On January 27*, the Ann Arbor Public Schools Board of Education held their second meeting of 2021. You can watch the meeting live on Zoom or on Xfinity Channel 18. The district typically posts the recording split into segments the day after the meeting.
- * Note I originally posted the meeting notes as January 20 not January 27. I added one week to the previous meeting without looking at the date when it had been two weeks. I apologize for any confusion.
- School Board Appreciation Month
- Public Commentary
- Superintendent Update
- Extended Continuity of Learning Plan
- Option for Hybrid Return to In Person Learning
- Safety Protocols
- Cohorts in AAPS
- Family Responsibilities
- Student Responsibilities
- Cleaning Protocols
- Bus Safety Practices
- Trustee Questions
- Summary: State of Michigan Consensus Revenue Estimating Conference
- Second Briefings
- Consent Agenda
- Board Action
- Monthly Reconfirmation of COVID-19 Extended Continuity of Learning Plan
- Approve Annex AN-2015: 2019 Bond: Air Conditioning & Lighting Upgrades at Carpenter, Dicken, Lakewood & Mitchell
- Approve Annex AN-2016: 2019 Bond: Air Conditioning & Lighting Upgrades at Scarlett Middle School Part 1
- Resolution of Grievance/Arbitration
- Items from the Board
- Motion to adjourn
The Summary wil be added after the meeting
Present: Lazarus, Kelly, Johnson, Dupree, Gaynor, Kelly, Baskett, Querijero
Non-Voting Attendees: Swift, Clulee, Bacolor, Rice, Parks, Linden, Lauzzana, Minnick
All of the Board Members confirmed that they were attending from Ann Arbor or Ypsilanti.
The Board unanimously approved tonight’s agenda.
School Board Appreciation Month
Dr Swift started by thanking the trustees for serving as School Board Members. She also shared a video from the School District thanking the board.
Each trustee will receive a piece of student artwork – from Roman in 5th grade at Abbot Elementary. The artwork was a Kaleidoscope created with an app at home.
Trustee Kelly: This year I groaned a bit as I saw this. I know everyone isn’t happy and we want to try, but we can’t fix this for everyone. But as a parent, I know how important it is.
Johnson: Thank you to Mr Clulee for the wonderful video and the kids especially who participated in it. I do agree with Trustee Kelly that it has been difficult to please everyone and know we fall short. It is encouraging to see the faces of the kids and see they are still engaged. It makes me feel good too to have trustees who work so hard and ask the tough questions.. And a shoutout to Roman as a fellow Abbot grad.
Public Commentary is available on Board Docs. Letters submitted as public commentary are often read quickly and truncated to fit in the allotted time (there were 85 submissions tonight with 40 seconds allotted to each). Sharing the link to the posted public commentary means they are reported in a more complete and accurate manner – and without me having to guess at name spellings or paraphrasing to keep up with the pace they are read at.
Swift: I appreciate all who took their time to speak this evening. Even with the time limits we have the full content of the remarks on Board Docs. We will be sharing an expanded continuity of learning update this evening and will attend to the major issues we are hearing about this evening.
Gaynor: I just want to point out there is a 4p time limit on contributions. I know I got a comment from someone at 4:02 and must have just missed it. I’ll send it out to the board.
Johnson: We thank the public for comments and appreciate everyone sharing on all sides of the issues.
Dr Swift: Ms Parks & Linden will share details on the hybrid learning plan. Others will share about transportation and building preparation. We will attach the document to BoardDocs and will be shared with parents tomorrow. I want your input and discussion this evening.. As our commenters have shared, this has certainly been a long and hard time and we are approaching a year since schools were closed by executive order. We don’t take lightly the burdens it has placed on students, staff, parents, and community. We shared our New Year’s update on January 13. We are delighted to hear of the vaccine and charted a course for reopening and that plan continues.
For those interested in the full Return to Learning plan I have linked it in the message parents will receive tomorrow.
Some bright spots: We have seen some decline in overall case rate and positivity rate. We are relieved to see that. At this time, Washtenaw County remains at the highest risk calculation according to MI Safe Start – Level E. Region also remains at highest level and so does the state.
