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D15 to Issue New Schedule Change Survey After Parent Response at Forum

During a District 15 public forum Saturday, more 150 people attended, and roughly 70 voiced opposition to proposed schedule changes for the upcoming school year, according to one parent.

District 15 administration decided during a more than two-and-a-half hour public forum Saturday, to issue a new survey after a considerable response from parents relating to proposed schedule changes for the 2013-2014 school year.

During the emtionally charged Community Communication Forum at Sundling Jr. High School, more than 150 people attended to either weigh in personally or learn more about proposed early or late starts for the next school year, that according to District 15 parent Lisa Szczupaj.

Around 70 people actually got up and spoke against options given to parents on a recent D15 survey. 

The schedule changes are meant to allow for more teacher development time. 

Superintendent Scott Thompson started off the forum, Szczupaj said, by explaining the details behind the late start/early release concept.

A number of parents, according to Szczupaj, questioned the validity of the survey, and interrupted Thompson as he spoke. 

Thompson also explained that re-negotiating the verbiage of the contract with the Classroom Teachers Council (CTC), relating to what schedule changes would be made, could jeopardize negotiated savings expected to help the school district become more financially solvent in the future.

Results of the online survey also were provided in the presentation, according to Szczupaj.

They included 1,638 responses broken down (in order of popularity) as follows:

  • 502 voted for a late start on Mondays
  • 455 voted for an early release on Wednesdays
  • 348 voted for an early release on Mondays
  • 333 voted for a late start on Wednesdays

In addition to the District 15 survey votes, comments on those surveys from 205 people indicated they wanted to have Friday early release as an option, but it was not given as a choice in the D15 survey.

In his comments, Thompson did state for a second time, that an early release Friday would not be the optimal time to provide training and development for teachers, according to negotiations between the district and the CTC.

Also in the survey, 79 people said they do not prefer late starts, no matter what day of the week and 113 stated childcare issues relating to late starts would be a major obstacle for their families. 

As far as the options available to parents, 184 said none included on the survey were agreeable to them.

A caveat of the negotiated terms between District 15 and the CTC was that if there was an ‘overwhelming response’ from parents against proposed schedule changes, revisions to it would be considered.

“I asked District 15 administration at the forum, what would quantify an overwhelming response?” Szczupaj said.

Szczupaj said she was told by Thompson he did not know, and that it would have to be definted by the CTC. There was no representation from the CTC at the forum Saturday.

Szczupaj has led the charge over the last month in opposition of schedule change options provided by the district through a Change.org petition.

The petition requests a Friday early release option be entertained by the school district (not included on the District 15 survey presently), which has already garnered 795 signatures online as of this writing, and 340 more hard copy signatures totaling 1,135 signatures in all, she said.

. Only Peggy Babcock didn’t make it, due to family medical reasons.

Another request from a parent included creating a community forum made up of parents to help represent parent and children in the conversation. Sczcupaj said no decisions by District 15 for or against the idea were made at the forum.

The new survey will include a question first asking if parents prefer an early or late start, and then go on to ask what days of the week would best suit family schedules, Szczupaj said. 

Thompson also said he was committed to getting the survey out to more parents than the previous survey. Complaints about the online survey have included that families who do not have internet access are not being counted in the survey, because they are unaware of it.  

No timelines were given on when the new survey would be available, but Thompson said it is the district’s best interest to move the process along quickly.

As a whole, Szczupaj said parents were very happy by the end of the meeting.

“All indications were that [District 15] heard our concerns, and we have some level of input," Szczupaj said.  

