:14 p.m.

kuriooo, these are great questions. Thank you for asking them! I hope you get some response from readers because I'm curious about the community's priorities for a new super as well. You mentioned the board dialogs and interestingly enough, that was one of the things the board suggested considering. No determinations were made yet, though. But most trustees were in favor of scheduling some additional dialogs specifically on the superintendent search.


Thu, Apr 18, 2013 : 12:42 p.m.

You have to ask? Someone just needs to whisper "I can fix the achievement gap" in their ear and they are all but hired. Cue Harold Hill....'Ya Got Trouble'


Thu, Apr 18, 2013 : 12:39 p.m.

One guiding principle I'd like to see is the salary getting cut back to where it was before Green was hired. Money obviously doesn't guarantee quality, and this constant ratcheting up is bad for the budget.


Thu, Apr 18, 2013 : 11:19 a.m.

The dysfunction continues and despite a few questions and concerns, the board votes to use the same search firm that botched this. Mexicotte, the leader of the dysfunction, says don't worry, the search firm says there are good candidates out there and if one interim doesn't work out, can find another and stuff like that. It's all good. Mexicotte has two hands on the wheel and all the board members gave her the thumbs up. She'll ask Green who would be a good interim as Green is packing up the office Mon-Thursday. Students, teachers and parents can just fasten seat belts, sit tight and believe that BOE will get it right this time. Plug in the DVD player or use one of the new computers taxpayers bought in the technology bond. It's all good. The BOE President has it covered. Stead raises some questions but ultimately backs down. Baskett says something more specific about watching the costs, but votes with the group. Business as usual.


Thu, Apr 18, 2013 : 12:38 p.m.

Perfect description. It makes me sick how they have all the time and fire to interfere with the prosecutor's office but hem and haw about everything else.

Stephen Lange Ranzini

Thu, Apr 18, 2013 : 11:17 a.m.

Facing an $8.67 million deficit, instead of bringing in a financial and budgeting expert as soon as possible, they want to promote an educator. I can see how well that will work out. They also ruled out the option without seeing who was available of hiring a retired Superintendent of a large school district who lives in Ann Arbor or Washtenaw County. I know of at least one highly qualified person who fits that description and has a good track record and others mentioned another individual I don't know, but before they even explored if anyone like that even wants the job, they ruled it out as even an option. Hiring from within is a good choice when an organization is strong and working well. AAPS has many problems and needs a lot of change to fix the huge deficit, so an outside person to act as the catalyst for that change is required.

Jack Panitch

Fri, Apr 19, 2013 : 5:09 a.m.

It's all interrelated. Raiding the School Aid Fund to eliminate the hole caused by the MBT repeal could have been avoided entirely, if things had been handled correctly six years ago. We wouldn't have wasted millions of dollars on ramping up the MBT just to tear it down, and the relatively higher property values of the time might have helped absorb the shock. We could have extended the sales tax to services, something that makes complete sense since we have moved away from a manufacturing-based economy toward a service-based economy, but that wasn't an option because no matter how much sense it makes, a certain party's members have all taken a pledge not to raise taxes (all except one tough nerd, as everyone is just finding out this return season). Instead, the minority party in charge chose to fund tax reform by raiding the School Aid Fund, a classy move when you consider that there is no proven causal relationship between the shift to the CIT and job creation. The party line about job creation is Koolaid. You are preaching it, but it's like one of those pseudo-effective drugs you hear advertised on the radio followed by a disclaimer that it hasn't been proven to cure anything. So again, I'm back to the better balance concept. And to bring this back to the subject of the article or at least the continuing subject of the last couple of days' articles, it was entirely reasonable for the Board to task Dr. Green with forging relationships in Lansing, and it would be entirely reasonable for the next Super to continue that effort.


Fri, Apr 19, 2013 : 2:41 a.m.

Mr. Panitch - My comment had nothing to do with the SBT. It had everything to do with RAISING taxes overall. We have many priorities in the state, many of those are unfunded mandates from Washington DC that we have no choice but to fund. Then there is the $43 BILLION dollars in underfunding at the state level for pensions. Then there is another $20 BILLION or so in retiree health care that is unfunded. While I agree that K-12 may be feeling the squeeze, much of that squeeze comes from benefits that are promised in contracts to employees, and in state laws that setup benefits. I will say it again - If there are no jobs, people will migrate elsewhere. If taxes go up and there are no jobs they will leave faster, not slower. We are getting some new jobs in the state (I don't claim that any policy caused them), I am hoping it helps keep people here in Michigan. But we have a huge hole to dig out of, and it will take time.

Jack Panitch

Fri, Apr 19, 2013 : 12:48 a.m.

And DonBee, check this out: The link is to an analysis of the job-creation effect of the MBT repeal. If it's accurate, Governor Snyder, and the close advisors who supported the way he chose to fund his business tax cut, would legitimately be viewed as Reverse Robin Hood and his band of merry nerds. I mean, who steals from the poor and gives to the rich?

Jack Panitch

Thu, Apr 18, 2013 : 6:22 p.m.