I want to comment on vaccination process. We are not waiting until the entire community is vaccinated. But with the governor’s announcement on January 8 to prioritize teachers in 1B, it means they are coming for school personnel and it will make school safer for students and staff and parents and community.
We understand and support governor’s goal of reopening schools and goal to prioritize teachers. The announcement of vaccines beginning on January 11 has not happened in Washtenaw County due to a lack of supply of the vaccine. We know state officials are still working on getting enough vaccines for everyone in 1A and 1B.
We appreciate progress since prior board meeting with teachers and personnel associated with high level needs and self-contained are prioritized and are seeing progress with those vaccines. It is true that some individual teachers may have found a way to get vaccinated across the state but at this time there is not systemic teacher vaccinations in Washtenaw County. The governor shared on Monday that we don’t have the supply we need. I think we are all delighted last night to see Biden administration say they were nearing a deal with 2 million new vaccines. And the announcement to increase supply by 20% over the next few weeks.
I was in a virtual meeting with several school districts informing administration. The push is prioritizing teachers, and other essential workers.
Where we are with COVID in public schools besides the current rates and vaccinations, is the presence of the UK variant which is confirmed in Ann Arbor. We do understand that this proposes genuine risks. We will continue to work closely with Washtenaw County Health Department, Michigan DHHS. Last Sunday we offered the use of Pioneer HS for a large testing event by the Health Department in response to the discovery of the UK variant in Ann Arbor. We just learned from team members working with county health department that there will be a drive through event Sunday noon-4 also at Pioneer.
While facts remain confirmed about the COVID variant is that the UK variant is more contagious. While overall Michigan is heading in the right direction, experts across the continuum caution that progress could be delayed if variants take hold. Preventing this will require extra vigilance. We will follow new guidance such as layered masks and what steps we will need to take.
We’er here this evening to discuss the next steps in our district. With the combined level E status, delay in vaccines, and presence of UK variant, this informs our steps moving forward. Our job on Wednesday evening is to discuss where we are and discuss next step. Health and safety is our top priority and the commitment will not change.
Our current recommendation is to continue in a virtual learning instructional model. We will remain in virtual and continue to enhance and extend virtual support. We will also move forward with preparations for offering a transition to students and parents who desire an in person hybrid. There is not a direct announcement for a date. We will continue to update data and monitor other factors emerging and update community when there is information to share.
We do know the day is approaching for in school learning. In these coming days and weeks we will continue to work on ensuring strong virtual instruction while also informing our community of the hybrid option plans when it is safe to do so. When the time comes to reopen we will be prepared.
For our purposes this evening, we are focusing on beginning stages of return. A prioritization of students with highest needs and youngest students. Self contained classrooms at all levels, PK, Y5, and Kindergarten, and small groups of middle and high school students to receive in school learning center support.
I want to share with parents we have heard the concern about secondary students, we are continuing our discussions on how we can do that. We all understand that preserving the cohort which is the public health guidance is very complicated for secondary education. We are looking at secondary, but at this time we are focused on elementary.
Stage 2 is 1st and 2nd grade. Stage 3 is Grades 3-5.
We are reviewing an introduction to the hybrid learning plan. What it will look like both for those in hybrid and those choosing to remain virtual. We will look at a sample elementary hybrid day. Ms Bacolor will have a review of safety protocols in school. Mr Rice will share cleaning protocols and Ms Margolis will share transportation.
We will commune community and elementary student information sessions so that parents have the opportunity to make the most informed choice. Families will have many choices of time to attend. After the community and elementary information sessions, Families will be asked to complete a family choice survey and selecting hybrid or remaining in virtual learning. In this way the team can do the final preparations for transportation, food, and more so we are prepared. For folks concerned about the return, it does not indicate a rush to the return ahead of an appropriate and safe way to return and will follow the metrics. I also understand the needs of parents, families, staff are disparate, but we are moving forward with the final preparation process.
