AAPS Administrators & Staff Spend BIG On Meals Out, Travel and Luxury Hotels Then Propose Cutting Student Programs
by P.D. Lesko
Now is the Winter of Our Discontent.
To hear AAPS insiders tell it, the atmosphere at the Balas Administration building is like the Court of King Richard III, the atmosphere unhealthy, the established nobles at odds with the upwardly mobile members of the AAEA teacher’s union. What the tax-paying peasants have been reading in the media’s coverage of this year’s AAPS budget-a-palooza mirrors the life of the hunchbacked king. For those not up on their Shakespeare, the Machiavellian and increasingly paranoid Richard III eventually loses what little initial popularity he had, and then the rebellions begin.
Enter stage left AAEA President Linda Carter, who in late-February all but challenged the Superintendent to a duel when she called the Sup.’s $300,000 pay package “asinine” on AnnArbor.com.
Right about now, Dr. Patricia Green is being haunted by the ghosts of her declarations (“I came to Ann Arbor to eliminate the achievement gap.”—December 2011). Thoroughly irked peasant taxpayers, fed up with paying $300,000 per year for a Superintendent who hasn’t delivered on her promises, post cranky comments to AnnArbor.com in response to articles about Green: “Despair and die!” after which they wish victory upon anyone willing to run for the Board of Education in 2014.
Today, Superintendent Dr. Patricia Green announced she is taking a pay cut. She also announced that it would take 12 months to put controls and practices in place that would allow for full line-item control over the District’s $180 million dollar budget. This claim met with derision from local bank president Stephen Lange Ranzini who responded to Green’s assertions thusly: “Translation: the current budget documents are for show and sit on the shelf collecting dust after approval by the AAPS BoE and are quite useless. It will take us a year to create detailed budgets that we can actually use to track expenditures at the level of detail required to actually know what we are spendig the money on, how much each school actually costs to run and to catch waste.”
Dr. Green’s announcement that she was cutting her own pay and getting a grip on the District’s finances comes on the eve of her upcoming evaluation by the BOE, and on the heels of the very public rebuke by Linda Carter. Carter went on to tell AnnArbor.com, “She (Green) needs to come back down here with the rest of us.” Obviously, Carter’s not-so-subtle hints hit home. On March 7th Dr. Green was quoted in the media as saying she “didn’t need to be asked,” to take a pay cut. Green, who continues to shoot herself in her stylishly shod feet, told the local education reporter in an interview: “I already shared with the board that I intended to take a cut in my pay. And that precedes anybody saying anything publically about it. … If I’m asking concessions from individuals in this organization, how could I not take the same thing myself? I don’t need anybody to ask me to do that. Because as a superintendent I recognize, that as a leader of the school district, you don’t ask people to take compensation cuts and not do it yourself.”
When asked by a reporter how big a cut she was prepared to take, Dr. Green took a dainty .22 caliber pistol from her purse, pointed it at the toe of her patent leather sling-back and said in her usual off-putting style, “I don’t think that detail is something we’re prepared to talk about yet.”
Since January, Dr. Green has been taking a brutal PR beating thanks to public accusations of working only four days per week (refuted by AAPS staffer Liz Margolis, as well as BOE member Christine Stead), being arrogant, aloof, not worth her weight in gold, and downright dismissive of concerns from within her own organization by her own administrators. Watching Dr. Green being peeled like an onion by those commenting on articles posted to AnnArbor.com is like watching Shark Week on the Discovery Channel. It’s riveting and revolting all at once.
The bottom line is that, like Ann Arbor city government, the AAPS administrators are spending big on travel, eating out and luxury hotels while cutting funding for music camps, sports and transportation. This is business as usual and it has continued, unchecked, under the not-so-watchful Ann Arbor Board of Education members (Deb Mexicotte, Irene Patalan, Christine Stead and Glenn Nelson) who behave as though pushing for specifics is beneath their dignity. Trustees Susan Baskett and Simone Lightfoot have been chastised by the current Superintendent, as well as fellow BOE members for trying to deconstruct the librettos penned for them by AAPS administrators concerning a variety of financial, educational and operational challenges facing the District.
The frustration on the part of AAPS parents has reached a boiling point, and we will see trustees whose terms end in 2014 challenged for their seats by well-funded and well-organized candidates (more on this in a later post).
What follows is a letter I recently sent to the Ann Arbor Public Schools Board of Trustees.
To the BOE,
Short URL: http://www.a2politico.com/?p=14929