On January 13, the Ann Arbor Public Schools Board of Education held their first meeting of 2021, an organizational meeting. 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.
Today’s meeting was the first meeting for new Board Trustees Dupree and Querijero. The meeting started by swearing in the new trustees and Trustee Gaynor who was re-elected. Additionally, they elected officers (President Johnson, Vice-President Kelly, Secretary Baskett, and Treasurer Lazarus) and confirmed committee assignments.
Dr Swift provided the board with an initial update on the return to school plan. The plan was emailed to staff on Tuesday night and families on Wednesday. The district is planning a return to school starting in early March. They are planning on a week between stages. Additional information on the reopening plan will be provided at the next board meeting on January 27.
- Stage 1 – Grades PreK, Young 5, & Kindergarten
- Stage 2- Grades 1-2
- Stage 3- Grades 3-5
- Stage 4 – Middle & High School
From what has been shared, it sounds like Stage 4 will be broken into additional stages. They are working with small return groups to allow time to acclimate to new school procedures and for staff to respond to any challenges with having students in person.
During February, expect additional communication in the form of town halls, FAQs, and more. An official start date foreach phase will be communicated 2 weeks prior to the start date.
The return will be in hybrid mode. Classes will be split into two cohorts, one attending in person on Monday Tuesday and the other attending in person Thursday and Friday. Students electing to remain fully virtual and those not on in person days will still attend virtually. Whether students select to remain virtual or move to hybrid they will remain with their same class and teacher. The district has stated that students will receive teh same quality of education whether they remain virtual or attend in hybrid.
While in person, students and staff will continue to wear masks and social distance. Classrooms, grade levels, and even students can move back and forth between hybrid and fully virtual. Vaccines will not be required for staff – the district cannot ask if they have been vaccinated due to HIPAA reqiurements.
Ms Minnick provided an update on finances based on November data. The district is currently ahead of budget on revenue due to COVID grants and not seeing a decrease in the per pupil allowance that was budgeted for.
Three funding proposals were brought to the board in first briefings. The district is looking at a new parking contractor for when Pioneer High School is used as parking for UM. The prior contractor did not re-bid. The winning contractor is currently providing parking services for Eastern Michigan and Ohio State.
There are two proposals for air conditioning and light replacement at schools. The first proposal is for several elementary schools and is a one summer project. They will receive air conditioning, LED lights, and other associated infrastructure. The second proposal is a larger project for Scarlett Middle School and is a two summer project. These projects are part of the initial promises from the 2019 bond. Because they were already promised, they are not going through community feedback like other projects will.
Oath of Office
.The meeting started by administering the oath of office to the Board Members elected in November – returning member Trustee Gaynor, and new Trustees Dupree & Querijero
Present: Lazarus, Kelly, Johnson, Dupree, Gaynor, Kelly, Baskett, Querijero
Non-Voting Attendees: Swift, Clulee, Osinski, Linden, Minnick, Comsa, Rice, Lauzzana
All of the Board Members confirmed that they were attending from Ann Arbor or Ypsilanti.
Trustee Lazarus nominated Trustee Johnson to continue as President. Trustee Johnson is unanimously elected as President of the Board of Education.
Trustee Querijero nominated Trustee Kelly for Vice President. Trustee Kelly is unanimously elected as Vice-President of the Board of Education.
Trustee Lazarus nominated Trustee Baskett for Secretary. Trustee Gaynor nominated himself. He was previously Board Secretary until he was removed. Trustee Baskett accepts the nomination and feels she is up to the task and looks forward to serving in this capacity.
- Baskett – Kelly, Baskett, Lazarus, Johnson , Dupree
- Gaynor – Gaynor, Querijero
Trustee Baskett is the secretary.
Trustee Kelly nominated Trustee Lazarus for Treasurer, a role she has held for 2 years. Trustee Lazarus is unanimously elected as Treasurer of the Board of Education.
Each of the new officers took an oath of office administered by Ms Osinski.
Trustee Lazarus reluctantly agreed to remain as the Parliamentarian and was so apopinted by President Johnson.
The Board reviews the appointments to the Board Committee Assignments.
