Nov 26th Special Board Meeting

I got the meeting off TiVo again; unfortunately, my upload connection is crawling along at 23kps (*egads! is this 1996?*), but the video will be posted soon video is now posted. The good news is that the entire meeting was a super brief 37 minutes, and I was able to stop recording after 45 minutes.

A significant portion of the meeting was used for comments (from the public and school board members). It was quite interesting to see that the folks from the girl’s Central Soccer team showed up in numbers and had comments lined up from various folks including parents and students. Very impressive. It was also quite impressive to see how they acknowledged the work already begun by the board and the district administration; you could tell there was a sense of “hey, they heard us!”. 🙂 I thought it was also really cool to hear how student athletes have been very active in serving the community and take their grades very seriously. Board Members spoke very highly of the recently christened Novak Academy and Jamar shared how 9 students will be graduating, filling a void where those students probably would not have been able to graduate in the “normal” system (my words). Jamar also shared some good things going on at Kenwood, including a recent bonfire with weenies and s’mores as a community-building event. Sue Grey introduced a couple students who talked about community service projects and how they decided to raise funds for United Way, presenting a check to a representative of United Way (not Sue Grey).

The next part of the meeting was a presentation about the 3rd-party audit, with Dr. Joe Davis beaming because of the “highest rating” they got. Does anyone else think that the “highest” rating should be something a little more spectacular than “unqualified opinion”? I mean, what if the teachers had “unqualified opinion” stickers they slapped on your homework? Anyway, I am glad the audit did not turn up any dirt. As Dave Tomlinson pointed out after the presentation, a huge amount of credit goes to the hard work of Gene Logas and his business team. Tomlinson went on to further explain (“if the media happens to get a hold of the audit report” – so….. where is it?) about some of the numbers and how a huge chunk of change ($30+ million did I hear?) from the Sales Tax is still waiting to be paid into the expansion and building projects. The district apparently only has about $23+ million in the bucket at the moment. So why isn’t the audit report posted online? And yes, for those that are wondering, the presentation lived up to my expectations – they guy just rattled things off without really saying anything, in my opinion. Just another day at work, you know…

Dr. Zola then shared about the need to prepare for extra classrooms; Meg covered this in her recently posted NG article (waiting for the print edition??):

http://www.news-gazette.com/news/education/2012-11-26/champaign-ready-if-another-kindergarten-boom-arrives.html

My ears really perked up when Dr. Weigand supplemented Dr. Zola’s brief presentation with something like “it is important to be as transparent as possible about the number of extra classrooms in regards to Choice.” To me, this says that the district understands the School Assignment process (lottery) is already a little confusing and I am glad that they get it about putting their cards on the table. I truly think that does help a bit. I just wonder how the whole package will come together next March when new parents are encountering Dr. Alves’ new creation. No word on that, yet.

Dr. Taylor then talks about changes to the high school curriculum handbook, highlighting both the “video game” course, but also the course on “Community in the Classroom”, aka “Social Justice”. I don’t know how I missed that the first time through. I know several of you hear/see the words “social justice” and something inside you twists sideways. Which makes me wonder, if we called it “doing good”, would that help at all? 🙂

Dr. Taylor finally wrapped up with the changes to policy I covered earlier; it still seems really strange to me that administration wrote the policy and presented it to the board, and the board did’t discuss it in public at all, yet the policy is written as if coming from the board. Am I making too much of a deal about that?

And boom! That was perhaps one of the shortest board meetings. Ever! *grin*

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One Response to “Nov 26th Special Board Meeting”


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