On April 18th, Ann Arbor Public School Administration presented their budget proposal for the 2012-13 school year to the Board of Trustees. Included was a plan to eliminate busing to and from Ann Arbor Open. In response, Ann Arbor Open parents spoke at the next three Board meetings to oppose this plan. We pointed out that: AAO students should receive the same services as their elementary and middle-school peers; cutting busing would disproportionately impact minority, lower-income, and special education students; and cutting busing would also have a profoundly negative impact on neighborhood traffic and on the safety of AAO students and of area residents.
On May 16th, Superintendent Green presented an alternate proposal to the Board, which would condense AAO routes but still provide service. We urge parents to read the proposal; it is very similar to one that the AAOCC had already made. Most of AAO's busing already operates on a "hub system", in which students take a shuttle to or from AAO, and then transfer at their neighborhood middle or elementary school for the rest of the trip. In the morning, we currently have hubs at Clague, Forsythe and Slauson; in the afternoon, at Forsythe, Slauson and several elementary schools. Under the new proposal, all students would use the middle schools as hubs in the morning, and it would tweak things in the afternoon, eliminating a few neighborhood stops. While this proposal has not come up for an actual vote yet, the Trustees voiced their support for it at the May 16th meeting.
The AAOCC thanks AAPS administration and the Board for being willing to work with Ann Arbor Open to come up with a proposal that should yield significant savings, while still preserving busing for all eligible students. We understand that the district is facing a major budget crisis, and that cuts will have to be made yearly unless a fundamental change is made at the state level. We look forward to continuing to work with district administration and the Board to come up with solutions to this ongoing problem.
We would also like to applaud the parents and neighborhood residents who spoke in favor of preserving busing at Board meetings, or who wrote letters to AAPS administrators, to the Board, and to the AA City Council. We believe that your voices made the difference. We encourage you to continue the conversation, and let them know what you think about the alternate plan to preserve Ann Arbor Open's busing.
This is quick and easy!
Send a letter to AAPS Administrators and School Board Members. Let them know what you think about the alternate plan to preserve Ann Arbor Open's busing. Here is a letter you can just cut and paste, but feel feel to edit it or add your own comments. Click on the salutation that begins "Dear Dr. Green" and your mail program should open a letter for you; if not, all the email addresses are included at the top of the letter.
You can also let your voice be heard at one of the following public Board of Education events (copied from Ann Arbor.com):
BOE Meeting- May 23rd at 7 pm at the Downtown Library. First briefing and public hearing on the budget. Community members can comment specifically on the budget during this public hearing, which serves as a second 45-minute public comment period in addition to the period at the start of the meeting. However, issues other than the budget cannot be addressed during the public hearing. Audience members do not need to sign up in advance of the meeting, unlike regular public comment periods; anyone who is moved to comment during this portion of the meeting can do so.
BOE Meeting- June 13th at 7 pm at the Downtown Library. Second briefing and potential approval of the budget. The board could choose to adopt a resolution approving the budget.
For background information about proposals involving AAO's busing:
From the AAOCC:
A Letter to Ann Arbor Open School's Neighbors
From Ann Arbor.com:
May 17- "School board preserving Roberto Clemente but not band camp funding as it identifies $4.8M in cuts"
May 16- "Transportation debate: $300,000 to $3.5M — how deep will the cuts go in Ann Arbor schools?"
May 15- "Ann Arbor school board hears community input toward at least $7M in cuts"
May 10- "Audience demands answers from Ann Arbor school administration, board members on proposed budget cuts";
April 26- "Painful choices: Ann Arbor school board wrestles with need to cut at least $7 million";
April 19- "Closing Roberto Clemente, eliminating teachers, busing on the table to fix $17.8M Ann Arbor schools shortfall"
Longer form pieces from The Ann Arbor Chronicle:
May 21- AAPS 2012-13 Budget Begins to Take Shape
May 16- "AAPS Budget Forum: Class Size, Equity"
May 14- "AAPS Budget: Public Critical; Board Fretting"
May 9- "AAPS Budget Forum Highlights Concerns"
May 3- "AAPS Hears from Community: Keep Clemente"
April 23- "AAPS Weighs Cuts to Staff, Buses, Programs"