Community input sought on budget

Dear Readers,

I want to thank the many staff, student and community members who took the time  during the recent millage election to become more knowledgeable about education funding in our district and in the state.

Todd Roberts, Ann Arbor Public Schools Superintendent
Todd Roberts, Ann Arbor Public Schools Superintendent

It is important that everyone stays engaged in the conversation about school funding as we work to address budget issues we face in The Ann Arbor Public Schools over the next few months.  I believe that it is also imperative to make sure our voices continue to be heard in Lansing when it comes to providing adequate funding for education in our state.

At this point we are still waiting to hear from Lansing what our actual per pupil funding will be for this current school year. As you recall, AAPS was looking at a $525 per pupil loss in funding (approximately $8.7 million) this year.  The state House then put forward a plan to restore $117 per pupil and half of the 20j funds (which is about $116 per pupil for AAPS) that were cut.

If the state Senate approves the House plan we would lose $292 per pupil in funding (approximately $4.8 million) for this school year.  The governor has said that she will sign the House plan if approved by the Senate.  At this point the Senate seems unlikely to support the House plan.

I expect that we will have a better idea of what our funding will be by next Friday (Nov. 20) when the full funding proration order is supposed to go into effect.

The next steps in our budget process will take careful and thoughtful planning that will include input from parents, staff and the AAPS community. We are faced with some difficult, but not insurmountable, challenges and decisions.  We will host a series of meetings in December for staff and in January for parents and the community where we will discuss our financial situation and present options for reducing costs and enhancing revenues. During these meetings we will gather feedback about possible options in order to complete our draft budget plan for 2010-11 in February.

We also need to address the reduction in state funding this school year. Over the coming weeks we will take steps to address the loss in funding for the current fiscal year. Our goal in addressing the loss of funding for this school year is to reduce costs through means that will be least disruptive to our students and educational programs.  We will discuss our options for cost reduction this year at a study session with the Board of Education on Dec. 3.

I know that we will continue working together collaboratively to ensure that our students receive an outstanding education despite the challenges we face.

I look forward to working with you in the coming months.

Todd Roberts, Superintendent
The Ann Arbor Public Schools

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