First, just a reminder that Sue Grey has agreed to meet with us tomorrow (March 21st). I have asked her to give me an update once a month what is on the Board’s plate. The last time we met, Sue mentioned that the Board is rather concerned about “pension funding, transportation funding and the early childhood programs funding”.
I realize it is Spring Break; but if you are around and want to chat, please drop by.
And finally, I want to wrap up some thought from previous Houlihans gatherings, which I have not yet properly documented. And unfortunately, I didn’t take notes so I am going strictly from memory and using my announcements to jog them.
In attendance at the February 29th Houlihans, we had Greg Novak, Pattsi Petri, Chuck Jackson and myself. Greg made a joke about now being a tyrant (in light of the Feb 27th Special Board Meeting). Also, Tom Lockman dropped by to say ‘hi’ (woot! Two Board Members – a new record), but he was really meeting someone else. He did clarify a couple points for us, but I do not recall them off the top of my head. Greg reiterated points he had been making about the need to address deferred maintenance. We had some back and forth discussion about communication (and the lack thereof), about perceptions and how the Board and the community are not on the same page. We talked about how we thought the pricetag associated with the wireless technology was rather high, and we questioned why one of the schools (BTW? I forget now) had, on average, 3 computers per child.
In a follow-up email on March 6th, I asked Greg and Tom about an update for the wireless. Greg mentioned that he submitted the question to the Administration and expected an answer by Friday. Unfortunately, things happened that week. I will make another post about some of that information I was able to collect from Gene Logas and a Promises Made Promises Kept meeting.
On March 7th, it started off with just Chuck and myself. Pattsi joined a little later. If I recall correctly (I might be wrong), we talked about (again) “formalizing” the Houlihans group a little more, trying to find 2-3 core components to focus on. I think we might have talked about Literacy a little bit and I mentioned the “Great at 8” event that was held last year. We then turned to talking about getting on the good side of the media. It was suggested that perhaps Dr. Judy Wiegand could do a segment on WBCP. We also discussed how it would be rather nifty if the Academic Spotlight videos were shown at the Choice Forums and made available on DVD for folks to take home and watch. Those same spotlights could easily be aired on TV. And finally, Pattsi attempted to give Chuck and I a quick lesson in Real Estate and Politics 101; talking about how assessors generally have an expectation for a certain rise in property values, and when the average property values are actually less than the expectation, that can play havoc with tax caps and TIF districts. I wish I had recorded that part of our chat. 🙂
Oh, and one other thing about community discussions and communication; it was suggested we could put up signs at grocery stores (after talking to the manager) and the libraries to advertise “town hall” like meetings.
March 14th, it was down to just Chuck and I. Talked about the sad news since March 7th and what to do about it. In one of the last emails that Greg wrote to me, he included a thought he said quite often and I am sure he would say it to anyone interested in making a positive impact; “Feel free to run for the Board”.