April 28 AAPS Board of Education Meeting

April 28 AAPS Board of Education 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.

Note: We will update it throughout the meeting. Please excuse any typos, misspellings, errors (hopefully minor), etc. A summary will be added after the meeting.

Table Of Contents

Attendees

Attendees: Kelly, Johnson, Dupree, Gaynor, Querijero, Baskett, Lazarus

Non-Voting Attendees: Swift, Cluley, Osinski,

Baskett asked to add an item to add a letter supporting federal funding for electric school buses to Board Action. Seconded by Kelly. It was requested to be added as action B and move the other items down. The motion passed unanimously.

Gaynor raised an objection to Item 9C about the non-renewal of administrative contract that it wasn’t added until today. Johnson received objection and said it was sufficient notice according to Open Meetings Act

The revised agenda was unanimously approved after a motion by Baskett with a second by DuPree.


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Public Commentary

As is our practice, we did not cover public commentary. There are 77 comments tonight. Comments are available on BoardDocs. Ms Osinski and Mr Cluley each read half of the comments. The total time for public commentary is limited which can lead to only portions of commentary being read when there are many comments. And, the comments are typically read very quickly to be able to read as much as possible in the time constraints. With such limited time per comment it is even harder to try to capture the context of the commentary.

Clarifications

Swift: We appreciate all the members of our commumnity who speak to us via public commentary and the hundred of folks who send an eamil or reach out in anoher way. I apprecaite we have the full content of the comments for those extedned beyond the shared time.

Our summer programs we did have a presentation in March and a lengthy followup last week. There is anoentire area of our website dedicated to the sumer learning programs. We’ve included the link for information and signing up and have inclued it in weekly emails. We’ll send it out so everyone has the right day and time for a community information session on Summer Learning on Thursday evening.

I’ll ask Ms Bacolor a little later to clarify around contact tracing communication. That’s actually very detailed on cases identified and occurred in the district.

The decision for MStep to be an opt-in season. That encouragement was offered by our state superintendent. Just like we did last spring because of COVID year implored the federal department of education to relieve the state of the responsibility was denied for this spring. The state board of education and superintendent made clear statements that the decision for testing is always a parents decision.Our steps were clearly allowed for and a part of our state.

I want to thank those who spoke about senior evenst including prom and graduation. We will be engageing with students. More specific information to share will be available int he coming days.

I believe we’ve addressed the matter of non-renewal. We don’t often have them but when we do they emerge from closed session with the attorneys which happened last night. It did happen as a matter of course. That process has been in process. Folks impacted have had many months of engagement.

Querijero: With the board’s permission I’d like to read 5 emails from teachers who are reluctant to share publicly. I’d like to be able to read what they wrote.

Baskett: I would like to object. Everyone has the right to give public commentary. If you want to speak on behalf of them, I fully support later in items from board, but not in clarifications. Maybe in the future we should add to public commentary.

Querijero: They’re not willing to share their name for fear of retribution.

Kelly: I believe we have a policy section that prohibits anonymous public commentary.

Querijero: I’m happy to raise later

Baskett: I just want to add as Dr Swift said supporting our students, but to also those who  raised question of holding events outdoors. Most of our buildings are in the city of Ann Arbor and I believe there is still a public ordinance on public gatherings (I could be wrong about this). We are under the same restrictions as other community members.

Gaynor: I mentioned last week that I put out a request for feedback on hybrid. I think this deserves to be read out in terms of transparency. If it’s not now, I’ll use the first opportunity I can.

Johnson: The reason we have policies around public commentary is to create a level playing filed. The reason we don’t allow anonymous is we see how anonymous comment sections online are. It’s not appropriate for people to get more time by going to a trustee. The assumption that it’s not transparent is not accurate. It’s also offensive to trustees. 

Querijero: A clarification I didn’t ask for more time and asked for the same time as everyone else.

Johnson: Absolutely but you did ask for it to be anonymous.


Gaynor: I find it insulting we would voice anonymous comments that aren’t authentic. It’s well known to the public that teachers are afraid to speak up.


Johnson: The issue isn’t about whether you would represent someone who isn’t who they say they are. The issue is if we allow anonymous to board members, it’s an equity issue that everyone can’t do it. If we want to look at changing policy, we can.

