Notes from the April 22nd BOE Special Meeting

I took the time to watch the BOE meeting a little while ago and typed up some notes. Unfortunately, they are not yet formatted very well. Instead of delaying, I finally decided to just dump them here, and hope that readers will forgive the horrid formatting.


{the times listed below are elapsed times from the beginning of the video}

start at 5:02

spotlight on middleschool to highschool transitions: 10 minutes (music stops at 15:36 after all the credits roll *roll eyes*)
jamar brown – found it entertaining, found the whole thing very good, transitions are important

public comment:
laurie bonnett – only quotes from one vendor, are we reaching out and seeking participating from other vendors?

Cathy mannen – thanks to the board for support of the early childhood center.

PTA Council:
Sheri Williamson – summer reading program, 300 books from UofI. Parent Resource Group.

Communications from board members:
Kristine – shout out about the amazing musicals past two weeks. Big praise for the stage design, acting, music, etc.
Van Ness – College Career Center; great facility, great idea. Shout out for the CUSF. Need to support them better.
Ileana – Make the College Career Center grow bigger – good stuff.
Brown – PSUs (?) at Novak, like a graduation thing. Lots of praise/congrats for many other events at other schools.
Stig – congrats to those who run board elections. Interesting thoughts about “supporting” more folks on future candidates, getting more folks to run.
Board retreat follow-up: how to make the school district a family-centered organization. hmm… not child-centered? 🙂

Asia Fuller-Hamilton & Joe Williams start with Transitions.
Jamar and Kristine mention how awesome this is. Kristine reiterates the pain/confusion of the first day. Mentions how awesome it would be for every freshman to have a mentor/guide. Joe says they are working on it.
Stig asks the same about middle school. He says why can’t we divulge as much information as possible BEFORE they come to school, and then handle the unknowns as they arise. A bit of discussion (even Wiegand intercedes); can the kids have the data before the first day of school? 🙂 Lots of great things are happening in pockets, working towards making those things consistent in general.

Elizabeth DeGruy (no presentation, just reporting).
Stig asks a lot of questions and makes comments. Very engaged. 🙂 Again, can parents have as much information as soon as possible? All about transistions. Importance of setting a first impression by making the first day in school a very positive one.
I think a question from the audience was fielded about “child time”? Yes, Sheri Williamson from the audience is given the floor. Awesome! 🙂

Tony and Cheryl are up at 1:05:40. Tony walks through the overview of the goals and “ideal reality”. Cheryl talks about the specific multiple recommendations. Elizabeth chimes in with SpecEd recommendations.
Stig asks how parents who are in these situations can reach out to a person (*not* a helpline). Maybe a FAQ?
Action Items:
Kleber announces the promotion of 3 assistant principals.
TALP – Orlando Thomas
Kristine wants to verify this is not fun, and that students don’t really have a choice once suspended.
student discipline procedure – lockman
confirming adoption for administrative reasons … ?? That’s not vague. 🙂

Kleber on adding an administrative position for overseeing the food department; one year appointment for a proof-of-concept.
Van Ness asks where the person will be housed. Kleber doesn’t really answer the question, saying they will be “everywhere.” Interesting that the Board is asked to approve the position even before the job description is finalized. Doesn’t that seem backwards?
Item A from Consent Agenda moved up – Champaign Telephone contract. curious, was this moved up in Executive session? Meg Dickinson mentioned that Phil Van Ness moved on it, but I did not witness it.
Brown asks, we will *never* bid out these jobs? Joe Davis assures the board that if they need to, they will. Who bids it out? “talk it out” with architects and superintendent.
Van Ness comes out and says he pulled it out of the Consent Agenda. Wants to make sure the board is putting things before the public. Likes that we are keeping this local.
Kristine mentions that consistency is very important.
Ileana: not exactly sure what she said, something about good for the community and taxpayers knowing.
Kristine, we don’t want everyone to know what the budget is….. interesting. In the context of bidding… they want contractors to bid competitively, not to the budget.

1:44:40 remaining items of the consent agenda

quick Schools of Choice update


Parents of incoming kindergarten students who registered during the month of March should receive their kindergarten assignment in the next few days, as letters were mailed the evening of April 26. This year, 85.0% of students who registered received their first choice assignment.*
While last year’s kindergarten class was the largest in Unit 4 history topping out over 860 students, kindergarten registration for 2013-2014 is on track to meet this year’s projection of 800 kindergarten students. In anticipation of the projected enrollment for next year’s Kindergarten classes, three bubble classrooms have been added Bottenfield, Barkstall, and Carrie Busey. These classrooms have been added in order to avoid exceeding the District’s classroom capacity, set for 2013-2014 at 23 students.

