Last night, our friends at the League of Women Voters of the Ann Arbor Area hosted a televised event featuring the eight individuals running for the three open seats on the Ann Arbor School Board. While I’ve been unable to watch the archived Community Television Network stream, a friend just directed me toward the Annarbivore site, where Monet Tiedemann live-blogged as each of the eight candidates responded in turn to questions posed by moderator, John Chamberlin. Well, as it turns out, a few of the questions pertained to Ypsilanti. One had to do with so-called “school of choice” initiatives, which, locally, have resulted in several hundred Ypsilanti students leaving our district for Ann Arbor’s. Another had to do with the possibility of a merger between the Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti districts. As both of these issues have been discussed at length here in the past, I thought that I’d share a few short clips taken from Tiedemann’s notes.
Here is the first Ypsilanti-related question which was posed to the eight candidates, who were introduced and questioned in groups of four.
“AAPS recruits and accepts students from outside the district through its Schools of Choice program. While this generates revenue for AAPS, it draws students from neighboring districts, including Ypsilanti Community Schools (YCS), and thus undermines the quality and sustainability of that district. What will you do as a member of the board to ensure that AAPS is not actively increasing inequity and segregation in our county?”
The first group of four to respond includes Jeremy Glick, Simone Lightfoot (an incumbent), Jeff Gaynor, and Rebecca Lazarus.
The second group of four to respond includes Harmony Mitchell, Deb Mexicotte (an incumbent), Don Wilkerson, Hunter Van Valkenburg.
[For our most recent conversation on how Ann Arbor’s school of choice program is impacting Ypsilanti, click here.]
Interestingly, it appears as though the second Ypsilanti related question was only posed to the first group of four… Here’s the question, followed by their responses, as recorded by Tiedemann.
“A recent analysis of the growing problem associated with the lack of affordable housing and inequity called for school district consolidation as one avenue for rebalancing equity across the county’s urban core, and adding to the long-term sustainability of the region. What is your position on AAPS merging with or annexing neighboring school districts, including YCS, as was considered with Whitmore Lake Schools.”
Having not watched the forum myself, I’m hesitant to jump in and start making comments one way or the other based on the secondhand notes I’ve just shared. I am, however, encouraged to know that these things are starting to be talked about in a more substantive way in Ann Arbor. Hopefully something good comes of it. God knows, our kids deserve better.