Thursday, October 1, 2009

October 1 Updates

There's still doom and gloom on the state budget front. The one slight ray of sunshine is that the cuts in the education budget are a big part of what are holding things up. So keep calling your legislators (and actually, I think the ones who represent the majority of Washtenaw County have been pretty good in safeguarding kids, but they can stand to hear from you--I'm not sure about the southern edge of the county). Next week, when the legislature returns (they apparently needed a break after working so hard), if you want, you can watch some really compelling tv of the House and Senate in session. (Reading a blog can come across with a measure of tone deafness. That was meant to be deep sarcasm.)
UPDATE 10/2: The Ann Arbor Chronicle points out that Ypsilanti City Council member Brian Robb has posted Kirk Profit's updates to the city about the state budget process on his blog, You might find them interesting. I do.

H1N1 is spreading. I think you already knew that. Apparently the county health department is planning mass vaccination clinics, at schools, in early November (which is when they'll have access to the vaccine). What's unknown, at this point, is whether most of the kids will get the flu before the vaccine. And what's also unknown is whether parents will think the vaccine is important for their kids. Oh, and I just got a letter from the Ann Arbor school district, where the takeaway message was "stay home when you are sick" and that to avoid H1N1 you should "teach your kids to wash their hands." OK, so why didn't they write, "Use your common sense!" Maybe because, when you read about the state legislature's antics, you realize that common sense can be pretty uncommon.

If you liked the Bernie Mac show, you will like this piece about flu transmission. I think it is very funny! If perhaps a bit overdone...but then again, I'm not very squeamish.

Student count numbers are out. And what is amazing is the way that small variations really add up. In a district the size of Ann Arbor (over 16,000 students), going up 68 students is less than a .5% change--possibly just natural fluctuation. But it's also worth a lot of money. Of course, it would help the schools if they knew how much money they were getting per student. It's already 1/4 of the way through the school fiscal year  which means any cuts will be  magnified because they will have to be made for the second half of the year. The one district which didn't have a little swing--it had a BIG swing--was Willow Run. Read my thoughts about that here.

So, sooner or later I'm going to have to write about the proposed county education millage. I thought I would wait until the state budget was approved, but maybe that won't be feasible.What I will say tonight, though, is--if you need to register to vote, tomorrow would be a good day to do it.


  1. Here is another thing about H1N1. Did you know that a lot of school nurses this year are having all or most of their time classified as H1N1? That is to catch hold of the revenue stream that is saved for "pandemics." In other words, if not for the H1N1 money, it is likely that some more school nurses would have had their jobs cut--or they would have had their jobs saved, and someone else would have had their jobs cut.

  2. And the Ypsilanti Citizen has the Willow Run School Board's reactions to the enrollment numbers.

  3. Ruth, two clarifications...The AAPS has designated. 4FT of one of the district nurses to be the H1N1 nurse for this year. This nurse will work directly with Public Health to monitor, plan for the vaccination clinics and be our medical advisor. There is no new money for this postion. AAPS reallocated the nurses to create this position for this year.

    The district saw an increase of 68 students, not 168. Which is still encouraging!

  4. Typo on the 168 students--I'm correcting it now! And thanks for the clarification about the nursing staff.