April 23rd Board Meeting

I am unable to make it tonight, so I am hoping that some of you were able to attend. I even had some statements I wanted to say in public comment….

 

Anyway, I am particularly interested to find out how the Board responds to the Resolution to Abandon the WCB (ie, will Jamar motion, will anyone second?). I am also interested in hearing feedback about the high school options. I am quite concerned that the board has made decisions to take things off the table (one high school, Garwood site, Boulder Ridge site, etc) and yet it appears (my perception is) that the board did this without much community input. I could be quite wrong. I am very much anxious to hear how the board intends to collect feedback outside Ms. Nelson’s website (which is good, by the way – she is doing some great research).

High School Options Research

UofI Masters student Holly Nelson continues to make headway in her research of the various sites identified as possible locations for a new high school. She has a wordpress site up that is waiting for your perusal and comments:

http://centralrelocationstudy.wordpress.com/

 

In addition, she has also provided a nice 46-page document about the Social Impact which she will present at the April 23 Special Board Meeting (I have yet to read it, but have added it to my short-list).

SocialImpact_4.16.12

Feb 27th Special Board Meeting

After hearing about Meg Dickinson’s article highlighting the working cash bonds and taking a peek at the Agenda, I decided to drop by and see what was going on. In truth, I was very interested to hear about the Great Schools, Together (GST) report and the research on the high school options, both of which have received very little coverage. Both topics consumed roughly 2.5 hours, a long, drawn-out “conversation”. I kept thinking to myself “there has got to be a better way to do this”.

I am going through the notes I took, and I have to apologize that they are not fully organized. But I’ll relate to the best of my ability.

Before the meeting kicked off, Read the rest of this entry »

Big Agenda for tonight's Board Meeting

Apparently, my RSS feeds are seriously lagging – I am just now learning about a number of very interesting things going on at the Board meeting tonight.

From BoardDocs:

7. Reports: New Business
B. High School Options: Judy Wiegand
C. Summer Youth Employment: Orlando Thomas
D. District Technology Plan: Roger Grinnip
8. Action Agenda: Unfinished Business
A. Approval of Resolution: Notice To Issue Working Cash Bonds: Gene Logas
B. Approval of Resolution Expressing Intent To Reimburse Certain Capital Expenditures Form Future Bond Proceeds: Gene Logas

The PDF for the Great Schools Together (GST) is … not as exciting as I was hoping for. The High School Option PDF gives an analysis of what it would be like having one high school, but I did not see where the report is credited to any one person or group.

I am a little concerned about the working cash bonds; $15.5 million is a bit of money, and over the past month since Meg reported on this, I have not seen or heard of any kind of discussion happening about these things. I get the feeling that the District assumes silence implies consent, which is probably the furthest thing from the truth. 🙂

 

The Gene Logas documents spell out the legal requirements, and since I don’t speak Legalese, they don’t mean much to me. The one spreadsheet does give a broad breakdown of that $15.5 million. I see that the wireless ($2.3 mil) and the one-laptop-per-child ($3.4 mil) tie into Grinnip’s technology plan, but I was under the impression those monies came from other sources (the name of the Federal Grant escapes me now). That’s just one-third of the total pie, but a big third it is.

 

References:

BoardDocs: http://www.boarddocs.com/il/champil/Board.nsf/public

Meg Dickinson’s article from today: http://www.news-gazette.com/blogs/schoolhouse-blog/2012-02/champaign-school-board-vote-working-cash-bond-issue-discuss-merits-on

Meg’s Jan 23rd article: http://www.news-gazette.com/news/education/2012-01-23/champaign-school-board-consider-high-school-possibiities-issuing-cash-bond

Previous blog entry: https://thecitizen4blog.wordpress.com/2012/01/25/concerns-about-where-the-administration-is-going/

 

My head is starting to spin. You all have 30 days to gather some 9,000+ signatures if you want to petition the cash bonds.

(re)starting a conversation

From Lynn Peisker:

Here’s something we would like to hear from younger parents about – those who have up and coming pre-school and elementary students who will someday be attending our high schools in whatever form that takes in the future.

Do you prefer a traditional grade configuration of 6-8 for middle school and 9-12 for high school?  Or would you be interested in a grade configuration with middle school for 6-7, a prep academy for 8-9, and one high school for 10-13?

I would go further and say “Let us know what you think no matter what ideas you have”. For instance, what about K-8 schools? Neighborhood schools?

I think this is a great start. It is a very important topic to discuss, and a great way to open the doors to let the community voice their opinions. If nothing else, it will be like buying someone a drink with the intents of getting them to talk a little more. 🙂 I hope. In a good way, of course.

Lynn put a poll on the Unit 4 FB page, and I see Jamar Brown has propagated the question as well.

Concerns about where the Administration is going

In light of the new Assistant Superintendent position and the announcement of other positions, and in light of the $15.5 million cash bond issues, I have some grave concerns. Most unfortunately, I have not been able to pull my thoughts together, yet, so right up front I am going to tell you that this is a “get my thoughts on paper” kinda post.

I almost called this post something like “To the readers: what are your thoughts?”. But I figured I needed to seed the conversation first.

“I will start by starting.” (Paulo Freire) Read the rest of this entry »

Jan 23rd Special Board Meeting

I decided to drop by the Special Board meeting tonight because I heard from Holly Nelson that Wiegand was going to talk about the high school options. For that, I was glad I went. They spent almost an hour on this topic; it is rather unfortunate that more community members were not present; I saw 2 reps from CTF, the NG, about 3 Mellon employees, Centennial Principal, Central Principal, Holly and myself. Lynn Stuckey and Will Kyles showed up a little later. In a way, it is really sad that these Board Meetings have got to the point where they drive people away instead of attract people. I feel like a reporter giving readers a mouse-on-the-floor view.

I am really glad that the high school options discussion was first on the agenda. During the “Public Comment” section Read the rest of this entry »