DonBee: That's a great sound-bite response, but it ignores history. Historical fact: Gov. Granholm wasn't against tax reform. She just refused to repeal the SBT until the legislature presented her with a replacement. So, what did the legislature do? It made an end run around the Governor through use of the initiative petition process. With enough signatures (I forget the number, but it was less than 300K), the SBT repeal never even made it onto a ballot. The legislature simply adopted the initiative petition, and the Governor couldn't veto it. How democratic is that? So then, a year later, the same legislature enacts the MBT as the SBT's replacement, which, after the Department of Treasury wastes untold millions of dollars putting into place, the legislature quickly repeals, and the Department of Treasury has to retool all over again. All of this waste and drama can be laid at the feet of one political party. It's the same political party handling tax reform that handles education reform. They do it without study and without a coherent plan, and end up wasting huge amounts of money on reform of stuff that a) doesn't need reforming or b) does need reforming but in a much different way. I think what I'm looking for is a little better balance. if Michigan is going to recover, we have to prioritize education at all levels. As the great public universities go, so goes Michigan. But excellent K-12 education is a critical piece of the polycentric balancing act. So far, the party in charge has shown no sign of conservatism beyond bringing the pledge back to the classroom and certainly no sign of coherency. (Dean Ball's Commission being the one notable exception) In fact, the party in charge appears to want to privatize and deregulate K-12 education.


Thu, Apr 18, 2013 : 3:17 p.m.

Mr Panitch - And not having jobs available will drive them out faster than reduced spending on education. If you don't have a job, and you can't find a job, you will find one someplace else like Texas. Unfortunately jobs are the biggest draw for someone to move to and stay in an area. The lack of jobs drove more people out of Michigan in the Decade BEFORE Governor Snyder took over than were born here or willing to move here. I agree education needs funding, but with a shrinking tax base, raising taxes only leads to more people leaving sooner.

Jack Panitch

Thu, Apr 18, 2013 : 2:51 p.m.

hero. (You will be a hero.) [The character counter told me I had three characters remaining.]

Jack Panitch

Thu, Apr 18, 2013 : 2:48 p.m.

Mr. Lange Ranzini: "AAPS . . . needs a lot of change to fix the huge deficit." Way too vague. The District can't operate at a deficit, but for fund equity, which it still has and which places it in better shape than most districts. I think what you are referring to is that for the past several years, the political party in charge in Lansing has placed a much lower priority on funding public education than it has on attracting business to the State of Michigan. This approach appears to follow some kind of trickle-down theory. The other political party observes that the minority's approach is more than a bit callous to the middle and lower class. However, the political party that represents the majority of the people of the State of Michigan isn't the party in control, and the lines are so gerrymandered that at this point it doesn't really matter what the majority of the people of the State of Michigan say they want in study after study: the tear-down and disinvestment will continue until Michigan and Ann Arbor are no longer attractive to young families with children. Yes, the District knows that it will get less money from the state each year and that unless someone solves the structural deficit caused by stuff that can only be solved at the state level and unless we can convince the party in power that public education is a valuable part of our democracy and our communities and worth funding at a much higher level, year after year every district in this State will have to continue to cut away at things all of us value hugely. Moreover, every district will have to do it in a way that everyone shares the pain in an equitable manner, that we aren't disadvantaging any particular group out of proportion to the whole, which adds a really gut-wrenching dynamic to each community's discussion. None of us, no matter our political ideology, wants to see money wasted, and if you can truly assist in some way in finding efficiencies that will work, you will be a


Thu, Apr 18, 2013 : 11:14 a.m.

Mexicotte said the board could go back at any time and revisit the topic of an interim superintendent and could appoint a new interim if the search takes longer than expected. I continue to be amazed at what comes out of her mouth... What about the impact to the first interim when he/when is told they are being replaced by another interim?


Thu, Apr 18, 2013 : 10:58 a.m.

The BOE - the blind leading the blind. They do not know how to pick a good leader for our school system. They do not know how to conduct a meaningful interview. I really need to continue? Go figure!

Nick Danger

Thu, Apr 18, 2013 : 10:46 a.m.

Stay local hire from the community.The AAPS's has a long history of favoring outside candidates and over looking local talent.The assumption that we always need to look elsewhere has not worked out.Ann Arbor is a unique community and need someone with a true understanding of our city. Balas is filled with transplants with little knowledge of AAPS's institutional history. Again shop local!


Thu, Apr 18, 2013 : 10:30 a.m.

Do we really have to go through a national search using an expense search firm again? How about taking a clue from the AA police department, who went through similar leadership turnover, and hire someone from within the ranks who understands the area and politics and will stay awhile?


Fri, Apr 19, 2013 : 12:06 p.m.

Chucky brings up a key point - why doesn't AAPS look inside? With all those central administrators, surely one or some are qualified.


Thu, Apr 18, 2013 : 4:03 p.m.

A2Realilty - try reading my entire comment.


Thu, Apr 18, 2013 : 12:46 p.m.

Looks like we won't have to pay Ray more, but will we have to repeat spending that other $15K that nobody seems to have a clue about?


Thu, Apr 18, 2013 : 12:25 p.m.

@All - Read this paragraph again: "The initial contract with Ray & Associates was for $21,000, but the firm only charged AAPS $14,000, said board assistant Amy Osinski. She said the incidentals that Ray & Associates consultants racked up last time "probably was not much more than $1,000." The remainder of the $29,919 the district spent in total on the 2010 search is not clear." Approximately half of the cost of the "2010 search is not clear". So, it could still be pretty expensive.


Thu, Apr 18, 2013 : 11:22 a.m.

Try reading the article before commenting. Your rhetorical question is largely the focus of the article. Geez...


Thu, Apr 18, 2013 : 11:14 a.m.

Not expensive. Basically free.