minor updates: kindergarten magnet registration numbers, misc

This morning I received the first of two spreadsheets about the recent Kindergarten Lottery – this one is for the Magnet School Registration:

magnet school registration details

This spreadsheet is actually a summary, not the full details I am used to seeing. I have already asked about the negative “Available Seats” (over-assigned?).

 

 

Last night’s Board Meeting was quite interesting. I’ll be writing up a separate (and much longer) post about that later today. The media covered it pretty well:

News-Gazette: http://www.news-gazette.com/news/education/2012-04-09/any-change-champaign-school-bond-decision-would-happen-next-couple-weeks.h

WCIA: http://illinoishomepage.net/fulltext?nxd_id=357952

WILL: http://will.illinois.edu/news/spotstory/unit-4-school-board-defends-bonds-proposal/

 

 

I have advertised a open-agenda community meeting next Tuesday; I have also heard a rumor that another group is planning a similar but different kind of community meeting. I have zero details, but when I learn them I will pass them along.

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7 Responses to “minor updates: kindergarten magnet registration numbers, misc”

  1. Karen Says:

    Just my observations/opinions on the board meeting last night… I sensed some prickly attitude from a couple of board members. Almost a chastising of or exasperation with community members who are in the ‘hey, wait a minute, here…’ camp on the WCB issue. Specifically, it was stated that that these things (the needs to be covered from WCB $) are long over-due, are urgent, etc. and just do it for the kids–what’s the problem, etc. Well, maybe flip some of those remarks back at the board (members who have been around a while) for a better sense of the ‘what the heck’ reaction of some in the community (WRT the WCB issue). It seems a little lost on a couple of board members, despite what they say about ‘hearing’ it/’getting’ it. If all these pleas are true (the long-overdue-ness, etc.) then where were you all with your grave concern that these things get done yesterday?? Why did it come to this–complete with IMO a palpable attitude from certain board members that some in the taxpayer base aren’t being reasonable? The community is encouraged to let the board do their important business, as ‘we’ elected them and that is their job and community input/oversight is regarded by some as little more than a nuisance/hindrance to getting ‘important’ work done. Really, huh. We are to put our trust in the board to do what they were elected to do. Well, maybe I am a lone community member in my wondering what the heck happened (or, rather didn’t happen) over the past decade (or 5 years or whatever) to land us in the current situation. The 21st century didn’t just pop out of nowhere and take us by surprise (there was talk of the school buildings not being consistent with a 21st century education, or something like that). Why would I trust the decisions of people who showed such lack of planning with the current issue and at least one person who last night said in a ‘don’t people know?’ kind of manner—‘X million doesn’t really go that far’ (as though that should be obvious to the average person and that they should have anticipated more ‘building’ expenses, like it’s just common sense or something)? I would be embarrassed and apologetic were I hitting up the taxpayers right now in the manner the Unit 4 board is planning to–even if I weren’t on the board during the years of lag on these urgent issues vs. bristling at community opposition to the manner in which the WCB issue looks to be proceeding. There was talk of 25 repetitions of a power-point presentation for the 1% sales tax thing. Did this presentation outline things in a manner that led people to believe these were the only ‘building’ needs for the district, in a long-range (greater than 4 years) time-frame? Omission of (bigger picture) information can be very problematic. ‘We never said it was for…’ this or that need that lots of voters likely didn’t know existed/didn’t know were so dire?? (Were alarm bells about AC being rung by the board and they have just fallen on deaf years all of these years?). How was the 1% marketed? How was the idea really sold? Was the fine print highlighted, or, was there a tidy sound-byte fit for positive community consumption floated around during that time? I can see how specific building needs could be conflated into all of Unit 4 building needs when it were so far removed from the fine print of presentations and posted online documents.

    I know the languages thing was a first proposal, but, when asked about how the success of the pilot was determined…I found the response quite troubling. But, I’ve said more than enough for now.

  2. charlesdschultz Says:

    Karen, I had very similar reactions. I have been waiting until later tonight to do my full post. There were many red flags for me about last night. And frankly, it is hard to imagine sitting on the other side of the table.

    I was truly hoping the Board would have had a different response. Much of what they say is in fact true, but the manner in which the truth is delivered almost seems to make the delivery worthless.

    I was also extremely concerned about Gene Logas’s response after Frank Paul and Craig Walters spoke. Very. More to follow later. I am transcoding the video right now and hope to have it online in a couple hours.

    Anyone else? =)

  3. Vav Says:

    Won’t have time to view the board meeting till later, but I’ll comment based on the comments.