Lazarus: I would just make a friendly suggestion to fellow trustees that comments they would like to share with the board and public would be better suited to discussion of the reopening since I’m sure that’s what it is related to. Perhaps they don’t present as reading from anonymous comments but as information they have or have received. That would be my friendly suggestion.

Querijero: Thank you for the friendly suggestion, but I’m happy to move to Board Items and read in full.

Baskett: I am challenged with common knowledge of fear of retaliation. Teachers can communicate with us. Please stop with it’s common knowledge that there’s a fear. There may be a few but it’s not a widespread issue.


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Superintendent Update

Shout Outs

April is Occupational Therapist Month. We have little more than 24 Occupational Therapist in the district. Each year during April we have a chance to show appreciation for their health and wellness work. Occupational Therapists help people live their live to the fullest and live better with illness or disability. May include helping children with disabilities fully participate in school and social situations or helping regain or recover from injury.The focus is on adapting environment or task to fit the child’s needs.

MASB (Michigan Association of School Boards)  will be presenting Master Platinum Award for Trustee Baskett at a statewide recognition event. She’s completed 19 advanced classes with a minimum of 813 credits. We appreciate her work. She continues to serve as a member of MASB board of directors and 18 years of service to AAPS as BOE Trustee.

Johnson: I would like to pause and congratulate Trustee Baskett as well. Many people may not know how active she is in the community. Thank you for the work you do – and a happy belated birthday.

Baskett: Thank you. It is quite an honor to be honored among ourselves.

Current Reality & Recommendations for May & June

We understand teachers, students, staff, families fall along a wide spectrum on return to learning. In over 3 decades, I’ve never seen any topic more divisive in thinking about what is best for our children.

COVID Reality

  • Case numbers increased dramatically in March-early April and across Michigan. While cases remain high, there have been 18 days of decline in Washtenaw County.
  • Spread of more contagious variants continue and are a concern
  • K12 still lead reported outbreaks in state
  • Percentage of cases in 0-17 continues at 20% overall. Pediatricians report increased hospitalization among COVID infected children
  • Over previous weeks, cases in AAPS & Ann Arbor community have not experience escalated cases or outbreaks due to hybrid learning.

Since last fall AAPS school team have had a chance to be vaccinated, readily available testing, understanding COVID safety measures, vaccines for ages 16+. Appointments available as soon as tomorrow for COVID-19 vaccine for students 16+, staff, parents.

Schools are a people dense environment. There are realities with small children (and really all children). So far, preschool-3rd graders and self-contained classrooms over the last month. 

Several commenters have shared clear challenges with hybrid learning. I want to pause and share deepest gratitude to teachers, students/families, and support staff and leaders. We understand the hybrid is the balance to get some students in-school learning. That is the reality of the situation.

AAPS responding as COVID cases arise in school. They continue to work with Washtenaw County Health Department.

Next steps, students who choose will continue to transition to in person learning. May 3rd is 4-5 and secondary students grades 6-12. The Secondary approach of three blocks in the morning and departure at mid day is a mitigation strategy. We were not comfortable with lunch period at school at secondary level and having them engage/interact together.


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Thank you to every parent and child who waited in long lines to get tested before returning to school. Everyone who is 16+ is encouraged to schedule your COVID vaccine. Every shot in arm puts us one step closer to full return to school and life. 

Families with concerns are encouraged to remain fully virtual for 2020-2021. We recognize and hear the concerns about hybrid delivery. 

Please exercise caution with social engagement. CDC updated yesterday on requirements for outdoor masking. Please be extra vigilant to prioritize school safety.

We’ve not come this far to not put people at risk at this point.

I am recommending we continue with the spring return to learning plan as it is written. I respectfully receive the comments from those who feel different. We know our next step is if we move forward is all students will have the opportunity to return for in person learning on Monday. 

Summer Learning

Enrollment is now open. 

We have a full fall 2021 reopening planned. We are making this statement based on 3 fundamental components emerging from COVID.

