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Sunday, November 22, 2015

Agenda topics for November 24 meeting

Some of the topics we’ll be discussing at this Tuesday’s board meeting:

Superintendent discretionary leave. Info here. Our superintendent’s contract provides that he can take up to ten paid personal leave days each year for personal business, consulting, and other activities “that will contribute to the betterment of the district.” His use of these days must be mutually agreed upon between him and the board president. Do we need to change this practice going forward?

The Open Meetings Act. Info here. I believe we may have the board’s legal counsel present to take questions about it from the board.

The district’s facilities master plan. Info here.

ThoughtExchange. Info here. See this post for previous discussion.

“Administrator attrition.” We have recently had significant turnover in our central administrative positions, so I assume this topic is to discuss transition plans and the possibility of changes to our organizational structure that might be part of that process. Info here.

And more! The full agenda is here; chime in if anything attracts your attention.

14 comments:

Karen W said...

I was imagining that administrator attrition might be a discussion about why so many administrators have left or are leaving in the past few years. Maybe it's not an unusual amount of turnover.

The Hoover Rationale should make for interesting discussion. I'm not sure that any of this answers the question whether there is sufficient benefit to justify how much it is going to cost to replace the capacity lost when Hoover is closed. I guess it says that the capacity isn't needed, but if that's true why build Hoover East?

"If we could do it again, the City campus would be about double the current size." This comment suggests that the City campus will continue to be inadequate, even with the closure of Hoover, doesn't it? Assuming, of course, you believe the City campus is inadequate. I attended a high school with a campus of about 40 acres. Even though it has fewer athletic facilities on-site than other nearby schools, the school has no trouble filling seats.

Paul said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Paul said...

I would like to hear a discussion on using the current Hoover school as the swing school for Longfellow, Mann and Lincoln. This would open Hoover East as a full school in 2017.

Mary M said...

The superintendent's contract requires prior approval, not just mutual agreement, by the board president when a "salary, fee or honorarium is paid." I'd like to see discretionary leave eliminated; however, if not, there should be internal controls in place to monitor it and eliminate all conflicts of interest plus prior approval should be sought in an open meeting before the entire board. IMO, consulting for ERDI shouldn't be allowed. Thanks Chris.

Anonymous said...

interesting lists of "wants" Mary. Wonder how the board would go about accomplishing any of that given his contract runs for 3 years from July 2015 with the normal review and renewal period not coming until July 2016. What is the board willing to give up by way of contract language or $$ to renegotiate early or even when it's up come July?

Mary M said...

Anonymous, If the board continues to permit outside outside employment, the contract requires prior approval when pay is provided. And outside employment must contribute to the betterment of the district. And it is not supposed to interfere with the superintendent's district work. And the work schedule is to be based on the needs of the district. And how does all of this work with Fridays in the summer? And there are likely other avenues. The board has a fair amount of room here.

Anonymous said...

Interesting take on the provisions. As I read it, it only requires approval of the board president and even then how would one go about showing any given outside work didn't contribute or interfered. Guess that would fall to who would require to make either showing. Seems to not matter either way since the board president is the one that approves and Chris will continue to allow it - unless you see the board president being removed prior to September of 2016 when leadership positions are back up for s vote. By the way, not sure understand what you mean by "if the board continues to permit outside employment." Does the board have the ability to unilaterally change his contract?

Karen W said...

Buildings represent a huge investment. Easier to move attendance zones than to move buildings. Unless we just keep shifting modulars around from school to school.

Amy Charles said...

I love Anonymous' aggressive "interesting"s. Someone's pretty defensive of Steve's ability to keep on doing consulting work, regardless of problems in appearance or fact.

Sure hope Anonymous keeps talking.

Anonymous said...

"Blogger Paul said...
I would like to hear a discussion on using the current Hoover school as the swing school for Longfellow, Mann and Lincoln. This would open Hoover East as a full school in 2017.

November 22, 2015 at 5:41 PM"

Is Paul suggesting a change to the FMP? NuHoover is required as a swing school for Longfellow, Lincoln, and Mann. One of the major reasons for doing this is because the additional excess capacity provided by the new school is NOT needed until 2019. Also, the Board was very clear in the discussions about Hoover that any major change in the FMP would be disastrous. Any change to the FMP to open up elementary capacity should address where elementary capacity is actually needed.

Anonymous said...

Paul - The plan is to open NewHoover in 2017 as a swing school for Lincoln, Mann, and Longfellow for 2017-2019. If you are saying NewHoover is not needed as a swing school because OldHoover has space, why are we building NewHoover to open in 2017? If the capacity is not needed in 2017, this is a huge drain on the operations budget and it will lead to even larger class sizes across the district. Perhaps, then, bringing back an addition at a smaller downtown elementary school would make more financial sense for 2017 and/or adding capacity where it is needed elsewhere.

The public and the board said that not altering the FMP was critical to the success of the upcoming bond vote. This would represent a major change in the FMP since it would add capacity when and where it is not needed and, as a result, increase class sizes.

Your suggestion seems to contradict much of what people are saying, what the numbers indicate, and what the district is trying to accomplish.

Amy Charles said...

So about this magnet school thing -

The flyer's put out by something calling itself "Magnet.edu", which has a K Street address. The regional contact for the midwest is a former Chicago Public Schools principal who's now at a Catholic school, and I'm looking for stuff about her and the other people mentioned at the baloney magnet-school website. Who was the bright spark who brought this outfit in here? Could we get a name, please?

Paul said...

I was saying use old Hoover as the swing school. It's just swapping the two schools not whatever you are suggesting.
A smaller downtown school doesn't really make sense either. We are trying to make the schools as equitable as possible and I can't see that anywhere downtown. Plus the cost to acquire land downtown would be huge.
I'm perfectly fine with the FMP as is, including closing Hoover. I'm just getting a little tired of how much the closure is being drawn out and we will have to hear about it through a third election. Time to move forward I say.

Anonymous said...

Paul - Moving forward and not changing the FMP are clearly very important to the Board. You are suggesting changing the FMP. The Board stated they would only do that in response to a major change in something like enrollment or finances.

Maybe enrollment has changed? I'm trying to understand your suggestion, that Hoover has space to be a swing school. NewHoover is being built in 2017 to provide space as a swing school. If OldHoover has space to be a swing school, as you suggest, then NewHoover doesn't need to be built to open in 2017. That is a change.

Instead, bringing back an addition at one of the downtown schools, as was noted on the original FMP, might make sense as an alternative. Additional land is not needed. The goal of those additions was to make the schools a more equitable size. The goal is to have fewer small schools to decrease costs overall. A bigger elementary is less expensive to operate than a smaller one. Other schools in the district still have kids in modulars. We could look at addressing that first if Hoover has room as a swing school.

The closure is not being drawn out. It's on the FMP to close in 2019 which was just upheld by the Board. One of the key arguments from the Board and supporters of closing Hoover was to "stay the course" on the FMP. What you are now suggesting, just a few days after the board upheld the FMP, is changing the FMP to open NewHoover early and accelerate the closure of Hoover as a regular school. This is not staying the course and it is certainly not supported by enrollment numbers.