Media Advisory: Michigan Symposium - State of the Economy and Schools

November 24, 2008

Amy Vogt

WHAT: Michigan Symposium: State of the Economy and Schools hosted by the American Association of School Administrators (AASA) and ARAMARK Education

WHEN: Tuesday, Dec. 2, 2008, 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

WHERE: Auditorium at Lansing Community College, West Campus/MTEC, 5708 Cornerstone Drive, Lansing, Mich.

PRESS ATTENDANCE: To receive a press pass to this event, contact Amy Vogt, public and media relations director, 703-875-0723,

The economic decline puts additional pressure on school districts to reduce expenses. What can school leaders do? More than 100 superintendents and their chief business officers from Michigan will attend this day-long symposium. Through presentations by experts and small group discussions, attendees will gain a comprehensive perspective on:

  • The state of the local and national economy and how it is impacting school districts
  • Cost-saving methods schools can employ to survive the economic downturn

10:00 a.m.
- Mark Bielang, AASA President-Elect and Superintendent, Paw Paw, Mich.

The 30,000 foot View of the State of the National Economy
- Paul Trabb, Chief Economist, Chrysler Automotive Group

10:55-11:40 am
Michigan State of the Economy
- Rep. Brian Calley, 87th District, State of Michigan
- Bill Harper, Business Development Manager, Chevron

AASA State of the Economy Study
The “AASA Study of the Impact of the Economic Downturn on Schools,” released Nov. 12, found that belt-tightening measures are underway in districts nationwide in response to shrinking budgets.
- Noelle Ellerson, AASA Policy Analyst

12:30-1:30 pm

1:30-2:15 pm
Superintendent/Business Advisor Panel
- Mark Bielang, AASA President-Elect and Superintendent, Paw Paw Public Schools
- Tom White, Executive Director, Michigan School Business Officers
- Bernard Taylor, Superintendent, Grand Rapids Public Schools
- Lisa Freiburger, Chief Financial Officer, Grand Rapids Public Schools

2:15-2:45 pm
Small Group Discussions
- Moderated by Mark Bielang, AASA President-Elect and Superintendent, Paw Paw Public Schools

  • What processes are you using to make budget/program cuts in your district?
  • Who are you involving in the discussions and what role is your school board playing in this process?
  • How are you communicating these issues with your greater community?
  • What resources have you used to help guide your efforts?
  • During tough times financially, what methods have you used to help communicate to your educational community what is happening and how challenges are being dealt with?
  • Do you have a process when dealing with building a budget during tough economic times that have been effective?
  • What resources have you found most helpful when dealing with economic challenges? (i.e. written materials, web based resources, organizations, people)
  • What messages are most effective when working with boards of education to help them understand the role they play in supporting the district’s budget process?

2:45-3:15 pm
Small Group Discussion Report Outs


Contact: To receive a press pass to this event, please contact Amy Vogt, public and media relations director, 703-875-0723,

About AASA
The American Association of School Administrators (, founded in 1865, is the professional organization for more than 13,000 educational leaders across the United States. AASA members range from chief executive officers, superintendents and senior-level school administrators to cabinet members, professors and aspiring school system leaders. AASA’s mission is to support and develop effective school system leaders who are dedicated to the highest quality public education for all children.

About ARAMARK Education
ARAMARK Education provides a complete range of food, facility, uniform and other support services to more than 500 K-12 school districts in the U.S. It offers public and private education institutions a family of dining and facility services including: on-site and off-site breakfast and lunch meal programs, after-school snacks, catering, nutrition education, retail design and operations, maintenance, custodial, grounds, energy management, construction management, and building commissioning. For more information on ARAMARK’s K-12 food service programs, please visit