AAPS Board Passes 2016-17 Budget; Ratifies Teacher Contracts

Ann Arbor Public Schools Board of Education regular meeting (June 15, 2016): Forsythe Middle School, 1655 Newport Rd

The board is holding an executive session at 5:30 PM, for the purposes of attorney/client privilege and negotiations.

Immediately following, a study session on Career and Technical Education (CTE) and Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics (STEAM) programming will be held. Study sessions are used by the trustees to learn more about a specific topic.

During the regular meeting, beginning at 7:00 PM, the trustees will first hold a moment of silence in honor of the victims of the Orlando shooting. There will be special recognition of the recipient of the Envision Michigan Scholarship Award, presented by Senator Rebecca Warren, as well as of the Project Lead the Way Master Teachers.

The trustees will hear the monthly budget monitoring report for the month of May. The annual culture and climate report will also be presented.

First briefings will be on the Sexual Health Education Advisory Committee (SHEAC) report and recommendations, the Rec & Ed contracts, the inventory resource management system recommendation, 2016 summer facilities work, and the MHSAA membership renewal for the 2016/17 school year.

Second briefings will be on Mitchell Elementary Expansion furniture purchase, the 2016/17 millage resolution, the 2015-16 final budget amendment, and the 2016-17 proposed budget.

The trustees are holding a second public hearing on the 2016-17 budget, after there was some concern voiced by members of the public that there hadn’t been enough time to view the proposed budget before the first public hearing.

Voting will be on the 2016-17 millage resolution, the 2015-16 final budget amendment, the 2016-17 proposed budget, and the Mitchell Expansion furniture purchases. As of 2:39 PM, there is a place holder on the consent agenda for a “new agenda item,” which potentially could be the ratification of the Ann Arbor Education Association (AAEA) contract agreement. Voting on the contract ended this morning for members of AAEA.

The board will also be looking at the 2016-17 proposed board meeting calendar.

6:39 PM Vice President Christine Stead and trustee Donna Lasinski approach the board table. Trustees Susan Baskett, Andy Thomas, Patricia Manley, and Simone Lightfoot join them at 6:44. President Deb Mexicotte is not present.

6:46 PM Stead calls to order the study session on the Career and Technical Education and STEAM update. Superintendent Jeanice Swift says they “value the multiple pathways to success” through AAPS. Some of those pathways include CTE.

Lee Ann Dickinson-Kelley, Assistant Superintendent Instruction & Student Support Services, is joined by a group of CTE and Project Lead the Way educators. Karen Eisley, District Department Chair, CTE gives the update on CTE.

CTE offers solely project-based curriculum. It has been shown to prevent dropouts, says Eisley. She says they are working with community partners to increase corporate and community collaborations to provide job shadow experiences, co-ops, internships, and field trips.

Each CTE program area has a local advisory board that meets annually to review the program. CTE enrollment has increased by about 450 students over the past five years, from 517 to 947 students. Growth is expected to continue. CTE is working to educate students and parents about opportunities the program offers. State funding received continues to increase, as well.

Moving forward, CTE is working to:

  •  configure a community task force to chart the future of CTE.
  • evaluate successful models of CTE delivery.
  • align industry and employment projections.
  • work closely with middle school and high school guidance counselors to increase awareness.

AAPS students have up to two years to articulate credit for several courses, which earns them college credit. There are articulation programs offered at several colleges and universities around the state.

A video is shown, highlighting some of the opportunities offered through CTE, such as Homebuilding, Cosmetology, Health Sciences, Hospitality, Auto Service Technology, and Engineering.

Thomas is confused about “just what CTE is.” His understanding is that AAPS doesn’t want there to be distinction between a “career” track and an “academic” track. He wonders if CTE students miss out on the academic classes that are needed to apply to universities. Eisley assures him that students in CTE programs often are also taking AP classes and they can go on to university well prepared with actual experience.

Baskett is also confused. She says they get concerns there aren’t enough hours in a day and so she wonders who are the students who are able to make the demands of the CTE schedule work for them. She is told that teachers and other students help those students navigate that. Some of the students take summer classes or online classes and leverage their electives.