  • As vaccines increase, community spread should diminish
  • We also understand vaccines for 12-15 yo may be forthcoming for our students & keeping an eye on younger children and the possibilities there.
  • As cases decrease, vaccinated increase we can decrease distance required in schools. The last place that can occur is at elementary

We are basing plans for a full fall return on the guidance we received from WCHD, Michign Department of Health, and widely respected adults. 

Those programs will include birth to high school graduation will be fully open. We’ll be talking bout it more in May. I’ll put one caveat that we won’t have international programming for fall 2021. It is the advisement that we take another 1 year pause on international student placement. This is the high school exchange type of program – no

No hybrid instruction is part of fall planning for 2021. Hybrid was a survival plan for the COVID year. Students & Families who want to will continue to have a fully virtual option available to them throughout the 2021-2022 school year.

Right now, spring enrollment continues. March were kindergarten roundups. Transition activities are now in progress at all schools.

To date new student enrollments are well over 1000 students which is above pace for this date of the school year. 

In May will be community engagement sessions for parents to ask questions. Next Thursday focused on summer learning. Then information to choose in school or fully virtual for fall 2021. We want to know those numbers to get an idea to arrange the system around the needs and preferences of students and parents.

First day of school is August 30, 2021!!

The traditional first day of school conflicts with the high holiday days on the Jewish calendar, so we are moving it up.

The employee groups are close to a plan with a full calendar for 2021-2022.

COVID-19 Status Update

Bacolor: Washtenaw County is down to 216 cases per 100K for 7 days. Still high transmission, but a 43% drop. Percent positivity is low at 3.15%. Part of that is how much testing AAPS is doing.

CDC recommends high transmission with at least 3’ at elementary. But the rules say with in 6’ need quarantining. AAPS spaces elementary at 6’ as much as possible.

Middle & high schools can’t use cohosting as CDC describes it. So we use hybrid with students leaving before needing to remove masks to eat.

The communication about cases on case dashboard is strictly proscribed with template communication letters. They are co-branded with WCHD. That is for someone in the school during the contagious period. 

Sometimes there are cases in the community and there is chatter about them but they don’t go on the dashboard because they were not on campus during contagious period. In those cases there is usually a less formal email that they are aware and weren’t on campus. There were over 30 additional cases among students and staff. Someone in the school community, but not on campus. Part of that is because of hybrid since there are fewer days students are at school transmitting to each other.

Saturday April 24 – 1 positive out of 218 tests

AAPS is offering LynxDx spit PCR test on Saturday, May 1 from noon-4p. The line was managed much better.

High School athlete testing – 12 positives in 3791 tests. This week was 0 additional positives on over 5000 total tests. Marching band, flag, & others are also testing.

AAPS vaccine clinic tomorrow at Huron with appointments still available http://bit.ly/huronvax Some walk-ins will be available. Parent or guardian is needed for ages 16-17. Pfizer has requested FDA approval for ages 12-15. Special thanks to AAPS Nurses and Health specialists who are working at the clinic.

Thank you for all you’re doing. Make sure to pre-screen your child with daily questionnaire

Keep students home if anyone in household shows symptoms or positive tests

Let principal know ASAP if there’s a case in your household or student. Answer call from school nurse

Understand that your child may need to quarantine despite Super 6

What to expect as we bring more grades back. Continued vigilance with Super Six, encouragement for vaccination, if not fully vaccinated get tested regularly, understand that as cases arise virtual days may be needed for investigation, err on side of caution in keeping home.

Students wear a mask at all times except when eating or drinking. Bring a personal water bottle daily, follow safety protocols to stay physically distanced.


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Schools Update

Parks: State legislation to share data on 2 way interaction was shared

DeAngelis: Spring 2021 assessment Update. 

  • Middle schools 43% of 8th graders taking PSAT 8/9 with fewer than 15 students in room
  • 11th grade – 
    • SAT Tuesday 58%
    • ACT WorkKeys today- 15%
    • MSTEP – Thursday
  • 10th Grade – PSAT10 – today with 45%
  • 9th grade – PSAT 8/9 (Thursday) – expect to be similar to 10th grade

Classrooms were planned with 100% attendance but with limited participation many rooms had less than the 15.

Teachers at Middle & High School are preparing classes for return in addition to administering testing.

