ann arbor school board

Ann Arbor Public Schools Superintendent Jeanice Swift has given the school board an initial report from her Listen and Learn tour.  

Jesse f/2.8 / Foter.com / CC BY-NC

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. 

SEE ALSO: Ann Arbor Public Schools Parents Hopeful for Return of Tuition Based Pre-School

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.


Up to 5% of Ann Arbor Public Schools students in the fall could be coming to the district from other school districts in Washtenaw County.  The school board Wednesday night voted unanimously to open 750 school of choice seats for out of district students. 

Superintendent Jeanice Swift says the jump in school of choice seats is one of several efforts to better fill the district's classrooms.

The district has increased the number of school of choice students attending in each of the last four years, but never has filled all of the available seats. 

To help fill the spaces this year the district is planning a marketing campaign and district officials hope having spaces in all grades except the last two years of high school will help attract families with multiple children.

School of choice applications will be accepted March third through April first.  From Friday through February 14th the district will accept applications for in-district school of choice for students who don't want to attend the school where they live.

Ann Arbor Public Schools will offer over 225 online classes to middle school and high school students this semester. 

The school board Wednesday night approved the district's virtual academy's catalog, and also approved opening ten seats in one algebra class to students from other districts. 

School board member Christine Stead says new state laws regarding online learning are yet another unfunded mandate, but the district is working to make the best of the changes.

District officials are hoping to learn a lot from offering the single algebra class to students from other districts.  They expect to have many more online classes available to students from other districts in the fall. 

Superintendent Jeanice Swift says with the uncertainties around new state laws about online classes every district in Michigan is facing similar challenges.

The deadline for registering for online classes this semester is January 22nd with classes starting one week later.

The Ann Arbor School Board is maintaining the same leadership positions as last year. 

The board held its organizational meeting Wednesday night and President Deb Mexicotte was unanimously re-elected.  Christine Stead will remain vice-president, Andy Thomas continues as secretary, and Glenn Nelson is still the treasurer. 

Mexicotte says with the new superintendent in place and program changes to be considered the board wanted to maintain some stability in an area that's working well.

The board also made no changes to standing committee assignments.  However the future of an ad-hoc committee investigating options around a possible recreation millage is up in the air after they present their report in two weeks.

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Ann Arbor Public Schools next month will be looking at what changes are necessary to prepare the district for new federal guidelines on what food can be sold during the school day. 

The new rules begin July 1st. 

They require the first ingredient of any food sold in schools be a whole grain, fruit, vegetable, or protein. 

SEE ALSO: Ann Arbor Schools To Roll Out Enhanced Security Measures

 

School Board President Deb Mexicotte says the new rules will put some limits on what is available, but doesn't eliminate all snacks. Mexicotte adds, that it doesn't affect food brought to school by students or parents.  The new rules also end 30 minutes after the school day so concession stands at evening events don't have to adhere to the guidelines.

Mexicotte believes the school stores, vending machines and fundraising efforts will face the biggest challenge from the new rules.  She says Chartwells has been planning for the new requirements for some time so the food available in cafeterias should be able to meet the new rules.

Ann Arbor Schools officials say eight years of providing quality, on-line classes have the the district well positioned to meet new state regulations mandating more online offerings. Starting in January, all public districts in Michigan are required to allow students from fifth grade through high school to take up to two online classes, per academic term.  Anthony Lauer is the Online and Options Coordinator in Ann Arbor, and says the district is working with the state to finalize details on its online options.

Some school board members expressed concern the new law lacks assurance of quality of education and is more focused on driving down educational costs. Some also questioned whether expanding online options to elementary and middle schools students serves the nest interests of the students.

For a complete report, listen below to the full report from WEMU's Andrew Cluley.

Ann Arbor Public Schools will continue to participate in three county-wide, alternative programs for high school students.   The Board of Education Thursday night voted to maintain it's relationship with the consortium that includes the Early College Alliance (ECA), Washtenaw International High School (WI-High) and Widening Achievement for Youth (WAY) program.  The resolution calls on Superintendent Jeanice Swift to target no more than 10 spots in the WAY program, 35 new slots in the E-C-A, and 40 new slots for Wi-High.  District officials had called into question whether Ann Arbor should continue in the consortium, citing a lack of transparency and communication with Washtenaw Intermediate School District officials that op[erate the program. WISD Superintendent Scott Menzel apologized for communication issues and says they will do better in the future. Ann Arbor school board members also accepted some of the blame in the communication break-down and for missing consortium meetings.  For a full report, listen below.

