Now is the time to be involved, decisions are being made

As we advocate for funds not to be pulled from the schools, we also need to think about how the money that does come into the district is used. For example, if the State does cut funding to our schools and possibly even if it doesn’t, we are facing a middle school restructuring in the Ann Arbor Public School District. We wonder, is this the right thing to do? Maybe it is but we are feeling the need to know a lot more about how money is used in the district. We feel there isn’t a lot of information that reaches the parents in the school system about how decisions are being made. Not that there aren’t opportunities to find out information but we, as parents, just arent’ there. Now is the time, especially during budget cuts, that many decisions are being made and when we need to be involved in both what is happening at the State level and in Ann Arbor. How do we encourage parents to get involved and interested in what goes on in the school district?

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Essay in Ann Arbor News

The Ann Arbor News published an essay I wrote about school funding issues in their “Other Voices” column this past Sunday (11 March). If you think it might be a helpful introduction to the subject for someone you know, please feel free to point them to the web version:

http://www.mlive.com/columns/aanews/index.ssf?/base/news-0/1173609915244...

Unfortunately, the web version does not have my affiliation info, which includes this web site. So be sure to give folks a pointer here as well. Hope this helps!

 
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Talk to your friends

I think it’s really important to talk to the people you know, especially other parents, about what is going on. School budget issues get only so-so coverage in the news, and government budget stuff is pretty boring no matter how you slice it. But it’s so important! When I went to one of Todd Roberts’ school finance public meetings last fall, there were only about 20 people in the audience, and only 5 or so of us were parents. It does seem like Dr. Roberts is trying to get public buy-in on plans to re-assess the curriculum and to find ways to trim the budget. I know it’s tempting to say that “we just can’t have any effect,” but that is definitely true if school officials ask for public input and it looks like no one is interested.

As a bumper sticker I once saw said, “The World Is Run By Those Who Show Up!” The school officials and school board sure won’t take our opinions into account if we don’t show up. I hope that as people learn more about what’s happening, and what is at stake, they’ll feel more like getting involved.