Dickinson-Kelley says there is room for improvement in communicating with families, letting them know about the multiple pathways. Baskett asks for a profile of the kind of students, saying that “back in the olden days, you could tell what kind of kid was in Vo-Tech,” and now it sounds as if there is a greater range of students in CTE.

Baskett confirms that CTE programming is offered at all of the high schools, including Community High and the Pathways to Success campus.

Lightfoot looks forward to communication improvements by CTE. She expresses the need for CTE to advertise to all of the middle schools to do better in reaching out to the students. She also says that if there are barriers to certification for some students, the district should be able to help dismantle them. Lightfoot wants to get this information to the students “who stand in the gap,” recognizing the importance of these kinds of programs

Lightfoot also asks about transportation for students, since programs are based out of certain buildings. In the past, the district offered shuttles for students, but that is no longer the case. The state reimburses for some of the CTE education programs.

Manley echoes Lightfoot’s call for getting the information into more people’s hands, saying how important CTE education is for many students.

7:47 PM Stead does a time check, saying that they are about an hour behind schedule, still in the throes of the study session. Dickinson-Kelley confirms that it’s okay to continue on with the Project Lead the Way update. There are about 40 members of the public in the auditorium.

STEAM: Project Lead the Way (PLTW) provides a comprehensive approach to STEAM education, through activity, project, and problem-based curriculum. PLTW will be added at all schools during the 2016-17 school year.

AAPS is one of only three districts across the state that offers a STEAM education K-12 and one of 200 across the nation. The district is working to develop more corporate and community partnerships.

Current challenges:

  • providing professional development teacher training
  • increasing cost of labs
  • limited lab space
  • limited available/certified teachers
  • increased cost of classroom materials and technical supplies

Lasinski asks if there are teacher constraints because the district is adding more PLTW next school year. Merri Lynn Colligan says there are 174 applicants for the eight positions that are open.

CTE is not just a high school experience any longer, now that PLTW has been expanded down to the elementary level, says Dickinson-Kelley.

Stead thanks the teachers for their work in creating the “CTE advantage.”

8:07 PM Stead calls regular meeting to order


The board has a moment of silence to honor and respect the victims of Sunday’s shooting in Orlando.


Agenda is approved, with special recognition

SPECIAL RECOGNITION: Envision Michigan Scholarship

Senator Rebecca Warren presents the 2016 Envision Michigan Scholarship to Alex Springer, Community High graduate. Stead thanks Warren for her support of public education.


Four teachers are recognized as PLTW Master Teachers. They must meet PLTW criteria for excellence.

BOARD ACTION ITEM: Ratification of tentative agreements

Stead asked for a motion to approve tentative agreements for the AAEA for the 2016-17 school year, the AAEA Office Professionals, and AAEA Paraprofessionals as recommended by the superintendent.

There is no discussion on the ratification of the agreements and the ratification of the agreements pass unanimously.

Stead asks for another motion to approve tentative agreements between AAPS BOE and non-bargaining units.

There is no discussion and the ratification of the agreements pass unanimously.

Swift says they are pleased to share they reached a successful agreement with AAEA, AAEA Office Professionals, and the AAEA Paraprofessionals. She thanks those who were involved in the contract negotiations.

Swift says the contracts reward outstanding faculty while watching out for fiscal responsibility. She clarifies that the pay and benefits for each group are between 2 and 2.25% increase, with each group negotiating how best to distribute across components of pay and benefits.

The remaining agreements should be brought in front of the board next meeting.

Stead says this kind of agreement isn’t possible without every member of the community. Because the community passed the special education millage, it allows the district to offer an increase during a time when other districts are needing to cut. She thanks and compliments the members of the negotiation team.


Students Hector Clarke, Kahshiada Kidd, Veer Shetty, and Ariana Trossen present.

Shetty highlights academics at Skyline: magnet programs, student resources including Peer Facilitating, Writing Center, Cube, and Academics Resource Center (ARC).

Kidd runs through a list of Skyline social events: Student Action Senate (SAS), Link Crew, Theatre and Music, Skyline clubs, TEDx, Eagles Nest.

Clarke explains programs designed to help the climate at Skyline: Restorative Justice/Sky Squad, teachers and Community Assistants, security cameras, lunchtime flexibility, gender neutral bathrooms and locker rooms, The Rock, murals, lightpost banners. Security cameras were installed this school year, to the alarm of some students. Clarke says now students realize the cameras are there because “staff care about us.”

