AAPS Trustees Approve Pioneer A/C Units; Budget is on Track

Ann Arbor Public Schools Board of Education regular meeting (February 22, 2017): Forsythe Middle School, 1655 Newport Rd

The Ann Arbor Public Schools (AAPS) Board of Education (BOE) trustees will meet for a regular meeting, beginning at 7:00 PM this evening.

Community High School junior Clarence Collins will present in recognition of Black History Month.

The trustees will hear two information items. Superintendent Jeanice Swift will give an overview of this year’s AAPS National African American Parent Involvement Day (NAAPID) events, which occurred on Monday, February 13. Chief Financial Officer Jill Minnick will give January’s monthly budget monitoring report.

No first briefings are scheduled.

The Pioneer High School A/C Unit Bid Recommendation is up for a second briefing. The district is looking to replace the two rooftop unites installed above Pioneer’s cafeteria. Currently, one unit does not work and the other unit is “close to failure.”  The recommendation is for the bid to go to WJ O’Neil Company for an amount of $191,840. The Board will vote on the recommendation at tonight’s meeting.

AnnArbivore is sustained solely through reader support. For less than the cost of the coffee you’re drinking right now, you can support citizen journalism. Please donate through Patreon to keep this coverage alive. If you value the citizen journalism provided by AnnArbivore, back it and encourage others to do so, as well. Thank you.

Present: President Christine Stead, Vice President Susan Baskett, Trustees Jessica Kelly, Patricia Manley, Jeff Gaynor, Harmony Mitchell, Simone Lightfoot

7:11 PM The meeting is already underway. The agenda has been approved.


Community High School junior Clarence Collins performs in front of the trustees. When I come in, he is singing an excerpt of Fiddler on the Roof’s “If I Were a Rich Man.”

STUDENT PERFORMANCE: Pathways to Success Students

Students from Pathways sing and sign “Lift Every Voice.”

The trustees Lightfoot says she is “overjoyed” by ASL being infused into their curriculum. She exhorts the students to continue with ASL, saying they are “responsible for their own learning.”

Stead thanks Swift for putting together a celebration of students to celebrate Black History Month.


Rushil Bakhshi, part of a local initiative focused on water conservation. UofM start up focusing on helping Ann Arbor residents to conserve more water. Global issue: 1 in 10 people do not have access to clean water. Not only global issue: cities throughout US hit by drought. Cities are hitting peak water consumption. Incentivist model: give restaurant coupons to households that are working to reduce consumption.

Pilot study: wish to receive consent to use water usage data, look for decrease in water usage, show folks how to decrease water usage. Working with AAPS, hoping to reach out to families in the district. Looking to unify the community around this focus.



This board has already issued two resolutions to the President of the United States “because we had to,” says Stead. The AAPS immigrant community’s top source of fear right now is the President.

Stead says AAPS will do what it takes to keep the families in their district safe. They are “fully committed” to that across the community.

Second challenge is the new Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos. Noting her “accomplishments” in Michigan, can look to the 38 school closings in Michigan. Michigan has the highest percentage of for-profit charter schools, lowest regulations, minimal to no accountability in part because of DeVos’s influence. This is what they can look forward to with DeVos as the Secretary. Already a bill in the House to allow for vouchers across the nation. They can look forward to potentially not having Church and State separated at the school level.

In Michigan: HB4001 – complete repeal of state income tax. Completely irresponsible for every citizen who lives in Michigan now and for all citizens who come in the future. The kinds of things that would defund is public education.

“To the good part,” Stead says, their work is to be committed to AAPS. They will protect all children, they will provide a rooming and safe environment, they will keep the district strong by taking care of their assets by passing millages, they will ensure there is an excellent teacher in every classroom across the district.

What can the community do? 1. Pay attention. There are bills being introduced quickly, and if no one shows up, they will pass. 2. Engage and show up. 3. Fund our schools. 4. Talk to each other, be a community.


Swift mentions highlights from around the district.

She recognizes orchestra teachers and students for Orchestra Night. “An amazingly high level of performance” that happens because of teachers, students, parents, and Board.

AAPS Westerman Preschool recently awarded a $190,000 grant to provide for expansion from half day to full day programs.Allen Elementary remains on schedule, under budget for reopening on April 12.

Over the next five to seven years, AAPS will be on a growth trajectory because of new real estate developments on the south, west, and north sides of town.

Swift says that in keeping with federal law, a child’s immigration status or that of his or her parents does not impact their ability to have a free education in AAPS.

Early bird district early enrollment is underway. Delighted that applications for Young-5s and kindergarten, sixth grade, and ninth grade are up this year. Swift mentions that kindergarten round-up is underway. Expanding Young 5s to Burns Park and Thurston next year. Will be up to 14 school locations, covering the district. A Young Fives Program video is shown.

Baskett says she’s excited about the grant for the expansion for the Westerman Preschool. Dawn Linden, Executive Director Elementary Education, says now is the time to apply.