This year, 94.2% of all students registered received one of their top five choices.** Family Information Center staff members are contacting families of the 42 students who did not receive one of their top five choices. They will continue to work with these families so that each child may be assigned a seat as soon as possible and those families are offered seats on the waitlists at each of their top five schools should a seat become available.

Schools of Controlled Choice – Historical Assignment Statistics

Percent Receiving First Choice Assignment*
09-10 – 84.2% received their first choice assignment
10-11 – 78.3% received their first choice assignment
11-12 – 85.4% received their first choice assignment
12-13 – 89.1% received their first choice assignment
13-14 – 85.0% received their first choice assignment

Percent Receiving One of Top Five Choices**
09-10 – 91.9% received an assignment
10-11 – 92% received an assignment
11-12 – 95.4% received an assignment
12-13 – 95.4% received an assignment
13-14 – 94.2% received an assignment


I have requested the full suite of SoC data (as in previous years). I have also asked for an update on the SoC RFP. I am curious why the percentage of folks being unassigned went up slightly.


I am highly unimaginative today. Here are a few things floating around my radar.


1. Bristol Place Forum, sponsored by the League of Women Voters:

What’s happening to Bristol Place?
A forum sponsored by the League of Women Voters Champaign County

April 29, 2013
When: 6-8 p.m.
Location: Champaign Public Library: Robeson Meeting rooms

Come join us to hear about the origin of the current Bristol Place project, plans for the demolition of Bristol Place and the relocation of current residents. A panel composed of city staff and involved citizens will answer a moderator’s questions followed by an audience question and answer session.

Panel members:
Rev. Eugene Barnes, Founder/Executive Director of Metanoia Centers
Kevin Jackson, Neighborhood Services Director, City of Champaign
Rachel Phillips, Masters Candidate, Dept. of Urban and Regional Planning, University of Illinois”


2. Chicago Students boycotting school for a day to send a message:

Today many Chicago students will not be in their schools. One of them has written this, explaining the reasons why.


3. WICD ran a short clip about TALP (suspension alternative):


4. April 17th video of Dr. Alan Kalmanoff on the county jail issue (1:53:40, youTube):

April 22nd special board meeting

I have not had a chance to watch it – only spot-checked it to make sure it was recording:


A couple interesting things on the agenda; Cheryl Camacho and Tony Howard presented on the Parent Advocacy recommendation(s) and Elizabeth DeGruy presented on special needs (aka, “Board Retreat Follow-up”),  Orlando spoke again on TALP, Lockman again on the changes to policy concerning discipline, three folks bumped up to Assistant Principals, and a couple other things.


Meg’s article focuses on the approval of the TALP program, and mentions a couple other things as well.

Introducing "Champaign Parent Resources"

“This blog contains resources and other information for families looking for assistance in the Champaign community.”

IMC: "Sign the Petition to the Champaign County Board to say: Stop the 20 million dollar jail expansion!"

From the IMC:

The Champaign County Board is considering a proposal to spend $20 million on new jail cells. They claim the current downtown jail, built in 1980, is beyond repair. The Board plans to pay for the new jail cells from the public safety sales tax which brings in about $4 million per year.

We say the Board, rather than spending $20 million on jail construction, should focus on investing in preventative services that will keep people out of jail and prison, things like youth job training, mental health centers, substance abuse treatment and re-entry programs for people returning home from prison. Click the title to add your name to the growing list of people who support investing in prevention instead of detention.

“To: The Champaign County Board We the undersigned oppose the Champaign County Board’s proposal to spend $20 million on new jail cells. We believe the Board should spend this money funding preventative programs that will keep people out of jail and prison.”



For those not following this, the Champaign Urbana Citizens for Peace and Justice have been well organized and fighting hard against the idea of a new county jail.


PS – I noticed that some petition signers are using the opportunity to make a counter-statement instead of voice support. It is interesting to hear from folks who think that the current laws (and their enforcement) are perfectly just. I ask, if the way we are doing things now is good and right, then why do we have so much crime? Why is there such a huge disparity among the population in jail vs those not in jail? What else explains that?

Wrapping up the "final" recommendation from the Parent Advocacy Committee

The Parent Advocacy Committee is wrapping up their final recommendation for Dr. Wiegand. I am including the presentation here in an effort to see what you all think – I’ll comment later as I have time.


Parent Advocacy Committee Presentation- Final 4.22.13


If you would like some context as to how we arrived at these recommendations, I would suggest two resources (if you up for some reading):


Or just ask questions here and I’ll try to answer them. 🙂


I myself have glanced through the presentation, but have not yet digested it.