More fact questing/checking

Sent the following questions to Matt Foster – poor guy. 🙂


  1. Current average number of students bussed daily?
  2. Current average number of buses in operation daily?
  3. In the budget presentation given by Mr. Foster, I see each fund has an estimated value from July 1, 2013 with a footnote. Why an estimate since it was September when the presentation was made, and what does the footnote say?
  4. The Highlight page says expenditures for Transportation was down. However page 23 shows $4.1 million on all expenditures, and the actual expenditure from 2012 was $4.0 million. How is that going down? Also, page 24 shows $4.8 million – where is that coming from?
  5. When “local sources” is listed in each fund, what exactly are those local sources? I assume property taxes, but perhaps there are other sources? The Sales Tax feeds only into the O&M fund? It would help to have a slide on the overall picture, ie, how much money comes in altogether and which fund it goes to and where it comes from, maybe in both a table format and a pie graph as you have for the individual funds.
  6. Curious why the Tort fund has $1.1 million surplus; we don’t see any of the historical information for this fund like we do the others.
  7. More interested in the Ed Fund, since that is by far the largest expense. Would love to see a more granular breakdown of where money goes. Slide 12 shows “Instructional” expenditures which totals very close to $60 million and are separate from Administrative “support” and staff, but slide 13 shows a little over $60 million for all salaries. How much is teacher vs admin vs staff vs subs?
  8. I have an idea, but would like to hear in your own words; what is the purpose of sharing the proposed budget via this presentation?
  9.  When I was told that Unit 4 did not intend to include any more details on teacher salaries augmented with step/lane information that I had requested earlier, I am curious why. Is there a law that prohibits sharing that information?
Pattsi reminded me about “participatory budgeting.” I think it is a fascinating idea, but I have a hard suggesting to Unit 4 how they should do it. One board member I talked to is intrigued by the concept but thinks it is extremely impractical. Especially now when they are all going crazy with long meetings and phone calls. 🙂 I want to keep this idea open, and to do so I really need concreate, actionable ideas.
In the meantime, I am participating by asking my questions and blogging about it.

10 Responses to “More fact questing/checking”

  1. pattsi Says:

    Sorry, I do not understand the lack of understand about participatory budgeting. I laid this out loud and clear in previous postings. Something that any elected body can put in place before the budget cycle begins full force. Lay out the proposed budget. Select items not mandated, such as how much salary increase to offer the teachers along with showing how this will affect the budget. Then ask what are the taxpayers will to put off, cut back on, etc. to help give teachers raises or not. Same with all the building construction that has happened and is planned. In addition, the siting of the HS–what ought this building be like and how willing will the public be to support a referendum. All of these and many more could be put out for public comment, votes, input at the beginning of the budget process. Not now when the budget was summarily approved with very little public input. Even if the public does not get what or most of the wants/needs, at least there has been a public discussion and with that comes more understanding of the financials.

  2. charlesdschultz Says:

    Right. Just to clarify, how do we sell that to the BOE? We can say it is a really cool idea, or we can say it would really help engage democratically, but ultimately, if the BOE doesn’t like it, they won’t do squat. How do we get them to like it?

  3. pattsi Says:

    Would not 8 hours of exhausting CFT negotiations be a starting argument. If this information is public and the public engaged, then it would take less work, energy, and often times less amounts of misinformation floating in the ether. Plus you are part of the public who elected the BOE, act accordingly. The BOE answers to the electorate, not the administration., as is the case with any elected body or ought to be.

  4. charlesdschultz Says:

    There is what is supposed to happen and then there is what does happen. If I could make a horse drink water, I would.

  5. pattsi Says:

    Hum-m-m, there are two recent community models where a critical mass of citizens has caused paradigm shifts. You can not just sit around writing a blog, you have to get your ideas into the big public realm with trumpets blaring and grow the working contingent of citizens. It takes lots of work to create change. Without these efforts homeostatis is the word for the day.

  6. charlesdschultz Says:

    Mr. Foster has started to supply some answers.

    For busing:

    We have 45 (71 passengers)
    13 (30 passengers)
    4 wheelchair buses up to 20 passengers
    Each bus does 2 runs per day
    7330 average daily for routes.

    Wow! That is right around 3/4 of the total student population. Actually, 3/8th, since he counted the run to school separate from school. Also, this assumes each bus is 100% full, so I would call this the upper bound on the number of students being bussed daily.

    In regards to the footnotes in his presentation, he said he thinks they refer to how the data was collected prior to the official audit, which will not be completed for a couple more months.

  7. pattsi Says:

    Basically then about half the students are bused. Is this not a flag that might push toward restructuring school boundaries and siting of schools? This is not NYC. I hope there is more analysis coming along.

  8. craig walker Says:

    It is a result of how segregated Champaign is based on race and socioeconomic status.

  9. pattsi Says:

    Craig, I concur that this is a very important variable. But I do not see/hear a critical mass of citizens going before the Planning Commission, ZBA, and city council screaming for income integrated housing being built throughout this community. You and I have both lived here long enough to know that this has not happened.

  10. Wrapping up the CFT contract negotiations: the facts | Citizen4: A citizen's blog about Champaign Unit 4 Says:

    […] mentioned earlier, I have been on a quest to find the facts behind salaries. After waiting and waiting and not […]

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