Three steps will occur. There is a set timeline
- Signal to the board, staff, and community that we are approaching or have achieved an acceptable level. Level will be monitored over 14 days to ensure stabilization
- Superintendent will bring to the board a recommendation and the BOE will vote on the recommendation.
- If and when that is approved, a confirmation message would be sent to staff, students, parents, and community. This will have at least 2 weeks notice before the return.
I appreciate the many sacrifices of students, staff, and families. We recognize this evening that opinions vary widely across the spectrum and stress and emotions run high. We know not everyone will agree with current recommendation. Under the guidance of our educators, we know our students will continue to grow and learn, will develop resilience, critical skills, and innovation. Our classrooms have not been closed. I appreciate the work of everyone on the AAPS team and the partnership of those in the community even if we don’t agree on the outcome.
A few clarifications on some items that we have not addressed before.
1 – MDHHS report from Monday on School Related Outbreaks represents only cases that were transmitted in school. It doesn’t include those infected outside school. Just this week, 26 new schools outbreak with 92 cases plus 28 schools with ongoing outbreaks with 252 cases. That is 54 Michigan schools with 344 cases. Closer to home, Washtenaw County Healthy Department there are 0-17 are 11% of the 1108 cases in the last two weeks. That is more than 100 cases in the last 2 weeks of kids ages 0-17.
2 – Details on the comparison of AAPS to other Washtenaw County districts. We understand each community is unique and has their own story. When we repeatedly hear the comparison, it is important to recognize the distinctions in size of districts, density of districts school population including level of diversity in socioeconomic, race, ethnicity. It’s also important to note that the number of COVID cases in the zip codes attached to the district. Week after week, the cases are clustered into more urban parts of the county including AAPS. Another clarification, enrollment in AAPS is 44% of the overall Washtenaw County student enrollment. The largest of the other 8 is 1/3 the size of Ann Arbor. Size matters when it comes to the complexity and density
When we think of population of families coming from poverty, as of this afternoon almost 3600 of our students currently qualify of federal free and reduced lunch. That is more students than the entire enrollment of more than half of the other districts. Families are less likely to have quality and quick health care access, greater levels of challenge, and greater levels of risk.
We have spent the 10 months engaged in wide and deep social services network to ensure support. This week we will pass 800k meals distributed and we partnered with community organizations to ensure grocery boxes delivered at the same time. We are proud of that work.
As Trustee Kelly noted this evening, it’s not enough, but we’er not suggesting it has. We understand students, and staff, and parents, and families are still struggling and will continue to struggle throughout the pandemic.
3 – I am very proud of the collaborative work with employee groups – teachers, administrators, paras, office staff, etc. Every representative group has been at the table. This doesn’t mean we always agree on the details but we have been at the table working collaboratively together. We know we’ve done the best we can do. I’m proud of the work that continues. We are at the table every week. We will be bringing in youngest students and those with the greatest needs first.
As we see stories across the country of unions and other organizations coming into conflict, that is completely false in AAPS. We have worked together to ensure we return to school at the right time. All employee groups reiterate their preferred place is to be in the building – just as soon as it is safe.
4 – We have heard from so many experts – epidemiology, health, medicine, pediatricians, and experts in every area. We all understand there are systems and operational considerations in addition to those fundamental considerations. All of it stems from being able to administer a district that is relatable and consistent with professional staff in every class every ay with sufficient substitute teachers and personnel, can run support like transportation and nutrition, contact tracing. We want to avoid the on again, off again situation that so many schools and districts have been in.
We are looking beyond the original September metrics. We heard again the concern about the metrics. Student needs, availability of testing, contact tracing capacity, able to follow the super 6 Ms Bacolor will speak to. We’re also looking at health care and hospitalization rates.
On January 13 we announced we would set a course for a reopening option for an in person learning option. What you are about to see is very similar to the parent and community information sessions. There are a few more small things we want to add. Show parents the health screener.
Extended Continuity of Learning Plan
Ms Parks started the overview.