Trossen gives her personal thoughts about Skyline. She speaks about the positive atmosphere, the role of Mastery Learning, Small Learning Communities, and the trimester scheduling.

Priorities for Skyline:

  • cleanliness of the building
  • students respect of physical properties
  • healthy inter-school rivalries

Lightfoot says the students “are like little grown people.” She commends the Skyline students for how they use each other to improve the culture and climate of the school.

Lasinski appreciates the honesty with which the students assessed the school. She, Lightfoot, and Stead all have students at Skyline.

Baskett and Manley congratulates the students on a job well done. Baskett asks the students how the board can help the students with “respect of physical properties.” Students say that’s more their issue to resolve, but wanted to make the board aware of. Clarke asks that perhaps the board could assist Skyline in implementing the Restorative Justice program across the district to the other high schools.

Thomas asks what kind of conflict comes in front of the SkySquad and what kind of resolution is determined. Kidd gave an example of a conflict between friends who need mediation. Clarke gave an example of classes having circles over how to talk about race issues.

9:17 PM Stead suggests adjusting the agenda, moving the SHEAC presentation up.


Nine people are signed up.

Evan Murphy, transgender man, graduate of Skyline HS: Speak as member of LGBTQ community, asking board to support Michigan Department of Education guidelines for LGBTQ school safety. Shooting in Orlando one of the most deadly in US history. 49 lives ripped from the world because of a culture that teaches homophobia. Cannot fathom how hard it must have been for queer students to come back to school on Monday after the shootings. America is not as safe as it should be, especially for LGBTQ youth. Safe places are too few, too far between for too many. As a student in AAPS, most insulting was silence. In seventh grade at Forsythe, was outed as not heterosexual. Wrote a letter to counselor and principal, but nothing was done about it. All youth should feel supported at school.

Neeraja Aravamudun, district parent: urges board to support LGBTQ policies. It’s not enough to believe we are a good community, there needs to be action. Not all students experience that support. There are some families within Ann Arbor who don’t feel comfortable sending their kids to school in non-gender conforming clothing. Given the pushback against the bathroom policy at the state level, we have not come far enough. We owe it to our students to send a clear message that supports all student, all staff. We need to be that leadership.

Eliza Downing, Skyline student: Is also speaking in support of the LGBTQ policies. Had an instance in school where she realized teachers need more education about the LGBTQ+ community, so teachers could better assist students.

Jesse Kerstetter, NeutralZone Riot Zone Advisor: thanks the teens who have already spoken. Asking board to implement an official policy on LGBTQ. Policy is important because it says all LGBTQ students exist and are worthy of same respect. By passing a policy in support of LGBTQ youth, AAPS would be a model district. He asks if they will lift up the voices of other Riot Youth.

Jeff Murphy, parent: born a white cis-gender male. Has not known discrimination. But he does have a transgender son. He knows his gender and sexual preference isn’t a choice. He also knows people fear the unknown. The fear may be instinctive, but you have to learn hate. Without an environment where people can learn to love, they learn to hate. Schools are the best place to create that environment.

Mac Rasmussen, gender nonconforming youth, junior at Pioneer HS: knows firsthand the kind of suffering kids go through as being out as gay or trans. Riot Youth took a climate survey in 2014. Over 1/5 of students experience harassment based on sexuality, 1/6 experience harassment over gender identification. Staff needed to be reminded to protect students in all forms of harassment. A staff member should be willing and able to step in. Hopes the board implements a policy in support of LGBTQ youth.

Riley O’Brien, queer junior at Skyline: Encourage and urge board to adopt LGBTQ guidelines. Asks board to think of where they feel comfortable. With schools, it’s a bit tricky, he says. Sometimes it’s easier to ignore the cries. For us, going to school as a queer person, it is fraught with hazard. We have no guarantee of safety. If vulnerabilities are preyed upon, it’s only so certain schools will have their backs. There’s a reason why they need to create their own spaces, their GSAs. If the board endorsed the guidelines, it’s a message that affirms LGBTQ+ youth’s safety. A statement, a policy, something to make clear they are not on their own.