    I understand that there has been a grand total of 1 property tax referendum by U4 in the last 50 years, the one to build Stratton & Barkstall. It took 3 tries to get that passed. Years later was the 1% vote and all school districts were looking at U4 to put a solid plan on the table because if U4 voters voted it down it would be extremely difficult to pass it in the county. All districts wanted the 1%. The plan then needed to sell. Things like fixing deferred maintenance on existing buildings, a bus garage, etc. don’t sell. They were kept off of the slate of projects for 1% in favor of ‘sexy’ projects like BTW, Garden Hills, Savoy, and the remodel/upgrade of the other elementary schools.

    Reminds me of our congress passing the Transportation Bill. When earmarks were allowed and the bill could be made ‘sexy’ it had bipartisan support. In the current environment where it is about filling the potholes in our existing infrastructure we are on the 9th continuing resolution. Back to schools…

    The other point that is now often forgotten is the consent decree. Yes, we’re past it now, but the school board for over a decade had to spend millions on lawyers that might have gone to maintaining facilities. The also had to be very careful where every dollar was spent and every resource was allocated because every action was twisted by the attorneys to keep the consent decree alive. Although the consent decree is gone, there are still many on the board and in the schools who remember. We are living the aftermath of the decisions that were made to get out from under the consent decree.

    I was at a meeting about 7 years ago with several high ranking administration staff and some influential local business people to discuss the current maintenance needs in the buildings. It was a fiery meeting where I was trying to get U4 administration to adopt a preservation and management approach to building maintenance. It fell on deaf ears. Some of the deaf ears were that way because of consent decree issues, others were desiring creating a crisis so that you can go get additional funds from the tax payers. The architects in the room want big projects that need their services, not preservation of our infrastructure.

    I’ll stop rambling…

  4. Chuck Jackson Says:

    While it is true that u4 spent millions on the consent decree, let’s not forget why there was one in the first place. The fact they u4 ignored African American achievement isn’t something to sweep under the rug. There is an even older history where the admin purposefully ignored repeated entreaties to fix the problem before the DOJ was involved and a consent decree was worked out.

    I hear so many people talk about the wasted millions during that era, but educating black kids is WAY more important than maintaining buildings and if we spent more than we should have on process, I can imagine that we spent more than we should have on lots of other things too. And all of it was less valuable that trying to right an obvious moral wrong.

    So many people talk about money as the bottom line but be it nation or family budget, we find money for what is important to us. No one chooses to paint their house when they need money for food, in a 130 million dollar budget, I can’t believe that we don’t have a dollar or two that we couldn’t reallocate for urgent needs. I agree with @Karen above. The issue isn’t the money, it is the method.

  5. charlesdschultz Says:

    And the ultimate question really is “what is important?”

    There are many nuggets of truth in what each of you are saying. For me, it comes down to living in a dysfunctional society, and we are trying to overlay or superimpose various idyllic models on top of this broken foundation. Of course the holes don’t line up perfectly. We need a new foundation. *grin*

    To start working against the dysfunction, I believe we have to strive for effective communication while practicing humility and active listening, and overall have a desire to show true concern. This looks like a couple who have gone to marriage counseling, and as they sincerely begin to have a true affection for one another, their trust in each other grows to a point where it can not only sustain, but even grow and flourish while the rough edges are being smoothed out.

    So what must we residents of Champaign Unit 4 do? It depends. Work for positive change (and it is hard work), listen to those that do not agree with you, seek to help others. Lots of small pockets of individual and groups are already doing this and give us some examples that might be helpful; the barbers at Rose & Taylor engaging the families in their area, Sherri Williamson heading up Resource Days at Garden Hills, Empty Tomb’s “Mega-Work-a-thon”, Helping Hands at Carrie Busey, the social workers and principals who take time outside of work to interact with low-income families, free computer literacy classes at Parkland and the Urbana Library. That’s just scratching the surface. I bet each of you could easily identify a list just as long or longer. I could also point out the many awesome things you are doing.

    We have trust issues in Unit 4 because, basically, we (the public and the Board/Administration) are not mutually assured of unselfish interests. In my opinion, it doesn’t really matter who is “at fault” – it is what it is right now. We cannot change the past. But we can learn from the past and change the future.

  6. charlesdschultz Says:

    Back to the magnet lottery data, I have learned that the numbers are:

    negative unassigned seats is a result of the 2011-12 grade being over the cap. For instance there are 26 assigned to BTW 3rd grade. The cap is 24. When the 26 roll into 4th grade (also a cap of 24) they are 2 over the 4th grade cap for 2012-13.

    and

    A cap is not a legal limit, but a recommendation


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