Getting the story out

A few days ago, I sent the following to WCIA, WICD and Meg Dickinson at the NG:

Good day,

In light of the issues with Unit 4 and working cash bonds and the perceived mistrust between some members of the community and the School District officials, I would love to see a segment that highlighted the claims of Unit 4. For instance, they are asking $1.8 million to replace the Transportation Building. How bad is it? Most of the public has probably never seen it. Unit 4 wants $3.5 million each for Jefferson and Franklin because it gets so hot in September. How bad is it? Again, how many people in the community have first hand knowledge of those conditions?

As a community member, I would love to see more exposure into the truth of what our children see every day. My goal is to help the community see things from the District’s point of view, and then also provide an opportunity for the District to see things from the community’s point of view.

Thank you for your time and attention. I look forward to hearing what you think of this idea.


Amanda Porterfield with WCIA recently got back to me saying “We Hear You” and wants to do an interview. I told her that my concern is that I want to focus on truth and facts – I would want the community to see exactly how dilapidated the Transportation building is. Moreover, how our facilities compare to other districts that have higher taxes and properly take care of their facilities. I think it is also important for the District to hear that community members do not necessarily recognize the same sense of urgency, thus there is not the same level of priority on finding additional sources of funding for the District. It is my observation that the District thinks it has saved up “trust” currency in the bank (because they have been very fiscally responsible for the past 6 years or so), but the public is keeping a different ledger. These two accountings must be reconciled. And once they are reconciled, we can proceed together.


I am looking for others who are willing to be interviewed and help tell their story. Anyone?


PS – I also have a related post I am working on that details a meeting with Dr. Wiegand, Mr. Logas, Sue Grey, Tom Lockman and Don Kermath on the topic of working cash bonds. I hope to post that later today.


4 Responses to “Getting the story out”

  1. pattsi Says:

    About the transportation building–I am interested whether there has been any exploration of sharing with MTD the facilities for bus repairs. What about the county highway building facility? Much less costly to share than repair or build. The comments this AM at the Champaign County Farm Bureau legislative meeting were not supportive of the cash bonds through the back door so there will be an effort to help get the issue as a referendum onto the November ballot. Essence of the comment has to do with the issue of due diligence and all of the work that the CCFB did to help pass that referendum . There is a lack of confidence in keeping the intended commitment related to that referendum. Promises made, promises kept.

  2. charlesdschultz Says:

    Gene made a good point the last two times I talked to him, and I would like to ask a broader audience; are folks getting all riled up about the other tax increases as well? It does make me wonder. Wouldn’t it be cool if instead of signing one petition, you could sign like 10 petitions all at the same time? But all we have is the one petition. I haven’t even seen much outcry in the public news media about the others. Interesting, isn’t it?

    As far as I know nobody has talked about any kind of alternative for the Transportation Building whatsoever. But I’ll ask. And I’ll also urge you to ask.

  3. pattsi Says:

    I believe that the issue of the public being upset/concerned about other tax increases have been explored. There was a big turn out plus full page ads in the N-G concerning the 4 cent tax hike along with Savoy reminding people gas will be less expensive in Savoy. The was push back when Urbana raised the gas tax There has been push back over the utility fee. And there is a group exploring ways to purchase the water company. In fact, was at a meeting this morning when the discussion turned to creating a co-op water company. So my question to you and Gene is where have you been when the public has been expressing dissent and dislike? Plus none of these increases are back door nor of the magnitude of the cash bonds. And let me remind everyone about the marathon county board meetings on the jail issue. It is interesting when people view the community with a narrow lens rather than a full picture of what is happening.

    There is a limit as to how many referenda can be on any one ballot so your 10 petition idea has no merit. One petition at a time to give a chance to explain the issue. Picture trying to explain 10. Listening to WDWS reminded me just how little community residents understand the issues due to many reasons–at least the ones who call WDWS.

  4. charlesdschultz Says:

    For myself, I have an extremely hard time just getting my head around one issue – I don’t think I have the bandwidth to shove all those issues at the forefront of my attention. Just like there is a limit to the number of referenda, so I find that for myself I have to focus on one thing. I don’t like that my hard-earned money gets sapped out of my pocket when 1) I have no idea where it is going, 2) I have no idea how it is actually being used, and 3) I am not aware what I can do about it. Things are just way too complicated these days. I happen to be fortunate in that an increase in taxes is not going to upset my apple cart – I am concerned about those for whom these taxes are a heavier burden.

    It is funny how it is assumed that when information is disseminated in a public meeting it just instantly magically becomes public knowledge. For everyone. 🙂 I am often reminded of how the Vogons posted a public notice at a nearby star before Earth was obliterated to make way for a hyperspace highway (wikipedia for Vogons).

    I don’t even know where to go with this thread. I cannot possibly know everything that goes on in every meeting. I don’t watch TV, I don’t listen to news on the radio, I don’t read the newspaper. For all intents and purposes, I consume my news online, and then even only a narrow slice that I consider “interesting”. I don’t like all the taxes getting piled up and I have no clue if I would be in favor of them even if I knew more. I don’t have the time to go and learn the intricate details about every single friggin’ thing I don’t like. What do I do with that? I have to shrug my shoulders, breath deep and enjoy life anyway. The weather is wonderful outside, I have been blessed in many ways via family, friends and work, and there is beauty all around me.

    Going back to the main point of this post, maybe I am operating under a fallacy; maybe I have the “picture” all wrong. Maybe a ton of people are already quite aware of the facts and the truth, and I am just the poor sucker who is largely ignorant. That is a possibility. I had not thought of that before.

    PS – apparently the answer to my question is “yes”. 🙂

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