Oct 19th BOE special meeting: Advisory questions #futurefacilities #taxref

Looks like the Board is planning to talk about Advisory questions on a future ballot:

The option of placing advisory questions on an upcoming election ballot to obtain feedback from voters on possible facility options will be discussed by the Board of Education.  Discussion will focus on what is legally allowed, format options, and the benefits and challenges of this approach.

Included is a document of dates listing when resolutions/ordinances have to pass in order to appear on a ballot:

http://www.boarddocs.com/il/champil/Board.nsf/files/A3APBV51728C/$file/Future%20Election%20Deadlines.pdf

I believe the context for this discussion is the Big Talk about future facilities and how to fund capital expenditures in regards to a possible new high school and maintenance for other schools. I like the idea of advisory questions, and I hope that if they are utilized, they prove very informative. This also tells me that the board really is trying hard to figure out how to listen to the entire community. Ultimately, this is our tax dollars we are talking about, regardless of whether you have kids in the system or not; everyone should and does have something to say.

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Board meeting at Central HS tonight, with a special presentation on the Consent Decree

The Champaign School Board is going to start shaking things up a little tonight when they conduct their “Special Session” at Central tonight. Keep your eyes open for more changes to special sessions in the near future. Among the items on the agenda (available on the district’s boarddocs website) are an obligatory public hearing on the budget and formal acceptance of said budget, a presentation from Molly Delaney of the CU Schools Foundation who will be covering the CUSF strategic plan and summarizing CUSF initiatives (good stuff!), and a Consent Decree presentation from Sally Scott, an attorney from Franczek Radlet who represented the district during the Consent Decree; the presentation will set historical context for how we still have equity issues to address especially in regards to where a potential new high school is built. There are many documents on boarddocs that are related to all these presentations.

Also keep your eyes on the board’s nascent blog, u4boardcorner.blogspot.com. In fact, the latest post (“The trouble with transparency“) starts to address issues of transparency, which is kind of a hot button topic because it is a buzzword used very loosely in all sorts of circles – what does it really mean? Just this past weekend, I was talking with parents at an un-conference (kudos to EdCampCU!) about the current board, and there are a wide variety of opinions about how many steps backwards we might be taking or whether they are truly trustworthy. This is purely my opinion, but I think the current board has been making a number of steps that align to the IASB’s “Foundational Principles” vision, and I believe this will pay huge dividends in the long run, especially in generating and building trust, transparency and establishing healthy communication habits, not to mention a strong, public and shared idea of what the board does.

Update: Nicole Lafond writes about the Consent Decree in this morning’s NG:

http://www.news-gazette.com/news/local/2015-09-28/champaign-school-board-review-rules-building-locations.html

Around the district

The Jan 26th special board meeting agenda has been posted, which reminded me to write a post about several items.

 

Stephanie Stuart has been sending out notices of some really excellent news this past week:

“Thirty-five Unit 4 students will be honored in the 2015 Martin Luther King, Jr. Creative Expressions Competition, including 12 winning entries and 23 honorable mention projects. Students will be honored at the Annual Celebration at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts on Saturday, January 24 from 10:00 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. This year, 182 of the 207 entries to the contest were submitted by Unit 4 students.”

Additionally, “nine Unit 4 high school seniors have received scholarships from the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. “Living the Dream” Scholarship Fund.” (Unit 4 news article)

Earlier today, Habeeb Habeeb dropped by Centennial to honor Aliyah Maldonado (Unit 4 news); I hear it was inspiration and emotional.

 

One of the items on the Jan 24th agenda is a presentation about Vision 20/20, which you can read more about on the IASB website; Dr. Wiegand serves on the Vision 20/20 Committee. There is also a short article in today’s NG about Tolono supporting Vision 20/20. I had an opportunity to chat with Unit 7 Superintendent Andrew Larson to better understand his purpose, and I was very encouraged to hear that others are getting sick and tired of the “same old same old politics” in Illinois, and want to take a stand against it, and stand for high-quality, truly accessible education for all children.

 

Nicole Lafond, Education writer for the News-Gazette, advertised the “first of many weekly school reports“. Among other things, we learn that Jefferson won a $5000 grant from Lowes to renovate the courtyard and improve the library, and mentions the “First Lego League Central State Tournament”, which sounds really cool to me. If you happen to attend, I would love to hear what you think.

 

Kenwood has been awarded $3500 to document the Kenwood brand of awesomeness; look for videos, tweets, demos and flyers that share not only what the Kenwood Stars are doing, but why they are doing it and what they are accomplishing. Along that line, CTRL-Shift will be at the first of two Schools of Choice Information Sessions showing support for Kenwood. I am sure the other schools will be showing off as well. 🙂 More info:

http://www.champaignschools.org/news-room/article/10381

Tuesday, January 27, 2015 at 6 p.m. at Stratton Elementary School.

The Info Session will provide families with an overview of the Schools of Choice process, showcase each of the District’s 12 elementary schools, and provide the opportunity to ask questions of Choice staff members.

 

The DLR architects will be meeting with the folks at Centennial next Monday (Jan 26th) to discuss the recent changes to the proposed referendum and how that affects the expansion plans. You can imagine that there will be a lot of heated discussion. 🙂

 

Lastly, I have to give a final shout-out for the #edCampCU happening tomorrow (Saturday, Jan 24rd), 8:00 to 2:00 at the College of Education (1310 South Sixth Street).