Legislative Advocacy Committee
First, they discussed establishing a Legislative Advocacy Auxiliary committee. President Johnson stressed the importance of legislative advocacy – both monitoring what the legislature is debating and impacting as well as advocating with legislatures.
Trustee Kelly motioned to approve and it was seconded by Trustee Dupree.
Trustee Kelly emphasized the importance of the committee and one of the goals of the board is to have a leadership role in advocacy in education. I look forward to seeing how Ann Arbor can have an impact.
Trustee Baskett when I broached some about having a person in charge of advocacy, I wasn’t thinking of a committee, but as Kelly stated we have talked about it. Over the last two years it kind of got lost in all the work the board was doing. If everyone is in charge, no one is in charge. I have some hesitancy on making it an auxiliary committee, but if that is a one yar trial and then formailzing, I’m in support.
Querijero: I think we need to define the duties in writing, that would be important so we know what the responsibilities are and we feel more comfortable making it a standing committee with a mission and trying it out.
Johnson: I believe after the committee works on this it could be a full committee or a single leader. This gives us a chance to vette it and decide which way to go.
Vote: Yes: Lazarus, Johnson, Gaynor, Dupree, Baskett, Querijero, Kelly – Motion carries.
- Governance: Johnson(chair), Baskett, Querijero
- Performance: Lazarus (chair), Baskett
- Planning: Kelly(chair), Gaynor, Querijero
- Finance: Gaynor(chair), Lazarus, Querijero
- Legislative: Baskett(chair), Dupree, Kelly
( think I missed one committee)
- City/Schools: Gaynor & Lazarus
- MASB Legislative Relations: Baskett
- Recreation Advisory Committee: Johnson
- Regional Alliance for Healthy Schools: Baskett
- Student Hearing Process: Dupree & Kelly
- Transportation Safety: Gaynor
- Washtenaw Association of School Boards: Gaynor with Querijero as alternate
Board Designated Representative
Motion to confirm board designated representative organizations as outlined in policy 1300:
- Ann Arbor Administrators Association (AAAA)
- Ann Arbor Education Association (AAEA)
- Ann Arbor Parent Advisory Committee (AAPAC)
- Arab-American Parent Support Group (AAPSG)
- Ann Arbor Youth Gender and Sexuality Alliance Group (AAPS AAAG)
- District-Wide Black Parent Student Support Group (DWBPSSG)
- Parent Teacher Organization Council (PTOC)
- District High School student representatives
Moved by Baskett and Seconded by Querijero. The motion passed unanimously
Public Commentary is available on Board Docs. Letters submitted as public commentary are often read quickly and truncated to fit in the allotted time. 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.
Dr Swift: Our update this evening is around topics that have been raised about return to school. The full content is posted in BoardDocs and we do see the full commentary and take time to read those.
Johnson: Yes, we do read all of them and are unable to address every comment individually. It’s not an attempt to not be responsive. Stay tuned, answer sto those questions will be coming up.
Reports of Associations
None have been received.
Swift: There is no additional announcement coming this evening from what was sent to families yesterday. This is the same content we have already shared with the community. We’ve come a long way and everyone understands events are changing and unfolding rapidly. While folks noted metrics and statements made months ago, the situation is changing. The governor spoke on Friday afternoon and we were not aware of her comments in advance so could not address that New Years updated which was crated prior tot he governor’s announcements.
Big changes are the arrival of the vaccine and the pilot of the antigen testing program. We understand it will be coming available for students and staff. These are two commitments form the governor that do change the ability to look at reopening. We do hear from parents who prefer not to return to school. Last summer the 256 page overall plan promised that we would continue to offer fully virtual opportunity.
I want to thank teachers and staff, parents, and community. We understand this has been among the most challenging times we will face. We will bring students back in a safe, healthy, and responsible way. But we recognize parents will need choice and will need full information to make the best choice.
We will have parent meetings. My frequent PTO exec board meeting and will be with groups in every school community to review what hybrid school looks like. We are required to continue to socially distance, fully mask, and take other mitigation steps to ensure safety. During February there will be meetings for parents to understand what to expect.
