TCAPS board president breaks silence, says Cardon and board disagree on school funding

Oct 14, 2019

Ann Cardon was hired as TCAPS Superintendent in August.
Credit Dan Wanschura / Interlochen Public Radio

In a radio interview with Vic McCarty on WTCM Monday morning, Traverse City Area Public Schools Board President Sue Kelly broke her silence on an alleged fallout with TCAPS Superintendent Ann Cardon.

Kelly dodged direct questions on Cardon or her future with the district.

"I'm not going to talk about Ann Cardon, I'm not going to talk about closed-sessions," Kelly said. "The board makes these decisions, and I will work on behalf of the board."

But Kelly did elaborate on an apparent disagreement between her and Cardon over school funding. IPR previously reported that the tension started over the School Finance Research Collaborative, a non-partisan group of business leaders and education experts who argue for a weighted formula on school funding. The SFRC states that Michigan should provide school districts with additional funding for students in poverty and special education programs, among other factors.

In the interview on WTCM, Kelly said the SFRC doesn't go far enough, as it doesn't argue for district funds that already have low per-pupil funding or high transportation costs.

"We can support the SFRC, what we don't agree (with) is they're not acknowledging needs where needs are," Kelly said.

In a Sept. 23 board meeting, Cardon seemed to support the SFRC.

"Superintendent Cardon reported that districts were pleased with the consent formula that came out, although there is always hope for a more weighted formula,” the meeting agenda reads. 

"When (Cardon) interviewed, she stated she was in favor of the SFRC. We were very clear... we are in favor of equitable funding," Kelly said. "(The Board asked) Can we work together? She indicated we could and we agreed to."

During the WTCM interview Kelly also denied claims that she has been withholding information from the public on Cardon's future. Kelly said any discussions the board had were in closed meetings, which she can't legally disclose.

At a board meeting on Friday several people asked for Kelly to resign during a public comment period, but in the WTCM interview, she said she has no plans to.

The interview came several hours before Kelly and Cardon released a joint statement where they said "Additional information will be shared when available and appropriate."

You can find the full interview with Kelly here.