CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — Board members voted to move forward with a plan that will modify its current schools of choice process. The decision has been getting mixed reviews from the public. Some people say they’re all for it. Others wish the community had more of a voice in some last-minute changes.
“I want us to stop reducing each other to numbers and start thinking about what this does to the whole community landscape,” said Cynthia Bruno, a Champaign parent.
A major shift to the educational landscape in champaign is officially in the works. The board of education voted to move forward on a decision that’s been dividing the community for months. They say they chose the path of least disruption.
“The main focus is our children. The education and equity of our children. And I believe that’s what’s happening right now. I’m pleased,” Minnie Pearson, the president of the Champaign County NAACP.
The plan she’s pleased about was one of the last ones recommended by an outside consulting firm. It makes Garden Hills and IPA K through 8 schools. It gets rid of the balanced calendar and changes how students are funneled to middle schools. Bruno said she agrees with the plan that was picked, but not the process.
“There’s going to be a task force we heard last night that’s really charged with thinking about how do we implement all of this, but I would have liked to have seen that information before we had an ultimate vote,” said Bruno.
She said access to the statistics that played a part in making the decision could’ve helped to ease the public’s concerns. Pearson said the issues go beyond statistics. She said the benefits of the decision are more than what can be seen on paper.
“That is what’s most important providing an opportunity for all children not only to learn academically but to learn about each other,” said Pearson.
Board members said they will work with families who already planned around a balanced calendar year. And the board will start a committee to help families through the transition.