This evening an individual forwarded a couple email threads that involved the Unit 4 Board and various other members of the community and school district whom you might recognize. I feel that these email threads add to the ongoing broader discussion of how our local school district will plan, prepare and implement capital improvements in light of several facts including 1) our high schools are already over capacity, 2) it is projected that by 2022 we will be 120% over current capacity.
I have removed all email address, home/business addresses and phone numbers. I elected to keep names because I feel it is important to attach the thoughts shared by a person with a real identity. However, I do wish to point out that it is not my intent to go on any kind of witch hunt or cast judgement on individuals; rather, my perspective is that these are, more or less, a documentary of how people think and a small slice of persuasive factors that influence big decisions. This is the kind of community-wide discussion we should all be privy to, so that we can all participate (in my opinion). This is necessary for us, as a voting, tax-paying public, to take ownership of how our tax dollars are spent. It is also my understanding that emails sent to and from the board of education are automatically part of the public record and thus subject to the laws of FOIA.
(Note there are some personal jabs of one kind or another buried within – again, I was tempted to remove those, but I want to keep the emails intact as much as possible).
I wish to also state that I hear a lot of folks demonizing other individuals or other groups. I will state publicly that the people/groups I personally know and speak with are trying their best to do their job. This includes members of the Unit 4 Administration, the Unit 4 Board and the staff at the News-Gazette. I am quite certain I could not do their job any better. However, that does not mean I agree with all their decisions, either. My opinion is that it is perfectly healthy and natural for any group of people to have disagreements and different ways of looking at things. This is the essense of life-long learning; which is why this topic is totally appropriate for a blog focused on local, public education. 🙂
UPDATE: I should also mention that News-Gazette’s Julie Wurth has been writing a lot about Unit 4, and the Central site selection in particular. On Saturday she published an article that mentions some of the players related to this email thread, including a follow-up article from Dr. Wiegand to the Park District Board: