18 Responses to “Prepping for the Sep 10th Regular Board Meeting”

  1. charlesdschultz Says:

    Took a look at the top 20 wage earners in Unit 4, and it paints an interesting picture:


    I did see that Dr. Zola is still listed as a middle school principal – hard to know if her base salary reflects last year or this year.

  2. Karen Says:

    This list is not current.

  3. charlesdschultz Says:

    Perhaps they will present the current list at the board meeting and then make it public. Which is what they said they would do. I am not exactly sure why they put this list on BoardDocs.

  4. pattsi Says:

    I suggest that you recategorize the presentation of the salaries to show those above 90,000, then 85000 and last 80,000, what percentage these represent of the total number and then show the remaining range of the salaries. The disparages will become apparent then. Further you did not capture the kindergarten teacher who receives a 90,000 and above salary, even if these are not current.
    Why would there be a referendum connected with EPC?

  5. charlesdschultz Says:

    Response from Dr. Wiegand (she responded to questions in-line, so I will attempt to make it obvious which ones are my questions and which ones are her responses).

    Q: 8a – MAC presentation: will this be the same presentation that was posted on BoardDocs for the July 9th Board Meeting? I realize the previous one was rescheduled because the presenters could not make it.
    A: Yes, it will be the same presentation

    Q: 8c – First reading of proposed change to 705.06: It is not clear to me why enrolling in both CECC and Head Start (even during the first quarter) is a conflict. This is probably obvious to most people, so I apologize for being dense.
    A: It is an issue of limited resources and being able to serve all children.

    Q:Who is on the Educational Programming Committee? When will it have a dedicated webpage/site?
    A: At the retreat this summer, the directive from the Board was to assemble an internal committee and bring forward recommendations to the Board. I brought together administrative representatives from all levels and asked CFT to provide teacher representatives. The presentation will be a summary of the discussions held and the possibilities for the future. Depending on discussion and action taken tomorrow night, I would like to have a dedicated link to this work on the District website. I envision this link containing all the work done by EPC, Dejong Richter and the Facilities Committee. The work done this school year will result in recommendations to the Board. I believe the next step will be the formation of a committee to lead efforts with the referendum. Of course this is my first time with all of this, so I certainly will look at what other districts have done and look for guidance from those with experience in this area.

    The reference to office space is if the Mellon Administration Center is no longer used and space is made available to expand South Side to a 4 strand school.

    Q: 9b – Public Engagement Firm: I am glad we finally have a firm decided upon; it is obvious that Dejong Richter has a lot to offer and that the selection committe had their work cut out. However I am distressed that we will be paying this group from Ohio a goodly sum of money to conduct yet another demographic survey. I urge the Board to reconsider this! There is at least one local company that has expressed a desire to help with demographics (ploughman-analytics.com), not to mention an excellent GIS Consortium. I understand that there was no bid specifically for a demographic survey, thus companies like Ploughman would not have been notified and/or made aware of such a possibility. I urge the Board to strike out portions of this contract that can be fielded by local corporations, or at the very least, rebid those major components.
    A: I know that there are members of the Board that are certainly interested in keeping work local if at all possible and this can certainly be discussed tomorrow evening if appropriate.

    Q: 9c – Carrie Busey expansion: To highlight the positive first, I am as excited as the rest of you that Unit 4 has had so many incoming students. Obviously, it is a challenge to deal with these drastic numbers and the school district is scrambling to do its best. My hat is off to those folks who are working their tails off (and pulling hair?) trying to figure this out. I am concerned about the price of the recent changes to Carrie Busey. Nearly $1 million for two classrooms? And when we build on additional classrooms, another $3 million or so? Something seems wrong with this math.
    A: Stu Brodsky will be present tomorrow night and the cost of this construction will be discussed.

    Q: 9e – Abatement of working cash fund: Unfortunately, the financial jargon goes over my head. May I request that someone explain this a little more? How does this relate to the Working Cash Bond that Unit 4 recently issued?
    A: It allows the District to abate the working cash funds and move the money to the Operations and Maintenance Fund. From there we are allowed to transfer to the Capital Projects Fund.