Parents will complete screening per student on a daily basis. Students will continue in the same classes with the same teacher as we move to hybrid. Hybrid will be 2 day per week in school and continuing 3 days of virtual school with Wednesday continuing to be asynchronous. We will start with the youngest and the students with the greatest needs. Stage 1 will include preschool, young 5s and kindergarten schools. Many of these students have not attended the school before. Studetsn wtih high level needs – the self-contained classrooms are also included. Middle and high school students will begin int he first phase. These students with the greatest needs and struggled the most wtih virtual learning.
Stages are set to occur weekly. We believe this is a resaonable expectation. But, COVID and experience can change so we will talk about the process to confirm those dates so parents & students , staff, and community can prepare.
Stage 2 is targeted to include first and second graders for those whose parents choose hybrid. Stage 3 includes 3rd-5th. After spring break is the opportunity for middle and high school learning option. The guidance from public health and MDHHS is to maintain 6′ of social distance and to limit the exposure into cohorts. Middle and high school will not achieve single cohort because of the breadth of their subject matter. They’ll be in about 3 cohorts (perosnal injection – my high schooler has 5 a day – 3 subjects, advisory, and the optional 7th period).
While we had not planned to await the vaccine, with it here it seems in the best interest in safety and health for our teachers to be able to have their vaccination appointments. The governor is lobbying at the federal level for us to have more vaccine. We are grateful that educators are prioritized in 1B. There are few others with the same exposure as school teams.
We will continue to keep an eye on community spread. We know our students will not have vaccine option this year so we do need to keep an eye on COVID community spread. We are no longer looking at the tight metrics we set months ago, we are now looking at different metrics. The guidance is to ensure we can conduct prompt contact tracing, readily available testing and prompt results, and that we keep an eye on strain at medical and hospital infrastructure.
There are about 80,000 individuals in Washtenaw County in 1B – 15k are educators – 4100 are AAPS. The largest district in our county besides AAPS is less than 1/3 of AAPS size. In full operation, AAPS has 25000 people leaving their homes.
There will be information sessions for staff on vaccine in general and public health partners will be sending information for signup s and how to actually get the vaccine.
Next steps include understanding there will be many questions. We made our announcement on March 12, governor’s order was March 13. In April we had many questions when learned schools would be closed for the rest of the last school year. And again in July when we decided to stay virtual for fall. Now, we have many questions again with an early March transition. We will use the time to answer every question we possibly can is answered. We will meet with parents, sending emails and other updates.
We’ll share information on cohort assignments, getting information on bus transportation, food delivery, student health, and more. We’ll also share information for those who want to remain in fully virtual learning.
Washtenaw County, Region 1, & the entire state remain at the highest level of risk. Washtenaw County is at 200 cases per million and an 8% positive rate. But new tools – additional information about how it spreads with additional mitigation steps that are recommended. We will be watchign the level of community spread so we can take the safest and healthiest steps.
Trustees we’ve discussed it in small group meetings. A hybrid model will mean we continue to support the model we have been on and that we support the in person option. We’ll be working with our teachers and teams on implementing and working to answer the many questions.
Making these next steps to offer hybrid will be a complex set of information. I do hear from community embers that have been less than satisfied with our communication We are sharing what we have confirmed and as we know it. We will be meeting about the questions now that we have confirmed. I know this transition will require the best of all of us. I understand parents are weary – I hear it in parents, school staff, etc.
On January 27 is our regular board meeting and we will be bringing our school teams and will bring those forward at the end of January and use February for Community Engagement so parents get all the information we can give. Our FAQ will be updated weekly including this Friday. We may not be able to answer all of your questions yet but will note them for future week.s
Kelly: Your last statement was a good intorduction to my questions. I know we don’t have a meeting next week and it is two weeksuntil the 27th.
Generally speaking, can you remind us of the categories that are covered when we return the continuation of learning plan next week.
Swift: Let me bring in Ms Linden.
Linden: We are working on details of that plan. The details of what is coming is what you would like a foreshadowing of.
Definition of description on what a hybrid learning looks like for students and families, details on the entire cay from drop-off to pickup including buses. There are many including how students arrive, how they enter, how they move through the building, how the cohorts will be protected, changing classes, lunch, return to class, how classes will be cleaned, how students will wear masks – and when they won’t. Some big questions are fleshing out the details on the instructional model. Those are big details.
Kelly: Do we think in the next 2 weeks we will have a more targeted timeline?