Trustee Questions

Gaynor: This is for Ms Parks. The page with the engagement data, there has been some drop off the last couple weeks. Any thoughts as to why?

Parks: We found the drop off was consistent with when elementary phased in with younger grades. Because there were students not marked for elementary. Teachers were getting used to hybrid and forgetting to mark attendance regularly. We sent a reminder and we’ve seen an uptick that balances it out this week.

Baskett: Thank you to the team for the report. For Mr DeAngelis and Ms Parks, could you remind us of how a family opts in to take the exam? Do they notify us ahead of time?

DeAngelis: Yes, buildings have been sending ntoficiations to families and asking about their preference for testing.


Baskett: Of course we can’t anticipate how many show up, is there a general rule of how many that said they’d show up actually show up?

DeAngelis: Most are showing up, not all. Most of the families who said they were opting in are showing up. I could look it up. But the anecdotal from building administrators is that people who said they’d show up did. Our 9th graders were pretty consistent to what we saw with 10th graders.

Baskett: Thank you to our community partners for supporting us with vaccine clinics and testing. Working together we’ll be able to faster address the virus.

Swift: Trustee Baskett brings up a point that I was hoping Mr DeAngelis. If students weren’t comfortable coming in for SAT this week there is a May date coming up.


DeAngelis: We have communicated with families that the May date for SAT only on Tuesday, May 18. We’ll communicate with families who had conflicts. 

DuPree: Question for testing, I understand parents could opt in or out of testing. If a family opts in to test, but later doesn’t show up is there a penalty?

DeAngelis: No there’s no penalty. We were asking so we could prepare for them to come.

Trustee Discussion & Questions

Gaynor: I agree with Dr Swift that this has been the toughest decision making issue in my 4.5 decades in education. I’m never 100% comfortable with where I land at any particular point. In that context, I asked for feedback and share what informed my decision making. Very brief excerpts to feedback on hybrid.

  • My first grader is back to himself with in person. He’s like a new kid
  • Please advocate for teachers who may be overwhelmed
  • Our experience is terrible now
  • Going well in our classroom. Hard when I have 4 in person and 16 on Zoom. This hyflex teaching is unsustainable. I feel I can barely make it through the year without quitting
  • Our early 5s is so happy the days in schools
  • So happy for the flexibility
  • Her teacher is fantastic and teacher does a great job moving classes forward
  • interacting with friends & getting to be in person with her teacher
  • My son has been thrilled to return to face to face learning
  • My daughter almost cried with joy when she got 
  • My son at home takes more breaks when at home than actually learning
  • My son is more engaged
  • My second grader is flourishing on days actually in hybrid. She doesn’t share at all about what she’s learning. Her skyrocketing. We don’t take part in zoom days at all
  • I like being in class because I get to see classmates in person
  • Both children love in person days but struggle on virtual days. No interaction with other children on virtual days and teachers don’t hear them.
  • Impressed, grateful on what they did with virtual. Hyrbid has degraded experience
  • She comes home & immediately and enthusiastically does see saw homework
  • As other of 1st grader please address inequalities between roomies & zoomies.
  • No ESL class now with hybrid.
  • For my 2nd grader we’ve seen degradation in virtual. Small group instruction is virtually non-existent
  • One big class for specials with all the 3rd grade is terrible. I want to stress teachers have been phenomenal. Hybrid is much more difficult.
  • She is getting much less education attention than before compared to in person children.
  • Thriving in school, virtual days going less well
  • Each special has a different zoom link and requires more parental involvement
  • She has such joy going in person
  • She has a new teacher – her regular teacher was forced to take leave. Now she sees a masked teacher and side view of students.

Johnson: You’re sharing individual people’s perspectives that don’t vary much from public commentary. I don’t think this is more details. 


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Gaynor: Are you going to shut me down?

Johnson: I am. Are you pulling this together? I pledged to keep meetings moving and you really complained about it. We all get feedback from the community and synthesize it. If other trustees feel they’er getting value, I’ll step aside. I feel you should warp this up and what feedback you want to give based on the summation.

Kelly: I call a point of order. There’s no board action to take. Presdient, Will you please call point of order and move us on in the agenda.

