AAPS Eyes Future Growth; Plans for Carpenter Elem & Bryant Pattengill in the Works

Ann Arbor Public Schools Board of Education organizational/regular meeting (January 31, 2018): Forsythe Middle School, 1655 Newport Rd

The Ann Arbor Public Schools (AAPS) Board of Education (BOE) trustees will vote themselves into executive session at 5:00 PM this evening, citing attorney/client privilege. Executive sessions are closed to the public. The regular meeting begins at 7:00 PM.

Tonight’s meeting will begin with a moment of silence for Pioneer High School junior Makaylah Gibson who passed away on Sunday, January 28.

This month’s meeting is heavy on the information items. Superintendent Jeanice Swift will be presenting 2018-19 District Enhancements. There will be an update on Housing Development and Projected Enrollment Growth, as well as an overview of the 2018 Budget Development Timeline.

No first briefing items are on the agenda.

Second briefing items include several purchase recommendations. The first is a Playground Equipment Purchase for Bach Elementary funded through the Sinking Fund a total cost of $109.092.91. The second purchase: a Classroom Area Rugs for Phase II Schools, for a total cost of $52,785.80 for 116 rugs – paid out of the 2015 Bond Fund. The third recommendation is for a Utility Vehicles Purchase. The current fleet consists of 21 vehicles. The district proposes to purchase 11 vehicles, retain seven, and sell/scrap 14, for a total fleet of 18 vehicles. The total purchase cost would be $301,757.30, paid out of the Capital Projects Fund.

The consent agenda will include the approval of the Playground Equipment, the Classroom Area Rugs, the Utility Vehicles Purchase, and meeting minutes and donations.

Board action will be taken on the District Annual Insurance Renewal and Extension of Coverage Year and the Ratification of an Employee Agreement.


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

7:03 PM President Christine Stead calls the meeting to order.

MOMENT OF SILENCE

A moment of silence is observed for Makaylah Gibson, Pioneer High School junior, who passed away on Sunday, January 28.

AGENDA APPROVAL

The agenda is unanimously approved without changes.

PUBLIC COMMENTARY: None

ASSOCIATION REPORTS: Ann Arbor Education Association (AAEA)

President Linda Carter represents the union. She shares information about several events and offerings MEA is providing.

PRESIDENT’S REPORT

Stead begins by drawing the community’s attention to an item on the district homepage: a video called You Are Not Alone. In the video, there are resources for youths in crisis. “We all suffer when we lose someone,” says Stead.

At a state and national level, the scandal that has rocked Michigan State is an opportunity for every organization to look at how well our processes work to keep staff and children safe around sexual harassment. There is a process, Stead reaffirms. There are common steps they take and they are asking themselves the question: how well do these steps work? Are we taking good care of the people we serve? The lesson of the scandal at MSU is not lost on AAPS, says Swift.

Many of the trustees are headed to Washington DC this weekend to participate in a conference on equity and advocacy. Swift is joining the group. Stead says they will bring back everything they learn. As they look ahead to the state of public education and the issue of equity, they need to be focused on what is coming. Their contacts in DC are saying states need to plan accordingly given potentially large cuts to federal dollars for public education.

SUPERINTENDENT’S REPORT

Swift shares highlights from around the district, from student achievement, to teacher awards, to Huron High School recently celebrating its 50th anniversary. Karen Thomas Fund awards were presented to seven teachers at elementary schools to promote literacy. Future Stars at Pioneer High happened last weekend.

Swift addresses the issue of safety. She assures the community that student safety remains the top priority of AAPS. She wants folks to know that all stakeholders should be reassured that they work hard to provide a safe environment for students.

They take each and every report of any kind of misconduct very seriously. Any reports of distress are also swiftly responded to, Swift says. She shares a story of a student today that was in distress, the district called for a home visit, the student was visited at home, was in deep distress and was taken to the hospital for treatment.

When it comes to some sensitive situations, they are not always able to give the level of detail some people want, they are always working in close partnership with Ann Arbor Police Department. They have a staff dedicated to the issue of social emotional health in the community. The counseling professionals serve students, staff, grieving families.

Some of the ways the district works: Direct communication with parents, students, staff. Emergency removal. Conduct comprehensive threat protocol. Require mental health assessment when that is necessitated. Mandatory reporters. Take any and all other protective measures, including reaching out to partner organizations. They are careful to protect student identity.

AAPS will always hold student safety as top priority. When any concerns arise, Swift asks the community to reach out early, reach out often. Email, call, reach out to the district for help.

