update: edited for better formatting (curse you WordPress!!)
I know each of you has been extremely busy with many different topics related to Unit 4; I thank you for serving on the board and fulfilling a much needed role.
I would like to take a moment and remind the three board members that were voted in during the April elections what you said you were going to do as a board member. The full list I culled together can be found here:
From that list, I would highlight a few things, especially as tensions rise around the topic of the CFT contract negotiations. The questions I ask below I ask out of respect and sincerity – I ask because I truly wish to learn.
Mr. MacAdam: You said you were committed to fiscal responsibility, especially given your background and experience with Busey Bank. One of your goals was to develop strategies so the school district can be financially sound. You also spoke about being transparent and speaking in public. What strategies have you developed in the past 6 months? How do you intend to communicate those strategies out to the community? How have your plans and efforts contributed to teachers feeling appreciated and valued?
Ms. Bonnett: Your campaign spoke significantly of engaging the community, earning trust, being transparent and having quality communications, among other things. I thank you that you have retained your facebook page as an effort to remind us of your goals and also to have an extra open door of communication. As the Board President, you are the voice of the Board. How have you striven to build, earn and keep trust and engender accountability with the community and among your colleagues on the board? How have you encouraged communication and aided community members in gathering and checking facts?
Ms. Stuckey: You have a goal specifically tailor for the CFT negotiations – one of your goals was to attempt to support budget talks with the CFT early in the process and to ease cooperation between the Board and the CFT. How did that go? You also spoke frequently of working to make sure that any budget cuts would have the least negative impact to children (or impacting the least number of children). You also spoke of motivating community members to get involved and (along with the other board members) board transparency. What work have you done to make sure children are impacted as little as possible? How much success has your efforts to increase community participation met with?
I have been told that the laws surrounding CFT contract negotiations severely limit how much you as board members can actually say about said negotiations. I encourage you to publicly identify those laws and help the community understand exactly what those limits are, not in a defensive manner, but rather as a way for you to say as much as you possible can. I would also ask that you extend a greater effort in garnering community support by whatever means necessary. My observation is that parents are aligning themselves with teachers and the CFT against the Board, which pains me as someone who was tried to become a board member in the past.
Yes, the budget is tight. Yes, it makes wise financial sense to protect the rainy day fund that Gene Logas built up. Yes, the State is totally screwing us over, and the looming threat of pension funding isn’t helping. I realize this makes for one giant mess. But it is not an impossible mess; difficult, but not impossible. I implore each of you on the board, please try harder to build trust with the community, explore new ways and levels of transparency, and persist in being communicative. I do not ask this as a way of mischievously hinting that you are not doing these things – I acknowledge you have made some progress. I ask that you ramp it up. The people need to know and feel that.
Board Policy 105 THE PEOPLE AND THEIR SCHOOL DISTRICT
The public schools belong to the people. The people govern the schools under rights guaranteed to them by the Constitution and statutes of the state of Illinois. The people exercise their proprietorship through the elective process. They elect state and federal representatives, who establish through the Illinois General Assembly and the United States Congress the framework of law within which the schools operate. The people elect a board of education to represent them and to determine local educational plans and policies and to establish publicly endorsed educational goals and objectives. The board of education functions as an agent of the public within this framework.
The people are the ultimate governors of public education, and the Board of Education is directly accountable to the people. Accountability is a shared responsibility involving students, staff, the Superintendent of Schools, and the general public.
Again, I thank you for the many tireless hours you each put into serving our district.
with humble respect,