June 10th Regular BOE Meeting agenda available

I wish I could deep-link the agenda, but for the next week or two, it should be at the top of the list:

http://www.boarddocs.com/il/champil/Board.nsf/public

 

Aside from the pre-weekend flurry of news about Stig’s resignation, it looks like it will be a full meeting. I am sure Executive Session will continue to be interesting. *grin*

The public meeting kicks off with an Academic Spotlight of the Young Entrepreneur Program followed by a series of recognitions. I see that in the “Upcoming Events” the June Board Retreat is not listed, so perhaps the details have not yet been hashed out. I hope they still have one.

Under “New Business”, Dr. Wiegand kicks off with a presentation about CUSF (not online as of this writing). Next up Maria Alanis is posing an informational item that will become an action item at a future meeting; a new International Academy. It is not clear exactly how much this will cost as part of the funds are coming from a Title III grant. Apparently, the Board approved all the positions back in March. That seems really hard for me to follow – we approved the positions before the Academy was even approved? Maybe I am just confused. The next four items are all Policy changes being introduce by the school attorney Tom Lockman (movable soccer goal, education of homeless children, student abassador program, and using district networks/social media).

 

Nine items are listed under “Action Agenda” with quite a variety, most of which have attached documentation. One thing stuck out to me – we are hiring a consultant firm at a price of $60,000 to help with the Business Office. Since the word “transition” is used, this is to help the new Business Director Matt Foster dive in? That just seemed a bit odd to me. We are also leasing (to own?) two used busses for roughly $180,000 (to be paid over 5 years). And lastly, board appointments to various committees. I strongly advise the Board to consider transitioning this committees to Board Committees, as opposed to Superintendent Committees. Board Committees are a lot more formal and must report back to the board. Superintendent committees report to the Superintendent and there is a significant lack of public visibility on these committees as they exist today.

 

The “Consent Agenda” is packed with 18 items; a lot of change orders for the schools that are currently being renovated, a purchase order for more busses, HR changes, a “Rising Star Action Plan” (which I want to read more about), a Policy change and other sundry items.

 

Tons of stuff to read. Board members have their work cut out for weekend reading and preparing to meet on Monday. We the public have our own work cut out for us. This is our school district – it is our job to hold our school board members accountable. Ideally, this is a very good thing. *grin* But it takes the work of informing the public and taking the time to digest all this information.

Stig steps down from the Board

Things keep hopping

There are a few things boiling internally at the Mellon Center. I’ll share the ones that have already become public, the others I have specifically been asked not to blog about. Which is really hard for me. 🙂 Isn’t that like giving a child some candy and telling him not to eat it? Not just any candy, but his favorite.

One of the rumors that finally got certified was that the former Garden Hills principal, Cheryl O’Leary has taken a position as the new Director of Special Programs while Cheryl Camacho has taken the position of Interim Principal at Garden Hills. Both effective July 1, 2013. In regards to this transition, I have spoken to parents, teachers (not at Garden Hills), administration and board members, and basically nobody wants to be quoted. So I am going to grossly summarize; some parents feel very agitated, some teachers feel like they can’t say anything, and the administration seem to have well-thought out reasons. But none of the folks I have talked with are talking with each other, which is very frustrating to me. I don’t believe one side is all wrong and the other side all right – I believe each has a story, a perspective, a slice of the pie. I am asking and hoping that some of these folks are willing to share their story.

I also spoke with two representatives from the College of Education yesterday, Jane E. Schingel and David Requa.  I was initially wondering what kind of research the College of Ed has done regarding Unit 4 and Unit 116. Both Jane and David were extremely helpful and our conversation was very enlightening. I learned that most research asks the question “how does this work”, whereas very little research goes to the next step of addressing how to make it work better. The fundamental roadblock is funding. But there is also the issue that most research asks very narrow and specific questions – nothing like a global “how to effectively run a school district” or “how to engage your community”. We also talked about the Center for Education in Small Urban Communities, and in addition to some thoughts shared by Dr. Wiegand, it sounds like the Center is currently undergoing some changes and there is a high hope and expectation that there will be an even higher level of collaboration between community interests (ie, local schools) and the Center when the dust settles. I hope to share more about that when information becomes available.

 

In regards to the FOIAs I heard about earlier, I am still trying to ferret out the truth and not depend solely on rumors. I have heard that some things are still bubbling, but nothing that is verified, yet. I fully intend to keep on them and share what I learn; again, it is not my desire to propagate rumors but to find facts and truth.

 

Lastly, pay attention to the board meeting on Monday. Or at least the announcements leading up to it.