Budget issues: spending priorities

At our June 12 meeting, we received a number of questions that related to actual or possible spending cuts in the AAPS budget. These questions revolved around a key issue: what is expendable, what isn’t, and have we done all we can to avoid cuts to important programming. Some of these questions were addressed at the meeting, and we’ll be adding notes from the meeting below.

“School officials have said that most of the cuts made so far have come from non-instructional areas, including administration. Many people, however, wonder if administrative spending has really been cut back. What kinds of cuts have been made in non-instructional spending, and can any more be done?”

“How much of a priority do you feel it is to maintain current funding for art, music, and drama? If this is a high priority, what can be done to accomplish this?”

“Why do the elementary schools have a secretary and a teacher clerk? A compromise: a teacher clerk spends 1 day at 5 different elementary schools as added support….We could use the money for things which had direct impact on students.”

“When the district addresses the question of investing in our students, has it considered how cutting ESL teachers will detrimentally affect English language learners – a group which, for the most part, does not have vocal parents?”

“English is the international language of business. We know that families from around the world choose the Ann Arbor schools based on recommendations of other families who have moved here. If Ann Arbor is concerned with raising revenues, why are they cutting 20% of ESL staff and thereby affecting enrollment? Why are we not capitalizing on this?”

“I suggest we reexamine all ‘extras.” An example: the 8th grade end of year trips to Washington DC, Chicago, etc. [where teacher expenses are paid]. Couldn’t those resources be better used?”

Disclaimer: Comments posted here represent the informed personal opinion of the author. Postings by individuals who otherwise serve in an official capacity with the AAPS, Board of Education, the AAEA, or other organizations, do not necessarily represent the official position of those organizations unless otherwise noted.