Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Ann Arbor: Meetings, Transportation, Strategic Planning, Loss

The Ann Arbor Board of Education has two "regular" board meetings, as well as the performance committee meeting, scheduled for the next 10 days. It is unusual to have two full board meetings so close to each other. (And they also had a board meeting on May 26th, which you can read about in detail in the Ann Arbor Chronicle.)

There are no agendas posted at this point, but I am assuming that the issue of transportation consolidation is going to be on at least one of those agendas...which one? Meetings are not usually scheduled for Friday at 5. [Update 6/2/10 7:40 p.m. The agenda for Friday is still not posted, but I've been told to expect that the focus will be on transportation/consolidation.]
There is also a Performance Committee meeting scheduled and, since the Ann Arbor Chronicle article says that Superintendent Todd Roberts is going to be evaluated in June, I am thinking that process will start at the Performance Committee meeting.

1. 6/4/2010, Friday, 5 p.m., AAPS Board Meeting, Balas Main Conference Room (this is the non-regular, or added, "regular" meeting)
2. 6/9/2010, Wednesday, 7 p.m., AAPS Board Meeting, Ann Arbor District Library 4th Floor Meeting Room
3. 6/10/2010, Thursday, 6 p.m., Performance Committee, Balas Superintendents' Conference Room (This doesn't say executive session, but then again the agenda is not yet posted. Evaluations are generally done--at least partially--in executive session.

Remember, if you have something to say, you can a) be there for public comment; b) mail or email comments specifying they should be considered public comment for the meeting; or c) email the entire Board of Education in one fell swoop at

Tell them what you think about consolidation. Tell them what you think about Todd Roberts' work.

And here are a couple of other things to think about:
1. Larry Simpson, who is the head of the special education division (known as Student Intervention and Support Services), is retiring. Who will take over for him? According to the Chronicle article, there have been 5 administrators of special education in 13 years, and Simpson's tenure (4 years) is the longest. Obviously, that is a problem.
2. If you went to the winter budget meetings and, like me, signed up to be part of a strategic planning subcommittee, you might have been wondering what happened to those lists. Did they get lost? They were supposed to start in May, and now the board is discussing whether they should get started over the summer or in the fall. Are they trying to avoid engaging the public? It seems like it is "never" a good time. Summer is busy, fall is busy, then we get into December, and--well, my goodness--everyone knows that December is busy.
Listen up, school board and staff--the best time to start strategic planning is now. Strategic planning does not have to be intimately tied to the 2011-2012 budget, because strategic planning is long-term. It is not budget planning.
3. Buried (no pun intended) in the Ann Arbor Chronicle report is a mention of the death of Pioneer student Jasmine Thomas. As far as I could tell, there was no other reporting of her death. You can read her obituary here.


  1. A notice about Jasmine Thomas' death came home with all Pioneer students. It may also have been sent out electronically. Not sure but I know I read it.

  2. I've been told that the Superintendent's evaluation will happen in executive session with the full board, not with the Performance Committee. [Agendas are not posted for the upcoming meetings, but I am told that Friday will be a meeting about transportation.] It turns out that the Performance Committee doesn't deal with evaluation of personnel at all! Here is what they do:
    • Discuss, review, evaluate current and ongoing initiatives, programs and proposals that impact curriculum, instruction and student achievement
    • Annually review the strategic plan
    • Verify academic programs are aligned with strategic goals
    • Review Staffing models, personnel management policies, and salary/wage/benefits administration strategies
    • Review the alignment of HRS operations and practices with Strategic Plan goals
    • Review annual financial audit, proposed budget and quarterly financial reports
    • Author, review, and/or recommend to the board changes in board bylaws or policy
    • Expand knowledge and expertise of the district’s general fund budget
    • Such other tasks as may be delegated to the committee by the board or referred to it by the President or Superintendent
    • Review board actions, policies, strategic plans and goals
    • Monitor required regulatory compliance
    • Monitor bid work

    Taken from: