RFP for School Assignment in the works

As you probably know, I have been asking Dr. Wiegand about bring the School Assignment “program”/process local; here is the latest news I have:

I have been working with legal counsel to develop a RFP for this service.  My timeline is to have this reviewed by the Business Office and the Board by the end of May with the request going out in June.


I then asked if Unit 4 would be open to input from the community, and here was the follow-up response:

Regarding input, I would welcome it if it is not a conflict of interest.


So what do you all think? I have no idea how much latitude we have – what do you want to see for a school assignment process? I’ll provide my own thoughts on this matter later.

9 Responses to “RFP for School Assignment in the works”

  1. pattsi Says:

    The wording of the RFP sets the stage for everything that follows. So now is the time to make comments.

  2. charlesdschultz Says:

    Agreed. What kind of wording would you like to see? =)

  3. pattsi Says:

    What are the goals that generated a call for a RFP? This may or may not help dirct the wording depending on whether the parents agree with the goals.

  4. charlesdschultz Says:

    Everything may or may not help. 🙂

    I cannot speak for Dr. Wiegand, but I have been pushing for several things:
    1) bring the process, including the software, local
    2) simplify it – align the definition of SES with the rest of the district’s definition (ie, free/reduced lunch. Period)
    3) Don’t just have 3 choices or 5 choices. Allow parents any and all.
    4) More transparency and sunshine on the entire process
    5) district needs to convey that a) we currently do not have neighborhood schools (for better or worse – it is what it is), and b) sometimes more parents want in on a certain school than seats are available.
    6) In terms of #5, the district needs to know how to say that in a nicer way than I did. 🙂

    I have a number of posts where I lay out lots of different suggestions. I almost wonder what would happen if there were no “choice” system at all – what if the district threw the whole thing away and just told you were you going to school? Obviously extreme and would piss some folks off. But we have pissed off folks now. Just throwing that out there as a “crazy idea” – not that I think the district should take it seriously. Is there any solution that would not piss off a few people? Maybe. If so, please enlighten me.

  5. pattsi Says:

    You have out some distinctive criteria that can be included in a RFP. An additional criteria might be to have several scenarios as to how the school choice might unfold, including open enrollment. Until such a model is run, one can not determine the results, good or bad, based on the assumption used to design the model.
    Since you have written over time many posts on this topic, maybe you could repost them chronologically for your blog readers, to further this conversation.

  6. jasmom Says:

    I love the idea of the district telling you where to go. To do that though, I think all schools would have to start/end at the same time (or at least within 30 minutes of each other), which creates a transportation nightmare. Keep the same standard (free lunch/reduced lunch). First pass would be any special needs,siblings and anyone that wants the balanced calendar.

    And no, whatever is proposed will piss someone off. There has never ever been a decision made that has made everyone happy.

  7. charlesdschultz Says:

    @jasmom: you are right; there is still a bit of variety in which a parent would have to select some kind of preference. Actually, I have suggested something like a google map with a filter – want a “balanced calendar”, click this check box and you see only balanced schools. Want one that has a magnet program? Starts at 7:55? ESL? You could have a ton of combinations. I visualize it working like the filters on Amazon, eBay or other popular web stores. However, this also makes the process a little more complex. Not necessarily a bad thing if it works.

    @pattsi: you expect the school district to model these scenarios? *laugh* On a more serious note, I would love to see the two Professors who are already involved with the choice process (Dr. DeStefanno and Dr. Burke) do exactly what you are talking about. As to cataloging the many posts I have written, that is a good idea – maybe provide an index or something. I’ll have to work on that.

  8. Chuck Jackson Says:

    Seems to me we need to know the desired end result. If we value diversity for its own sake, that needs to be said explicitly. If because it “gets us something” then, put the assumptions out there so that they can be measured, and tweaked as the data comes in over the next few years.

    What is the goal behind assigning schools? I think that has to be the starting point and then we reverse engineer in order to get there. Even the idea of it has to be local, why? I think I have a couple good ideas about why you think that but it isn’t enough to simply state it. WHY does the district out in the requirements it makes, that’s stuff we can debate and (try to) influence. In the end, it can even change what we want when we have a better understanding of why we want it.

  9. The Dilemma of Controlled Choice – community dialog requested « A citizen’s blog about Champaign Unit 4 Says:

    […] I am going to make some statements concerning what I want to see in school assignment and how the RFP should look. And then I’ll give you a nice long list of blog posts as a sort of index into […]

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