Stead congratulates Swift again on being named Michigan’s Superintendent of the Year by MASA, Michigan Association of School Administrators.

COMMITTEE REPORTS

Planning: Manley reports. Next meeting 2/7 at 9AM.

Finance: Mitchell reports. Next meeting 2/7 at 1PM.

Performance: Lightfoot reports. Next meeting 2/27 at 3PM.

Governance: Stead reports. Next meeting 2/23

INFORMATION ITEM: 2018-19 Program Enhancements

  • Early Childhood: Preschool and Young 5s (Y5)
    • Young 5s will be added at A2STEAM, Angell, Bach (one Y5-K combo class), and Wines to complete Y5 programming at all AAPS elementary/K-8 campuses.
  • International Baccalaureate (IB) + Career Program
    • Huron High School will launch the IB Career Program (CP) for entering 11th or 12th grade students who have career or college aspirations and are interested in Automotive, Business/Marketing, and Engineering programs. The program is the first of its kind in the state of Michigan.
  • Environmental Education Learning Center at Freeman School
    • AAPS will debut an Environmental Education Learning Center at Freeman School, which is designated to offer exploratory environmental learning opportunities for all PK-12th students as well as to incorporate farm-to-school and other environmentally supportive learning opportunities and community partnerships.
    • Some of the partnerships in the community: City of Ann Arbor, University of Michigan School of Natural Resources, Lightfoot pledges that the National Wildlife Federation will be one of the partners [she works at NWF]. She encourages Swift to allow the community to weigh in on ideas.
    • Baskett asks when they will begin using the property. Swift says the property comes back to the district on July 1, 2018. [Go Like the Wind Montessori has been leasing the building from the district.]
    • Jenna Bacolor, Executive Director Community Services & School Wellness, says they look to expand their Farm to School collaborative work.
    • Manley asks if this school will present any scheduling logistics. He says the school should expand opportunities for teachers to set up field trips.
    • Stead says they will be setting up an Environmental Education Advisory Board.
  • Project Lead the Way (PTLW) & STEAM Education
    • AAPS will extend and enhance PLTW program to include Young Fives students, debuting a new Young Fives PTLW curricula.

PREVIEW OF COMING ATTRACTIONS 2019-2020

  • Bryant Pattengill: The Super Pair Reimagined
    • The Bryant Pattengill community will engage in envisioning new programming for their school. Launch implementation 2019-20. 
  • Carpenter: PK-8th grade school
    • Carpenter Elementary will begin the transition to a PK-8th grade campus during the 2019-20 school year to meet the needs of families and projected student enrollment.
      • Carpenter school building will be physically redesigned and enhanced to serve as a PK-8th grade campus.
        • will add on a grade each year: sixth grade in 2019-20, seventh grade in 2020-21, and eighth grade in 2021-22.
        • Kelly asks if Carpenter PK-8th will have its own focus, as the other two K-8 campuses do. Swift says they would like to engage with the community to begin that conversation.
        • Lightfoot says she is pleased Swift is providing new programming while maintaining existing district structures. Lightfoot says this is the very best time for the community to provide input during the beginning stages of planning.
        • Baskett asks if there is enough data to support the K-8 structure. Swift says they have created a rubric for families and students to determine what the best fit is for them. She also asks that they keep an eye on the impact to Scarlett Middle School.

CONTINUING PRIORITIES in 2018

  • Physical Properties & Infrastructure
    • AAPS will continue with a focused effort to achieve infrastructure repairs and improvements including roof repairs/replacements, sidewalk and walkway projects, boilers, and numerous other infrastructure renewal projects.
    • Comprehensive assessment of all AAPS properties will be complete and shared with the community in Fall 2018
  • Continued Implementation of 2015 Bond & Technology Priorities
    • AAPS will continue to enhance the learning experience for every child through: classroom furniture replacement, musical instrument purchases and auditorium improvements, outdoor fields and learning space restoration and renewal, replacement of aging bus fleet, and a 2018 technology refresh process.
  • Social Emotion Supports
  • World Language & International Learning
  • Middle School Enhancements
    • Lightfoot says middle school is the most challenging time for students leaving the district. The things the district can do to upgrade and enhance the middle school programs are going to be key, she says.
  • High School Comprehensive Schedule to fully develop later start options
    • Lightfoot notes that they have been working on this for some time. They are still being mindful of what they promised before.

INFORMATION ITEM: Update: Housing Development and Projected Enrollment Growth

Dick Mitchell, from Mitchell and Mouat Architects, presents an update on housing developments in the district. Trustees were last updated on housing development in 2016.

About 1400 single family housing units are projected to be built in the district. The student high rise buildings are not included in the count. Mitchell is projecting 1,300 to 1,500 new students due to new housing growth in the city boundary.

Mitchell explains their methodology of how they estimate student enrollment based on the housing. Swift says they go for an 80% occupancy in school buildings to give them a cushion when there are surprises. Baskett says to the Ann Arbor Housing Commission: “Stop with the surprises.” It would benefit everyone if there was a greater heads-up for how housing developments work in the schools.

Lightfoot says while they have improved cross-governmental partnerships, there is still work to do. She brings up the issue of people choosing to rent in Ann Arbor in order to get the services AAPS provides, but who are unable to purchase homes in Ann Arbor.

Mitchell asks about the timeline on getting information from growth in the surrounding townships, particularly Pittsfield Township. Swift takes that as direction  to specifically look at growth in the townships. Lightfoot asks about growth in the county. Is the growth concentrated in Ann Arbor? It is mainly concentrated here, says Mitchell. He also notes that many of the developers market AAPS in their materials.

Baskett asks for a clearer timeline with the developments. Mitchell says some of the developments are approved and ready to go but haven’t begun being developed yet. Swift wonders if a chart could be made that shows what stage the development is in.

Stead says planning well for building is a challenging task. She doesn’t expect the trajectory of development in the city will alter too much. Mitchell talks about how the newer student high rises have the potential to empty out some of the older rental housing around the periphery of campus. That could potentially increase student enrollment as those houses return to single family homes. Swift notes that would be in the areas where there is little capacity at schools.

INFORMATION ITEM: 2018 Influenza Update and Prevention

Swift says attendance rates in January illustrate the impact of the flu this year. They don’t want to cause panic, but Bacolor has tips to share with the community.

National Picture: Sustained widespread flu across the entire country. 80% of flu nationwide is H3N2 strain. CDC says we’re half way through flu season.

Washtenaw County Weekly survey: influenza cases continue to climb. Flu-related hospitalizations have increased over the past couple weeks.

Tips:

  • It’s not too late for a flu shot
  • Know what flu is and isn’t
  • If you do get sick:
    • cover your cough
    • avoid close contact with everyone
    • wipe down surfaces you touch
    • wash hands frequently
  • Go home and stay home
  • AAPS administration support

Lightfoot asks they should say to the people who are adverse to vaccinations. She also asks Bacolor to talk about the H3N2 strain and why it is so different.

Bacolor says she asks people if they can afford to take two weeks off if they do get the flu. The main message is the best way to prevent flu and serious complications is to get the vaccination.

Baskett asks about the cost of the flu shot. Bacolor says flu shot clinics are offered to make it easier for folks to get in and get the shot. Baskett asks what protocol is for when students get sick. Bacolor explains it.

Kelly asks how a family will know when it is appropriate for a family to send a student back to school. The fever guidance is one such indication (a child is fever free for 24 hours before sending them back to school). Active symptoms ideally are not there, says Bacolor. She says they should do a better job of firming up those guidelines.

Lightfoot asks if this material can be made available to the community on the district website. Swift says they will make sure to add it.

INFORMATION ITEM: FY 2018-19 Budget Timeline

Budget Development timeline:

  • January Consensus Revenue Estimating Conference (CREC): January 11
  • Governor’s State of the State Address:  January 23
  • Release of the Governors’ Proposed Budget: Mid-Febraury
  • FY2017-18 Mid-Year Budget Amendment: March 21
  • Review Preliminary Budget: March 21
  • Review Budget Projections with Trustees: April 25
  • Preliminary Preview of Michigan State School Funding: April 25
  • 2018-19 Budget Review and Discussions: April 25
  • Budget Community Input/Operating Millage Information Item
  • Second Revenue Estimating Conference: Mid-May
  • Approve Budget Public Hearing: May 9
  • First Briefing on proposed FY2018-19 Budget: May 23
  • Publish notice for a Public Hearing: June 1
  • FY 2017-18 Final Budget Amendment: June 13
  • Second Briefing & Public Hearings on the FY 2018-19 Budget: June 13/27
  • 2018-19 Budget Adoption Required by Law: June 30

Lightfoot wonders how much of an increase to the foundation allowance the district can expect to see with the Governor’s budget. Marios Demetriou, Assistant Superintendent Finance & Operations, conservatively estimates a $60 increase to the AAPS foundation allowance.

