Backpedaling like a Russian circus bear, the Ann Arbor School Board voted unanimously yesterday to rescind their plans to charge highschool students $100 tuition per semester for 7th hour classes. Prior to the meeting, the board went into a closed session with their legal counsel to discuss the issue. The recent ACLU lawsuit against the district over the tuition, challenging it on constitutional grounds, seems to be what brought about the change. School board President Deb Mexicotte admitted as much. Ann Arbor.com reported:
When asked whether the ACLU lawsuit spurred Wednesday’s decision, Mexicotte said it did help “coalesce the conversation” about the seventh-hour fees and what else the district needs to examine having in place.
The ACLU suit was filed last week in Washtenaw Circuit Court on behalf of two AAPS students. The 84 page complaint asked for preliminary and permanent injunctive relief to prevent the charging of tuition for public education.
AAPS has a per pupil foundation grant of about $9,000, which is $2,000 more than the majority of districts in the state. The district serves nearly 17,000 students with $150 million in state funding accounting for 82 percent of their revenues.
Mexicotte asserted that they believe they can still move forward with their tuition plan at some point, saying:
“We believe we can do this, and we believe we can do this legally under the constraints of the law and the constitution. But we may have to just take a breath and get a couple of other pieces in place before we really can implement it.”
The motion was originally proposed by board member Glenn Nelson at their budget meeting last June. At the time of the approval, Nelson was quoted saying he “fully expected” AAPS to be sued over the tuition scheme.
The AAPS board clearly acted in haste when they approved their half-baked tuition plan. And that they now claim all that’s needed is a little time to study the issue and get it right, brings their collective wisdom into serious question.
What other poorly examined ideas have they flown-in under the radar?
Amy Kerr Hardin