NG Poll: “Are you okay with Central’s new site?”


Interesting little poll – if only people could leave reasons as to why they voted the way they did.

Update: NG now has a follow-up “What’s next” article (written by Jeff D’Alessio):


Update 2: NG article “Early reaction to siting of new Champaign high school


13 Responses to “NG Poll: “Are you okay with Central’s new site?””

  1. charlesdschultz Says:

    Update: NG now has a follow-up “What’s next” article (written by Jeff D’Alessio):

  2. charlesdschultz Says:

    Just checking in mid-day; the ration is still the same, many more voters. Aside from wondering about reasons, I also wonder how many of those votes are unique people.

  3. Rebecca Says:

    I’ll speak for myself. I voted no. The question was “are you okay with Central’s new site.” No, I’m extremely disappointed that we ended up on the periphery and that it cost so much money. Given that (A) we told them to buy land 10 years ago when there were other options; (B) land was considerably cheaper then; and (C) we presented idea after idea to keep Central central, none of which seemed to get serious consideration.

    So no, I’m not “okay” with the new site. But that is an entirely different question from “will you vote for a referendum to allocate money to build a new high school on this site.” If Unit 4 doesn’t screw it up (although sadly they have been known to do so in past referendums), I think lots of us will be willing to put aside our grave disappointment with the land choice (now a done deal, no matter how any of us feel about it) and vote in favor of the kids.

    On another note, I would like to know what the final poll results were. The poll seems to have been taken down–or at least I can’t find it now.

    • charlesdschultz Says:


      I have asked Jim Dey and Tom Kacich for the poll results, and am still waiting to hear back.

      You make a very good distinction between being “okay” (or not, as the case may be) with the site versus “would you vote in favor of the referendum.” In fact, I have talked to a number of parents who feel the same way you do. To balance that out, I have talked to a lot more parents (and community members who are not currently Unit 4 parents) who feel quite differently. 🙂

      The “for the kids” mantra is a tricky one to deal with. Of course, every single one of us wants to do right by our children – I challenge you to find any sane person who will publicly state that they do NOT want what is best for the kids. For me, that is an emotional pitch that is not even an argument. Where we (in general, the public) differ is in how exactly do we implement our concern and passion for the kids? And I’ll even open a can of worms and mention that we might not even know what is best for the kids. Take a hypothetical dad who “loves” his children so much that he does everything for them – and I mean EVERYTHING; he gets them into the best programs, buys all the best clothes, gets all the coolest gadgets, etc. He thinks he is doing this “for the kids.” Is he? I realize this is a little controversial because some people really do this in real life, and it is hard to explain the pros and cons.

      I am wondering, what if we change the mantra a little and say “for all kids and the community”. What if we take “No Child Left Behind” to the next level and actually do whatever it takes to make sure all our children are succeeding? What if we loop this concern to include the community as well – you cannot isolate children from their environment and pretend that maximizing their opportunities for a mere 6 hours, 5 days a week is enough.

      I hope we can continue this discussion. I invite you (and other readers) to point out my own fallacies and weak arguments.

    • charlesdschultz Says:

      According to the NG article today:
      “We asked online readers: Are you OK with Central’s new site? With well over 1,000 votes, about three out of every five who voted said “no.””

  4. Karen Says:

    It’s not really a done deal until they find a way to pay for it. If I bought land and did not have the means to build a house on it I can either sit with the land (if I can afford the taxes) or I can sell it. One board member quipped the tired old rhetoric ‘now we need to come together as a community’ to make it happen’ (errr…pay for it). Oh, yes. NOW all the talk of ‘community.’ When you want money. Prior to that it was ‘talk-to-the-hand.’ Well, many tax payers are going to ‘talk-to-the-hand’ back at you when this goes to a vote. Because Unit 4 bought land does not mean they can force the tax-paying community to pay for the costs (initial/infrastructure, ongoing and otherwise) of their decision. The tax-paying community can, however, force a Plan B out of them. ‘for the kids.’ Anybody who votes against it will be villified as kid-hating 🙂 (‘how could people be against a new high school for the children of this community?,’ right?), but, I think many tax-payers are fed up (and broke) and will easily withstand such false argument shame tactics.

    • charlesdschultz Says:

      Karen, on the one hand, I agree, it is going to be nasty business if those who vote against the referendum are labeled as kid-haters. There is a whole lot of mud slinging and finger pointing that could ensue, and we need to rise above the childish antics.

