Email from John Bambenek, Sept 30 2014, Chamber 1

[addressed to many commuity leaders and chamber members]

(Note: As this is a political communication, I am responding with my
political e-mail address. In addition, I speak for myself and only myself.)

Neil-

I’m in receipt of your email and attached portfolio.  I also notice you
copied many other people and the News-Gazette, so I presume you intend
to have this conversation publicly.  As such, I’ve also included David
Sholem’s list from this morning and a few others who I believe would be
interested in the content of this message.

I will be calling Julie Wurth around 10 am tomorrow to discuss your
e-mail.  If there is any corrections to the accuracy of your portfolio
specifically the extent in which your were really involved in the
projects you site in the attachment, I would recommend you get them out
by then.

As to the rest of your message, as I stated at the Chamber this morning,
your analysis was not an apples to apples comparison and thus useless
for a comparative analysis.  The idea that we can build the same
building and programming at the Judah site which would require buying
that building, condemning properties, remediating the land, trading
property to the Park District to trade for Spalding and then demolishing
Spalding and clearing that land and THEN building the actual school
compared to doing just building a school on an empty field is, at best,
preposterous druid logic.

I trust our architect’s analysis because they have been up front with
their assumptions, responsive to questions and thorough and reasonable
in their analysis.  In your case, we’ve gotten like 5 different versions
of whether or not you are being paid by someone for your work on this
and if so, whom is actually paying you.

The point is, this district spent years in a thorough and rational
planning approach.  Between Great Schools Together, Dejong Richter and
the Facilities Commitee, the problem was defined, requirements were
established and a solution was designed.  18 sites (including
Judah/Spalding) were thoroughly analyzed based on objective criteria.
Interstate drive came out on top, by no means perfect, but the best of
available options without dedicating tens of millions of EXTRA funds
just for property acquisition and demolition.

To date, the only “comparisons” presented that we haven’t done our job
is comparing to solutions that simply are not in line with the
requirements set by no less than 3 large-scale community efforts taking
place in broad daylight and open to the public.

In closing, I should point out, all this was done BEFORE I was even on
the board.  There are thousands of pages to look through, almost all of
which are online.  I am more than satisfied with the thoroughness of
research and time spent on solving a problem that has been ignored by
past boards for decades which caused this problem in the first place.

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4 Responses to “Email from John Bambenek, Sept 30 2014, Chamber 1”

  1. Rebecca Patterson Says:

    The lack of imagination astounds me. And to be involved with education no less. His reasons he gives for trust are interesting considering how the BOE treats the public. Just the fact that they bought the Interstate Dr. property before the process was completed and pretended to consider other options while they were surveying the public on how much to raise taxes shows just how underhanded some of their actions have been.
    One of the polls we paid for was to ask at what dollar point people would vote yes. They have also steered this where we need Central replaced and Centennial has to be equal. It’s only fair, right? Why wasn’t the choice Central and Dr Howard? If it was based on need wouldn’t that make more sense? Has “need” ever been a driving force in any of this or want? They could have chosen to have Centennial wait to be remodeled.
    But it’s hard to know the best course of action without all the information, and when poll questions are designed to elicit the answers you want.
    Sorry for the long post. Uni 8th grade girls beat an undefeated team last night. Official said she had never seen two teams be so aggressive. They played in a hot, non-air conditioned gym with floor tiles loose around the edges. Bleachers seat less than 100.

  2. Karen Says:

    ‘…Dejong Richter…’
    ‘In closing, I should point out, all this was done BEFORE I was even on
    the board. There are thousands of pages to look through, almost all of
    which are online. I am more than satisfied with the thoroughness of
    research and time spent on solving a problem that has been ignored by
    past boards for decades which caused this problem in the first place.’
    Troubling, IMO, if this board member were satisfied with the Dejong Richter stuff. It has gone according to plan, though (the Dejong stuff being coflated to what the public wants despite the obvious Delphi approach to their ‘research.’)

  3. Karen Says:

    ‘at best,preposterous druid logic.’ Not so fast with that comment, maybe. What is the logic of the proposed Central site? Why is it being pushed so hard? What is behind the push? Who is behind the push? What’s the grand vision or master plan when the rest of the school district remains anchored more centrally? There is going to be no shifting of the center of the city that way. There is only so much room for expansion out that way until you are out of Champaign county. For what segment of the population will this work out to be more convenient and less costly (on a daily basis)? Not the majority it would seem. Given that this can’t just be ‘preposterours’ planning, I am fed up with no real cut-to-the-chase answers about why the city limits site is being pushed so hard in a henny-penny manner, when there are so many glaring problems associated with it as well as with the we-won’t-settle-for-less (because somewhere else, in a different place, and with a different district admin and board has it better) building price tag. Take it all back to the drawing board (Dr. Howard? confident in the years of thorough planning and research for that one?) and do better (the students deserve it, or so the meme goes).


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