Swift: As we shared in our plan last August we will keep with those same steps. At least 2 weeks prior we will confirm with the board support the precise date of opening. We shared early March as the approximate with one week intervals. We kind of know the rhythm we hope to achieve. We are hoping to see counts come down as vaccine moves into communities.
Kelly: If parents tune in on January 27th it is unlikely that parents will get a definite date to return their child.
Swift: The pencil date is what we’ve already given. As we move through we will confirm each in 2 week notice.
Kelly: It’s the 13th, we’re 2 days into 1B crowd. Do we know (and perhaps we don’t) how many of those have been offered a time to come get the vaccine? Dowe know what the timeline looks like?
Swift: We do not know. That is one of the reasons we placed that as one of the comments we will continue to monitor. We hear from the governor about her efforts to acquire more vaccine and staff constraints to administer them. We have offered every support including staff members.
Kelly: When we talk about the vaccine, there is a real distinction between the 1B group and mass vaccination including children. It’s important to reiterate we are on 1B, but not holding back preparations for a child vaccine.
Swift: We are also not awaiting a particular level in the community, herd immunity, etc.
Kelly: We aren’t waiting for an adult ot get a vaccine. We can’t even ask them. If parents want to verify that the adult in the classroom has been vaccinated, we can’t provide that.
Swift: Brought in Mr Comsa.
Comsa: We cannot compel vaccines. There can be multiple reasons including medical history. We will probably never know who in our buildings is vaccinated. That is a HIPAA issue. These are still approved under emergency use exception, so employers aren’t compelling it.
Swift: Ms Bacalor added that childhood vacciens are part of the school code and a spearate issue..
Kelly: Originally we talked about 2 or three week intervals. Now we’re doing 1 week intervals. That’s because we’re responsive to new data, right? Do you have other comments.
Swift: Originally we said 3 weeks between each stage. As we’ve learned more about COVID, we know understand that what we’re working on is getting children and adults attenuated to the daily steps and so it needs to be staff time to help with learning screening tools, protocols, etc. It isn’t so much waiting to see dramatic change in community ifnection ass chools open. That could occur, but that isn’t the worry at this time.
Kelly: I know a small group of athletes have been in a pilot rpogram for testing> Do we have lessons learned yet? Or are we still watiing.
Swift: We have a full report that Ms Bacalor and Mr Deangelis have completed. We will share more about that. Probably the bet time to share will be when we learn more about this testing that we may have more widely.
Baskett: Thank you Trustee Kelly for those questions and statements. Regarding testing athletes have gone through, there was a webinar yesterday with many school board members across the state. Trustee Gaynor you also joined that call. They assured us that there are many test kits available and they are free. I signed us up to get some, but I have no clout. They assured us the tests are there.
Being not the first to return to the building is we can learn from other districts. I have sent some stuff that a parent has discovered and have forwarded them to you Dr Swift.
For the first, Dr Swift has spoken to each of us, but not as a group. I want to emphasize that the quality of instruction will not decrease whether you are coming into the buildings or not. Whatever decision you decide for your child you are not sacrificing their instruction. One of the benefits of networking with other school districts is getting to hear the lessons learned. When I asked one member about transportation issues. She said something she would stress is that when the students are in school all 5 days even if they are in person 2 days a week.
Swift: I want to emphasize that we are not waiting until January 27 to continue to share information with staff, students, and parents, wWe will be putting out information very regularly. We will confirm that information on January 27 in our extended continuity of learning update.
Dupree: How will school discipline will work moving forward. We’ve talked abou tmasks and how to deal with them not wearing it. What if I go hybrid but decide to keep my son home.
Swift: School discipline around not meeting COVID protocols is a discussionprincipals and teachers will be havng. We see it as an education process than discipline. We will put a flag in it to have a more complete response.
The entire extended continuity of learning plan, that was approved in August/September. That design allows for students and parents during hybrid to move in and out with no change to their classroom arrangement at all. We knew we needed to build it that way. It will be a dial not the flipping of a switch. That question is appropriate. A related question is what would happen if there was an exposure in a classroom. It has happened and will happen. It may be that a classroom will quarantine or a grade level will be quarantined. When those attendance changes need to occur it is a smooth transition.. I really appreciate helping people understand the system has been built to flex.
