Regular board meeting tonight

Agenda for tonight:

  1. Call to Order
    1. Roll Call
  2. Agenda
    1. Approval of Agenda (Items may not be considered in the same order as the agenda)
  3. Executive Session – 5:30 p.m.
  4. Recognitions
    1. Recognitions
  5. Public Comments
    1. Public Comment on Agenda & Non-Agenda Items
  6. Communications
    1. Communications from CFT
    2. Communications from CESP
    3. Communications from PTA Council
    4. Communications from Board Members
  7. Informational Items
    1. Upcoming Events
  8. Reports: New Business
    1. Middle School After School Programming/40North Grant: Angela Smith This item has files attached
    2. Engaging Solutions Presentation: Matt Foster This item has files attached
    3. Preliminary FY14 Budget Presentation: Matt Foster This item has files attached
  9. Action Agenda: New Business
    1. Administrative Appointment: Ken Kleber
    2. Bills and Treasurer’s Report – August: Matt Foster This item has files attached
    3. Promises Made, Promises Kept Committee: Dr. Judy Wiegand
    4. Approval of Robeson Change Order No. 3: Matt Foster This item has files attached
    5. Approval of Robeson Change Order No. 4: Matt Foster This item has files attached
    6. Approval of Carrie Busey Change Order No. 20: Matt Foster This item has files attached
    7. Approval of the Contract for Sale of Real Estate – 801 Pioneer St./806 Dennison St.: Tom Lockman
  10. Consent Agenda – New/Unfinished Business
    1. Motion to approve the Consent Agenda – New Business
    2. Human Resource Changes: Ken Kleber This item has files attached
    3. Minutes of August 5, 2013 and August 12, 2013
    4. Policy 415.07/R Minority and Female Business Enterprise Goals: Tom Lockman This item has files attached
    5. Policy 720.11R Exemption From Physical Activity: Tom Lockman This item has files attached
    6. Policy 415.06 – Vendor Relations: Tom Lockman This item has files attached
    7. FY14 Consolidated Grant Application to Serve Limited English Proficient (LEP) Students: Maria Alanis This item has files attached
  11. Executive Session
    1. Motion to move to Executive Session
  12. Open Session
    1. Reconvene in open session for possible action on items discussed in closed session.
  13. Adjournment
    1. Motion to adjourn the meeting.
  14. Future Meetings
    1. Special Meeting: September 23, 2013, Regular Meeting: October 14, 2013, Special Meeting: October 28, 2013, Regular Meeting: December 9, 2013


Based on what transpired last week in terms of Kenwood, the discouragement of parents paying for PTA activities and the PTA Council, I expect there to be some comments during Public Comment and the timeslot for the PTA Council.


There are a number of line items dealing with a focus on minorities and women in the workplace (ie, 8.2, 10.4).


Sheri Williamson (PTA Council) and R. Scott Davis (CFT) being added to the PMPK committee (9.3).


9.7, the District is seeking approval to buy two properties for the Bus Garage. The Satellite view of google maps gives a good idea of what the area looks like, including the busses parked across the street. This was previously discussed in Executive (Closed) session.


In 10.7, we get to see a preliminary FY 2014 budget. I encourage you to read it and try to wrap your head around it; it is important that we start to ask questions. Now. I say that as a way to entice stakeholders to understand what all the numbers mean – I know I don’t.


There are a number of other things. I don’t fully understand or follow all the various change orders. There is a part of me scratching my head on why we need so many change orders. Also, I just happened to browse the online check register and noticed that we sent another %5750 to Dr. Alves last month even though his contract expired in May or June. The discussion of the Choice RFP is not on the agenda at all.


What catches your attention?


Building bridges with Shadow Wood

Unit 4 finally made good on their promise to return to Shadow Wood after their August 17th meeting (I think that was the last one); a group of residents and a bevy of Unit 4 reps crowded into the Shadow Wood Community Center. Superintendent Dr. Judy Wiegand opened the evening with introductions, joined by Assistant Superintendents Dr. Susan Zola and Dr. Laura Taylor; Barbara Ramsay had two of her Transportation guys there to listen and take notes, ESL Director Maria Alanis was there to do the bulk of the translating,  Board Member Ileana Saveley also helped bridge the language obstacles and engage the residents, and Central Assistant Principal Bryan Yacko was there to represent the high school district in which Shadow Wood now resides. Champaign City Council Member Will Kyles also dropped by and addressed the group.