  6. charlesdschultz Says:


    As to the referendum, I only read that they were planning on a March 2014 referendum (in the report they put online). My assumption is that the district administration and board knows they have to hit the public up to do something about Central (big $$), so this is the path they are taking (via the EPC). It is really hard to connect all the dots because we don’t see all the dots. 🙂 I didn’t even know we had an EPC and here we have a report already.

  7. Karen Says:

    ‘The Real Purpose of Committees
    The key to such committees using these techniques is that the desired outcome is planned in advance. The purpose of the committee is not to design or plan or come up with a new course of action. Rather, the purpose is to “achieve consensus” on a desired course of action that is already known (by the organizers). ‘


    ‘The goal of the Delphi technique is to lead a targeted group of people to a predetermined outcome, while giving the illusion of taking public input and under the pretext of being accountable to the public. For the Delphi to work, it is critical that the targeted group be kept away from knowledgeable people who could lead them away from the Delphier’s predetermined outcome. ‘


    ‘The Spinmeisters
    Come To Town
    by Kevin Killion
    First release: October 25, 2001

    Schools Discover PR
    A new element is being added to the battle between the education monopoly and education reformers. The same tool used by marketers to sell soap, tobacco, and automobiles is now being used to convince your neighbors that everything is just fine and dandy at the local school — except that much more money is needed. Schools have discovered the world of public relations!
    The residents in a community are usually first introduced to this new element when the district announces it has contracted with a “research company” hired (we are told) to conduct, tabulate and report a “community survey”.

    Even a casual observer might find it curious that a school district would look all the way to St. Louis, say, to find a research company, when there is no shortage of solid, credible market research companies in Chicago. After all, Chicago is the home of the American Marketing Association, and thousands of market research professionals work in this area.

    As these “surveys” are done, parents might also find it a little odd that so little is asked in detail about what parents actually expect in curriculum, or what parents think about the curriculum or curriculum changes, how parents feel on such issues as phonics versus whole language, or how parents feel about the issue of endless “projects” versus substantive, coherent content.

    The Hidden Agenda Behind “Community Surveys”
    The formula behind a typical so-called “survey” behind a PR campaign for higher taxes was spelled out with great candor at one of the sessions at the 2001 conference of the NSPRA, the National School Public Relations Association. Yes, there IS such an organization, and by all measures it’s growing rapidly.
    At a session entitled “Getting Voter Approval the New Fail-Safe Way,” a manager for one large school district and the PR head for a state school board association jointly shared their experiences in running hundreds of successful school levy and bond campaigns. This conference and this session was covered in reports by Mike Antonucci of the Education Intelligence Agency. Excerpted from his reports, here is what happened at that session:

    Campbell and Magmer suggested an early survey of all potential voters in order to learn where they stand on the levy. The yes votes are noted and divided by how frequently they vote. The no votes are questioned further, to determine if emphasizing a particular aspect of the levy’s purpose moves their vote to yes. If so, these people are also noted. Those who can’t be moved (“Men over 60 are death on wheels for most measures,” Campbell said) are discarded and never referenced again. This is crucial to what follows. …
    To read more, and for the full details on the NSPRA conference, see the links at the bottom of this page.

    Paying for Your Brainwashing
    Who is paying for all this spinmeistering on behalf of local districts? In many cases, it’s the taxpayers, through their local school boards who claim that hiring of companies like UNICOM-ARC is for the purpose of “research” (which is legal) rather than political action (which is not). In other cases, it’s a “community” group that fronts for a tax hike, soliciting “donations” from residents or local businesses.
    It’s interesting that as school districts and boards are squawking louder and louder about money (even in exceptionally well-larded districts), they see no problem with spending dough on public relations gimmickry rather than on engaging the community in honest discussions of the kinds of schools they want — the kind of discussion that could lead to genuine community support.’

  8. Karen Says:

    @ Charles. did you get to view the last (regular) board meeting?

  9. charlesdschultz Says:

    Karen: You are scaring me now. What is your take on the illinoisloop link? I have yet to read all those sub links.

    I thought I watched the August 13th board meeting, but skimming through it right now, most of it is unfamiliar.