- Stage 1 of In School Hybrid Learning Option
- Family Choice
- Health & Safety during in-school hybrid learning
- Sample elementary in-school hybrid/virtual School Day
- Cleaning Protocols
- Transportation Information
- Participation & Attendance Rates (MDE Required Reporting)
Option for Hybrid Return to In Person Learning
The option will first be available for PK-12 students in self-contained classroom placements, preschool, young 5s, and kindergarten. Additionally they have identified students in 6-12 for participation in learning centers.
Families can opt to remain fully virtual. It will be similar to how they receive it today. There will be some adjustments as teachers work with both those in person and virtual.
Families can remain fully virtual or return to in-person hybrid. There will be information sessions followed by a family survey. The survey will help balance and distance classroom and make plans.
The Super 6
- Universal Masking
- Physical Distancing
- Ventilation Upgrades
- Cleaning Protocols
- Public Health Protocols
These will continue for awhile since it will be a long time before students are vaccinated.
With the new more contagious variant, so far these have been working. But we may need to make more changes. As Dr Swift mentioned, we are listening to guidance on double masking.
- Students & Staff wear masks except when eating or drinking
- Hand sanitizer stations n every classroom
- Student Desks will be spaced apart facing same direction
- Seating charts to minimize contact
- no visitors
- parent/guardian meetings and school events will be virtual
Rapid Antigen test will allow weekly testing of all AAPS staff with direct interaction with students including those who are contracted through EduStaff, Durham, Chartwells, etc.
It is free, voluntary, and confidential. It will be at a few locations around the district.
Cohorts are groups of students and staff within a building who mostly just interact with each other. The idea is to minimize the number any individual is exposed to.
It is usually 2-3 classrooms together. That way we can reduce the number of people each person interacts with. Contact tracing is easier and just a cohort can be quarantined vs the whole school.
A pod is not the same as a pod, bubble, or household. All the other risk mitigation happen within the cohort.
Cohorts in AAPS
Ms Linden shared what the cohorts will look like. Cohorts in AAPS will be based on last name. A-L would be cohort 1 and attend on Monday & Tuesday. M-Z would be cohort 2 and attend on Thursday & Friday. All students are virtual asynchronous on Wednesday as now. On days not attending in person, they will continue to attend virtually.
In some buildings the cohort balance may shift to keep it about 50% of those attending. Families in the same household will be in the same cohort. For families with different last names, it may require some manual scheduling.
During hybrid, students & teachers will continue much as they have. While in person, they will view white board with projection in classroom. They will not be video conference. Virtual students will attend by video conference. At times it will be important to put students in breakout rooms. Teachers may shift between students in person and those in virtual break out rooms.
Instructional resources, tools, and assignments will remain in Schoology. It’s the video conferencing that will be different.
You will see some changes to the bell schedule at elementary. There will be some changes for hybrid with other groups coming back. There will be tiered transportation.
The goal is to reduce impact of changes during spring 2021.
Sample of schedule. It will vary by class, but this is a sample of a morning.
Lunch times will need to be staggered between different elementary classes. Highlight: In person days will be 9a-2:10p
- Screen Your Student and fill out the district screening tool
- Keep your student home when they exhibit symptoms
- Ensure students have a mask and a water bottle daily. (and later we’ll talk about a charged device). Masks and disposable single use cups will be provided. Water fountains will not be functioning. Only bottle fillers.
- Be available to pick up students if they show symptoms during the day
- Be patient as hybrid plans change to better meet needs of students. the plan will evolve
- Understand students and staff may be asked to quarantine.
- Wear a mask at all times
- If students can’t remove the mask independently, they cannot wear a mask
- Bring water bottle daily
- maintain social distance
- report any symptoms immediately
Mr Rice shared information on AAPS Cleaning & disinfecting protocols from CDC and EPA guidelines
- Daily Classroom Cleaning
- Disinfect High Touch Surfaces 2x/day – doorknobs, bottle filing, stair rails, light switches, etc. – many were eliminated and converted to touchless
- Service & disinfect restrooms daily
- Clean & disinfect common spaces daily (hallways, gyms, cafeterias, etc)
- Deep cleaning on Wednesdays & Fridays between cohorts with electrostatic cleaning
- Follow CDC Cleaning & Disnfecting Guidelines for any cases
Bus Safety Practices
Ms Margolis provided some updates on bus transportation.
