The U4 Board of Education now has a blog: the Board Corner #u4boe #u4boeboardcorner

I recommend you carefully read the “About this site” on the left-hand side. And then ready Kathy’s first post. 🙂

Kudos for the hook into the IASB’s document on community engagement as well; another good read for the rest of us.


9 Responses to “The U4 Board of Education now has a blog: the Board Corner #u4boe #u4boeboardcorner”

  1. charlesdschultz Says:

    What I really dig about this initial foray into the Board’s social domain is the alignment with IASB (Illinois Association of School Boards). Why do I rave about that? Because the IASB has done a goodly amount of research, and the whitepapers they have published seem rock solid to me. Things like “members of the public not as customers of the district, but as owners” is at the root of democracy (I believe). The Board’s own, albeit old, policies state, very explicitly:

    “The public schools belong to the people. The people govern the schools under rights guaranteed to them by the Constitution and statutes of the state of Illinois. The people exercise their proprietorship through the elective process”


    But for too long we have been out of practice. It is not the “surfacey” fad of having a blog or being able to tweet; rather, my joy comes from the fact that the elected board is publicly acknowledging and taking steps to apply these words of wisdom. In effect, a tool has been given to the community to take advantage of and use. Granted, one tool. But it’s a start. And keep in mind that the board has had many tools for quite a while; email, contact information listed publicly, open board comments, etc. This tells me that more tools are on the way, because the board is taking this shit seriously.

    In some ways, I wish the community could be educated alongside board members as they learn more about the Foundational Principles of Effective Governance – I have a feeling we would learn a lot about the foundational principles of effective democracy as well.

    Good stuff. I hope more of you get involved (even if merely lurking satisfies you *grin*).

  2. Unit 4 Parent Says:

    Just in today’s News-Gazette we see the Unit 4 board is moving forward on purchasing the McKinley Y. You may think its a good location, but didn’t they pledge to have an open discussion? This looks like the decision is made.

    To make it worse, the owner openly supported Keep Central Central and helped 5 board members get elected and the movement was birthed at Meyer Capel who apparently got a sweetheart no-bid deal to do the legal work for the district.

    Its greatt they have a blog in all, but this is the same insider backroom deals as usual if not more flagrant than before.

    So how about this in your next blog. How much will the borrowing be to build there? Has he city committed to coming off the necessary streets and letting the school have it? Has even the most rusimentary planning been done? Or do you expect us to just vote yes and trust your backroom plan while providing no details?

    Maybe the money would be better spent on teachers instead of buildings that won’t educate a single child.

    • charlesdschultz Says:

      Here is the article in question:

      I would recommend you talk directly to the board members. From my point of view, after talking to several board members, attending a recent board meeting, participating in the Board Corner blog and watching Board meeting videos, the decision is not made at all.

      From the article:
      “While we move into these facility conversations we don’t want an available potential property close to our high school to become unavailable,” Kloeppel said. “If we don’t at least explore now, the opportunity to explore could be gone, so we’re looking into it.”

      Has not the board missed several similar opportunites in the past?

      The questions you ask are probably better for Tom Kacich – I look forward to seeing your questions in his weekly mailbag. I did find it very odd how involved Meyer Capel is and I am even more suspicious, however to suggest that KCC helped 5 board members get elected is pushing it a bit far – it is obvious that supporters of KCC carried the last ballot, but not all candidates were in favor of KCC’s prime choice.

      I am going to use your last sentence as a segue into another Nicole Lafond article:

      I recently spoke with a Kenwood staff person who does not share the optimism expressed in this article. In fact, this particular staff person’s sentiment is very similar to your own: the money could have been better spent. I am indeed very concerned about the allure of “shiny new things” and the lack of any measurable correlation between what is being built to student outcomes. As we have “candid conversations”, I think it is vital that we consider exactly what we intend the money to accomplish. Everyone says “it’s for the kids”, but now I want people to prove it when they utter those words.

  3. Unit 4 Parent Says:

    We threw out 5 of the last school board members for buying Interstate without a referendum and community input. At least they had meetings albeit designed for a preordained conclusion and they were honest about why they were buying it. Now we have a school board buying property for a new high school without meetings and are lying to us about why they are buying it. We are taking many steps back here.

    Add into this how involved Jeske was in KCC and helping the current board get elected its clear he wants the taxpayers to monetize a property literally no one wants. I bet the deal is to pay full price for a building that’s worthless and then we spend another mil just to tear it down and leave it as a gravel parking lot. Genius.

    Is there a plan here? Nope. Just buy property (from political supporters) for the sake of buying land. The irony? In the very same meeting they were talking about how the district stands to lose about $12 mil a year in state funds. Now is not the time to spend money “just because”.

    • charlesdschultz Says:

      I would love to debate with you, but you are not offering any facts to work with here.

      Voted/threw out last 5 board members – nope, incorrect, wrong, try again.
      School board lying to us – where is your evidence? Proof?
      Who the heck is Jeske and how is he even relevant?

      I understand that perhaps you are frustrated and looking for a platform to vent your feelings. I get that; you are not alone in that regard. The whole thing about a plan (or lack thereof) bothers me as well; Unit 4 will say they have a plan (and they do have several), but what I am looking for is how we intend to address educational issues (discipline, disparity, equity, achievement gaps, etc), not capacity issues.

      In the end, it is impossible to make everyone happy. We have to be willing to accept that, as well as not let that become an insurmountable obstacle. We have to look for ways we can collaborate (as a community) towards the goals we do agree on.

      So give me your solution. What measurable goal can all of us work towards? I’ll give you a couple of mine as an example:
      – completely eliminate subjective suspensions and expulsions
      – have a teacher evaluation system that rewards teachers based on holistic student achievement, not standardized tests
      – increase after-school opportunities for low-income and at-risk children

      • Rebecca Patterson Says:

        Jeske is the owner of the property. I was also wondering how Meyer Capel became involved considering the BOE has a lawyer. Maybe they have a contract with them for property deals? Prior boards failed to land bank for future needs and this piece of property has gone way down in value since Jeske bought it in 2011.

        They could put classes over there without closing streets which would greatly expand the high school. That could give them time to know what is going on with the state budget, pensions, etc., and pay off more of the existing debt. Meanwhile community support will build for a plan we can afford to deal with not just new buildings but maintaining them.

        But the story says they are just getting information. He seems ready to sell and if the price is low it might be wise to buy. Given time if they decide not to use it someone will eventually take it off their hands at a profit. It would end up with apartments or converted into condos.

      • charlesdschultz Says:

        Rebecca, I also get the impression that Jeske speaks more for himself than for the board. *grin* The board has not officially said anything, either for or against, about buying the property. Period. The board has said they want to find more information. Period. They will talk more about the property at tonight’s board meeting (Monday, September 28th, at Central). True, Ms. Bonnett did share an opinion, but that was her opinion as an individual which she has a right to share – she does not speak for the board.

    • charlesdschultz Says:

      @unit 4 Parent:

      Again, I ask for proof. Which property has the school board purchased for a new high school? What are they lying about?


      The board will discuss the old YMCA property at the next board meeting (September 28th).

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