The Ann Arbor School Board has voted to put a renewal of the district's sinking fund millage on the November ballot. WEMU's Andrew Cluley has the story.

AAPS

The Washtenaw County Election Commission on Thursday rejected ballot language that sought to recall six members of the Ann Arbor Public Schools Board of Education. 

As WEMU's Andrew Cluley reports, the commission voted unanimously to reject submission for lack of clarity.


The Ann Arbor school board has voted four-to-three to offer a contract to Jeanice Swift to be the district's next superintendent. 

The board held a special afternoon meeting Wedneday to decide how to proceed after South Orange Maplewood, New Jersey Superintendent Brian Osborne turned down an offer for the job. 

Swift is currently Assistant Superintendent for Instruction with Colorado Springs District 11. 

WEMU's Andrew Cluley reports that board President Deb Mexicotte will negotiate a contract with Swift.

Officials in the Ann Arbor Public Schools are hoping to quickly work out a contract with the Board of Education's choice for district Superintendent. As WEMU's Andrew Cluley reports, the School Board last Friday, voted unanimously to offer the job to Brian Osborne. Osborne is currently Superintendent of New Jersey's South Orange and Maplewood School District. 

Brian Osborne's current contract in New Jersey mandates a 90-day notification prior to departure. If a contract is agreed upon, it could mean three months before he can start in Ann Arbor.

The Ann Arbor Board of Education continues to grapple with exactly where to make about nine-million dollars in budget reductions. As WEMU's Andrew Cluley reports, the board last night held a public hearing on it's proposed plan.

There will be three occasions next fiscal year for which the Ann Arbor Public schools will have to borrow money to cover payroll costs. As WEMU's Andrew Cluley reports, the Board of Education last night passed as resolution authorizing establishment of a line of credit of up to 10-million dollars.

There has been no shortage of input from the community at public forums on the Ann Arbor School District's budget proposal. The latest hearing was held Tuesday night at Pioneer High school. The budget proposal calls for eight-point-seven million dollars in cuts for the upcoming academic year. As WEMU's Andrew Cluley reports, attendees are also suggesting ways to enhance district revenue.

Ann Arbor public schools superintendent Pat Green's proposed budget cuts of $8.7 million for next school year include a reduction of 75 employees.  It's the starting point for budget discussions, as we hear from WEMU's Andrew Cluley.

The Ann Arbor school board has approved the timeline, salary range, profile, and advertising strategy it will use in finding the district's next superintendent.  Hear more from WEMU's Andrew Cluley.

Less than a week after Ann Arbor Schools Superintendent Pat Green announced her retirement, the school board has begun planning how it will find the next superintendent.  WEMU's Andrew Cluley has more on the board's developing search strategy.

The Ann Arbor school district will once more be looking for a new superintendent.  After less than two years on the job, Superintendent Pat Green has announced she will retire after the end of the school year.  Hear more from WEMU's Andrew Cluley.

The budget situation for next year is not quite as bad as first projected for the Ann Arbor school district.  School administrators released the latest revenue projections Wednesday night.  Hear more from WEMU's Andrew Cluley.

The Ann Arbor school board has approved a series of policy changes designed to make the board more efficient and meetings shorter.  Hear more from WEMU's Andrew Cluley.

With regular meetings typically running past midnight, the Ann Arbor school board is considering some changes to make the board more efficient.   Hear more from WEMU's Andrew Cluley.

The Ann Arbor school board has approved a statement of standards and principles it expects board members to meet.  Hear more from WEMU's Andrew Cluley.

The Ann Arbor school board has approved new contracts with the district's teachers, para-professionals, and office staff.  The new contracts will save the district $3.4 million in the next school year.  Hear more from WEMU's Andrew Cluley.

As part of the timeline for developing a budget for the next school year, small groups of Ann Arbor school board members will meet with community members in dialogue sessions.  Hear more from WEMU's Andrew Cluley.

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