 

Jan 5 Special Board meeting

Even though it is two hours long, I encourage you to at least check out the beginning of the video of last night’s BOE meeting:

http://vimeo.com/116062752

UPDATE: Public comment starts at 23:10

 

Nicole Lafond also did an article:

http://www.news-gazette.com/news/local/2015-01-05/school-proposal-april-ballot-coming-monday.html

 

In talking with Kerris, it sounds like the plan that several board members had been working on was, for one reason or another, not highlighted. Chalifoux asked a question about it, but that is about all we hear. Kerris has told me he is going to do a little digging to see what the story is.

Agenda for the Jan 5 Special Board meeting has been posted

We have known about it for a couple weeks, but the district finally posted the BOE meeting agenda for the Jan 5 Special Board meeting on boarddocs. If  you read today’s “Tom’s Mailbag“, you will have gotten an idea that REWIND will be making itself known at Monday’s meeting; I imagine a number of others will be making public statements as well.

 

Typically Special Board meetings are not televised on CGTV 5, so I hope the meeting is posted on the district’s Vimeo site in the days following the meeting for those who are not able to attend in person.

 

The agenda shows a few items; undoubtedly, the biggest of which will be a discussion surrounding the 20 year facility plan (5. Reports – New Business). There are three documents attached in that line item that you might want to go look at, although be warned that they are not new:

 

The other two agenda items are a short report on HR changes and a reclassification for Brian Easter (for which is he very excited!).

 

A couple things to keep your eyes open for; Nicole Lafond has a couple articles she is working on, one probably for Sunday and another possible for Monday or Tuesday. The Sunday article will probably be about the referendum issue, the latter article about board member candidates. Along that line, REWIND will most likely be putting out some more public information on board candidates in the form of candidate responses to a questionnaire. I believe this will be discussed at their Tuesday evening meeting.

Keep your eyes open

Just a few things to mention.

 

Monday, November 17th is a “special” board meeting, which typically means there are more opportunities for public comment. However the agenda is exceptionally small this time around, with the one and only thing really being discussed is a “public hearing” (*cough cough*) on “Physical Education Waiver Request”.

 

Last Thursday, Tim Ditman wrote an article covering how board member Kerris Lee is “exploring other Central High School sites“. Perhaps what I found most odd is that there are zero (nilch, nada, none) comments to the article. Granted, while Dodds Park and Bristol Park do offer some really interesting possibilities, they seem like extremely remote possibilities, but hey, Kerris is good at getting people to talk, so I dare not say impossible.

 

Next Thursday (November 20th), the national Learning Spaces Collaboratory will be holding a webinar on “Connecting the Dots between Planning and Assessing 21st Century Learning Spaces: Lessons Learned from the Field“. There is a $125 registration fee, so not for the faint of heart. I am hoping to hear from some local folks that attend this webinar and are willing to report out.

 

And lastly, save the dates for a few Saturdays in January; we are starting to make plans to offer design charrettes around the topic of the Unit 4 High Schools. Tentatively you can pencil in January 10th, January 17th and January 24th. I have spoken with the fine folks at the Douglass Center as well as the principal at Stratton and there is a distinct possibility we will be able to use their gyms. Pattsi, how can I help get your “charrettes 101” material online and available to all?

Next steps in Facility Planning

From Stephanie Stuart:

master_facility_plan_oneAt Monday’s meeting, the Champaign Board of Education heard an update from Gorski Reifsteck/DLR Group about the high school programming work that will be taking place in the coming weeks and months, and discussed a draft Master Facilities Plan for the District as a whole.

 

Champaign-based Gorski Reifsteck and the nationally-renowned DLR Group were hired at the April 13 Board meeting for professional architectural services that will assist the District to program and plan for a new Central High School and a renovated Centennial High School.

 

The two firms have developed a close-knit relationship through working on multiple school projects together over the past several years.

 

DLR Group is ranked number one among architecture firms in the United States in the education market for last five years in a row by BD World Architecture. It also plans and designs more high schools than any other architecture firm in the U.S. DLR Group’s national presence and expert staff, combined with its industry leadership, provide the team with a broad perspective on the latest educational facility opportunities, while Gorski Reifsteck brings a deep knowledge of the Champaign community.

 

Gorski Reifsteck/DLR Group will work with the District to determine academic programs housed at each school and ensure adequate space is allocated for the growing student population. The culmination of this work will be a recommendation to the Board of Education for the educational programming of a new Central High School and renovated Centennial High School.

 

Highlights of the programming process will include:

  • Examining available data
  • Visiting classrooms to observe teaching and learning today
  • Building programmatic data models to quantify space needs
  • Developing program diagrams to show how the high schools will work together
  • Working closely with faculty, administration, and Board members

 

Executive Director of Business Services/CSBO Matthew Foster also presented a Master Facility Plan based on recommendations from the Facility Committee and District administration (please see the attached draft plan). Based on Board feedback regarding the draft plan, this item will appear again for discussion at an upcoming meeting prior to any formal Board adoption.

 

 

Stephanie Stuart

Community Relations Coordinator

Champaign Unit #4 School District

217-531-0252