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Ann Arbor Public Schools approves plan to lay off 140+ staff, cut $20M in budget deficit

Plan included laying off dozens of teachers
APPS staff, parents and students all attended the Special Board Meeting Monday at Pioneer High School
Posted at 12:00 AM, May 21, 2024

**Editor's note: The video above was reported before the vote happened.

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (WXYZ) — Ann Arbor Public Schools voted Monday night to approve a budget cut plan that includes laying off over 140 staff members to help make up for a $25 million deficit.

The motion was approved 6-1 in a special board meeting.

In the motion, 6% of staff, including 94 student-teachers would be laid off.

The decision was one the community and staff have been dreading as they made it clear they did not want to lose their jobs. Before the board meeting, teachers held another rally outside Pioneer High School where the special meeting was taking place chanting “more cuts to the top” and “arts over admin.”

“It feels like it’s just really hard to just get my feet under me as a teacher," AAPS teacher Daniel Crowley said. “I mean gosh, is this just a profession that’s not feasible anymore?"

More than 200 people provided public comment that lasted nearly three hours. Many said the district needs to cut from the top administrative positions before removing teachers from classrooms. Paraprofessional and support staff jobs will be cut as well.

Middle School pools will be eliminated as well as elementary school world languages. The district is also considering selling buildings including their Balas Administration Building.

“Yes or no? Laying off teachers at a wealthy district is the only way to solve budget crisis,” one AAPS student asked the crowd during public comment, to which the crowd responded “No!”

Despite only one item on the agenda, the board meeting lasted more than four hours.

APPS staff, parents and students all attended the Special Board Meeting Monday at Pioneer High School
APPS staff, parents and students all attended the Special Board Meeting Monday at Pioneer High School

“These proposed changes are ill-advised and just wrong,” Ann Arbor parent Margaret Baker said. “Hugely detrimental to students for years to come. Do you really want this as your legacy?"

Another person commented, “You don’t care about our kids.”

About 141 jobs will be cut total, giving the school district about $14.7 million back into their budget. Board members explained it's a decision that was necessary to keep the district out of financial trouble for years to come.

“Over the last five days, I have heard what (the community) had to say. I’ve heard them again tonight. And to me, what that indicates is that they want a different plan,” Board Trustee Ernesto Querijero said.

The board will now submit their final budget to the state.