“Waiting for details about renovations”

re: http://www.news-gazette.com/opinion/letters-editor/2014-08-22/waiting-details-about-renovations.html


I would really like to know just exactly what renovations are needed for Centennial High School that requires $52 million. What are the taxpayers buying? A million pencils at $52 each?


Here’s what I don’t get; we have been “talking for decades” about building a new high school, and here we are about 1.5 months out from a vote and we don’t know what we are voting on? We have heard tons of buzzwords like “21st Century Education” and “collaboration spaces”, but who knows what that really is or what it looks like?


It is not my intent to disparage board members. I realize this problem of deferred maintenance has built up over four decades at least – I get that. What this tells me, though, is that our “talking” for decades has not been very well directed, not well moderated or organized. It has just been talk. “Words are wind.” Another point I wish to make is that when I talk to individual board members, staff (and a student next week), there have been lots of details, lots of documentation, lots of numbers and charts shared internally, but that “education”, if you will, has not made it outside the four walls of the Mellon Center. I very much believe that members of the Facility Committee, the Finance team and many other groups have a solid understanding of exactly what work is being planned. The rest of us do not, and yet we are asked to vote on $150 million.


5 Responses to ““Waiting for details about renovations””

  1. charlesdschultz Says:

    It is not just Centennial – I have been asking about the entire list of deferred maintenance and a prioritization of that list. This list first started in 2002, totalling $200 million at the time:

    Even then, even though the public was “informed” via a board meeting that such a list existed, the details were never shared. Unit 4 has slowly chipped away at that list via the 1% sales tax and the working cash bonds, but still, we never see a list. I have asked on several occasions for a infographic like a fund-raising chart, depicting what we have accomplished and what else is left.

    • Rebecca Patterson Says:

      We had “collaborative spaces” and this group stuff back in the 70’s. Everything is new again, right? Some of the stuff they have about the new Central has these groups, and they only work for some kids. We had trailers at Jefferson too.

      I don’t know why we are in such a rush to do everything that we can’t think about doing things in a thoughtful way. It took many years to get here and they want to fix at once. That has long-term consequences of when maintenance comes due also. Going through the report the other day I noticed quite a few roofs needing to be redone and that’s a major regular expense. Have they planned how to pay for it in the future? Created an account to set aside funds for it? Let the future board take care of it? We’ll get all this debt paid off and have to start all over because of the rush to do this will result in modern buildings that don’t last as long. And Central will still be standing.

  2. charlesdschultz Says:

    I had asked a few questions of Matt Foster last week, and he suggested that I submit a FOIA for the details on deferred maintenance and the $150 million, so I filed one on Sunday. More details to come as they arrive.

    • Rebecca Patterson Says:

      So much for openness. Just makes you wonder what gets left out, doesn’t it? It should just be online and easy to find!

  3. “We make the road by walking”, part deux | Citizen4: A citizen's blog about Champaign Unit 4 Says:

    […] outcomes”, really this just repackages older ideas that have older names (and so says Rebecca Patterson, who lived through something similar). For all I know, Freire and Horton recycled ideas that […]

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