Local budget problems

Items related to the AAPS's current budget difficulties, especially the need to find $11 million in cuts for FY08 and 09.

District finance presentation

Thanks to parent Ed Vielmetti, we have a copy of the slide show that Robert Allen (Deputy Superintendent of Operations, AAPS) gave at the community meeting at Burns Park two weeks ago. Click here to see a web version of the slide show, albeit without Mr. Allen’s commentary. Let’s talk about this!

Roberts presents plan to close deficit

Note: more information and discussion below the fold.

Superintendent Todd Roberts presented his plan to close next year’s projected $7.5 million budget deficit to the Ann Arbor school board last Wednesday night. According to press reports, the plan relies on eliminating 58 staff positions through attrition, including 34 middle and high school teacher positions. Also slated for cutting were 73 food service workers, who would lose their positions with the district as food service was entirely privatized.

Thinking "outside the box": discuss Orr's proposals

In last Sunday and Monday’s Ann Arbor News, former Board of Education trustee Brad Orr made a number of what he called “outside the box” suggestions for bringing the AAPS’s budget deficit under control. His first article focused on short-term proposals: 1) Don’t open the new high school; 2) eliminate busing; 3) have elementary principals supervise two buildings; 4) freeze administration pay and eliminate Board of Education compensation.

Couldn't have said it better!

I saw this letter to the editor in the Ann Arbor News last Friday (13 April) and was grinning from ear to ear! In three short paragraphs, Ms. Angle, of Ypsilanti, deftly summed up the reason we invest in public education and why it’s worth defending. I wanted to share it with you.

Union, Board approve middle school restructuring and buy-out plans

In what must be one of the shortest public meetings on record, the AAPS Board of Education received the news that the Ann Arbor teacher’s union had approved changes in their contract necessary to restructure the middle schools, and then went ahead and gave their approval to the agreement tonight as well.

Smaller Class Sizes?

As I learned about the middle school restructuring, it seemed to me that some of the teaming and other MS features were cut back in order to keep class sizes down. I asked a friend, a middle school teacher in Ann Arbor: “What about smaller class sizes, I thought research indicated that smaller class sizes are better?”

Budget cutting round 1: Middle School restructuring

As part of its efforts to meet the expected deficits over the next two years, the AAPS launched an initiative to restructure the middle school program and curriculum so as to find about $2 million in cost savings. They started with the middle schools because they have the highest cost of operation per student. Cutting funding from programs that do not have a lot of leeway is never a desirable thing, but it is clear that the district will be under a lot of budget pressure for some time to come.

The question is, are the current proposals the best solution under the circumstances?