Stead asks when federal cuts will hit their budget at the state level. Demetriou says it will depend on when they reach an agreement in DC. He says it could hit the district in 2019. Stead argues that is a reason for them to be as conservative as possible in their budgeting.

9:43PM Stead asks if they should take a break. They decide to keep going.

SECOND BRIEFING ITEM: Playground Equipment for Bach

SECOND BRIEFING ITEM: Classroom Rug Purchase

SECOND BRIEFING ITEM: Utility Vehicle Purchase 

Based on Mitchell’s recommendation of donating vehicles to the Auto Program, they have talked to the auto shop teachers. Autoshop teachers were pleased to accept the donations.

No changes have been made to the items. No discussion is held.

CONSENT AGENDA

The trustees vote to approve:

  • Playground Equipment – Bach Elementary
  • Classroom Area Rugs
  • Utility Vehicles Purchase
  • Meeting Minutes
  • Donations

Outcome: The consent agenda is unanimously approved.

BOARD ACTION:  District Annual Insurance Renewal and Extension of Coverage Year

Swift says insurance landscape has changed, given more extremes in weather and emergencies.

To ensure coverage is competitive and cost effective for the district’s needs, Daly Merritt, the district’s insurance agent, annually reviews and obtains pricing for the various liability insurances.

Insurance rates have increased due to increased claims from all industries nationally and AAPS experienced a significant amount of claims in 2016-17 Many insurance companies are no longer serving schools because of aging building.

The recommendation is to purchase insurance for the month of February 2018 (as the current insurance expires today, January 31). This will allow the district to change their renewal from January of each year to February of each year. February’s insurance would be for Affiliated FM for property liability, Zurich for other insurance, Ace for employed lawyer’s liability and cyber liability from Axis Surplus Lines for a total cost of $65,634 for the month.

The twelve month renewal recommendation: To approve the purchase of liability insurance coverage for the period covering March 1, 2018-February 28, 2019 from Affiliated FM, other insurance coverages from American Alternative, employed lawyer’s liability from Ace and cyber liability from Axis Surplus Lines. Total renewal premium is $917,845. This is an increase cost of $255,300, with the most significant portion of this increase coming from the property liability policy changes.

Lightfoot expresses concern for other districts who don’t have the financial stability AAPS currently has, as the insurance landscape changes. She asks how the district can get their claims under control. The largest claim AAPS recently made was the claim for Allen Elementary.

Manley thanks them for finding an insurance company that will serve the district. She wants to make sure she understands – is it a new company that is serving the district after midnight tonight. Yes – it moves from AIG to Affiliated FM.

Baskett asks if they should be prepared for increased insurance costs given the increase in sexual harassment claims. Eleven EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) claims are currently being settled in the district. The settlements of those are yet to be determined.

Stead asks if there is the opportunity to lock in a multi-year rate guarantee. Because AAPS properties are so large, they aren’t able to lock in a multi-year rate because there is too much that could happen.

Outcome: The insurance renewal is unanimously approved.

BOARD ACTION ITEM: Ratification of Employee Agreement

Ratification of employee agreement with Teacher Clerks. They have opted to be part of the AAEA-OP group.

The Teacher Clerk group unanimously approved this agreement. Baskett says that if they are happy with it, she is happy with it. Gaynor expresses his shame at learning the Teacher Clerks had not gotten a raise in quite some time. Mitchell says she wants to move on this quickly for the TCs.

Outcome: The employee agreement is ratified, 7-0.

AGENDA PLANNING

Stead says she is looking to get a board retreat on the calendar.

ITEMS FROM THE BOARD

Kelly speaks on school funding. She shares a helpful website that explains the way Michigan funds its schools: fundmischools.org

Lightfoot could see them leading discussions or convening with other districts around the state regarding funding and how they could work together to advocate. The first thing is to unpack all the nuance, she says, of what comes from the state and national level.

Stead notes that Michigan is the only state that has decreased their funding for education. Money is the key differentiator. That is part of the board’s work to explain that yes, it does take money.

Manley reiterates how much she enjoyed going to the Huron High School 50th anniversary celebration, as she was an educator there for 30 years. She talks about the Home Building program.

Baskett also speaks about the feting of the district’s Home Building program. NAAPID is coming up – she encourages families to attend their school’s program and the NAAPID at Night program at Eastern Michigan University. Oratory contest – open to any child in the county: March 18.

Swift says to the Clague community that she just received notification that the hearing on Monday evening at City council has been delayed.

10:40PM MEETING ADJOURNED

 

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