News-Gazette article about the Board

re: http://www.news-gazette.com/news/local/2013-05-31/board-officers-vote-may-have-had-outside-influence.html

Also, the results of the FOIA: http://www.news-gazette.com/sites/all/files/pdf/2013/05/30/FOIA_request.pdf

Text searchable version (has errors due to conversion): https://thecitizen4blog.wordpress.com/misc/may-31st-ng-foia-request-pdf-converted-to-text/

This is one of the rumors I hinted at earlier. I have a number of issues with this, but I fear I have not fully gelled my thoughts coherently, yet. So, in a sense, right now I am merely hopping on the news bandwagon since a number of readers already alerted me to the article – figure I might as well at least say something about it.

From my own personal conversations with those involved, I know there is more going on than what is being said publicly. What I struggle with is “what is really important here?” I mean, I can see folks getting all worked up about “he said she said” kinda thing. But what do we want to fall out from this? Of course, everyone is going to always be wondering who this mystery 3rd party is, what their motives are, etc etc. Does it really matter? Does it really have to be a big bad secret? What about all this talk of transparency? Or is transparency only to be applied when conveinent?

I don’t know all the answers. I am still chewing on this myself.

Read the emails. Form your own opinion.

PS – I am going to convert the FOIA pdf to searchable text. (now done)

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4 Responses to “News-Gazette article about the Board”

  1. charlesdschultz Says:

    I converted the images in the PDF to text, although the output is not very pretty and has a number of errors. I will clean it up as time allows:
    https://thecitizen4blog.wordpress.com/misc/may-31st-ng-foia-request-pdf-converted-to-text/

  2. Craig Walker Says:

    The biggest question I had reading the News Gazette article was who cares ? I mean some person sent an email to an incoming board member lobbying for another board member to be Board President? That’s no different then advocating for a position on a specific issue . Then I personally got a call from the Editor at News Gazette accusing me of writing the email. At that point I knew I lived in Peyton Place because not only did I not write any emails on this subject to any Board Members nor ask anyone to do so, but if I did so what ! Anyone can write any emails to any Board Members advocating for their point of view . That is the American Way! But since the News Gazette endorsed Stig and not Laurie they participate in Stigs childish temper tantrum that somehow he got unseated unfairly and attempt to make it some nefarious act. Where is the article on the meetings and emails Stig had lobbying people on behalf of Scott as VP ? What about the $400,000 in no bid contracts to Champaign Telephone whose owner is a known Republican supporter ? What about Stigs connection to the Republicans as Deb Feinen was his attorney in the last election that required a recount. No article on that either huh ? But the minute one of the News Gazette’s favorite people loses to their non favorite people its some big conspiracy, FOIAS start flying and they call me up trying to make me the big bad wolf. Pitiful to say the least. . The question is are you going to be a part of the old guard establishments attempts to cling to power and give no bid contracts to their Republican buddies and run the school system without regard to the actual students who populate the classrooms. I threw up when Stig said he was in this for the Students. he doesnt care about any students but his own kids. Prior to today have you seen him at any Unit 4 events or outside activities. in the 4 years he was on there i never saw him at anything. Scott either. Dont you find that strange about people who claim they care about the kids ? They are there to protect the good ole boy network. period.
    So the question is are you going come out of the weeds on petty stuff and actually roll up your sleeves and work to make the substantive change you say you want to see .
    This article was not even journalism and Meg Schenk should be ashamed of making this nothingness a front page story. 4 duly elected members voted for the School Board President. I believe It would reflect better on our community if more than one person wrote an email advocating for whom they wanted to represent Unit 4 as School Board President. Wish I had thought of it myself.

  3. charlesdschultz Says:

    @Craig,

    Thanks for dropping by. Yes, I totally agree with your last statement – why are not more people writing in and making their voices heard about what they want their board members to do, how they want their board members to vote? Obviously, there is a bit of “under current” going on, where I am sure a (small) number of folks are actually telling board members what they think. Privately.

    In some ways, I hope the mystery person remains an enigma – the way some people are demonized is utterly and totally unwarranted, and worse, unproductive.

    One thing you mentioned, Craig, that really remains a standing question which I have trouble answering. What really is important? I agree, who really cares about someone sending an email to the board attempting to sow their opinion? I mean, I care in that I hope more people do so, but it’s not like a scandal or anything. Did Stig violate OMA, or flirt with the edges of the OMA? Maybe, maybe not – again, is that what we want to focus on? Don’t get me wrong, I think that is important, but is it most important?

    Here is what is really important to me; we have kids who go through the system and somehow wind up in jail. It is one thing if these kids represent a really small number, the “outliers” if you will, but when relatively high numbers of certain groups are over-represented, that raises a red flag for me. We have an outstanding (in a very bad way) number of families at or way below the poverty line. What are we, as a community, doing about that? These are societal issues, I get that. But what better opportunity to tackle those issues than in an educational setting?

    I am very much against any “good ole boy’s club”. I acknowledge I have seen it at play in Unit 4 more often than I care for. But I also don’t want to see my board members playing political games. I want my board members to govern as the IASB spells out:
    1. The Board Clarifies the District Purpose.
    2. The Board Connects With the Community.
    3. The Board Employs a Superintendent.
    4. The Board Delegates Authority.
    5. The Board Monitors Performance.
    6. The Board Takes Responsibility For Itself.

    See The Purpose of the School Board. So my message to the board is “Do that, and do that well.”

    {ps – I had a better page in mind, but it looks to have changed since I looked at it a year ago}

    This is why we voted for our fellow citizens to become board members. This is the official standard they are to follow in Illinois (for better or worse, it is what it is).

    One last note; Craig, you obviously have a bone to pick with the News-Gazette. 🙂 You are not the first I have heard from to say similar things, and I suspect you will not be the last. What can we do about it?

  4. “Democracy in action” | Citizen4: A citizen's blog about Champaign Unit 4 Says:

    […] to support one of their own as president. I don’t know how many hits the NG article got, but my own post had over 300 hits, which is on the high end for me. I also had a number of folks contact me […]


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