- Mask at all times on the bus
- Hand sanitizer is available on bus and must be used on bus entry
- Windows will be open, weather permitting to circulate air – dress appropriately
- Seating charts will be established for distance and limited contact.
Seating charts allow for contact tracing as well as distance.
Students will need to register for the bus service. You can opt in for round trip or one way. It will allow for more efficient routes and more distance. There will be about a 2 week wait to re-start bus service. Eligible students live 1.5 miles or more from school or a safety issue. In-district transfer and school of choice students are not eligible for buses. While this has been allowed from a bus stop in the past, this will not be available this year
There will be district level information webinars and school specific information seminars.
Daily Attendance is more than 87% and two way interaction is about 93%
Dr Swift also said those students in self-contained classrooms will have one to one information sessions.
We know families have a wide range of preferences and the hybrid gives them a choice. But both programs will be in place.
DuPree: A cohort is not like a pod, but is there a way for families to understand if a student in cohort have the same COVID safety measures.
Swift – That is an excellent question and it is going on the list to really explore. I know parents will work together to sort that out. But I don’t know the exact answer.
DuPree: How do ew plan to enforce mask mandates and social distance. How will that look if students refuse to cooperate? What discipline will look like.
Swift: We see keeping the super 6 more as education than discipline. Of course, there may be some younger students preschool in particular that it may be difficult for them to keep the mask on. In those classrooms teachers will have more robust PPE.
DuPree: How will para-pro service look for those used to physical contact?
Swift: Yes, those high needs classroom staff were prioritized.
Bacolor: It’s definitely a concern and why we prioritized the TAs & teachers in the self-contained classroom. We are following CDC guidelines for our employees who act like health care workers.
Querijero: Where we saw the simultaneous schedule there was some terminology about screen times. I’m concerned if students on in person hybrid don’t have their devices how that means interacting
Linden: The Whole Group Classroom Screen
Querijero: Yes, what does that look.
Linden: When we get to our information sessions, having a classroom picture will help with that. What we mean by Whole Group Classroom Screen is they are not on their device. They are looking at what the teacher is sharing on the white board. They’re sharing the projection to the whiteboard that the virtual students see on screen.
Querijero: Oftentimes when I watch my kid on screen, there’s some screen time on the assignment. I’m concerned about the level of interaction from an in person student without the screen.
Linden: Yes, this is some of the nuance of the lesson that teachers will be working out. We’ll need to practice before we get to this stage. We’ve gotten good at remote learning with things like remote sticky notes. I believe on a slide before this there is a note that Schoology will remain an important part. The assignments and tools will still happen. The goal is to mimics the use of video conference while in the classroom. There will be adjustments to the process of interaction.
Swift: So if for example, they have a Schoology activity’s hey will still popup their device and do that like they would at home.
Kelly: I have a few questions and they are all over the place.
Kelly: Antigen testing, I know we reviewed those with fall sports. I thought everyone was getting those and testing at home. I’m concerned with locations around the district it will be less convenient and less used. Can you talk
Swift: Yes, that is concern we share. It is labor intensive and we have concerns about it. A nurse needs to oversee it. Three sites is about all we can manage. We’d love to do it in 30 buildings, but we can’t.
Bacolor: It is a rapid test that is partially self-administered with a nasal swab in the lower cavity that is mixed with a reagent. It is about the size of a credit card and works like a pregnancy test. With needing 3-4 staff at each site every school is not possible.
Swift: We are looking at the three comprehensive high schools because we need space and to spread throughout the district.
Kelly: Can we make them mobile?
Bacolor: It is meant for community use. We can’t do it out of a school bus because of state rules on record keeping. We can move if we need to.
Swift: We understand when we return there will be cases. We’ve had cases while virtual. But, we need to ensure our health team are full on contact tracing and addressing school issues, plus doing antigen testing.
Kelly: There’s the guidelines of when to keep your kid home from school when not in a pandemic. Do we anticipate changes in those guidelines? There’s been cases from someone assuming it’s allergies and turns out to be covid. But some kids that’s all year for them.
