Special board meeting tonight, update on Schools of Choice RFP

Tonight is a special Special Board Meeting. Occasionally the Board is called in to deal with one of these issues:

  • 120/2(c)(1) Employee appointments, employment, compensation, dismissals, complaints
  • 120/2(c)(2) Negotiations
  • 120/2(c)(5) Property Acquisition/Lease/Purchase
  • 120/2(c)(8) Emergency Security Procedures
  • 120/2(c)(9) Student Discipline
  • 120/2(c)(11) Actual/Potential Litigation
  • 120/2(c)(16) Self-Evaluation, practices and procedures or professional ethics when meeting with a representative of a statewide association of which the public body is a member
  • 120/2(c)(21) Closed Meeting Minutes Discussion/Review

 

What I am torn about is that I think they are technically abiding by OMA, but they are not disclosing as much information as they possibly can. For instance, I have since learned that the meeting was specifically called for 120/2(c)(9) Student Discpipline. Why is that not mentioned on board docs? The only reason I have right now is that it is not required (not by OMA nor by Policy). I get it that it is the “easy” thing to do to announce all the possibilities for Executive Session “just in case”, but I sincerely wonder, is that the best way?

 

Here is the flip side. What if I just shut up about this? I have to question myself, is my pestering of the Board in this manner productive in any way? I really don’t know. I hear both sides; some of you like what I am doing, some of you think I am a hindrance and an obstruction. As always, I am glad there are differences of opinion – I highly value that! But what good is my question-asking really doing? That is what I am searching for right now.

 

On that note, I recently asked about the progress with the Schools of Choice (SoC) RFP. From the school attorney, Mr. Tom Lockman:

I have been working with District staff on the Choice RFP and am comfortable with where it stands at this point.  The District is planning to follow the same schedule as last year in terms of issuing the RFP.  This will allow us to have gone all the way through the selection, determination and notification processes to determine if there is anything the District feels needs to be added or changed to the existing language based on how things go.  If you do have additional thoughts beyond what was shared at our first meeting which you wish to share, please feel free to email me.  Thanks.

 

I told Mr. Lockman at “our first meeting” that I had at least two bottom lines (sometimes you just can’t have one *grin*):

  • make a system that is intuitive and garners a positive experience from all who interact with it
  • we don’t waste taxpayers dollars (which I fully believe we have been doing for many years)

 

So again, I wonder about my effectiveness. Is it worthwhile for me to raise my voice and become a “squeaky wheel”? Or what would happen if I just turned my attention elsewhere? I really really want to hunt this down. But at what cost?

 

For my part, I want to see the RFP; I want to make sure we stop sending money to Massachusetts; I would love to have the software solution be handled locally. But I personally do not need these things. My question then becomes, what is best for all of us? That I do not know.

 

Tom is no stranger to the Schools of Choice saga; just a couple years ago, he was instrumental in writing some enhancements like going from 3 to 5 choices (5 was a compromise, we wanted more), and I think helped to spur the video and other little things that have slightly improved this beast. One of my options is to just trust Tom and see where this goes.

Looking at RFPs

As I wait for the DeJong RFP to pop up on the website (which I manually have to check every day), I am looking through the small list of other “archived” RFPs out there. It looks to be a small smattering of tech-only bids. Even though I know we have a EdTech grant that pays for a significant portion of these bills, some of the dollar amounts still surprise me very much:

Sentinel $72,004.00
Bradfields $734,572.00
Ricoh $60,958.00
Bradfields $110,430.00
Ricoh $173,883.00
Bradfields $177,736.00
System Liquidation $22,372.00
System Liquidation $22,372.00
MogerMedia $24,997.00
Dell $222,396.00
CDI $8,008.00
Subtotals
Bradfields $1,022,738.00
Ricoh $234,841.00

 

Bradfields was mostly for smartboards. Wow!

 

It also makes me wonder what other RFPs are not yet up on the website. How much does the EdTech grant actually cover? (There is an official name for the grant, I just forget what it is)

U4 posts archived RFPs

With no fanfare, a new page listing archived RFPs have gone up on the U4 website:

http://www.champaignschools.org/Finance/BidsRFPs_awarded.php

 

However I am not finding the RFP for the PE firm, so I am thinking not all RFPs are available.

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Chat with Dr. Wiegand and directions

Wednesday morning I had the opportunity to meet with Dr. Wiegand and ask her a few questions. It was a very informative meeting as we exchanged a number of ideas, and she was quite prepared with answers to those questions I had emailed to her. 🙂

 

I. Current priorities

  1. Finding a new Chief Financial Officer (CFO). In retrospect, I had expected her to say Chief Operations Officer (COO). According to the job posting, the position is “Chief Financial/ Operating Officer”. I also note that in the job posting, this is one of the few administrative positions (only?) not requiring any background in education.
  2. Getting ready for Barkstall and Robeson to open
  3. Strategic planning with principals. Dr. Wiegand gave me a worksheet that they are going to work through, basically goal-setting activities

 

II. Public engagement

Dr. Wiegand then addressed my question of public support and participation together, noting how so very little participation happens at Board Meetings even when there is a Public Hearing on a (what used to be) controversial topic. We had a very good discussion about this topic for a while, since it is near and dear to my heart (as readers will most likely know). I mentioned again how the Urbana Board (and indirectly, the IASB) is doing it wrong with more restrictive controls, and how Wheaton is doing it better by holding conversational meetings. I mentioned how I Read the rest of this entry »

The "Choice" RFP is up

re: http://www.champaignschools.org/Finance/rfp_choice/Choice%20RFP%206%207%2012.pdf

 

I have not yet had a chance to read it (working late tonight). More to follow later.

Who do you know who could….

Assuming that an RFP will be coming out soon, and assuming the RFP encompasses these goals, whom would you recommend to get the job done?

The more suggestions the better. And probably soon.

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