Gaynor: Thank you. I have 3 brief items. First, Dr Swift mentioned that we welcome emails. And we do, but she said she doesn’t always have time to reply. I want to commend on the responses she does give. She cc’s the board on them. I also know that Trustee Baskett will respond on behalf of the board. We do welcome especially specific questions and concerns – and words of praise are always welcome. Specific questions can only help us plan as best as we can.
Second question, this piggybacks on what has been said. I’ve had questions on what hybrid will look like and want to make sure I’m accurate. Students will be having the same experience in terms of lessons and ays – they’ll have their device and teacher will continue on the same lesson as they have been and will be directing attention to students in class and at home at the same time. There are clear advantages for some families, but I guess we’ll flesh out what are the advantages of being in school.
Everyone has slightly different models and that’s what parents need to clarify.
Swift: I think what you’ve said is there are breaks and times between lessons. We know with COVID students can’t cluster together on the carpet, they can’t sit densely for lunch like you used to see in the cafeteria. You are correct that we are going back to a different form of school because of the requirement of 6′.
Gaynor: As a former classroom teacher it doesn’t match up with how any classroom works.
On a different topic, Governor Whitmer had a press conference today and following that the MHSAA released a statement and I would like to release a few points from that and ask how we’re prepared to respond. The statement includes girls gymnastics, girls and boys bowling, and boys swimming and diving may begin competitions before the end of the month. Masks will be provided except when actively participating in gymnastics and swimming. The others are contact sports (including basketball, wrestling, and cheer) and may begin practicing later this month with games after that.
Swift: I received the information less than an hour before the meeting. I won’t try to speculate now. We get our information at the same time as everyone else.
Querijero: I don’t have so much a question as a concern. One of my main concern is the hybrid. If a student do our buildings have a capability to run all those laptops in the building at one time. Will our technology be bale to run it. The idea that some students will show up with an uncharged laptop? What is our mechanism for making sure their day isn’t less of an experience? Are we in a position to do that? These are questions as an instructor I’m not sure I’m ready to answer.
Swift: I appreciate all 3 of those points. In describing our school delivery, I had not considered how that would be especially with the need to get up and move in the classroom like they can at home. One of the areas we will brief on is Dr Kellstrom’s team is running analytics on our system. We haven’t done that quite yet. I may be bringing some infrastructure investments that are needed before the end of March. They’er discussing charging because some devices won’t last a full school day. We’re defining what that looks like at each of the levels.
Lazarus: Speaking of old School and piggyback off Trustee’s Querijero’s and what the small children (not the middle school and high school), do we need to consider the transportation of the devices back and forth. I know we have some for the ipads, but the Chromebooks are pretty flimsy and can be damaged quite easily especially on buses. That is the nitty gritty of this. I want to reiterate that to rush back into school, it won’t be the same as it was pre-COVID. I am very concerned about how this is going o stretch our teachers to deal with online cohort and in school cohort. How will we handle that to not stress our teachers more than we are doing.
Johnson: The first question, we keep hearing in public commentary that you don’t have a plan. I think because we don’t have a date that there isn’t a plan. I want to ask where people can find the 256 page plan to refer to.
Swift: If you go to the home page here is the extended
Johnson: If you hear the governor. it is recommended not mandated for March 1. There are also people talking about people who go back fully in person that we don’t need to distance or mask. Are these recommendations, laws, etc. To what extent do we have control?
Swift: The Governor’s statement was that she strongly urged for schools to have the goal to open for some in person learning by the beginning of March. It does not carry the weight of an executive order. I’ve personally been in contact with members of her team. We hear the spirit of her request, we absolutely want our children back to school but recognize the challenge of that transition. The requirement to social distance its a part o the executive order and a part of every step around COVID in school. There is no question we have to have a hybrid plank to maintain social distance. With a class of 20-25 we cannot ensure proper social distancing. We are bound as a district to the social distance. There was an announcement this week including one district that received fines for not maintaining social distancing. We’ve all taken for granted the ability to gather indoors at schools. We don’t have the freedom or flexibility to gather in buildings.
Johnson: Everyone here on the board shares the sentiment to get back to school, but wants to do it safely. People are saying if you are in school and masked COVID doesn’t spread. But that’s not true it’s because of the distance too. The distance is a mandate. March 1 is not.