Querijero: I would like to reiterate some of what I said before and why I think the superintendent’s recommendation isn’ one we should adopt. I’m willing to yield to the end of the meeting.

Johnson: there are several ways to provide transparency. They don’t need to be read aloud. They can be posted publicly. You can’t say we’re not being transparent. I will say if you violate the bylaws or governing of the meeting. I’ll shut it down, that’s my job. The debate about what transparency is.

Querijero: All I said was Trustee Gaynor was trying to be transparent.

I believe the superintendent’s plan is wrong and we shouldn’t support it.

1 – Increases COVID cases in our community which increases spread.

2 – Inequity. When Ms Bacolor put up I believe it was slide 32 about Family Choice. Families have the option to remain fully remote and that is accurate. However the second bullet that students who remain daily instruction remotely in much the same way they are currently experiencing. Yes we are encouraging about students wearing masks at all times. Testimonies from teachers who could speak more accurately as to whether students are wearing masks at all times. Most of the trustees pictures don’t include the Zoomies. 

Another equity I see in my own student’s class is it is more easier for a student in in-person to get a teachers attention. When zoom goes down you can’t get the teacher’s attention at all. 

We decided we would take an equity lens in our decision making. To ensure equitable experience across AAPS using five pillars. I think if you took a general poll of the population and if we were achieving our goal in terms of equity, I think you’d find it is a failure.

As one person in public commentary said, this is where the rubber meets the road. That’s my position on this one. I can’t see how anyone can argue that this is equitable and basically split them into two cohorts of tiered learnings. I’m the only one on the board currently teaching virtually.

I’m not excited stepping into the plan on Monday and I don’t think a lot of our community does too. 

I’m pretty solid on how I view those things being driven by my experience as an educator and what equity says it is – fairness and inclusion. I see us failing on both those.

I will not be voting for the approval.

Baskett: I don’t have to make the comment now, but I do have a response to the Trustee’s question regarding uncertainty in making a decision. In the past we’ve had to make tough decisions and there are times we won’t have all the answers or need to be 100% comfortables. Working at Saturn our rule was to be 70% comfortable. What can our team do to get you to 70% comfortable. Once we vote, we’re all 100% behind the decision. Part of my frustration is we haven’t all been in agreement, but we’ve voted together. We have voted as a board to move forward. I ask that you don’t sabotage the decision as we move forward. I respect your opinion, but we are moving this train. So far, it is to move forward on May 3. We can’t always be 100% in knowing everything to make a decision.


DuPree: I do appreciate your statement. I felel like it’s about time I think what went into my decision making process. To be honest there are a few things.

1 – I called around as a parent not a trustee. I thought about where I was when I was at WCC but having a more flexible stay at home schedule. I imagined myself needing additional support for my son. There was a long waitlist at Peace Neighborhood Center stretching into June.

Yes talking to County Health Depatremtn.

Definition of equity isn’t the same for everyone. There are people who need school for childcare. That is the reality for that. My decision for moving forward was a community driven decision. I did so a s parent not as a trustee.


Querijero: Let me respond to both of you. To Trustee DuPree, I get that you need childcare. That has nothing to do with education. If we’re opening schools to get childcare. I’m not equating childcare to education.

DuPree: Some of us have no choice. This is the reality we live in, to dismiss that is apathetic.

Querijero: Those are not two substitutable things. To Baskett, that’s the job to stop the train when it runs the track. I guess we can’t stop it tif it stops it from someone dying or being a long hauler.

Johnson: I think you kind of misstated her response. We’ll vote on the continuity of learning plan going forward. It is evident that there are a lot of charged emotions around this. Dr Swift and Trustee Gaynor mentioned that. I state d my feelings on that last week. In a one in a lifetime pandemic, we’ve done our best to navigate and set out a course where we changed or updated plans as necessary. We promised we’d provide in person instruction when we could safely and sustainably. We’ve taken heat not to do it in fall. Most of us have considered data and evolved with science and more capabilities. Trustee Baskett’s opinion about having disagreements, but moving forward as a body. There is talking going on that would talk about sabotage and undermining what is happening. As we talk about equity and transparency, and have several different definitions. I disagree that this isn’t equity. We put out forms for every family to opt what they want to do. I understand the problems with hybrid. In the fall, there was pressure to keep their teacher. Hybrid was the answer to that. You keep saying “I don’t believe”. Back in February, you didn’t believe we’d be able to get vaccines to teachers and staff wouldn’t get hybrid set. And they did. My point is when you say I don’t believe and those come to fruition, you can believe what you want. But don’t say that folks who spent their lives in education – running a building, driving a bus, etc. You can say your piece, but we are one governing body of 7 people and when we make decisions we can disagree, but should do it in a civil manner.

