From Chuck Jackson:
Even though I had another meeting last night, I decided to go to the Steering committee meeting for the first hour to see what I could learn.
I took six pages of notes in the 45 minutes I was there – everything I say is constrained by the fact that I wasn’t at the whole meeting. I left before 7.
Much of this is predicated on knowing the context, specifically the options. Head on over to the Future Facilities website [http://futurefacilities.champaignschools.org] and get the options packet (go ahead, I’ll wait). Scott said that all his materials that he distributed to the members would be online later that night. I don’t see them there at this moment but I could be looking in the wrong spot or he is just running behind.
Main Report to the Committee
With regard to the five priority ordered considerations (as I recall question #2 on the survey.)
Respondents were asked to rank order five considerations. I didn’t feel these captured my priorities but this was the question. The five (from memory)
• Alternative transportation accessibility (transportation other than cars)
• Vehicular accessibility
Seventy two people put financial considerations as their number one priority, far and away the top.
Scott put weighted scores on high school location, West received a score of 500; North 431; Northwest 417. One of the points he made about that was there is no clear winner from among the options presented.
Several times he referenced the future conference and treated the input from that as hard data and controlling input. This view of that experience is a way too optimistic view of the futures conference. Not only did it only reach a TINY proportion of the population, (which was self selected) but it too was very constraining and could not possibly reflect a true snapshot of what the community wants.
Interestingly he did spend thirty seconds talking about Bristol place, Bruce Knight chimed in and said it isn’t large enough. Gross area of .2 acres according to Knight and that’s before they take some of the land to deal with flood plain issues.
Judah/ Franklin site was also briefly discussed, it is 31 acres (must be including Spaulding park too). Scott mentioned that people did not like the idea of displacing Jefferson and anticipated a similar reaction to displacing Franklin,
People overwhelmingly want to deal with the high school first and then get to the other levels.
75% approval for each of the elementary options which Scott said means anything is OK with the community.
Option 1 was the favorite (again, refer to options presented available through the futures facilities website.)
He said “everything is all over the place” I noted this direct quote as admission that the community doesn’t know what we want. I think it was just a factual statement.
26% opposed to option 1.
50% liked option two, it was the favorite option.
Someone asked, “why is there no option to keep Edison” which is apparently not even remotely on the table-it was laughed off.
Someone suggested building two K-8 buildings, another idea to absorb middle school enrollment is to make the Edison program larger once it moves into the existing Central building.
One of the TBD options for a new middle school is the unit 4 owned land next to Barkstall. An idea from the crowd is to build a k8 building there and at South Side.
40% did not support option 1
There was no support (didn’t give a number) for option 2a or b.
61% preferred option 3.
On the funding questions there was a “too much, too soon” sensibility but he didn’t talk too much about it.
There were several general comments which I won’t bother to transcribe, Bruce Knight spoke up and gave the old line of “there is no perfect solution, some people will be disappointed.” He also stated that it will have to be done in phases but that we should figure out what we want and then figure out how to pay for it.
The group spent awhile rehashing the (dead) idea of one large high school.
There was a little time spent discussing distance learning in the context of dissimilar classes at the two high schools. Joe Williams made the comment that dedicated, appropriate facilities make distance learning more viable.
Bruce did say, “we asked the community and they clearly said, we don’t want one high school. We should respect that.”
(I was not there long enough to hear any discussion of the recommendations so let me stress again, this was the starting point. That said, no one stated any major opposition to them when the presentation of the “starting point” was complete.)
Referendum in November 2014
Property acquisition for Central (with existing sales tax money of $2.7 million)
Put a time limit on finding a central location that fits the requirements (40 acres)
At the end of that, evaluate existing candidate sites
$83 million to build a new central
Remodel Centennial while in use (or build new Central, move Centennial to old Central, remodel Centennial.)
Then renovate existing central building for Edison and such
Total cost $164 million (not including any land acquisition)
1 year land acquisition, 6 months planning, design begins as soon as referendum passes, 30 months construction new Central opens Autumn 2018. Then 12 months to remodel Central and Edison opens at the remodeled Central building 2019 (recall that Centennial is remodeled while in use. )
Another referendum November 2018
Renovate Dr Howard $20 mil
Renovate South Side to three strands $16.5 mil
New middle school
Total $65 million
Sales tax monies only
Renovate Kirby and/ or build new elementary school
Backup if it doesn’t pass? Make proposal smaller, put stuff in so everyone feels like they are getting something.
Reminder, I left early. This is just reporting what was said, I do not have any final proposal from the steering committee. Any errors in correctly understanding and reporting these events are my own.