The first order of the night was Transportation and the ongoing issues with buses. It was amazing to witness the interaction; the residents spoke about inconsistent pickup/dropoff times and how some drivers are just rude, and the administrators actively listened, showed concern, and then stated what they are going to do about it. That was the best part; “Ok, I hear what you are saying, this is what we are going to do to fix it.” And so on Monday and Tuesday, the bus that serves Shadow Wood is going to have a tail, checking to see what is going on with the route. The residents suspected that the bus was going to Savoy to drop off one child first, and then coming all the way back north with a 99% full bus. Having just done that exact route myself, I know it takes a while, and I also know it makes absolutely no sense for a bus serving Garden Hills to go to Savoy first for dropoff (for pickup, yes, sure, it makes sense). The folks from the Transportation Department said that should not be happening. But they are going to check. They also mentioned that one of the buses broke recently (I had this picture of a bus literally breaking in half) which might have accounted for some disruption today. What was really good, also, is that Maria explicitly said that if after Tuesday things are still not good, they should call her or Ileana. It was clear that the residents felt very strongly about this – and so they should! The mothers talked about how they have to drop off their kids and get to work, and if the bus is not consistent, they are sometimes late to work. It was equally clear that the Unit 4 staff were very concerned and want to make sure things are right. And this is what I love about this kind of environment – the residents were being empowered. They were encouraged to use their voice (and they did!).

Next up, Read the rest of this entry »

Shadow Wood Forum formally announced: Nov 2 6:pm


I love how Unit 4 is taking this seriously; the residents said they were concerned about transportation and Unit 4 brought their game to Shadow Wood (in a good way), and when residents asked for a follow-up, Unit 4 is coming back to follow-up. Good stuff.


I also hear that Dr. Taylor will have a slice of time for her Social Justice engagement.


I am not sure if I will be able to make it or for how long (have a conflict at 7:pm). So if you can go and are willing to report back here, I would love to hear your thoughts.

well this is interesting….


I wonder if this is a sign of things to come. And what they hope to accomplish by having a facebook page for the transportation department.

Transportation and Transparency at Wake County

I have been following the Wake School District news for a while; T. Keung Hui really puts out a good bit of information, and as a blogger, I am envious of his style and content. 🙂 The latest article was about transportation (an issue that has appeared several times the past couple weeks) and transparency. The latter obviously caught my attention.

I invite you to go read both the original article, then the referenced white paper on transparency. Very interesting.


On first glance, I like the transparency policy. I do wonder how much overhead it costs (in terms of raw money and also staff FTE). I do also wonder if this “pattern of transparency” translate well into face-to-face conversations. For instance, for those that do not take the time to take advantage of the online transparency, do they still have access to the same information when talking to an administrative official? When someone walks into the office, are they just expected to know everything?


Another thing I have noted while reading Hui’s articles is that the Wake County Board Members are not always in public agreement. Unlike our own Board Members. For me personally, I can see how this might be a good thing, because it allows more conversations to be had in the public sphere. However, it also shows a degree of dissension, which might hurt the public image of the Board. That is a tricky balance. How does one embrace diversity of opinion while striving for consensus and unity of purpose?

News: budget, communication, still meeting at Houlihans

First: I have nothing major planned for Houlihans today. I’ll be there if you want to come and chat. I might be reading a tome on ecological justice and transportation decisionmaking.


Mr. Gene Logas followed-through on his attempt to get the (preliminary) budget documents posted online (hat tip to Will Kyles).


I have yet to go through them with a comb. I recommend skipping the “presentation” one if you want to go straight to the meat section.


On top of that, Read the rest of this entry »

UI researcher looking to interview parents about high school options

From Holly Nelson (

I am a masters student in UIUC’s Urban Planning program and I was a 2004 Central graduate. Given recent discussions in Unit 4 about building a new Central, I decided to focus on the school siting issue for my thesis project. I have been coordinating with the City of Champaign and Unit 4 but I’m also very interested in perspectives of community members. My research focuses on the impacts of choosing various sites (I selected five sites, meant to be demonstrative of a whole range of options), including transportation, social, environmental, and cost impacts. I completed the transportation analysis last semester and will likely be presenting the results at next Monday’s [Jan 23rd] school board meeting.

My goal with the project is actually not to make a specific recommendation (although I’m happy to share my opinion), but to make tradeoffs more explicit. I think we as a community can make a better decision if we know more about potential impacts. No solution is going to satisfy everyone but I think we can all be better negotiators if we can lay out the tradeoffs that must be made in order to reach a compromise.


If anyone is interested, please let her know. I am having an interview with her tomorrow (Friday) and can report back.