It’s interesting you gave a timeline. Former Trustee Lightfoot always talked about Ann Arbor being first. We were first to close our buildings before the governor’s order last March.
I’ve heard commentary about starting Middle/High School back before spring break to limit travel. Talking to friends in private school, no one wants to be responsible for closing schools. They choose to do what is right. We hope people decide not to do that. If you do go, quarantine, get tested, etc. We can’t make everyone go earlier because people don’t want to act responsibly. What we want to do is that we are keeping our community safe.
Gaynor: Because tech int he classroom came up, teachers have purchased extra monitors for use. Will the district provide these for the classroom. I don’t think they’ll be comfortable lugging monitors of their own in.
Monthly Budget Monitoring Report for November 2020:
Ms Minnick reviewed the financial. There was a surplus in the General Fund Balance compared to this time last year.
Gaynor: I hate to do this, but for the new members it took me 6 months to understand how this monitoring report works and I still sometimes have questions. Being on the finance committee, and having heard this. I will appreciate every question you ask. (As the person taking notes, I have to say I am confused as well by what the numbers mean).
Kelly: Ms Minnick can you talk about why the fund balance is so different from projections. I’m assuming it’s pandemic related.
Minnick: We’re doing a bit better than what we had adopted for this fiscal year. We’re about 5 months through the fiscal year, but only 3 months through the school year. We’re a little ahead of the budget because of infusion of coronavirus funds which we received in August. Also, we were projecting and expecting a reduction of state aid per pupil. But that remained constant. That’s the primary factors for why there is a variance between budget and actual.
Kelly: I know there is real different in revenue we expect to get one time and money we expect to get forever.
Minnick: Yes, we received three types of Coronavirus relief monies and expect some additional from what the federal government has passed and the state of michigan has not shared how that money would be disbursed. They are one time monies and we shouldn’t expect to receive on a recurring basis.
Kelly: Do we expect he difference between budgeted and what we see to vary through the school year?
Minnick: Yes there are variables. Known variables like Enrollment, state aid per pupil, etc. We will monitor and bring an amended budget at a future date.
Gaynor: If I can add a postscript to Trustee Kelly’s question, there is a lot of uncertainty about Michigan’s budget. The new federal government may provide additional fundings to states and schools. But the leanings in our state legislature is not to raise money and taxes. I’m happy to have the safety net.
Baskett: Just wanted to add my words of wisdom for the new folks. Money is always uncertain for us. There have been times we’ve thought we were stable and had to give up money in January.
Lazarus: I just want to add to the welcome to the new trustees as treasurer. We want to hear all the questions. As treasurer I would love to help you through the process. It’s always a roller coaster ride and where our legislative advocacy committee will be useful.
Parking Event Management Contract Award
We have historically parked for UM events. It is a source of revenue of the district. It seems strange now because we are not currently parking for large events. But It is a revenue source for the district. It is the natural time to but out a bid for parking company.
Minnick: Pioneer High School is used for parking events at UM. Contract ends March 31. Vendor handles selling passes. The revenue generates belong to the district and the management fee comes out of that. UM Football game is bid as parking pass revenue. Small events are bid at a fixed fee. Large events include season passes, portable toilets, signage, cleanup after while small events are minimal advance setup. The contract has averaged about $154,000 annually. The contract costs and revenues can be reduced for some time to come.
LAZ parking of Detroit is the lowest bidder of 18-20% of large event sales and $2680-2710 for small events. The costs and revenues are dependent on number of events held. If applied to historical events, it is about a 20% increase in costs. The parking pass belong to the district and are applied to the general fund. The funding for the contract is therefore provided by the general fund.
Kelly: Quick question, were there any changes to the contract language now that we know things like the last year are a possibility?
Minnick: No, the contract is based on the number of events. There is no guarantee for any minimum events or parking revenue.
Gaynor: To follow up on that question – certainly there was less revenue, but I also want to clarify the two types of events. For the big events, we get the revenue and pay back a certain percentage and while I’m on that track, we came up with the revenue in a regular year being about $1million. If we pay back about 20%, we still come out far ahead. For the small events (mostly at Crisler arena), we do pay a set amount but I assume there weren’t any such events due to COVID. Were there events we paid them money, but got nothing in return.
