Panelists for the Sept 30th Town Hall meeting announced

From Stephanie Stuart:

Champaign Community Unit School District #4 Board of Education and Administration will host a Town Hall Meeting to discuss the possible sites for a new Central High School on Monday, September 30 from 6:00-8:00 p.m. at the Mellon Administrative Center.

The Town Hall Meeting will feature a panel of volunteer community members who will help to foster meaningful discussion around this topic. Superintendent Dr. Judy Wiegand will give a brief introduction and overview of the work done so far in the Future Facilities process, as well as an overview of the current conditions of Central High School. Board of Education members will be present, but will not run the meeting in order to encourage organic discussion amongst the panelists.

Attendees at the Town Hall will be able to submit written questions to moderator Amanda Porterfield of WCIA 3 News. Participants will also be able to submit questions to the panel via the District’s Facebook and Twitter accounts or submit questions via email to Community Relations Coordinator Stephanie Stuart at stuartst@champaignschools.org. Questions will be selected based on relevancy to the discussion and the panel will discuss as many community questions as possible during the allotted time.

Volunteer Community Member Panelists will include:

  • Alejandra Aguero – Assistant Director of Graduate Admissions, University of Illinois College of Business

  • Patricia Avery – President, NAACP Champaign County

  • Imani Bazzell – Director of At Promise…of Success

  • Byron Clark – Sales Manager, Human Kinetics

  • Bruce Knight – Planning & Development Director, City of Champaign

  • Dan McCall – President, Bricklayers Local #8 of Illinois

  • Angie Patton – Marketing Coordinator at the University of Illinois, Edison Middle School PTSA President, and Central High School Parent

  • Bob Porter – Architect

  • Phil Van Ness – Attorney, former Champaign Board of Education member

  • Joe Williams – Principal, Central High School

Much less of an open format than I initially expected. It seems like the panelists will be doing a majority of the talking, after Dr. Wiegand gives an introduction and background. A very interesting cast of characters to say the least. Nobody from Neighborhood Services, nobody representing Garden Hills or any of the neighborhoods north of Bradley….  Also interesting that Ms. Porterfield (WCIA) will be moderating.

I hope you all get involved.

Notes from the April 8th BOE Meeting

Stig opened the meeting to give special mention of Dave Tomlinson’s last day on the Board, and to open the floor for Board comments praising Dave for all his work over the past few years. Stig honored Dave with a plaque, after which Dave shared how he feels best about advocating for teachers.

No public comments.

Board member comments
Tomlinson: talked highly of the early childhood center, good news about not RIFfing anyone. (note: RIF = Reduction in Force, a practice of letting staff go with the hopeful promise of being hired again)
Jamar: good stuff at college and career center, good “state of the district” address at Carrie Busey, good feelings all around at address; talked about how Dr. Wiegand met all her goals and is changing the perception.
Chalifoux: go vote tomorrow
Van Ness: one positive and one negative. positive = “Gold card” thing, college and career center. Negative = some schools still have no Proximity A – 1) either get rid of Proximity or 2) give every child Proximity A, the 1.5 mile thingy is IRRELEVANT (his emphasis).
Chalifoux: “Gold card” thing is good; asked about doing a REALTORS brunch. Wiegand responds that we are doing them, and in fact one is scheduled for May (if I heard correctly).
Stig: acknowledges present candidates again.
Upcoming events (among the many events, I focused on one)
May 6th, special board meeting to swear in new board members

Item D moved up to the front.

Future facilities presentation:
Steering Team Co-Chair Bruce Knight started; lots of background provided; enrollment projections need to be looked at annually.  I ask (and have asked previously) “who is going to do that?” More on this in just a little bit. Most dense population around Garden Hills. Population shift moving north and east.

In discussing the “opinion polling” by Fallon, Bruce Knight says a majority of they “yes” votes came from low-propensity voters. So his solution is to get more people to vote. I wonder about that; to me, it essential to make sure folks are first educated properly about the issues (and candidates where relevant). In addition to the above, the majority of “yes” votes came from the younger generation, while the majority of “no” votes came from those who are older. Are the older folks just stodgy? Are the younger folks just naive? We cannot really assume anything – we just don’t know.