      There is going to be a sizable segment of our community that will vote in favor of the referendum because they so strongly support the schools. This is not necessarily a bad thing (in fact, such strong support of the schools is much needed! *grin*). There is another segment that, akin to what you are saying, is simply fed up with all the stupid crap going on in our state and want to put an end to it. From where I sit, it is my opinion that the Board missed a prime opportunity to bring both sides on the same page; instead, they will strengthen their bond with the former group while distancing themselves from the latter. I don’t like the division – I think it hurts all of us.

    • Rebecca Says:

      In all honesty, I’m burned out and cynical on how Unit 4 historically handles these things. People care deeply about this issue and many–like me–attended a lot of meetings, sat on a bunch of committees, wrote a ton of emails with our concerns and suggestions for a new high school–many of which included keeping a central Central. Ten plus years we’ve been talking about this, with more money spent on high-priced consultants who find the same fringe sites over and over again (that any realtor in town could have found). No out-of-the box thinking ever seemed to get serious consideration at the Mellon Building and believe me a lot was suggested. But opportunities were lost in the waiting and dickering around, and other ideas didn’t seem to get due consideration–at least not in an open forum where the community could follow the discussion/reasoning. So as much as I’d like to say a “plan B” can be forced at this late juncture (and I hope you you are right), the cynical part of me says they will simply follow the traditional Unit 4 playbook: the BOE will ask for the sun and the moon in the first referendum (likely November 2014), and it will go down in flames. Then in an off election (read lower voter turnout), they will put out a more modest proposal, and it will pass (they may have to repeat the cycle a couple of times until it passes).

      This is what Unit 4 is probably counting on–its a war of attrition. My kids aged out of the system waiting for a new high school (and waiting and waiting). So I can’t vote for my own kids, but I still believe a strong, viable public school system is good for everyone–with kids or without–that lives in this community. So this leaves me between a rock and a hard place. I hate the site they are buying, but at this point I honestly don’t see how to win when Unit 4 has laid siege to the castle and just has to wait us out. And as cynical and burned out as I am on Unit 4’s handling of this issue, I know ten more years of running around in circles gets us nowhere and yes, the kids in the district deserve better.

      • charlesdschultz Says:

        Rebecca, my first (and only reaction so far) to what you have said is “amen!”.

        I will be following up with more. You raise some good points, and it is obvious that there is a lot of burnout and fatigue all around (ie, the many board comments of “let’s move on already”).

  5. charlesdschultz Says:

    The NG posted this article about the “Early reaction to siting of new Champaign high school”:

    Very unscientific, very subjective, very “your mileage may vary” and “take with a grain of salt”. 🙂 But it is what it is.

  6. Karen Says:

    I guess there will always be more tax-paying people to move into the area to replace those who can’t afford a sizeable tax increase and end up leaving. One can be quite passionate about a particular school system, but, vote no because they just don’t have any more ‘wealth’ to share (despite what is assumed about discretionary income). Should people on fixed incomes have to forgo things like heath care, medication, etc. to be considered passionate about and/or supportive of local schools? There comes a point at which people simply can’t afford the more more more. The money supply of others is not endless, despite what some people seem to assume. People who are so passionate about the site, etc. are welcome to pay above and beyond their ‘fair’ share, I know it will be argued that some people can’t pay anything extra because they have a hard time figuring out how to put dinner on the table. But, that same argument could be made WRT the often erroneous assumptions about the discretionary spending ‘available’ to property/home owners. A lot of doing without often goes on in order TO become (and continue to be) a property/house owner. But, that sort of behavior is not rewarded any more, it seems. By design, why bother if what’s yours is considered an asset to be liquidated for the benefit of others (unearned privilege and all that, right?). I am so so tired of things, generally, in this country these days being a good idea as long as it doesn’t hit one’s own wallet in a major way. More more more money on early education, right ? How about parents/ start bare bones basics interacting with their kids more. Real life TALK IS CHEAP and does a ton of good WRT early education. Model and expand. At the toddler level.

    • Cjwincu Says:

      The cost to taxpayers will be about $200 more a year on a $100k house, $300 on a $150k house and $400 on a $200k house. That’s somewhere between $16.6 – $33.2 per month for an expansive brand new modern high school 3 miles from Central.
      For those taxpayers who feel that’s too much to pay , well I’m sorry, you are not appreciative of the opportunity for the community and while you may vote no the referendum will pass . I believe the majority of the community is excited about a new high school that reflects the modern technological times we live in and will vote yes. $17/$33 bucks a month is worth it !

      • pattsi Says:

        Craig, as an economist, I am surprised that you are not putting into this calculations all of the externality costs that will be generated by a site on the fringe of the community. Further, there is little correlation and causation between quality of education and a new building. /there is a correlation and causation between paying teachers well, longevity of service, sufficient time to work with all levels of students, etc.

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