Minnick: No that didn’t happen.
Gaynor: There were 2 vendors bidding and neither was the contract who held it previously. Dr Swift can you comment.
Swift: The company that held that contract prior had done it for a long time. This time we got a bid from someone who does it in many areas. We did not receive a bid from the prior company.
Lauzzana: Not much to add. I believe they were aware of the bid and neglected to respond.
Gaynor: And the terms of this contract were similar to before?
Minnick: No the terms have not changed in a substantial way.
Lazarus: I just wanted to assure the trustees that LAZ parking midwest is a reputable company. Ms Minnick, can you share some of their references.
Minnick: Yes, we checked on their references extensively. (She cut out)
Lauzzana: They hold the parking contract for Eastern Michigan University and Ohio State University.
2019 Bond: Air Conditioning & Lighting Upgrades at Carpenter, Dicken, Lakewood, & Mitchell
Lauzzana: The addition of air conditioning at these schools (and upcoming we will have similar for Tappan, Angell, & Burns Park). We are bidding this in a particular way. We did not release 9 schools at once. One of the commitments was to make improvements in air and thermal quality in our buildings. Being in the comfort zone makes your brain work well – not too hot or cold. We have issues with some of our buildings in fall and spring so air conditioning will improve the environment. The systems also provide additional oxygen to classrooms and lower CO2 improves cognitive.
LED lighting will improve visual acuity and is more efficient than current fluorescent lighting. It also has daylighting and dimming capability.
Scope is air conditioning for classrooms and corridors and includes bipolar ionization to help mitigate viruses like COVID and the flu. Upgrading the electrical distribution systems, new window treatments, upgraded control systems, and more.
There is a total of $4.5 in contracts with a 10% contingency recommended. Funding would come from the 2019 bond.
Baskett: What is the timing?
Lauzzana: This would be a one summer mobilization. For Scarlett which is the second proposal it would be a two summer mobilization
Baskett: That would be this summer. For Scarlett, it would start this summer than pause over the school year and start again next summer?
Lauzzana: We don’t have that worked out for Scarlett yet. We may do some second shift work that won’t interrupt the school day, but would be a second mobilization in summer 2022.
Lazarus: We just passed a responsible contracting policy. Did these contracts go through that bidding process that we set up with that?
Lauzzana: This was prior to that. We have updated our policies. All of these contractors are known entities that we or our contractors have worked with before.
Lazaurs: So they’re providing industry standard warranties and all.
Lazaurs: I note there is dimmable lighting. Is that automatic or can teachers control.
Lauzzana: Yes, but there is also manual control for teachers. Some of it is driven by new building codes.
Lazarus: I notice there is quite a bit of steel in the quotes. Is this reinforcing, replacing?
Lauzzana: It is primarily related to weight of new units that would be placed on roofs.
Johnson: This is being funded by bond funding, correct?
Johnson: The public will probably ask. I know we don’t have the advirsory groups yet. Have we not engaged our public yet? Why are we moving down the path with this?
Swift: These were specifically noted as year 1-6 promises in the campaign. We brought the information at three meetings in December .These were items expressly promised in the campaign. It is an example of promises made, promises kept> We will be engaging with the community on large projects. This package and a few more coming represent the items that were expressly noted.
Johnson: I suggest we lead with that statement on future proposals. I feel this is a trustee Baskett question> What is the useful life of these renovations. If we decide to create a new middle school instead of keeping the building? Are we investing in buildings that won’t be around?
Swift: These are items that have a year over year return. These are items for schools later in the process. LED lighting has about a 3 year payback.
Lauzzana: That’s an excellent question. LED lighting has a quick return on investment. Life is 10+ years. We could reuse those. The A/C systems are not central airways. Window units and mini-splits that gets us where we need to be but doesn’t cost a lot. Expected life is 5 years – about when we would do major projects at these schools.
Johnson: On the A/C units, does it have an adverse affect on energy from where we are now?
Swift: I’ll touch first on the instructional rationale. They are all Title 1 schools where we need to do year round programming especially looking ahead to post-COVID. We do keep the environmental balance in mind. Our solar installations are meant to offset some of the increased energy.