  10. Karen Says:

    With respect to school-wide (behavior) expectations an administrator said: ‘…can’t find any’ other than PBIS (from a few years ago). It was couched positively or something (excuse-making?)… with talk of how school expectations haven’t been front and center/emphasized for students (high school level!), so we’re going to do that this year. Huh??? We allegedly offer a great (world class, 21st century, whatever) eduction, but, we don’t know what the behavior expectations actually are for our building? I don’t know…maybe check the Unit 4 Code of Conduct book?

    The Director of Student Achievement opened the School Climate bit with something like Goal of dsitrict: ‘we want to make Dr. Weigand look good.’ Where to start with that one…

    Illeana was nicely and persistently proactive about the RFP archiving when the need for it seemed unclear to Dr. Wiegand and Sue Grey?

    A good ‘phew’ to learn that Community Elements would have licensed mental health workers involved with the SPARCS? (my notes aren’t so clear here and with my stupid memory, some of what’s written isn’t ringing a bell) program.

    There was much talk of perception/reality during the School Climate presentation. I found it confusing/not clearly presented.

    Discipline data. Jamar had some questions. He accepted that there was nothing funky going on with the stats when it came to ‘non-negotiable’ behaviors that resulted in suspensions (fights/physical confrontations), but wondered if there were something potentially up with what he characterized as the more subjective discipline categories (such as ‘disobedience,’ ‘disrespect’). Dave Tomlinson made a good point about data presentation (do repeat offenders account for a good portion of the incidents in the stats presented?), stating something like ‘let’s just tell the truth then’ when told that the data presented were lumped together with no breakdown of repeat offenders. Maybe a small portion of students is running up the numbers. And then Dave Tomlinson said something like why are these repeat high school offenders not being helped by the support systems that have allegedly been in place along the way (up to high school). Is that a school problem or a community problem? There could have been some good discussion, but…that’s not the way it works. I know you’re working very hard on changing that!

    Illinois Loop? The site and links are definitely interesting reads (on a variety of education topics). WRT the PR specifically, once those hiring consultants were done here and the process of hiring the new superintendent were over, I was left with a very unsettled feeling of what the heck was that?! And. at that time the PR stuff on Illinois Loop really struck a chord with me. True community engagement (for new Super) was fluff IMO. Just as it seems to be with many of these committees. They become very closed and you can’t help but wonder if they aren’t formed from the outset around a desired outcome. More generally, If these people in school adminstration (all over the country?) are truly so inept at 2-way communication, how did they ever succeed in the classroom? To a good extent I do think it’s a game and that they know exactly what they are doing/not doing. The effort goes into making it not look that way. The illusion of community engagement I think leaves the ‘irrelevant’ stakeholders feeling rather excluded.

  11. charlesdschultz Says:

    Quick question for those that might remember, the last referendum finally passed by a very narrow margin; was that the result of a spinmeister? What caused the community to finally bite the bullet after failing?

  12. pattsi Says:

    How is the Access Initiative being used/integrate into Unit 4?

  13. charlesdschultz Says:

    @pattsi: I don’t know how the AI is being used/integrated into Unit 4; I do know that Sheri Williamson is asking for their help on various things, and that the Champaign Community Coalition is having a ton of meetings. It is not clear to me exactly what the Coalition members are actually doing, though.

  14. Karen Says:

    DeJong Richter used to be DeJong and Associates. No time right now, but, found this:

    ‘Fischer has a criminal ethics conviction in Ohio which caused his resignation there. Fischer and DeJong appear to have had a corrupt relationship in Ohio. As Director of Facilities, Fischer gave DeJong & Associates, now Arkansas�s Facilities Program Manager, �unbid consulting contracts for more than $4 million primarily to conduct assessments and determine the facility needs of school districts receiving state construction money.�( Ohio Columbus Dispatch Sept 6, 2002.) Now that Fischer can no longer work in Ohio, DeJong took care of him by hiring him to take the bids in Arkansas. See this link for DeJong and Fischer alliance in Ohio:. http://www.wpaag.org/Fischer%20%20Fischer%20&%20%20DeJong%20%20Connection.htm


  15. charlesdschultz Says:

    Karen, those links off wpaag are horribad (aesthetically). I copied and staged one of them here:

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