Given all the Read the rest of this entry »

Quick review of the Feb 25th board meeting

Here is the video; I had to splice it in two because TiVo gave me a larger than 4gb file to work with. 😦

http://www.cb-pta.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/board_meetings/2013-02-25-special-board-meeting-1-of-2.mp4

http://www.cb-pta.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/board_meetings/2013-02-25-special-board-meeting-2-of-2.mp4

I have not made my way through all of them, yet. Board Member Phil Van Ness had some very direct words to share about how the board needs to work hard to earn the trust of the community, and how he is worried about that particular pursuit. I find it very interesting that no other board members echo this concern. I happen to very much agree with this line of thought; but what good does it do to agree?

 

Several questions and comments were directed towards the “research” done by Fallon Research and DeJong-Richter; even though I know some of the answers, I still want to find out how the board responded. Paul Fallon had a long segment and Stig was pretty adamant (at first) about Mr. Fallon’s presentation not being a “death by powerpoint”. Ironically, I thought that is exactly what we got, but Stig seemed pretty happy with it. I guess my powerpoint tolerance is rather low. I also have the correlations between questions 19A and 19B, and 20A and 20B – I tried to put this into a picture, but Excel is giving me fits and I just don’t have time to make a pretty picture right now (I’ll add it later). Here is the cross-tabulated data:

Q. 19A. Supposing for a moment that a 20-year bond issue for $206 million dollars was on the ballot to pay for construction to replace Central High School, build new schools for lower grades to accommodate growing enrollment, and make repairs…

Table Total

For

Against

DK/NA

Count

Count

Count

Count

Q. 19B. Does knowing that it will cost homeowners $251 per year for each one hundred thousand dollars of property, make you more or less likely to vote for it, or does it make no difference in your decision? More likely

17

1

1

18

Less likely

70

74

27

171

No difference

127

44

21

193

DK/NA

3

3

13

19

Table Total

216

121

63

400

Q. 20A. Supposing for a moment that a 20-year bond issue for $80 million dollars was on the ballot to pay for construction to replace Central High School and make some basic repairs or renovations to other schools that are in poor condition…

Table Total

For

Against

DK/NA

Count

Count

Count

Count

Q. 20B. Does knowing that it will cost homeowners $96 per year for each one hundred thousand dollars of property, make you more or less likely to vote for it, or does it make no difference in your decision? More likely

44

6

8

58

Less likely

31

38

11

81

No difference

170

49

25

245

DK/NA

9

1

7

16

Table Total

255

94

51

400

So in general, out of 400 phone surveys, most people want to dump more money into taxes for the schools. We have a lot of education (of the public) to be doing.

 

There were some other gems buried in the board meeting. Marc Changnon had a large number of folks up to talk about eToys and other cool things (lots of demos). Cathy Mannen got up a second time to talk about teacher evaluations, which I am very interested in hearing more about.

 

More later, as time allows.

Review of Feb 11 regular board meeting

I was shocked that David Hohman posted the vimeo video right after the meeting! 🙂 Kudos to his team. I am syndicating his video from my archive as well.

I had a brief chat with Scott Leopold prior to the meeting. He gave me an update on my request for the raw Fallon data, specifically to help answer the question of how many people surveyed changed their mind about wanting a $206 million “bond issue” once they heard their taxes would climb a bit. He mentioned that Mr. Fallon wants to delay in delivering that information until the February 25th special board meeting when he (Mr. Fallong) will be presenting and is able to deliver that information “in context.” Again, I don’t like that approach, but it is what it is.

Turns out it was a relatively short meeting – I think it clocked in at 53 minutes. The comments (both public and by the board) took up half that time. Since it is less than an hour, I highly recommend you watch it – the board members speak a bit and you can get a sense for where they are at and form your own opinion (as opposed to drinking my kool-aid *grin*).

The recognitions, as always, are a feel-good reminder of good things that are happening in our district. I wonder what it would be like if we also highlighted “challenge areas”. Right now, the folks that speak during public comment generally fulfill that role. But what if the district and/or the board had a running “leaderboard” of, say, the top 5 things they see as the issues of the month. Or year. They could even chart their progress against it; “Last month we identified and resolved these two issues, thus we are moving two more concerns onto the leaderboard for us to tackle this month.”

I gave the first public comment; I volunteered to deliver it since another representative was stuck at home with a sick child. I also sent this to the board and Kristine Chalifoux responded. So to qualify, I am not on the CB building council, and I do realize that the board has not made any official plans to expand CB – it’s all kinda up in the air at the moment.

Chuck Jackson spoke next about the need to be mindful and to intentionally “program” school for all kids. We have to pay attention (perhaps in different ways) especially to those who routinely are not well represented or spoken for.

