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.

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2 Responses to “June 10th Regular BOE Meeting agenda available”

  1. charlesdschultz Says:

    Over the weekend, I asked the board a few things:
    1. In the context of Board Policy 255, can we talk about utilizing “board committees” instead of all of the “superintendent committees” that we currently have. Right now, the existing committees have, on average, zero accountability to the public because we have no clue what they are doing; until recently, we didn’t even have a list of all the committees (which I am sure changes month to month anyway).

    2. Reiterated a May 20th request to make a read-only copy of the financial database available to all of us, at least the portions from which the check register is reported. Right now, I give kudos to Unit 4 for givings us a pdf report (via Crystal Reports?) of the check register, which even has a SQL query at the top. The next best thing is a spreadsheet. The next best thing after that is a read-only database for us to write our own reports and queries.

    3. In the context of newly proposed Board Policy 652 (see the June 10th Agenda), I asked that the board and the school attorney reconsider listing “hacking” as a prohibited activity on school networks. I know, you are thinking “What, are you freaking NUTS?!?!” I suggested describing the behavior as opposed to a word that means different things to different people. I used the example of the local UCIMC’s “Makerspace”, which is a subset of a hackerspace – it is essentially an open laboratory environment where computer geeks (and anyone else from the community) play around with technology.

    Lastly, I have been told that at the upcoming Board Retreat (date/time still TBD, but I am thinking it will be Monday, June 24th, starting around 6:pm – pure speculation on my part), the administration will talk a little about their vision for the school district, which includes things like the “Achievement Framework”. They will also touch on some of the recent administrative shuffling and provide some reasoning behind the moves.

    And for those that do not normally look at the check registers, I encourage you to take a glance at the latest one posted in the Agenda (June 10th, Action Agenda, item A). The new report has been significantly enhanced with short (very short) descriptions of each transaction, and in a number of cases, full “attachments” to further description vendors or payees. 91 pages for you to feast your eyes. 🙂 I give Unit 4 a big thumbs up for this enhancement. It gives me hope that at least some folks really want to embrace “transparency”, “openness” and “accountability”.

  2. charlesdschultz Says:

    Looking through the online check register, you will probably find a lot of things to question. I spotted one thing this morning and fired off another email. Here is the relevant line from the check register:

    CASH ACCT CHECK NO ISSUE DT VENDOR NAME BUDGET CODE ACCNT −−−−DESCRIPTION−−−− SALES TAX AMOUNT
    0101 181826 05/10/13 208341 NEW YORK UNIVERSITY 102211004060 310 CULTURALLY RESPONSI 0.00 15,000.00
    

    $15k to New York University for something called “CULTURALLY RESPONSI”. What is that? Earlier this year, Unit 4 did a workshop called “Culturally Responsible” that was, as you might infer from the name, about recognizing and understanding cultural differences. Based on what I know of some of you readers, I already know what your response is going to be like. But that’s ok, feel free to share what you are thinking. In looking back, I don’t think I ever did a blog entry on the workshop; I was not directly involved, I only found out about while talking to others and than I stuck my nose in to learn more about it. Guess I’ll have to write that up soon.


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