What if they held an election and nobody came? That’s the situation for the school board vote scheduled for Tuesday, May 5. Incumbents Glenn Nelson and Irene Patalan are unopposed for new four-year terms. Board president Karen Cross is stepping down, leaving an open two-year seat, but only two candidates filed for it—and one of them, U-M grad student Adam Hollier, has withdrawn. Though Hollier remains on the ballot, that leaves an open path for engineer-attorney Ravi Nigam.
The seven board members will have plenty to worry about: with state funding flat and teacher salaries and health care costs still climbing, the schools face a growing structural deficit. The AAPS cut $14 million in costs over the last three years, mostly through staff reductions, yet the district still faces a projected deficit of $6 million next year—rising to $12 million by the 2011–12 school year.