Querijero: I would appreciate it if when I express my opinion that you not call it sabotage.


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Gaynor: It’s hard for me to talk again. After there was an objection raised to my statement that teachers don’t feel it is safe to talk and I was shut down as I shared my evidence I used to come to my decision. I tried to be brief. Being in person has been good for many families and students, it has come at a cost. I believe equity has been lost. We talked in February about how to get the kids most in need of classroom and found it wasn’t legal and many of us were disappointed. The other reality is that my sense of things is that those most in need are still not back in the classroom. Those classes who are back, those at home either fully or 2 days a week, get much less attention and help than they were before> People may disagree I know experiences aren’t universal. I think it’s clear and I think we can use the return data from schools that the schools with greatest free & reduced lunches have the lowest in person participation. 

I didn’t expect hybrid to be as good academically. I supported it once staff were vaccination, and thought the benefits would outweigh the negatives for all. While there have been a lot of happy kids and families, the experience for those most in need I believe have suffered. I would also add that teachers are beyond their ability to do what we’re asking them to do. Asking them to do the impossible should never be part of the equation. They’re putting on a happy face, going overboard but something has to give and it has in different ways in different classrooms.

So I recognize all the work we’ve done all years. Its’ a saving grace that we put safety at a priority. But we aren’t serving the students we most need to serve. The experience for most will suffer so some can return to school for a few hours. Masking and distancing isn’t happening like we think it would.

Querijero: What I said I believed in February, is that we could do hybrid but that we could’t do it equally for all students. Could we maintain the level of instruction in both modes for one teacher. And sure enough that’s what has happened. 

Johnson: Two clarifications. I said that you said that vaccines would not be available for teachers and that we would not be able to start hybrid on time. I will say Trustee Gaynor that there are teachers who don’t speak to you. We all talk to teachers in the district. To say teachers feel one way or another, some don’t want to speak up on both sides. Teachers are spilt on that.


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Budget Update

Swift: Trustees, I know many of you have been involved in advocating for increased budget for schools. We’re also in conversations about additional appropriations. This is our regular budgeting process for spring general budget. Many headlines are about additional appropriations. That process is still working its way through. I’m sure we’ll have additional discussions about additional appropriations.

Minnick: We’re looking at House & Senate proposals and compare them along with the executive proposal.

Budget must be adopted by June 30. Process starts in January with First Consensus Revenue Estimating Conference (CREC), February executive proposed budget. In May we’ll review budget projections. The Second CREC is May 21. That is one week later than originally estimated.

House Bill 4407 Released Voted April 22

Senate Bill 83 Released Voted April 22

The proposed foundational allowance per pupil increase (All use October 2020 pupil count):

Executive has $82/pupil increase, House is $50/pupil, Senate is $125/pupil. Totals are $1.4million, $863K, $2.1. 

The House is $120/pupil one time only for 2021-2022.

All three use October 2021 (90%) and 10% Feb 2021. The executive proposal has a provision to lessen impact of declining impact (70% of any decline in enrollment). 

Funding for special student populations: 

Executive increase Special Education & Bilingual by 2% & increase in at risk funding

Senate increase Special Education by 2%, Bilingual by 3% & increase in at risk funding

House – maintain funding, but new transportation funding for rural district

House offering funding for year round instruction. – Five Year district commitment for at least one school. Special education millage supplementals for eligible ISD. Learning support for summer programs, credit recovery, before & after care.

At the state the next step is CREC May 21. State Budget Office, House, & Senate will reach a consensus budget but may not be completed by June 30.

