Ann Arbor Public Schools approves teacher layoffs to help with budget shortfalls

After a nearly five-hour school board meeting, the decision was made to move forward with layoffs
Teachers held up signs during the school board meeting
Posted at 12:15 AM, Apr 12, 2024

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (WXYZ) — The Ann Arbor Public Schools Board of Education voted 4-3 Thursday night to approve teacher layoffs.

The decision was made in order to help make up for a $25 million budget shortfall the district recently found, including a $14 million accounting error the school district is still investigating.

Ann Arbor teacher layoff board meeting
Teachers with Ann Arbor Public Schools attend a board meeting where layoffs were discussed. (April 11, 2024)

Hundreds of Ann Arbor Public Schools educators chanted “We are teachers. We are not the problem,” carrying signs outside the school administration building before the school board meeting began.

VIDEO: Teachers chant in protest of proposed layoffs ahead of board meeting

Ann Arbor teachers protest proposed layoffs at board meeting

The protesters then moved into the meeting, continuing to chant. Over 140 people signed up for public comment. The comments had a common theme: find another way to make up for the budget shortfall without letting go educators.

The school district says the $25 million deficit stems from a loss of student enrollment over the past few years, an increase in staff and an increase in staffing costs for employees. The clerical error is what has many educators frustrated and concerned about the future of the district.

“Fourteen million dollar clerical error is unconscionable to me," Ann Arbor Education Association Vice President Tamala Bell said. “Don’t blame us teachers for this shortfall. We are here to educate your children. We are here in the trenches each and every day, giving our absolute best and we deserve to be treated with respect.”

VIDEO: Hear from Ann Arbor moms worried about the possible layoffs ahead of the vote

Ann Arbor moms worried as teacher layoffs loom across Michigan due to low student enrollment

The motion to approve the authorization of layoff of staff has been approved. This does not mean layoffs will occur if the district finds another way to make up for the budget shortfall.