Lightfoot asks where the grant came from. Linden clarifies that it is a HeadStart grant that is reoccurring. There will also be funds for furniture and curriculum tools. One FTE will be added, plus one FTE teachers aide.


Planning: Manley says they haven’t met since the last regular meeting. Next meeting: 3/8, 9AM at Balas.

Performance: First meeting tomorrow at 4PM. Will be focusing on focus school reports and annual student conduct report.

Governance: First meeting on 3/17, 9AM at Balas.


8:07PM NAAPID (National African American Parental Involvement Day) was launched by former Roberto Clemente principal Joe Dulin, inspired by the Million Man March. It was celebrated across the district on Monday, February 13, 2017. Goals of NAAPID: promoting African American parental involvement in student’s education; offering strategies; identifying and developing partnerships throughout the community to create a national network.

Swift thanks the community for creating a strong 2017 NAAPID.

INFORMATION ITEM: January Monthly Budget Monitoring Report

Chief Financial Officer Jill Minnick reports. Revenues are up by about 11% from this year to last. Expenditures at this point this year exceed expenditures last year by about 8.6%.

Minnick explains to the trustees how the Surplus(Deficit) section of the report should be read. Surplus of $4.2M greater than this time last year in the General Fund. Gives rise to a positive 25% change.

Report of Monthly Expenditures: $17,845,668 – Minnick says it is in line with what they would expect at this time of the year.

Cash and Investments Report: also in line with what they would expect at this time of year.

The district has collected 55.6% of revenues, expended 46.6% of expenditures. “Reasonable and expected,” says Minnick.

SECOND BRIEFING: Pioneer High School A/C Bid Recommendation

Swift reminds the trustees that it is the unit that is located over the cafeteria. There have been no adjustments to the bid recommendation.

Gaynor asks when the rooftop units were originally installed. Jen Hein, Executive Director Physical Properties, says they were installed over 15 years ago, to which Lightfoot asks is that the life expectancy. Hein confirms that between 15 and 20 years is the expected expectancy. They will install the units over spring break.

Stead asks what the “cutover date” is, the date that they move from heating to cooling. Hein says it’s April 1.

Lightfoot wonders why an arbitrary date is selected. Can they not go back to heat once they’ve changed? Hein says there is a two week lead up to changing over, so they don’t change back. She says it is a time intensive and expensive process.

Hein says they have a meeting with DTE tomorrow to discuss trends in changing climate. This might change the cutover dates moving forward, given that warmer weather is happening sooner.

Mitchell asks about warranties.


The trustees to vote to

  • Approve Pioneer High School A/C Unit Bid Recommendation
  • Approve board retreat minutes
  • Approve district donations.

The consent agenda is approved unanimously.


Kelly asks that the Executive Committee review the policies the district has in place regarding protections for LGTBQ+ students, given that the Trump administration just rolled back the Obama-era protection of transgender students.

Stead says Governance Committee could look at what they have in place. The “bathroom piece” has not been a specific policy the district has had.

Baskett asks that the Governance Committee looks at the enumeration policy – to see if it needs to be updated. It might be beneficial, says Baskett, so the new trustees can have a better sense of how they landed where they are.

Gaynor clarifies that there is how the district deals with individual students and there is a firm policy in place to protect students.


8:32PM Manley highlights the NAAPID at Night program, saying how good the speaker was. She noted that she was able to take a group of five fifth grade boys at Dicken Elementary to the Engineering School at the University of Michigan with The Links. 

Gaynor says he is planning to attend the Talk to the Trustees at Bryant at 5:30 tomorrow. He mentioned that he is working on making the rounds of schools.

Mitchell is excited about the grant for full day preschool at Westerman, as a parent and as a trustee.

Kelly thanks Principal Johnson at Carpenter for inviting her on NAAPID. She also gives a shout out to Orchestra Night.

Baskett says she was marveling at the diversity of our district when she was at Scarlett Middle School for NAAPID. She also visited Pathways, Pattengill Elementary, and Tappan Middle School on NAAPID. Talk to the Trustees this Thursday, 2/23, at Bryant Community Center, 5:30PM.

Stead says the county-wide education work is being fast tracked, with a plan in place in June. Stead acknowledges the work done by Mary Morgan, CivCity founder, who began the organization with the question: what would it look like to have a community that actually knew how it was governed at all levels.


AnnArbivore is sustained solely through reader support. For less than the cost of the coffee you’re drinking right now, you can support citizen journalism. Please donate through Patreon to keep this coverage alive. If you value the citizen journalism provided by AnnArbivore, back it and encourage others to do so, as well. Thank you.

2 thoughts on “AAPS Trustees Approve Pioneer A/C Units; Budget is on Track”

  1. Glad to read they are finally replacing the PiHi AC. My now-college-freshman suffered through many years of the failing system; glad my current 8th grader will have better.

Leave a Reply