Lucas Holly, Skyline sophomore: discusses 2014 RiotYouth climate survey. Over 33% of the students report that they don’t have an adult in school they can turn to with problems. LGBTQ students feel less safe, which makes learning much harder. His trans sister’s experience was difficult in school, and he says it could have been avoided if the guidelines were in place. Urges board to pass guidelines and help our students.

Stead has some clarification items: Governance committee is where several of the policies would sit. That review began at the governance committee’s last meeting. She expects inclusive work with Riot Youth to continue.

FIRST BRIEFING ITEM: Sexual Health Education Advisory Committee (SHEAC) 2016 Report & Recommendations

Stead says they would like to meet with the SHEAC group annually. The board is required by law to review any sex education curriculum in the sexual health education program and to share the outcome of the student  pre and post-tests. SHEAC is making the recommendation to include a module on sexual orientation and gender identity into the sex ed curriculum.

Dickinson-Kelley says parents may always review sex ed materials by contacting administration. Parents also have option of opting out of sex ed modules. that provide accurate information on human sexuality, help young people develop healthy relationships, responsible behaviors.

Jenni Lane, SHEAC Co-chair, notes that clergy, student, parent representation on the SHEAC committee. She notes they were looking into curriculum about sexual orientation and gender identity about three years ago. It’s taken this long, Lane notes, to find and develop an evidence-based curriculum that can be taught by health teachers.

Ricky Bicknell, Community Education. There are currently 11 peer educators who support and provide resources to Ann Arbor youth focusing on HIV/AIDS prevention, birth control options, reproductive anatomy, sexual consent. Bicknell has worked to create a LGBTQ presentation. He hopes board will adopt presentation as part of the sexual health education.

Stead says the idea of this is to see if the board would be amenable to adding this presentation into the district sexual education material.

Thomas sees two processes that are in play here: policy, which is being handled by the Governance Committee – they will review existing policy and will see if any additional policies need to be enacted; and curriculum, material which would be taught in health class. Thomas appreciates the comments that they need to do a better job of educating students on LGBTQ issues. He also sees the need to change the climate of the schools – that is up to the policies created and the implementation of policies. Stead reaffirms that the board has to approve any curriculum content related to sexual education.

Baskett says changing the climate of schools starts with education and knowledge. She thanks SHEAC for responding to the board’s request for a more inclusive curriculum. By including this curriculum, it begins to change the climate. She would like to see it in all classrooms, not just health. Dickinson-Kelley says she is making  the recommendation that the module is in all mandatory high school health classes next year. Thomas asks if it will be in middle schools, given the anecdotes from the students who spoke during public commentary. Ann Bezeau, health teacher at Skyline, says she hopes it would move into the middle school level at some point.

Baskett asks if SHEAC has shared the curriculum with groups in the community such as Riot Youth. Bicknell says no.

Thomas asks Swift if this presentation could be sent to the various youth organizations so they can see what the district is moving towards.

When Lasinski asks for more vocabulary to be included, members of the Planning Committee and Bicknell chime in that there is a lot of vocabulary in the presentation. Lasinski and Manley think one class period is not enough. Lasinski is surprised it has not already been included in the health curriculum. If students still have questions, there are peer educators at each school who go through 40 hours of training.

Dickinson-Kelley reviews 2015 report on student learning of sexual education. While only a handful of students answered the questions correctly on the pretest, 87.05% of students answered questions correctly on the post-test.

Next steps:

  • embed the module into all health education classes at high school level
  • expand upon the current model of peer education
  • use the post-test results to inform our instruction
  • expand knowledge and understanding to building leaders as a whole, not just health teachers

10:42 PM Stead calls for a recess.

10:57 PM Board is back. Stead recommends the annual culture and climate report be moved to the next regular meeting on June 29 to give it the time it deserves. Board agrees.



Swift congratulates the 1,308 2016 graduates of AAPS. She also acknowledges many of the successes of students, teachers, and organizations around the district. She wishes everyone a safe, happy, and productive summer. She is happy to wrap a bow on the 2016 theme of “We Care” in Ann Arbor Public Schools. She shows the final “we care” video. Lightfoot thanks Andrew Cluley for the work he’s done in giving the board a strong visual voice.