Bacolor: Our awesome nursing team is working on this exact question. People with allergies all year, but we have picked up cases where people thought it was allergy. We also know students are asymptomatic. The prescreener won’t work. There is new guidance developed with the nurses which will be shown at information meetings. Is it a new symptom, are there other concerning factors, etc?
Kelly: About the two way communication and engagement numbers. I’m glad they seem to be consistent and fairly high. Are we missing the same individual kids, or does it go around and different kids miss different days.
Parks: It’s both. With the school team we want to identify and return them to hybrid in small groups. But there are also some variety in students. We’ve gone to homes and knocked on doors, called in the moment, etc to get students engaged. The very students who aren’t being served well in virtual to give them a chance to return in a small group.
Kelly: If we find that the more virulent variants require different types of social distance – increasing 6’ for example. Whose job is that to address?
Swift: That’s a great question. This actually came up today with the call with national education leaders. Ms Bacolor works daily with WCHD. We will follow public health guidance. We would immediately come back if that guidance changed.
Lazarus: I know we and parents had some questions on what hybrid would look like.
Question on antigen: It seemed like this was always available to teachers and staff. Is it for only if they feel they have symptoms or is it proactive?
Swift: This was part of the governor’s announcement on January 8 and we’re actually receiving
It is one time per week. Unlike our athletic pilot in December/January this is for staff only. It is only once per week. It’s if people want, not necessarily if they have symptoms.
Bacolor: That was a great answer. We want people who are symptomatic to not come to school. If it’s a mild symptom, the test would probably be helpful. But we also need to protect the people at the testing site. The state did talk about for those who receive both vaccines and are a couple of weeks out, they don’t have to be tested. This is voluntary. It’s a way to protect staff and students more.
Lazarus: So this testing system would not be available even if we felt like a child had symptoms. We would not be able to provide them with a test. They’d have to go to doctor or pediatricians, etc.
Bacolor: That is correct. There is hope that students could be part of the program later in spring. It’s not the program we wanted, but it’s the one available to us.
Lazarus: If a child is showing symptoms while at school, is there a protocol to have a room for quarantining at each building. How do we know if we’re being overly cautious or not cautious enough?
Bacolor: Yes, our nurses and bargaining units are working on this. We are working on what are symptoms to look for in a classroom. There will be a health support room. Parents will have to pick up their child and take their child for a test if there are symptoms.
Lazarus: So we would require them to show us a test result, or take their word for it.
Bacolor: The protocol that comes from the state requires a PCR test. If they don’t want to do that, they need to stay home for the 10 day isolation period. These are pandemic rules. We’re trying to keep people in our building safe. There is lost of testing available.
Lazarus: Another question about safety and health. Some kids may have a doctor recommendation that they can’t wear a mask. Would parents be notified there is a child in their cohort who doesn’t wear a mask? A letter like for lice or pink eye.
Bacolor: Exceptions to the mask rule are incredibly rare. The CDC and doctors across the country have said that most children can wear a mask. We know some of our special needs children that won’t be the case and are handling that separately. In that rare exception (with a doctors note and a valid reason), we have not yet talked about that and how we would handle communication. I’m glad you brought that up and I haven’t thought about that before.
Lazarus: I appreciate the sample schedule of a typical elementary. This has always been my question, relating to discipline. How does a teacher who have to stay 6’ apart from student deal with discipline, or a tech problem, etc. This is more a statement than a question. It’s just a natural thing that is going to happen in a classroom and how to give the teacher the right tools.
Johnson: Maybe similar to Trustee Querijero. We’re in the hybrid model and some students are watching the big screen and using their computers periodically. When the teacher calls on a student in the classroom what does the student at home see & hear?
Linden: We’re working on tools. When students are logged into devices in classroom, sound interference. We’re also making the shift to one to one district. I’d welcome Dr Kellstrom next time to talk about the tech tools to make this better. You’re raising the same questions we have.
We do expect a teacher will stop by a desk to help a student, but not stay for 15 minutes through a day. We do expect some teachers and students close to each other for short times.