J R January 28, 2013 at 02:58 PM
I am happy that the school board members who were not planned to attend decided to do their jobs and attend the meeting. I definitely would have worked to vote them out at the next election. I'm sorry that Peggy Babcock couldn't make it due to the family medical issue. I also would like to know WHY Friday is not a good time for the teachers to do their development work. Maybe they have a good explanation. Too bad they didn't bother to show up to the meeting to explain.
LS January 28, 2013 at 03:22 PM
I would like to thank Manjula Sriram and Gerard Iannuzzelli for scheduling and administering the Community Communication Forum on Saturday. Amongst so much conversation in regard to governmental transparency, this forum and their openness to publicly converse on our concerns was a very real example of transparency in action. I would also like to say that I have truly appreciated the quickness of response from Mrs. Sriram in regard to these concerns. Within 5 minutes of my first email to the Board of Education and Superintendent's Office on December 21st, my phone was ringing with a call from Mrs. Sriram to discuss my concerns and a commitment to ensure the community would have a forum for discussion. A few days following, I was informed by her of the decision to hold the Communication Forum that occurred over the weekend. Kudos to Mrs. Sriram and Mr. Iannuzzelli in standing behind their promise to ensure transparency between our community and our Board of Education. As stated at the end of the meeting by Scott Lindstrom, this communication would not have happened 5 years ago.
Matt January 28, 2013 at 03:54 PM
Kudos to you LS!
G January 28, 2013 at 04:30 PM
Nice job! Lisa do you know if the new survey is going to include a paper version so that families who don't have internet access will be able to complete it? In English and Spanish? If there are 18,000 families in the district, the response is not representative of the population. There are a lot of families who don't have computer access and there are language barriers to consider as well. It's only fair that they consider ALL of the taxpayers contributing to the district when they solicit opinions. Thanks so much for representing the interests of the people.
Linda Trost January 28, 2013 at 05:16 PM
Let's keep the FRIDAY petition going! Pretty sneaky that option was NOT included in the survey. They assume everyone has a computer and/or even KNEW (not all contacted) about the proposed changes? We need to seriously consider the repercussions outsourcing bussing would have also on families and children. We must be activists for our children and families' sake.
Jacek January 28, 2013 at 05:18 PM
Remember that surveys are not free. If they're gonna send out paper surveys to everybody, the cost is gonna run into thousands of dollars. A lot of people are not going to bother to reply to them.
Jacek January 28, 2013 at 05:27 PM
Friday is off the table. I can understand why. The teachers will not pay attention to what's being taught to them on Friday afternoons.
Catherine January 28, 2013 at 05:45 PM
Jacek, "Friday is off the table. I can understand why. The teachers will not pay attention to what's being taught to them on Friday afternoons." If the teachers can't pay attention to new information on a Friday afternoon, HOW do you expect our children to pay attention at that time?! I truly hope you are being sarcastic.
LS January 28, 2013 at 05:49 PM
Petition hyperlink https://www.change.org/petitions/ccsd15-school-board-early-release-friday-consistent-daily-start-time#
LS January 28, 2013 at 06:14 PM
This was discussed at the meeting. It will be up to Superintendent Thompson to make the final decision. It was widely indicated from the floor that the parents feel the reach for the next survey must be significantly more broad. Paper surveys and translations would help us get there.
Chicago Food Guy January 28, 2013 at 06:45 PM
Sarcastic or not, there is quite a bit of truth to what he is saying. Fridays are not good because everyone wants to go home and relax...remember this is about what the teachers want, who cares about the parents or school kids. I have been against this so-called 'teacher development' time at the expense of parents and the kids. The program in question is very intrusive on our lives outside of the classroom. Who's going to pay for the doughnuts and coffee during this training? That's right, the teachers will pay with their tax driven highly inflated salaries.
Jacek January 28, 2013 at 07:52 PM
It doesn't look good for Fridays. Several neighboring districts (with Schaumburg 54 one of the biggest) implement early Mondays or Wednesdays, however one district had them only once a month. http://campanelli.sd54.org/hours/ http://www.barrington220.org/domain/920 http://brentwood.ccsd59.org/ (once a month only!) http://www.winnetka36.org/greeley
Jacek January 28, 2013 at 08:36 PM
Now I get it. They're going for the Finnish Miracle. "Teachers only spend 4 hours a day in the classroom, and take 2 hours a week for 'professional development.'" http://www.businessinsider.com/finlands-education-system-best-in-world-2012-11?op=1
G January 28, 2013 at 09:04 PM
I have a friend who is a Glenview teacher. Her development time is evenings and weekends, and she spends EVERY SUNDAY AFTERNOON at her school. It is part of the job and she doesn't complain about it. Jacek - Lisa is the one who helped get the Friday release option on the table. The BS excuse about "too tired" waah waah waah is ridiculous and they know it. Friday early release is within their contract parameters and is better for ALL involved.
Jacek January 28, 2013 at 09:44 PM
Glenview District 34 is not doing well financially, so perhaps the local teachers' union is less demanding. http://glenview.suntimes.com/news/17658791-418/district-34-reviews-budget-cuts-vows-to-revisit-impact.html
Linda Trost January 28, 2013 at 10:31 PM
Re. Jacek's comment: "Friday is off the table. I can understand why. The teachers will not pay attention to what's being taught to them on Friday afternoons." I was a teacher many years and if the parents and students had a need other than the "regular" school hours, you better believe I would think about Friday very seriously. It's part of the job to compromise and get a paycheck to boot in a very difficult economy. Teachers expect our students to "pay attention to their teaching no matter what time during the day. They are educated adult teachers and can do the same.
Susan E. Gould January 31, 2013 at 02:17 PM
Jacek - For those districts you listed, when you say "early" do you mean early release at the end of the day? I know District 54 has an early release on Wednesdays. Keep in mind District 15 proposed a LATE START on Wednesday morning. At the forum, most people were very against a late start because of the disruption to students' and families schedules, and the loss of productive learning time. I have not yet found an elementary school district that has a late start one day per week.
Jacek January 31, 2013 at 05:00 PM
Yes, early release from school on Monday or Wednesday afternoons. None that I found had a late start in the morning.
Heather Briggs January 31, 2013 at 07:04 PM
This seems like a lose lose situation. Teachers are pulled out of classrooms frequently now to have these meetings and the classroom time is interrupted in those absences.... but adjusting an entire week's worth of scholastics to accommodate only one side of this debate is disruptive too.... Never mind the expense and hardship to families that cannot adjust their routines for a variety of reasons. