To be honest, I was kinda surprised by how few “role-less” community people showed up for the Board Meeting tonight; I think I was one of two when the meeting started, and one other joined us later. The other 15 or 20 people seemed to have an official role, whether it be building staff, District official/administrator, CFT, Channel 15, architects or legal types.
To start things off, a list of Recognitions was read by each board member. And there were quite a few – most are the “good news” that have been showcased on the U4 website and Facebook page, with a few extra that I had not yet heard. Strange how the entire list is not online (not even on BoardDocs).
For Public Comment, I was the only one to say anything and I again urged the Board to consider ways to do community engagement, using the recent news paper articles about Urbana as a negative example and what Wheaton is doing as a positive example (based off a previous post). I sure wish I was eloquent. *grin* But at least I got the message across – I had also emailed the information to the Board so they can always look back on that if I communicated poorly.
During “Communications from Board Members”, Board Member Chalifoux (and somebody else?) mentioned how awesome the retreat was. There was some general discussion about how trust was built between Board Members, Administration and district/building staff. Overall, “let’s do it again!”
Next, we rolled through to the Public Hearing. It was extremely anti-climatic. Board President Sue Grey mentioned that the Board wanted to give the public another opportunity to speak their mind or get their last word in about Working Cash Bonds. There was a very palpable silence for about 5 seconds. I was tempted to jump up and say something just for the sake of taking advantage of this opportunity, but I do horribly in spontaneous thoughts. Plus, I feel that folks have already had their say on WCB – and maybe that is why nobody showed up and nobody spoke up. I wish I did not feel so pressured. I really wanted to ask for clarification on the $1+ million for the transportation building – what exactly do they hope to accomplish with that? They cannot buy or build a new building with so little money, can they? Renovate with better bathrooms and maybe another maintenance bay? (question emailed to Board around 9:27 – emailed bounced back so I emailed their personal addresses)
The Midwest Athletic Complex got voted off the agenda because the folks presenting could not make it; presumably, that will be resurrected in a future board meeting. Dr. Wiegand then gave a summary of the Board Retreat. She talked a little about the two new committees/task forces she is developing that will both present findings in August (yikes, only 1 month away!). The first was the Educational Programming Committee (I think that is what she said) that will explore the best way to arrange building grade levels (ie, K-5, K-6, K-8, 6-9, 6-7, 8-9, 10-12, 9-12? so many combinations). The second is the Controlled Choice Task Force, and Dr. Wiegand was very explicit and said they are not changing anything right now. This is more exploratory work, I believe. Or, if nothing else, conversation starters – in talks with Dr. DeStefanno and Dr. Monda-Amaya about having those conversations. She then went on to mention the workshop led by Mr. Steinman and the question “What do we want the next step to be?” And this point, the floor was opened up for the board members. (again, I am not writing about everyone that spoke, just catching the highlights that I remember and wrote down.) Stig asked about Parent Advocates (who is it going to be?). Sue said we cannot reach our goal unless we all work together. There was other discussion, but as I said above a lot of positive remarks.
At a couple points, Dr. Wiegand and Ken Kleber (Director of HR) also introduced new staff; new Administrators, new Educational Technology Director David Hohman, new principals, assistant principals, interims, etc. Dr. Wiegand also introduced our new Community Relations Coordinator Stephanie Stuart. I was surprised how fast these positions filled, but glad they did. It is interesting to see how holes were filled in by folks moving up through the system.
As we moved into the “Action Agenda”, Trevor Nadronzy (Director of Curriculum) talked about how Controlled Choice had leveled or “equalized” more thoroughly (than before) the low SES population, and as a result Bottenfield now qualifies for Federal Title I money. He asked the Board to agree to this. I was thinking to myself, this sounds like a no-brainer. Are they any downsides?
Ken Kleber asked for an additional ESL staff at Robeson to help accommodate the new bi-lingual program. Ileana asked a clarifying question and Dr. Wiegand briefly respond (unfortunately, I did not hear either one of them clearly – my bad ears wanting more amplification from the mikes).
And then the Consent Agenda. Both BLDD and OLP/P (architects) were on hand to offer short presentations (archived on BoardDocs) about all the new and wonderful things going on and to remind the Board (and us three “other” community members) about the upcoming timelines. And that was pretty much. Overall, a relatively short Board Meeting. The Board motioned for Executive Session and even though I lingered around to chat, I did not stay for when they all came back.