AAPS Budget discussions

Top district officials held open public meetings last week to talk about school funding and the AAPS budget.

Update: A copy of the district’s presentation, and a place to submit questions online, can be found on the AAPS web site.

Attendance was modest in the extreme, and details of any potential cuts were few, but it was a good opportunity to explain to citizens what has been happening with school funding and where the district finds itself today. Even before the Governor’s proposed budget cuts (see story on MIPFS site soon), the AAPS was projecting a deficit of nearly $6 million on a budget of $185 million that would continue the current level of services. While the Governor’s proposed $59 per pupil cut (nearly $1 million in Ann Arbor’s case) is probably moot because of the Federal stimulus funding, the district may still face another $60 per pupil cut in state funding in a separate provision that only applies to higher-spending districts.

Superintendent Todd Roberts and Deputy Supt. Robert Allen (the CEO and CFO, respectively, of our schools) gave few details about what might have to be cut. This is partly understandable, because the net impact of the federal stimulus is still totally up in the air. However, they did not even go into as much detail as they had in the Board of Education’s study session in February (see our story here). Some parents in attendance pointed this out, and pressed for details on when the public would be able to give real feedback on options to reduce the budget deficit. Dr. Roberts said there would be more public meetings and a formal public hearing later in the budget process.

AAPFS was invited to speak, as was AAPS Educational Foundation head Wendy Correll; both groups made the case that both grassroots lobbying and private giving were important options for those concerned about the fate of our schools.

Rather than repeat the main points here, we would like to direct our readers to very good coverage of the event by Mary Morgan in the Ann Arbor Chronicle. AAPS has put a copy of their presentation on the district’s web site, with a place where readers can submit questions that will be compiled into a Frequently Asked Questions document. Video of the hour-long second meeting, at Forsythe Middle School, will be broadcast on CTN cable channel 18 on the following schedule:

  • Sat, 3/7 at 10am
  • Sun 3/8 at 12pm
  • Mon 3/9 at 11pm
  • Tue 3/10 at 1pm
  • Thurs 3/12 at 11am
  • Mon 3/16 at 11pm
  • Fri 3/20 at 11am
  • Tue 3/24 at 9pm
  • Wed 3/25 at 5:30pm
  • Thurs 3/26 at 11:30am
    Check with CTN for schedule changes.