I support the annexation of Whitmore Lake schools by Ann Arbor schools--at least, conceptually speaking. I haven't seen all the details yet, but here's why I think it's a good thing.
1. I believe it will offer many more opportunities to Whitmore Lake students and teachers, without harming Ann Arbor students and teachers. For instance, do you know that Whitmore Lake High School students don't get a single AP course offering?
|Whitmore Lake Elementary School sign|
Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons
2. I have thought for a long time that the Whitmore Lake school district is too small. Whitmore Lake's total school population last year--K-12--was only around 1,000 students. Whitmore Lake has been operating with the lowest level of per-pupil amount of funding, which has made things very difficult for them, and the size of the district means there are few efficiencies to be found.
3. If Whitmore Lake were to continue down this road we might find them with an emergency manager, and I don't want any of the school districts in the county to be taken over by emergency managers.
4. I am not interested in a single-county district or in growing for growth's sake, but I feel a lot better annexing a district and keeping it as part of the public school economy than I do with siphoning off their population as "schools of choice" students--that weakens Whitmore Lake, and at the same time, those students of choice only bring with them to the Ann Arbor school district the Whitmore Lake students' per-pupil funding balance.
5. The "weighted average" of the per-pupil amounts means that the per-pupil amount for the Whitmore Lake school district students will increase by about $2,000 per pupil. I believe that many students in Whitmore Lake who have opted out of the district will come back, and if additional development takes place outside of the Ann Arbor city limits, there is a good chance it will happen there.
P.S. I've been asked by someone why Ann Arbor schools didn't make this same offer to Ypsilanti. Well really, that's looking at things the wrong way--because to my knowledge, Ypsilanti did not ask to be annexed by Ann Arbor, and Whitmore Lake approached Ann Arbor about being annexed. I think the Whitmore Lake school board is brave and open-minded for asking, and being willing to give up their seats.
P.P.S. Now you'll notice that I said, "Conceptually speaking." There are a gazillion details to look at, but for right now I think I'll be a strong supporter.
Read some stuff from Whitmore Lake about the proposed annexation.
Read some stuff from Ann Arbor about the proposed annexation. (Have you used Board Docs? Go to the 7 p.m. meeting on July 30th, then view the agenda. If you click on an agenda item on the left-hand side, the resolution or document will come up on the right-hand side. At least, usually it will.)
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