Lauzzana: The way we are approaching solar is to tie it to our roofing management. Where we are installing solar isn’t necessarily where we add A/C, but are doing it where we are replacing roofs. These locations have roofs that while they don’t need replacing, don’t have a lot of life left in them. With LED lights using less energy, generating some energy with solar, and increasing usage with A/C we think we will net a slight decrease.
2019 Bond: Air Conditioning & Lighting Upgrades at Scarlett Middle School
Lauzzana: We will have more items in this bond particularly around fire suppression. Middle schools are last not he list for large projects. But we don have major projects at each school in the first few years. Scarlett is a more permanent heating/cooling system. We are switching from a steam system to a hot water system. This is more similar to a geo thermal system. There are multiple smaller systems that push/pull air through the building. If the south side is getting more sun and is hotter, you can pull that to the colder north side.
Because celling is being opened, technology wiring will also be replaced. A fire suppression system will be added which will have benefits to removing some current buildings segmenting for fire suppression. This bid totals $9.6 million with a 10% contingency.
Gaynor: For Dr Swift, on the topic of promises and promises kept. I appreciate the discussion after the last item. One of the processes is to have a robust public engagement. I did want to press on the importance of doing that as we have started the process of doing construction.
Johnson: That’s actually why I asked the question on the last segment as well. We did list the LED lighting as phase one in the bond, so there wasn’t as much need for engagement on this.
Swift: We brought the preliminary plan to the board in December. Int eh first quarter of 2021 we intend to be in the community talking about bond. With the return to hybrid discussions we will have to feather in the bond discussion. My team is up to the challenge and we will keep the commitment to be in the community. These items were specifically listed in year 1-6 plans. We don’t have to ask the community about them. Not only did we say we would do them, we said we would do them in year 1-6. We have to start them to keep the direct commitments. I appreciate that trustee Gaynor and Lazarus served on the bond committee
Gaynor: I know many who supported the bond are supportive of zero emissions.
Swift: Yes, and going to those groups is first on the list for 2021 engagements.
Lazarus: This is really an observation. I’m excited to see about 90% is going to local contractors. This was one of the goals of the bond to be an economic generator in our community. I applaud Ms Minnick, Mr Rice, & Mr Lauzzana for reaching out to local contractors.
Items from the Board
Baskett: Welcome to the new board members. I know it’s been baptism by fire. It doesn’t get better it just gets different. Monday in MLK Day, lets not forget that. We’ve had a couple crazy weeks. We have the great fortune in our district to have great events going on. They’re all virtual this year. UM’s MLK day programming is virtual with a program for children. EMU has a speaker. The board is committed to an outside investigate allegations at Pioneer High School. We do have a hotline setup – 734-545-2321.
Johnson: I also wanted to welcome the new trustees. Thank you in advance for your service and committee. I also want to recognize the unrest happening in our country. When the siege happened last week we were wondering about our retreat scheduled that night. We believed it would be a bad time for us to meet in case people wanted to join in. The retreat is mostly about the board and understanding their values and setting the goals for the year and understanding themselves. There wasn’t any serious district business scheduled.
Since flyers were brought up, I do want to bring up the allegations on them. We are using a third party to investigate. While we understand how serious it is and the severity of the issue, we also want to say I don’t think we should support the way communication was done.
Swift: Just three loose ends. When I call on Mr Cluley to share something on an instant, I want to show where it is Fall 2020 Archive 2020 Return to School Plan. The full document is there. https://www.a2schools.org/Page/16241
For Trustee Kelly, student vaccines are part of the Public Health Code
Always inspiring, our AAPS High Schools will be celebrating Dr King at 12:45p Friday during the advisory period. This is a themed celebrations titled “Getting Into Good Trouble” All 5 high school teams have collaborated. I will share the link with the trustees if you wish to join.
I do understand the concerns about virtual school. We are committed to getting our students back to in person, but I don’t want to undervalue the extraordinary connections that have been built during this time. That will continue. One of the thought exchange questions I’ll ask the community is what do we want to keep that is making us stronger and better.
Motion to adjourn
Moved by Kelly. Seconded by Dupree. No discussion. The board voted unanimously to adjourn at 10:36p