May 26 approve a public hearing on Budget, Publish notice for public hearing on June 7. First Briefing at June 16 regular board meeting, Second briefing on June 23, and a regular meeting on June 30 if needed.

All 3 budget proposals are very preliminary. State has to review revenue estimates to make sure money is there. 

Questions:

Kelly: Not a questions, but just an appreciation for bringing this once a year. I find it helpful to remind community of categories of funding. Thank you for how you broke it down.

Baskett: I want to echo VP Kelly’s appreciation. I’ve heard this 3 times over the last few days. It’s nice how you lay out the 3 versions on one page. For folks new to this, most concerting to me is we have to approve a budget by June 30 and may not know what we’re getting. We’ve talked about the things we’ve had to do to return to our building. But we haven’t talked about the cost of things. And we’ll have to move to get a budget approved without knowing what we’ll get from federal and state.

Lazarus: Again thank you and echo Trustee Baskett’s statements. I’d like to make sure the public understands, this does not include any funds CVOID related or new funds from the government that the Biden administration is talking about. This is just our basic general operational budget. There are little increments, but we still have to recover from where we were funded 13 years ago. This helps us get part way there, but we’re still short of there. The federal funding is something we need to keep a close eye on with how they distribute that out to the schools. We have a lot of recovery, social/emotional, funding. It’s affecting all students no matter which district they come from – rural, urban, rich, poor. We need to make sure the funding goes to all 1.5 million public school students in Michigan. This isn’t talking about that, but the federal monies will really help our students get a leg up from this year. We have to make sure it gets to our students.


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Second Briefing

A second briefing on Architectural and Engineering Services for Mitchell Elementary (Annex AN-2034) and Pathways Campus (Annex AN-2035). We want to review the architect’s memo. We didn’t publicly review those last week. The trustees have reviewed already.

I stepped aside to help my daughter pack for 9th grade testing before bed. I missed most of Mr Lauzzana’s presentation.

Pathways was built in 1949. It’s actually 5 years older than Mitchell. They’ll fall into critical needs by 2023. It will include reimagining to convert it to a small learning community high school. To be completed by Fall 2023 with construction starting Summer 2022.

The same team was selected for Pathways and Mitchell. There’s a graduated fee schedule. Estimated cost of $17.5 million at Pathways with 6.5% fee – $1.1 million estimated. Will adjust based on costs.

Trustee Questions

Lazarus: Quick statement. I want to give my fellow trustees, my viewpoint that the fee proposals are very reasonable in this industry. With the scope this is a very reasonable fee for concept to finished product. I support this.

Kelly: I thank trustee Lazarus for that. I appreciated their presentation last week. Ann Arbor is eager for their ideas and engagement.

Consent Agenda

The board will vote to approve three items:

  • Approve Architectural and Engineering Services for Mitchell Elementary (Annex AN-2034) and Pathways Campus (Annex AN-2035)
  • Approve Minutes of April 21 BOE Meeting
  • Approve Donations – 2007 Subaru Forester donated to Pioneer Auto Lab.

Motion to approve Consent Agenda by DuPree, Seconded by Lazarus. Approved unanimously


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Board Action

Monthly Reconfirmation of COVID-19 Extended Continuity of Learning Plan

Moved by Kelly who read the prescribed wording. Seconded by Baskett. No additional discussion.

Yes: Lazarus, DuPree, Kelly, Johnson, Baskett

No: Querijero, Gaynor

Letter in Support of Federal Funds for Electric School Buses

Baskett: I brought this to your attention last week. You’ve all received this and supporting documents. This is a request to sign on to request federal dollars for electric school buses. $30 billion over 10 years. It is enough to replace 50% of the nation’s fleet with electric buses. I thought given our actions for sustainability, we could support this letter.

Lazarus: Thank you for bringing to the board’s attention> I support signing on and sending it to the President of the US and our Congressional representatives. We as a district have 4 electric buses and we have found they are expensive, but it is right for our community and global warming. This would support infrastructure of having electric stations round to fuel the buses through the electrical grid.

Johnson: To sign on to this, do we need a board resolution, the secretary sign on, what is the process?

Baskett: I would ask we make a formal motion to sign the letter. We all have it in our emails. I could read it, but you all have it.