Johnson: This may be for future. Let’s say you have a positive test in the Monday/Tuesday class, since you have distance and masking that it’s a contained environment who quarantines.? If the teacher quarantines, that means the Thursday/Friday can’t have the teacher in their place. What happens hthen? If you have a quick answer that’s fine, or we can defer to future.
Swift: I appreciate that question and the fluidity of moving in person to virtual. Any class could be quarantined, they could still engage from remote unless someone is ill.
Bacolor: I’ll try to be really quick. We would do regular contact tracing to see who was close to the case. We had experience with our fall sports, Sometimes it was part of a team, sometimes it was the whole team.
Johnson: It think as we do and have the different virtual school meetings, some type of description of the quarantine protocols will be shared. While there are those who want face to face, there are others who realize going in and out can also be detrimental.
Johnson: About the bus itself, I think that’s really ingenious. Almost every question I had during your presentation, you answered right away. On the bus, you’ve had instances when kids go to someone else’s house on the bus. Is that allowed, encouraged, etc.?
Margolis: That will be discouraged this year. When we talk about cohorts ,the bus is a different cohort and introducing students into that cohort could cause issues. It is a more limited service than what we have allowed in the past. My recommendation is to stick with knowing which kids are on the bus and not allowing end of day changes.
Johnson: A big part of this is public health PR, a culture where we believe we are in this together. Let’s not break the rules. Are there any thoughts about slogans like “give a hoot, don’t pollute”
Summary: State of Michigan Consensus Revenue Estimating Conference
By Public Act 72 of 1991, the Consensus Revenue Estimating Conference is held annually January and May. They can also call one at any time and an extra one was held in August 2020 as an update on the impact of COVID.
The purpose is to bring tougher three agencies to discuss independent economic and revenue forecasts that are used to prepare the state budget. The January 2021 provides revenue estimates for FY ending
- September 30, 2020 (FY2020)
- september 30 2021 (FY2021)
- September 30, 2022 (FY2022)
At a high level, the projections increase revenue and year end projections from the August projections. This helps the General Fund/General Purpose and School Aid Fund across all 3 fiscal years.
There are significant revenue increases especially for FY21.
The FY2020 the increases were driven by larger income tax withholding despite job losses. But the federal economic packages that expanded unemployment benefits both in value and eligibility to sole proprietors and contractors.
There was also a shift in consumer spending from non-taxable services to taxable goods. Plus, an increase in gathering from online sales from remote retailers.
FY 2021 and FY 2022 are from expected impact of vaccine, and gains in vehicle sales, new sales tax revenue, and more.
Expenditures are not a focus but are discussed.
The General Fund/General Purpose Balance is $2.5B for FY 2020, quite an increase from August projection. School Aid Fund is $1.2B for FY 20202, $922M for FY 2021, and $1.1B for FY2022.
Revenue forecasts carry risks and may change. They don’t include the stimulus President Biden proposed January 14, the night before the forecast. The House & Senate Fiscal Agencies noted widely varied income tax revenue projections. Also, as part of the 2015 transportation caps income tax revenue growth to 2021 levels in 2023.The economic impact of COVID-19 vaccines, variants can affect forecasts.
Current expenditures were used, but large fund balances can encourage new expenditures. For example, increased higher education funding from the school aid fund.
What does this mean for AAPS? The forecasts don’t guarantee anything. Forecasts suggest school funding could grow.
Swift: This conference is usually the beginning of the AAPS budget process for next year.
Lazarus: Thank you Ms Minnick. I’ll make it short and quick since it is getting late. It’s a bit of good news. Time will tell for sure, but at least we can hope and dream. It is nice to see and it’s interesting to see how the economy actually works. Certain businesses do weather a pandemic and generate tax revenue.
Baskett: I hate to be a Debbie Downer but we’ve been here before. As the good news ,my fear and Ms Minnick put it there are risks and funds for new initiatives basically means we could get robbed (or raided as Trustee Johnson interjected). And it could be money with strings attached or unfunded mandates.