Stead says that much of what Planning discussed at their meeting will be coming up as first briefing items. She says she’ll let the reports speak for their work.


Last meeting, heard a report from the Intervention Specialists. The IS program was implemented three years ago and has seen significant success. IS will be giving a full report to the board at the next regular meeting on 6/29.


Hasn’t met since last regular meeting.

INFORMATION ITEM: Monthly Budget Monitoring Report (May)

Jill Minnick, executive director of finance, presents May’s report. Still tracking to arrive at budgeted balances.


Jenna Bacalor, Executive Director, Community Services & School Wellness, bringing forward five contracts to the board. All funds for the program come out of recreation or child care fund. They pay the contracts as enrollment happens – the amounts on the contracts are caps, which would only be paid out in full if full enrollment.

  • All the King’s Men – chess classes and camps. Contract not to exceed $40,000
  • Detroit Science for Kids – STEAM classes and camps. Contract not to exceed $50,000.
  • AA Hands on Museum – Summer classes and camps. Contract not to exceed $25,000.
  • Kathy Baker – Power of Drawing classes and camps. Contract not to exceed $40,000.
  • University of Michigan School of Kinesiology – KidSport Camp. Contract not to exceed $120,000.

FIRST BRIEFING ITEM: Inventory Resource Management Recommendation

Merri Lynn Colligan, Executive Director, Technology & Information  Services, presents inventory resource management program. There is a need to maintain an inventory of physical instructional resources and a system to assign these resources to individual buildings, classrooms, teachers, or students. The recommendation is to use Follett Resource Manager module at a cost of $110,253 over three years for licensing and fees. The resource management program would be funded through the Instructional Technology General Fund.

FIRST BRIEFING ITEM: 2016 Summer Facilities Work

Jen Hein, facilities. There is site specific work, programmatic work, and usual summer work, such as woodchipping playgrounds, etc.

Thomas is concerned about the timing of the projects, given that some of them need to go out for an RFP, then need to be given board approval, which might not come until July. Hein says the only project that needs more than 84 days is the air handler at Pioneer.

Lightfoot suggests allocating Swift the extra money so the work can be done as “expeditiously as possible.”

FIRST BRIEFING ITEM: MHSAA Membership Renewal for 2016/17 

The board needs to renew its membership resolution with the Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA) for high school athletics. The MHSAA assists in developing competitive standards; establishing a common set of rules, and provide orderly administration of an interscholastic athletic program which promotes academic integrity and competitive equity.  Membership obligates the District to follow standardized rules, and is a requirement for participation in MHSAA post-season tournaments.  No fees are charged for membership.

11:44 PM Lights just went out in Forsythe Auditorium. Stead asks that they move to extend the board meeting to 12:15 AM.

SECOND BRIEFING ITEM: Mitchell Expansion Furniture Purchase

No change

SECOND BRIEFING ITEM: 2016-17 Millage Resolution

No change

SECOND BRIEFING ITEM: 2015-16 Final Budget Amendment

No change

SECOND BRIEFING ITEM: 2016-17 Proposed Budget

No change


The board laughs when Stead asks if there is anyone signed up to speak. No one is present. Stead notes the public has had 21 days to review the 2016-17 budget.


All second briefing items are placed on the consent agenda:

  • 2016-17 Proposed Budget
  • 2015-16 Final Budget Amendment
  • 2016-17 Millage Resolution
  • Mitchell Expansion Furniture Purchase

The consent agenda passes unanimously.

BOARD ACTION ITEM: 2016-17 BOE Meeting Schedule

The trustees vote to add tentative additional July meetings in order to approve summer work projects.



Thomas: on behalf of the board, he  thanks the negotiating teams. He says it is a “win-win” for everyone.

Swift notes that as an outcome of successful negotiations, 2016-17 calendar was agreed upon. Five instructional days were added, per state mandate, without any extra funding. School begins 9/6/16, ends 6/16/17. Mid-winter break has been shortened to a long weekend. The calendar will be posted on the district website.


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3 thoughts on “AAPS Board Passes 2016-17 Budget; Ratifies Teacher Contracts”

    1. That’s kind of what I figured it was, based on the closed door executive session on contract negotiations. I added that in. Thanks, Jeff.

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