Deb Mexicotte

Ann Arbor Public Schools
Andrew Cluley / 89.1 WEMU

Seven weeks from now voters in Ann Arbor and Whitmore Lake will decide the future of Whitmore Lake Public Schools.  That's when the vote on an annexation plan takes place.  Voters will have several chances to find out more about the proposal.


Ann Arbor Public Schools
Andrew Cluley / 89.1 WEMU

In November residents in the Ann Arbor and Whitmore Lake school districts will decide if annexation plans move forward. Ann Arbor Public Schools officials think decisions made in the coming weeks in Lansing will be important to voters.


Ann Arbor Public Schools
Andrew Cluley / 89.1 WEMU

In her first year on the job Ann Arbor Public Schools Superintendent Jeanice Swift led a wide variety of changes in an effort to meet community desires and boost attendance.


Ann Arbor Public Schools
Andrew Cluley / 89.1 WEMU

In lieu of state funds, Ann Arbor Public Schools will charge almost $15,000 tuition for some non-residents. The school board approved the maximum tuition the state allows for students that missed schools of choice enrollment or aren't eligible.  


Ann Arbor Public Schools
Andrew Cluley / 89.1 WEMU

Ann Arbor Public Schools could gain more than just Whitmore Lake's approximately 1,000 students if annexation plans move forward.  That's because Whitmore Lake Public Schools currently accepts schools of choice students from Livingston County.  


Ann Arbor Public Schools
Andrew Cluley / 89.1 WEMU

Additional students, a freeze on employee pay, and outsourcing custodial work are keys to Ann Arbor Public Schools having a balanced budget for next year.  The school board approved the $197 million general fund plan early Thursday morning.  


From the Listen and Learn tour, to a budget strategy that focused on increasing enrollment new superintendent Jeanice Swift is getting high marks from the Ann Arbor School Board.  


Ann Arbor Public Schools
Andrew Cluley / 89.1 WEMU

The Ann Arbor School Board has taken steps towards completing next year's budget, but chose not to vote on the plan Wednesday night.  The delay is designed to give more time to adjust spending based on the state's new K-12 funding model.  


a2schools.org

The Ann Arbor Public Schools Board of Education has approved hiring company to run its custodial services starting in July.  The Ann Arbor News reports 114 custodians will no longer be employees of the district as of June 30. Crew chiefs also would be laid off. 

Ann Arbor Public Schools
Andrew Cluley / 89.1 WEMU

Families could soon have the option of paying tuition to have their children attend Ann Arbor Public Schools.  


AAPS

The Ann Arbor School Board has approved a package of program enhancements designed to attract more students particularly to underutilized schools. 

The changes include co-locating Roberto Clemente and Ann Arbor Tech High; a K-8 science, technology, engineering, arts, and math program at Northside Elementary; and new pre-k programs at Allen and Thurston Elementary. 

Superintendent Jeanice Swift says the next step is creating committees of staff, students, and community members to develop the detailed action plans for each new program. 

School board president Deb Mexicotte says the programs are designed to keep costs down but it's still a calculated risk that the new options will attract more students. 

The programs are designed to respond to some of the most common concerns raised by community members during the Listen and Learn tour.

There has been positive community feedback about the Pre-K programs at Allen and Thurston and the STEAM program for Northside Elementary.  Several Roberto Clemente supporters however told the board they have concerns about what will happen when they move into the same building as Ann Arbor Tech.

The Ann Arbor School Board has asked administrators to move ahead with a series of program enhancements for the next school year in an effort to better fill the district’s buildings.

The improvements include a K-8 Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics program at Northside Elementary, pre-school programs at Allen and Thurston Elementary Schools, and co-location of a variety of alternative High School programs at the Stone School building.

Superintendent Jeanice Swift says the programs came from community comments raised during her Listen and Learn tour and staff did enough prep work so they can be ready this fall.

The board is expected to get more complete reports on the program enhancements at their meeting next week and could vote on them with two weeks.

School Board President Deb Mexicotte says the quick turn-around should work since the controversial issues like co-locating Roberto Clemente and Ann Arbor Tech have been worked on by the district over the last few years.  She says most of the other changes come directly from what the community asked for repeatedly during the Listen and Learn tour.   Mexicotte says the district is finding ways to respond quickly to community needs without additional funding.

The programs were part of seven next steps Superintendent Jeanice Swift made as part of her report on the listen and learn tour.  Swift gave her initial report on the tour at the board retreat.  The report will be available online at the district’s website Friday and Swift will hold public meetings to get feedback starting Tuesday at Clague Middle School.

At the retreat the board also worked on establishing board and superintendent goals, and discussed the superintendent evaluation.

Mexicotte says it’s great to see that the program enhancements being considered work toward achieving many of the board’s goals.  She says this shows the board’s goals are aligned with want the community wants to see from the district.

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.

USDAgov / Foter.com / CC BY

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.

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 new Superintendent of the Ann Arbor Public School District will be on the job for the start of the new academic year. 

As WEMU's Andrew Cluley reports, the Board of Education last night approved a five-year contract for the former Colorado Springs District 11 Assistant Superintendent of Instruction.


A plan to charge Ann Arbor high school students a $100 fee to take an optional 7th hour class has been dropped. The Board of Education last night voted unanimously to drop the fee for the coming academic year. As WEMU's Andrew Cluley reports, the board is sending the fee proposal back to its planning committee for further review.


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 is set to interview six semi-finalists for the districts Superintendent position. As WEMU's Andrew Cluley reports, the board last night finalized most of the remaining plans for the selection process.

Ann Arbor Public Schools will use almost one-point-two million dollars in reserves to balance next year's budget.  as WEMU's Andrew Cluley reports, the School Board early this morning approved the district budget for the 2013-14 fiscal year.