Johnson: Thanks for this. I don’t know if you’ve been watching GDP, it’s been off the charts lately. It doesn’t seem right, but as I look at this I didn’t know that unemployment benefits get taxed. Government gives people money and collects money off of it. That could be a boon if people’s normal wages weren’t at the level that unemployment was at. But to Trustee Baskett’s point folks love to raid the school aid fund.
There will be second briefings on
- Annex AN-2014: Parking Event Management Contract Award
- Annex AN-2015: 2019 Bond: Air Conditioning & Lighting Upgrades at Carpenter, Dicken, Lakewood & Mitchell
- Annex AN-2016: 2019 Bond: Air Conditioning & Lighting Upgrades at Scarlett Middle School Part 1
Dr Swift: There are no changes to any of the second briefing items.
There were no trustee questions,
The board will vote on the Consent Agenda:
- Annex AN-2014: Parking Event Management Contract Award
- Approve Minutes of December 16 Meeting
- Approve Minutes of January 13 Meeting
Ms Osinski read the consent agenda. Gaynor moved to approve. Seconded by Querijero.
Kelly: Why are the bond items not part of the consent agenda.
Swift: Those are significant amounts, so we thought it was best to leave them separate.
Ms Osinski called a roll. Motion carries
The Board will take action on the following items individually:
Monthly Reconfirmation of COVID-19 Extended Continuity of Learning Plan
By state law, the board needs to vote on this monthly.
Trustee Gaynor moved to reconfirm the COVID-19 Extended Continuity of Learning Plan. He read the required text. Seconded by Baskett
Approve Annex AN-2015: 2019 Bond: Air Conditioning & Lighting Upgrades at Carpenter, Dicken, Lakewood & Mitchell
Moved by Kelly, seconded by Gaynor. Motion Carries
Approve Annex AN-2016: 2019 Bond: Air Conditioning & Lighting Upgrades at Scarlett Middle School Part 1
Gaynor asked to note the values of the previous as 4.5 million and this at $9.6.
Moved by Gaynor, seconded by Lazarus. Motion Carries
Resolution of Grievance/Arbitration
Swift: This was covered in a closed session and was covered with the AAEA at the table.
Moved by Kelly to apporve the reolsuation as rwriteena nd seconded by Querijero.
Gaynor: This is a negotioation with the administration and AAEA to do with the interpretation of the contract and step incrases. It was agreed to by both parties.
The motion carries.
Items from the Board
Kelly: I want to thank AAEA elementary caucus for having myself and other trustees to hear on the screen reports of how the year is going and concerns about how it might be going depending on how we deliver instruction. I want to reiterate everyone’s desire to return to a very safe in person model.
Baskett: I want to piggyback on thank you for the caucuses. Trustee DuPree, Johnson and myself met with the Secondary Caucus. With the pandemic, are we celebrating NAAPID (National African American Parental Involvement Day)? Is that still happening.
Swift; I appreciate the question and I will take it to the superintendent’s meeting tomorrow morning. I haven’t seen any information yet and I’ve been watching. In AAPS we will be celebrating and it will be fun and exciting to see how we celebrate virtually.
Baskett: With virtual it’s easier to join.
Lazarus: I have kids at Clague and I did get notification that Clague is celebrating on February 8.
Johnson: At our organization meeting, we only had 2 members of performance committee. Gaynor has volunteered to be on. We talked about NAAPID but I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the MLK celebration district wide. It was a fantastic program.
I also want to thank the Elementary and Secondary Caucus and getting a chance to talk to both of them. I want to reiterate our commitment to make sure our teachers and families are safe during the pandemic.
Finally, today is International Holocaust Remembrance Day. I want to recognize those with family members who survived and those of us who understand the impact it had on our world.
Swift: One last loose end. My phone is blowing up, many schools have activities planned for NAAPID and Black History Month.
Johnson: And I wanted to wish a happy belated birthday to Trustee Lazarus and Kelly.
Swift: And also, Trustee Querijero who slipped it in before we knew.
Motion to adjourn
Moved by Baskett, Seconded by Gaynor. Motion carried. Meeting Adjourned at 11:04p