Michigan school districts are struggling with growing budget deficits. Even relatively wealthy districts are facing unprecedented cuts.
The Ann Arbor Public School district faces a $17.8 million deficit. The district's budget for the 2011-12 school year is $183 million.
Deputy Superintendent of Operations Robert Allen met with the district's Board of Education on Wednesday, where he laid out three possible plans to deal with the deficit in Ann Arbor – each one progressively more severe.
All three proposals include:
- teacher layoffs: Plan A: 32 teachers; Plan B: 48 teachers; Plan C: 64 teachers
- closing Roberto Clemente, one of two alternative high schools in the district
- cuts to transportation*
*Plan C calls for getting rid of high school bus routes entirely.
Ann Arbor School Board president Deb Mexicotte says the cuts are "reaching the bone," and "if you keep cutting, you’re going to reach the place where you can no longer maintain what you do well."
Mexicotte blames the state for what she says its chronic under-funding of education:
"This is not the story of our smallest districts or our districts that have struggled because of their tax revenue package. We’re talking about districts that people generally think are insulated from these kinds of things." She adds, "we’re all in this together."