The Board Read the rest of this entry »

Preview of Jan 28th board meeting

The Jan 28th board meeting agenda is up. [I still do not know how to deep-link it, but here is the URL for BoardDocs: http://www.boarddocs.com/il/champil/Board.nsf/public]

Looks like the new board members (former board members Arlene Blank and Phil Van Ness) will be sworn in right at 5:30 before executive session. Back in open session, one of the first items is:

Dr. Patrick Rice, Director of Field Services from the Illinois Association of School Boards will describe services and training options available to the Board.

That means almost absolutely nothing to me. I know that Board members are required by law to take various training (like OMA) and “How to be a Board Member”. Greg Novak has shared a humorous take on that in the past which I cannot repeat. 🙂

Dr. Wiegand will be introducing three somewhat new committees that formed as a result of the board retreats last year. The one I am part of, the Advocacy Committee, has a website (woohoo!!) and even a public-to-read email discussion list via google groups. I do not know much about the other two at all (Transitions?). What is very interesting to me is that the PDF they have on BoardDocs is a scanned copy of printed documents. Why? Why oh why oh why?!? You have to turn your computer left, right and upside down to read it. 🙂 I don’t get it. Plus, the document for the Advocacy Committee is posted on our website in a true pptx form, which means it is searchable.

Next is the very wordy “audit and reporting system for Affirmative Action/Equal Employment Opportunity” (AAEEO). There is a monstrous 162 page report you can look at if you so desire. About half the document is charts and graphs, the latter half being some kind of analysis I think. Wow. I kinda feel bad for whomever had to put that together (Ken?).

And Educational Updates. I actually enjoyed this section. 🙂 Back in October 2012 I spotted a brand-new Drupal website that Unit 4 was working on (and quickly locked down), so during David Hohman’s presentation, he is going to take some of the wrappers off. Exciting stuff. He stuffed it full of colorful pictures and a playful take so as to chip away at the boredom factor. 🙂 Also, he has a “wireless proposal” – I am wondering if we can get some local folks to look at that, and maybe even urge the administration to seriously considering local vendors over distant ones. What do you think? Would you spend 2% more on a local vendor just because they are local? 5%?

Next up Dr. Joe Davis has a couple slides about bids for the proposed renovation projects (Robeson $2.7mil and Bottenfield $7.1mill). I am going to give Dr. Davis a break this time around and pick on the architects just a little. One thing that concerns me is that it seems Canon (and others) are putting a ton of resources into procuring new work, but they are not following-up much on old work. For example, I have to go back to Carrie Busey (but I am sure other schools have issues as well); brand new school with a really cool pod design. The new construction (right now) costs $1.3mil and breaks the pod design, and the proposed addition (some $3.5mil?) further breaks the pod design. No talks about how to fix it. And not to mention the punch list of outstanding issues – however, I am pretty sure that onus is on the construction crew, right?

 

Last of the major stuff, Dr. Wiegand will be sharing “Committee appointments”, a subset listing of committees and which board members are serving on them.

 

 

Jan 14th Reg Board Meeting: new school board members, new school attorney, lots of data

re: http://www.news-gazette.com/news/education/2013-01-14/champaign-school-board-chooses-blank-and-van-ness-new-members.html

It was an interesting board meeting tonight, although I fear “interesting” does not do the meeting justice. I don’t have the energy to write about it all now, so here are some highlights:

  • Another bevy of recognitions, including plaques and commendations for Greg Novak and Gene Logas, presented to Donna Novak and Nina Logas respectively.
  • Scott Leopold presented a veritable plethora of data and information about the targeted phone surveys (I hate using the word “quantitative”) and the latest update about the research efforts of Dejong. Overwhelming in fact.
  • Agenda line-item 10.a was removed from the agenda and then put back on the agenda at 9:50 pm after basically everyone had already left (and the tv cameras had stopped rolling I am sure); Tom Lockman will be the new school district attorney. Vote was 4-1 – oh how I wish I could write more about that.
  • As reported by Meg, a new (permanent) program for emotional disabilities/mental health was approved – board members asked some good questions
  • Oh, also as Meg reported (*grin*), two new board members; Arlene Blank and Phil van Ness. A few other candidates were also in attendance and stuck around to the bitter end.

UPDATE: Meg wrote another article about Lockman:

http://www.news-gazette.com/news/education/2013-01-14/champaign-school-board-hires-former-board-member-school-attorney.html