Meet the Staff / Marcia Schaffer
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Trustee Andy Thomas asked if the WISD was aware of any industry standards in terms of cost per student mile that would allow AAPS to benchmark the efficiency of the consortium, and also asked Green to have AAPS staff review the effect of the transportation changes to absenteeism in the district.
Lightfoot also questioned the cost of services provided by the consortium. Ann Arbor Open and Community Five parents spoke to the board during public commentary regarding the proposed cuts to busing that would affect students attending Ann Arbor Open and Community High School. Bruce Tasonjy, whose daughter will be attending Community in the fall, said that the cuts to busing will make it hard for single parents to keep their jobs.
He also suggested cutting salaries across the board, instead of laying off so many employees. Matish said parents at Ann Arbor Open are sympathetic to the difficulty of the job facing the board, but noted that Ann Arbor Open serves students ages 4 to 14, who deserve the same services as their K-8 peers.
She argued that cutting busing would limit Ann Arbor Open to families who live nearby the school and are able to transport their children to and from school each day. Zimmerman suggested that Ann Arbor Open could make other cuts that would equal the cost of transporting to and from the school.
Zimmerman also pointed out that students who are interested in pursuing open education might find local charter schools more interesting if AAPS does not offer transportation to Ann Arbor Open.
Finally, Sickman-Garner said that if the board does decide to eliminate bus service to Ann Arbor Open, the school will need help from the district to ensure student safety during drop-off and pick-up. She pointed out that twice every day, students and their families are converging on one building with a small parking lot in the middle of a neighborhood.
Board Discussion Trustee Simone Lightfoot said she would like to see the district form a transportation committee that includes representation from parents and kids who are affected, and said she would be willing work with the committee.
Thomas said that it seems to him, in looking over the budget projections, that the question is not whether but when to eliminate transportation. In my view, transportation appears to be a dead duck.
Citing the extreme dedication and determination of Ann Arbor Open parents, Thomas said he firmly believed that these parents would figure out how to organize carpools to get their kids to school.
Baskett also pointed out that the elimination of the 4 p. Allen noted that the elimination of the bus would impact both academic and athletic programs at the middle schools. Jill Zimmerman, an Ann Arbor Open parent who stayed at the meeting past 2 a. She said that she appreciates that Thomas thinks Ann Arbor Open parents are super-dedicated, and that Patalan thinks they could set an example for the district, but pointed out that it would a hard burden for Ann Arbor Open parents to lose transportation.
Lastly, she pointed out that the kids who will leave Ann Arbor Open due to a lack of transportation will be its most vulnerable kids. Almost all of the speakers reflected on the way that Clemente functions more like a family than a school. During the April 25 meeting, comments made by individual board members about the Clemente meeting indicated a general willingness to consider relocating the program into the building currently being used by A2 Tech. Many students gave examples of their grade point averages before and after moving into Clemente from their traditional programs, and credited the school with their turnarounds.
They talked about how they had taken responsibility for themselves and were preparing to attend college. Many asked that board members visit Clemente to see firsthand how unique and well-suited the environment is to this population of students. Finally, the most prevalent theme was the family atmosphere fostered at Clemente; multiple students called Clemente home, and the school community a family.
Students explained that the medals signified the attainment of certain grade point averages.Skyline High Black History Month performance at AAPS Board of Education
He is not a statistic. And, he is not a dollar sign. Public Commentary from Staff Clemente principal Ben Edmondson stood beside each student as they spoke, but said little himself other than that he was proud of his students and thankful for the opportunity to be their principal. Board Discussion Lightfoot asked why Community High School had not been considered for closure or restructuring, as the other two alternative high schools had been. He expressed concern about being able to effectively merge the two programs when they are operationally very different.
Will it be that they share teachers and classrooms, or will it be A2 Tech on one side of the building and Clemente on the other side, as though they are still five miles apart?
I am willing to keep an open mind, but I am really concerned. She said she trusts the principals to work it out. We know it is important to us, and we know it costs more.
So, if we are going to do it then we have to play the price for it, and I think our children are worth it. Band and Orchestra Camps: David Baum, co-president of the Pioneer Band Association, asked the board not to cut funding for the band camps.
He noted that more than students attend the camps, and said that they are the springboard into the academic music program each year. Baum argued that cutting the camps would lower the quality of the band and orchestra programs, and will eventually lead music students to choose to leave the district. Doyle is currently studying physics at the University of Michigan.
Charlie Geronimous said band camp inspired him to work harder and be a better musician, and brought kids together in ways not seen anywhere else. Judy Pao added that orchestra camp helped her to transition to high school a lot easier, and that she felt like she was in a family on the first day of school. This month, the report focused entirely on the possible elimination of district funding for band and orchestra camps. The associated loss of funding from these departures will cause a vicious cycle of additional budget deficits and more cuts to programming, Zing said.
She suggested asking students for alternative ideas before eliminating the music camps. Board Discussion Allen suggested that additional fundraising could be done to cover the cost of the camps. Thomas said it is absolutely unacceptable for the district to cut 32 teaching positions after having cut 65 last year and more the year before that. Thomas suggested using more fund equity to be able to save the 32 teaching FTEs.
Allen noted that the counselors are currently being staffed at to 1, but could be staffed at to 1. In response to board questions, he said the reductions would be for two middle school counselors and two high school counselors. Baskett asked how the new counseling and guidance program rolled out this February will be affected by the proposed reductions, and what other impacts the counseling reductions will have.
Nelson and Stead each remarked on how the budget will be affected if the tech bond does not pass, noting that certain infrastructure within the district will need to be upgraded with or without the dedicated funding, due to changes in state law on data management and reporting requirements.
During items from the board, Mexicotte made a similar plea. She reported that she and Green had attended part of a recent state summit on education, and had found it disappointing. Trustees asked for clarification about what was included in these budgets. Green listed items included in these budgets as: Lightfoot asked where programs such as Reada reading support program, fall in the budget, and if they were at risk of being cut by lowering the discretionary budgets.
Allen said software such as Read is paid for out by the instructional department. Green added that there is absolutely no consideration being given to cutting Read funding. Patalan asked where the funds for School Improvement Teams are located in the budget, and Allen said those funds come out of the central budget. Deputy superintendent Alesia Flye added that most buildings use their money to pay for substitute teachers so building SIT team members can be brought together to meet.
Association and Student Reports Five associations are invited to make regular reports to the school board: The Youth Senate is also invited to speak once a month, as are representatives from each of the high schools.
Meet the Staff / Cindy Leaman
AAPS officials have been hustling to adjust class sizes and sections following budget cuts in June. Though district officials are continually monitoring class sizes, there will likely be classes that will have 35 students throughout the whole year, said spokeswoman Liz Margolis.
Svensson, a clinical social worker at the University of Michigan, said his daughter came home from the first day of school "shocked" at how many students she was sharing class with. In her accelerated geometry class, there are 38 students in her section, Svensson said.
In another section, there are 41 students. History and German classes at Pioneer are also seeing class sizes larger than 38 students. Large class sizes are the biggest concern for teachers, Carter said. You want to be able to service and teach all the kids. After teachers were put on layoff notice over the summer, district officials scrambled to match open positions with their available staff.
At least three of the teachers that received layoff notices resigned for other jobs, Carter said. A total of 20 employees resigned over the summer and 35 employees retired. Two employees—an equivalent of 1. In particular, district officials are monitoring two large classes at Community High School: Spanish II and Latin I.
Additional sections may be added, Margolis said.