Friday, July 29, 2016

Online Survey and Preview of Board Meeting 8/1/16

We're excited to give you the opportunity to take the same Unit 4 Facilities Survey that a randomly selected sample of your fellow residents recently took over the phone:

This link will be active from today through August 11, 2016, and the results will eventually accompany the final report from the more scientifically conducted phone survey. During this window of time, all community members who have not yet taken the survey are welcome to make their opinions known on the future of our school buildings. We are specifically hoping to get a better sense of our community's priorities as we consider a possible November 2016 ballot question to fund school construction projects.


Speaking of that phone survey, join us at a Special Board Meeting next week when we expect a report on those results!

8/1/16 Special Board Meeting, 5:30pm*

We meet in the Mellon Building, 703 S. New St. (next to South Side Elementary School). Members of the public are welcome to observe, and to address the Board (for up to 3 minutes) during the designated public comment period. You can find the meeting agenda here. (Be sure to click on each agenda item to bring up additional information or description, including any attached documents.)

Also on Monday's rather brief agenda: two interim assistant principal hires.

*Note that we do not expect to have any business on Monday that requires an Executive Session, so the Open Session of our meeting will begin directly at 5:30pm.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Air Conditioned Conversations with Board Members

Just a quick post to inform you of opportunities coming up next week to chat with members of the Unit 4 Board of Education outside of the Mellon building.

Monday 7/25/16, 9:00-11:00am
Amy Armstrong and Gianina Baker will be available for morning coffee and conversation about school facilities and other topics at Art Mart Café (1705 S. Prospect Ave., Champaign).

Tuesday 7/26/16, 4:30-6:30pm
Kathy Richards and Kathy Shannon will be available after work at the Champaign Public Library (200 W. Green St., Champaign), again to answer questions about facilities or other school topics. Look for us at a table in the café seating area.

Any member of the community is welcome to stop by and join the conversation during these time periods as their schedule allows.

Thursday 7/28/16, lunchtime
Chris Kloeppel and Amy Armstrong will be holding another in their series of meetings with Unit 4 teachers (invited group for this meeting: high school teachers). Of course, we hope any other Unit 4 teachers or staff feel welcome to stop by the Monday and/or Tuesday chat sessions listed above.

Mark your calendars, share this information, and stay cool!

Monday, July 11, 2016

Town Hall (Charger Edition) and Public Input

Did you miss last month's Unit 4 Town Hall at Central High School? Do you have Unit 4 facilities questions for an architect? a Board member? or a district administrator? Or would you simply like to hang out with me at Centennial on a summer evening?

Whatever the reason, please come to the second Unit 4 Town Hall meeting at Centennial High School, Thursday, July 14, 6:00-8:00pm. Along with upcoming phone and online surveys, this town hall will give you an excellent chance to provide feedback about Unit 4's facilities planning process; unlike taking a survey, by coming to the meeting you can engage a variety of people in conversation and hopefully get your questions answered.

Like the first Town Hall meeting on 6/23/16, this event will be set up to allow community members to participate whether they drop by for 15 minutes or stay for the whole time. Stations around the room will be staffed by different groups: by Unit 4 administrators (to address questions about current building needs, or curriculum, or the history of facilities planning in the district), by Tier Two committee members (to address questions about this spring's community planning process), by architects/construction management (to address questions about the site plans developed for six district buildings and playing fields). There will also be stations where participants can collect information and provide feedback, and additional district officials available for conversations.

While this meeting is called a "Town Hall," it will be deliberately decentralized, to allow for as much personal interaction as possible with those who are able to attend. And while this meeting will be located at Centennial -- one of the six schools under discussion -- it will not be exclusively *about* Centennial but will cover facilities throughout the district.

We hope you will drop by!


This summer will bring three ways for members of the public to provide feedback to the Board as we consider how to prioritize Unit 4's facility needs in order to craft a referendum for the November ballot. 
  1. Facilities website. Since January 2016, the current facilities planning process has been carefully documented on the Unit 4 website. Communications from members of the public have been posted here all along, and will continue to appear as we receive them. This option is not a new one, but still belongs on this list.
  2. Town hall meetings. See above -- the second and last Town Hall takes place on Thursday!
  3. Surveys. Starting this week, a sample of Unit 4 households will be contacted by Unicom ARC (or its survey partner) to participate in a 15-minute phone survey about Unit 4 facilities. At our June meeting, the Board allocated funds for this study, to see what we can learn from a representative sample of Unit 4 residents (as opposed to listening only to the most vocal or well-connected people). Once the phone survey has closed, there will then be an opportunity for any other interested residents to take the survey online -- with the knowledge that the information gathered online will supplement the data sample collected by the professionals.
Note that all three ways listed above include some kind of educational component. We want our fellow community members to understand as clearly as possible why the decisions made so far have been made, and to have access to the most up-to-date information. A knowledgeable public will give us the most helpful input, and in turn educate us on what clarifications we still need to provide. All of this input will help us prioritize projects in the district, so that we can be the best possible stewards of our tax dollars, our school buildings, and our children.


7/11/16 Board Meeting 6:00pm (tonight)

We meet in the Mellon Building, 703 S. New St. (next to South Side Elementary School) at 5:30pm, with the Open Session beginning closer to 6:00pm. Members of the public are welcome to observe, and to address the Board (for up to 3 minutes) during the designated public comment period. You can find the meeting agenda here. (Be sure to click on each agenda item to bring up additional information or description, including any attached documents.)

Agenda item 10B, "Facility Planning," will be a time for Board members to discuss (in open meeting) our current thinking on the facility planning process, but not a time for community participation in that discussion.