Johnson: So we would have the appropriate person as a representative of the board sign on?

Baskett: Yes.

Motion to support the letter and have the designee sign the letter by Gaynor, seconded by DuPree. No additional discussion. Passed unanimously


Ad:

Non-Renewal of Administrative Contract

After a brief recess, the board began with discussion of the non-renewal of administrative contract. Mr Comsa is making sure we have the right individuals in the room. Also joining were Ms Langford, Mr Tishkoff & his client.

Swift: As you know we are bringing forward a recommendation for non-renewal of administrative contract of Ms Blick, former principal at Lawton.

As this is a personnel issue, I am not covering the issue in detail.

Basically an individual was working as a custodian for ABM at Lawton and also serving as a noon hour supervisor and receiving pay for both. As principal, Ms Blick was signing his time cards. Even after being notified of the issue, she still signed additional time cards with the extra hours.

Blick: I received a letter on March 30, what you are saying now, this is the first time I’ve heard in detail what I’ve been accused of. I’ve fully cooperated with police and HR. When I requested a name clearing hearing and to meet with Dr Swift, I was told it would happen eventually. If there are additional things I am accused of, I would like that in writing.

After discussion with Ms Blick, Trustee Lazarus made the motion for non-renewal of administrative contract of Ms Blick. Trustee Lazarus read the required language for the motion. Seconded by Kelly.

Aye: Querijero, Lazarus, DuPree, Kelly, Gaynor, Johnson, Baskett. Motion carries.

Items From the Board

Querijero: I’d like to read a few letters from teachers particularly as Teacher Appreciation begins on Monday. I just want to pick out a couple sentences and what I believe to be the spirit of what I got for the letters.

Virtual isn’t ideal, but it’s predictable and kids can ride it out.

Kelly: Point of Order. Are we accepting anonymous commentary tonight?

Johnson: Correct. 

Gyanor: It isn’t public commentary. It’s response we’re getting that’s informing our view.

Kelly: It’s clear trustees are engaging with community members who agree with them. The board policy protects all voices and provides a level playing field. It’s a clear violation of our own policy and a dereliction of our oath and duty. It’s inappropriate to read word for word. You can synthesize.

Querijero: I understand where this is giong. I disagree because we have people in the community who are reluctant to put their name out due to fear of retribution. So they can be honest about what’s going on in their school policy. I won’t read it, but will recognize that it silences voices of teachers in our community.

Johnson: You’re welcome to have a tea and read your anonymous testimony.

Querijero: That’s why I yielded.

Gaynor: I object to the characterization that we just listen to our allies. We all have our emails published on the website.

Querijero: These are 5 people I’ve never met before, but I’ve verified their employment.

Johnson: This isn’t silencing. This isn’t the forum. We get hundreds of emails. We’ll never get work done if we read them all.

Querijero: I won’t read the comments, but I’ll make a statement. And thank teachers who reached out to me. You have a hard week coming up that changes everything in how you communicate and teach students. I applaud you. To the community, please remind teachers how much you do appreciate them. I read some comments in the commentary about compensating teachers, but this is not the time or place.

Kelly: Again appreciation to teachers and know there are ways to communicate with us and we want to keep a level playing field. I’d also like to recognize the seniors. The end of this week is the deadline for many to commit to post-graduation plans. I don’t know any other class who has had their lives upended quite like this senior class. Whether career, college, which college. We’re proud of you & know it will be hard to focus the next couple weeks.

Baskett: Thank you for recognizing our teachers, seniors. I want to acknowledge all those who have managed to stay positive through these difficult times.

On a different note, things are happening fast and furious in terms of legislations. Legislative activities committee have been exchanging emails on how to get a handle on it. Trustee DuPree was charged with communicating with legislators to have a community discussion. As another suggestion, MASB Behind the Scenes on Monday the thought of inviting legislators to our meeting. With Zoom they can be anywhere. But it would require us to think about time on our agenda. We get updates from MASB on Fridays, but by Monday mornings things can be out dated.

Adjournment

Motion to Adjourn by Kelly. seconded by Lazarus. Unanimously approved. Meeting adjourned at 11:40p

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