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Ann Arbor Public Schools trustees may force Superintendent Jeanice Swift out

Ann Arbor superintendent Jeanice Swift
April Van Buren
Michigan Radio
Jeanice Swift has led the Ann Arbor Public Schools district since 2013.

Ann Arbor Public Schools could begin the new school year without a superintendent.

That's after Monday's special meeting of the district's Board of Trustees.

By a vote of 4 to 3, the trustees approved two motions, both of which could end with Jeanice Swift's departure.

She's been AAPS superintendent since 2013.

Swift said at the meeting that she will act in good faith during the transition.

"My focus is on supporting this district and this community through a strong transition. We didn't invest ten years to see the district set back," she said.

One motion would grant Swift five days to determine if she wants a hearing with the board, before it makes a decision on her employment status. The other authorizes AAPS’ attorney to enter into negotiations with Swift on a separation agreement.

School Board president Rima Mohammed, and trustees Jeff Gaynor, Ernesto Querijero and Jacinda Townsend Gides voted yes on both motions.

Trustees Susan Baskett, Krystle DuPree, and Susan Ward Schmidt voted no on both motions.

Board President Rima Mohammad said her support for the motions was based on feedback from the community.

Trustee Susan Baskett said getting rid of Swift was a "rookie mistake." Three of the four trustees who voted yes on the motions were newly elected to the board in the November, 2022 election.

Several days before the meeting, a group of 100 Ann Arbor Public Schools parents asked Swift to resign in a letter.

The letter cited a rise in student and community violence, a racially hostile environment within the district, and lack of leadership in addressing antisemitic incidents.

The district is also facing a lawsuit filed by the mother of a special needs student. The lawsuit alleges he was physically and verbally abused by a district bus aide, and the district did not review footage of the incident for five weeks.

Tracy Samilton covers energy and transportation, including the auto industry and the business response to climate change for Michigan Public. She began her career at Michigan Public as an intern, where she was promptly “bitten by the radio bug,” and never recovered.
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