By Liz Margolis, Director of Communications for the Ann Arbor Public Schools
School has started and the Ann Arbor Public Schools, like all districts across Michigan, continues to face financial pressure from the state. This pressure has a direct impact on our classrooms. For years, AAPS was able to make budget reductions while protecting the classroom. With over $60 million in reductions in the past five years and no relief in sight, AAPS classrooms are now feeling the impact. But AAPS will not see increases in class sizes over last year’s numbers.
Two years ago AAPS raised the target class size while staying within negotiated levels guaranteed by the contract with the Ann Arbor Education Association, the bargaining unit for AAPS teachers. Some classes may exceed the target, but are still within the contractual limits. If a class size is over the contractual limit, there are provisions in place to add a classroom aide as well as for the district to examine the need for additional staff.
The district administration works very closely with each principal to monitor student enrollment and to make a decision on class size if a school experiences reduced or increased student enrollment. This is a fluid process the first few weeks of school. New student enrollments occur at some schools while other schools may see enrollments unexpectedly reduced. The district has discretion to look at each school and to make decisions on the size of classes within the contract limits.
The Ann Arbor Public Schools welcomes a new school year and all of the students and their families who we serve. Monitoring each school’s enrollment on a daily basis allows district administration to respond quickly to areas of concern be it either unanticipated gains or decreases in enrollment. We are here to provide AAPS students an exceptional learning experience. Our classroom teachers and principals continue to strive for the best for all of our students and their families. Please know that you can contact your school principal or appropriate assistant superintendent to address any issues you have with your student’s class size. We commit to fully investigating the issue and to get back to you quickly with an answer.
Liz Margolis can be reached at (734) 994-2236 and firstname.lastname@example.org