Ann Arbor Superintendent Jeanice Swift's Listen and Learn report did a good job of capturing community thoughts on the district according to Parents and Teachers at a meeting at Forysthe Middle School Thursday night.
Ann Arbor Public Schools planned to borrow money up to three times during the school year to address cash flow issues caused by a smaller fund balance than in previous years. The district has now made it through two of the three months that were most likely to require borrowing without needing to seek outside cash.
Chief Financial Officer Nancy Hoover says the planned use of $1.7 million in fund balance this school year, means they may still need to borrow money in June.
Hoover adds, the Washtenaw Intermediate School District helped the district avoid the need to borrow money in December by making a bill for transportation services not due until this month. The city of Ann Arbor also helped the district avoid the need for borrowing in December by quickly remitting some of the taxes they collect for the district.
Hoover says the district's budget included spending $200,000 in interest payments which most of these have now been avoided.
While students are out of the classroom for the winter break, Ann Arbor Public Schools Superintendent Jeanice Swift is working on a report from her four months long Listen and Learn Tour.
Swift attended about 90 meetings including one in every school in the district to get feedback on the common themes and patterns that are concerning the district. Swift says her report should serve as a good outline of issues that the district needs to tackle.
Swift says she expects about a half dozen issues the district will be able to tackle immediately, while many others may take years to fully address.
Swift says the Listen and Learn tour also served as a valuable way for her to get to know about the unique story behind each neighborhood school.
— Andrew Cluley is a reporter and anchor for 89.1 WEMU News. Contact him at 734.487.3363 or email him aCluley@emich.edu.
The Ann Arbor School Board hopes to find alternative options to make the district's high schools even better for a broader range of students. A group of high school leaders have studied more than a half dozen programs including magnet schools, blended classes, new technology programs, and others. They plan on presenting the school board with two or three concrete program ideas in January or February.
School Board president Deb Mexicotte says they hope the upcoming election year could help make some additional high school options possible thanks to additional funding.
Superintendent Jeanice Swift says there are some common themes of more personalized learning approaches and choices in all of the programs reviewed. She says the goal will be to find options that balance increased costs with attracting additional students.
Ann Arbor Public Schools have still not determined how much they will participate in three county-wide high school options. The school board last night postponed a vote until next week's study session on how many seats they will use in the Early College Alliance, Washtenaw International High School, and Widening Advancement for Youth. The delay comes with Ann Arbor Schools wanting to use many fewer seats than the consortium has allocated to the district.
Superintendent Jeanice Swift says much of the confusion has been blamed on the superintendent transition, but she believes both parties are to blame for the communications issues. Swift recommended the district use 80 seats total in the ECA and Wi-Hi and 15 for WAY. The allocation approved by the consortium last month would give Ann Arbor 80 new seats in the ECA alone, and a straight lottery for Wi-Hi.
David Dugger is the Washtenaw Intermediate School District Director of Secondary Options. Dugger says the other consortium members in October opted to continue to use a straight lottery for Wi-Hi and a proportional system to assign slots to the ECA.
Ann Arbor Public Schools used less fund balance last year than approved in the final budget. The School Board last night received a briefing on the 2013 fiscal year budget audit. The audit shows the district used $7.2 million dollars in fund balance, compared to projections of up to $9.8 million.
Superintendent Jeanice Swift says halting furniture and most equipment purchases, travel restrictions, and other measures starting in March saved about $1.5 million. Swift says many of these restrictions are back in place following student enrollment numbers not reaching projections in September.
For nearly a decade, Ann Arbor Public Schools have been able to fund a variety of facility upgrades through a sinking fund millage that brings in about $7.4 million a year. District voters tomorrow will be aske to continue the sinking fund from 2015 through 2019.
The Ann Arbor School board considered several options on how to roll-out enhanced security at the front doors of schools presented by district administrators. While it was just an informational item so no formal vote was taken, board members appeared to agree on a plan to have the buzzer doors added at 12 schools by next fall, and then go district ride the following year.
Superintendent Jeanice Swift says the board has been balancing several competing issues, adding that the 12 schools chosen to go first all have offices that don't have direct line of site with the front door.
She remarked that rolling out the enhanced security measures will include communication and education with families as well as the front office staff. Additionally, the district will also work on signs to help visitors know where to go and how to use the cameras and buzzers.
This two phase approach will cost about $85,000 in the first year, and $105,000 the following year.
Ann Arbor Public Schools are facing both an overall decline in enrollment and some overcrowded classrooms. The school board last night got an update on preliminary information about the start of the school year. WEMU's Andrew Cluley has more.
The Ann Arbor Public Schools Board of Education has revised language in the ballot proposal that will appear before voters in November. The school board met briefly on Monday to address concerns about the original language for renewal of the districts voter-approved sinking fund millage.
As WEMU's Andrew Cluley reports, the question voters will decide is no longer a matter of renewal, but instead, one of continuation.
The Ann Arbor School Board has approved an agreement on participating in the Washtenaw Education Operations Consortium. As WEMU's Andrew Cluley reports, the board has some concerns, but unanimously approved the deal so that students will be able to participate in three programs this year.
The Ann Arbor School Board Friday night unanimously voted to offer the district's Superintendent position to Brian Osborne. Osborne is currently the Superintendent of schools for South Orange and Maplewood Schools in New Jersey.
The school board choose Osborne over Colorado Springs District 11 Assistant Superintendent for Instruction Jeanice Swift. Board President Deb Mexicotte says both candidates had the skills, experience, and core values needed to serve Ann Arbor. She says Osborne was the unanimous choice because he was a better fit, with his interest in working on Ann Arbor's financial, equity, and innovation challenges.
Earlier this week, the two finalists for the position of Superintendent of Ann Arbor Public Schools toured the district, went through a second round of interviews and attended public forums to answer community questions. As WEMU's Andrew Cluley reports, by the end of the day the school board is expected to have made its decision.
Members of the Ann Arbor Board of Education have just over 24-hours to consider whom they prefer to serve as the districts next Superintendent of Schools. As WEMU's Andrew Cluley reports, the second and last finalist last night met with the community at a public forum.
The search is almost over. Tonight, the Ann Arbor Schools community will meet with the 2nd finalist for the district's Superintendent position.
Brian Osborne currently heads up the South Orange and Maplewood School District in New Jersey. He'll be at a forum at Skyline High School at seven tonight to answer any questions the public may have for him. As WEMU's Andrew Cluley reports, the other finalist, Jeanice Swift, went through the same process on Monday night.