Community protests cuts, layoffs in Ann Arbor schools as school board votes

The Ann Arbor Public Schools board voted late Monday to approve budget cuts and layoffs.

But the school board has been knee-deep in public comment, with more than 200 speakers pushing back against the potential cuts amid a $25 million budget shortfall.

The proposal includes more than $20 million in cuts. Under that proposal, teachers and staff in nearly every employee group would face layoffs, with approximately 140 staffers at risk of receiving a pink slip. 

That proposal also would close middle school pools, eliminate some world language and band classes, and cut other courses with low enrollment.

Out of the $25 million financial gap, $14 million is attributed to a clerical mistake. The budget shortfall was made public in March after an audit uncovered it.

"Why not consider a pay cut at the administrative level? Just a 5% pay cut of the directors and the cabinet would bring in $380,000 in cuts – enough to save world languages," one speaker told the Board on Monday.

The interim superintendent said the deficit happened over time – with increased staffing, a major drop in enrollment and staff raises.

"We feel a little bit bamboozled," said Terese Nguyen, a parent. "We've been promised one of the best school (districts), and I believe that we've been getting that in terms of the teacher experience – so to feel that that is what is going to suffer because of some administrative errors and lack of budgetary discipline is just disappointing."