Press Conference on Unit 4 Referendum: March 12, 8:30 am, Local Union 149 building in Savoy

[ NOTE: The below was copied from an email sent from Mr. Bambenek to me  ]

Contact: John Bambenek / / 217-493-0760


Bambenek and Union Leaders to Discuss Educational Programming Changes to Help Children be More Competitive in Today’s Job Market

Champaign, Il – Champaign Unit 4 school board member John Bambenek will hold a press conference with trade union leaders on March 12 at 8:30am to discuss to upcoming Unit 4 referendum and what it will mean for educational programming to help high school graduates be ready for the 21st century job market.

“This referendum is not just about 4 walls and a building.  It’s about changing the direction of public education in Champaign and making sure our graduates have access to 21st century educational programs like career technology so they can graduate our schools and go on to good paying jobs that we can’t fill today.  What a yes vote on the referendum means is new educational programs that end with good paying jobs going to our children raised her in Champaign instead of having to look to other communities to fill our skills gap,” said Bambenek.

John recently met with the local Building Trades council to share thoughts on better preparing Champaign students for adult lift.  The event will be held at the Plumbers & Steamfitters Local Union 149 building at 1005 N Dunlap in Savoy in their shop training area.  The press conference will begin at 8:30 am.

Note: John Bambenek will be speaking in his political/non-governmental capacity and his views are his own and do not represent those of the Board of Education as a whole or of the Unit 4 administration.


17 Responses to “Press Conference on Unit 4 Referendum: March 12, 8:30 am, Local Union 149 building in Savoy”

  1. Rebecca Patterson Says:

    Are they going to cancel the classes they have now if we vote no? The Building Trades Council is also interested in providing jobs to their workers. Guess what a new school building does? Should we build a bunch of buildings we don’t want and can’t afford so people can have jobs? Or maybe we can step back and all work together and do this right so it works for everyone.

    • John Bambenek Says:

      No, we are simply not going to add it to the curriculum. But make no mistake, if this referendum fails nothing will be done until 2020 easy and when you gave 800-1000 student in trailers and one elementary school in dire need of replacement, eventually paring down to “bare essentials” is necessary.

  2. pattsi Says:

    I am very confused–simulators are used to train the MTD drivers, Frasca, locally, builds the trainers to learn to fly, doctors learn how to do surgery via training on computers, architects learn to design via CAD programs, so I am curious as to why so much space is needed for, say welding, when this, too, can be taught via simulators and training on computers?

  3. pattsi Says:

    This is break through brilliant –architects in Amsterdam are in the middle of the 3DCanal House. They are building a house along one of the canals by printing the parts on a 3-D printer. The long term thrust of this project is the types of jobs 3-D printing will generate as we move to build almost anything using 3-D printing–vocational jobs.

  4. rochf Says:

    Seriously? Adding Dr. Howard and asking for Dodds Park wasn’t enough to get this thing passed? Now we’re adding programming as another way to try pass the referendum? Doesn’t this rather smack of desperation?

  5. rochf Says:

    I guess it just looks rather weird sitting on the outside–Dodds Park vote is adverse and the next day there is a public press announcement with union leaders. Why union leaders? Why not just a general announcement about programming, etc.? The public looks at this and wonders if this is another attempt to gain support among a special interest group for the referendum.

    • John Bambenek Says:

      You criticize us for taking actions when we don’t have support. Now the criticism is taking action to build support?

      I’m unclear as to the controversy here.

  6. pattsi Says:

    John, you know perfectly well that the point I was making is about the argument for 8 welding booths and the need for so much space to accomplish this. I am just pointing out that there are existing alternatives to reach the same vocational goal at a much less cost and need of space. I never suggested that the simulators be put in a trailer, but in actuality that is a perfect temporary space for them and they would fit.

    • John Bambenek Says:

      I do know the point you were trying to make, as someone who does professional education simulators only take you so far.

      • pattsi Says:

        Absolutely correct. The next phase is to have in place how the students start getting “real world” experience. Staying in the classroom is not sufficient.

  7. rochf Says:

    What I’m saying is that this looks weird to us on the outside. Lose a referendum? Add Dr. Howard. to the plan. Lose Dodds Park? Now meet with the trade unions for a press conference. Perhaps it’s just purely coincidental, but since none of us are privy to the planning and strategy employed by Unit 4, we can only reach our own conclusions based on what we see and the timing of those actiojns.

    • John Bambenek Says:

      I’m not sure what you find weird… we barely lost, so yes, we took a look at why it failed and took actions to build a referendum that had more support. I can’t see why that’s controversial.

      Lose Dodds Park? Well, Joe Petry certainly helped that debacle along by not, after a year of talking about it, know about the land use restriction.

      And this isn’t “strategy employed by Unit 4″… the school district had nothing to do with it. Ergo, the disclaimer at the end of the press release.

      The strategy is quite simple, after spending yet another month talking about location to come up with, again, that there is no better site than Olympian Drive that is available to us, maybe it’s time to talk about some of the other aspects of the referendum.

      We aren’t building a building for the sake of building a building. We have real capacity needs and we have real educational objectives. I’m not sure why people are confused as to why a member of the board of education wants to talk about, you know, education.

  8. rochf Says:

    I understand the goal–I disagree with the strategy that Unit 4 has chosen to achieve that goal.

  9. pattsi Says:

    I have just read the actual wording of the referendum as it appears on the ballot. There is no mention of the allocations of the 144M in the referendum nor the sites for DH or HS. So all of the breakdown allocations being mentioned by the present board and administration may or may not finally be as stated. The same with the siting of DH and HS. A conundrum for the voters. The present board can not lock a future board into actions.

    • John Bambenek Says:

      I am not sure by law we can validly ask all of that in a ballot question. I do know that it has never been done. It also goes to my point, if someone can prove hey have a plan that can work for $144M it can be considered even after the referendum is passed.

      A vote no doesn’t keep central central. A vote no keeps central overcrowded.

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