RLA D116 Board Approves Restructuring Plan

RLA School Board chooses option that does not uproot students

As I mentioned in an earlier post, the Round Lake Area School District 116 was able to add an additional option to their restructuring choices which would mean that no staff or students would be displaced to other locations. The Board had several options to choose from including the following:
1) State takeover
2) Reopen as charter schools
3) Contract with an outside entity
4) Replace all or most of the staff
5) Major restructuring of the schools’ governance

At tonight’s meeting the administration narrowed the choice down to two of the above: Grade level centers (similar to charter setups) or School Governance which meant “no movement” of teachers or students. After another long Power Point presentation by Superintendent Dr. Constance Collins and Asst Superintendent Veronica Lake, in which they made the parents squint at about 1/4 of the available screen, parents were allowed time to speak.

I'm not sure why they made us all squint to try to read the display tonight. Usually it takes up over 3/4 of the screen.
I’m not sure why they made us all squint to try to read the display tonight. Usually it takes up over 3/4 of the screen.

It would appear that Board members had already made up their minds even before tonight’s meeting since there was no discussion on the motion to accept “School Governance” after the motion was made and seconded. Instead, several acted rather apologetic prior to their “yes” votes by going into lengthy “Thank-Yous” to those in attendance and encouraging them to continue to attend meetings. The time for that would have been immediately after the Public Comment portion of the meeting, not during a vote that was on the table. The Board accepted the recommendation of the panel with only one member being opposed. The restructuring using the School Governance will not come without a major cost. New books totalling between $500,000 to $750,000 will be necessary just for starters. Additional staff for collaboration (someone else telling them what they should be doing in the first place) will cost approximately $429,000 plus software and equipment for this additional staff totalling $55,000. They talked a little bit about data warehousing where students entire school records would be stored so an overview of their progress could easily be seen at a cost of $40,000. Dr. Collins mentioned during her portion of the presentation that no new books had been purchased in a number of years.

One of the parents stated that there was no accountability in the recommended plan. The school can go down this path and if it doesn’t get the expected results, then we all go down another path with the same people in charge. Others also spoke up which will be in the 2 hour long video.

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5 Comments

  • Nanci Radford

    Again, to clarify…
    The BOE received our copy of the Restructuring Plan in our regular board packets. Each board member independently reviewed the recommendation and brought our thoughts and questions to the meeting. The decision was NOT made prior to the motion and none of the board members knew how the others were voting. All materials we had for review were the same materials provided to the community. We reviewed the materials, listened to public comment and voted, as we always do, on what we believe is the best for our kids. I also believe the best time for the board to present our thoughts was during the discussion of the motion and I DO sincerely thank EVERYONE who took the time to share their thoughts and concerns regarding the restructuring issue; and I DO hope they will all continue to have a presence as we move forward in implementing the restructuring plan because our kids deserve the best!

  • by Gene Carey

    I guess that we differ on what is procedure when a motion is on the table that has been seconded. Out of all the committees that I have served on in other fields, I can’t recall a single time that the members of the committee spoke out to the audience and thanked them for their participation. That’s not what Roberts Rules of Order says is the procedure either.

    Nanci, if you stop by again to read comments here, maybe you could tell us why they didn’t utilize more of the screen for the presentation. It was good to hear both Dr. Collins and Veronica ad-lib more rather than read the words on the screen for us. Maybe that was the idea (for us to listen rather than read). I was still glad that I had printed out a copy and brought it along since I was quite a ways away from the screen and could follow along better with it in hand.

    I’m not sure why some of the public comments got cut out when the three videos segments were stitched together prior to uploading. I had lightened the last section but I’m sure there were parents speaking during the second segment I recorded. I’ll look for them and maybe post a short video of the missing piece. I prefer to not edit a meeting so that it doesn’t look as though I cut sections out purposely.

  • Jackie

    One of the parents mentioned there was going to be a meeting on Feb 12 at Village. Can someone confirm this date? I didn’t find this on the site of Dist 116. Thanks

    • by Gene Carey

      Jackie ~ You wrote “meeting on Feb 12 at Village” that was mentioned by a parent. I’m not sure what you mean by Village versus at the school. I do know that they changed the Community meeting from Feb 13th to Feb 11 at the HS theater since the 13th is Ash Wednesday.

      When I stitched the three segments of the meeting together I had lightened the portions of the public comments but for some reason it removed a small portion of the second segment instead of lightening it. I still have the raw footage (over 15GB) that may include the parents comment you refer to. I will take a few minutes to review it and see if I can come back with a response to what was said at the meeting. Also, I had tried stitching the three segments together overnight but the process failed as it did again today. The little device I plug the memory card into loses connection after several hours so I probably need to buy a more expensive one.

      • by Gene Carey

        I looked over the raw footage of the last portion of segment two which only had two speakers standing at the podium during the public comments session. Neither said anything about a meeting on the 13th at the village. You may find what you are looking for in the last 34 minutes of the video I posted which shows the balance of the public comments section as well as the final discussion and vote.

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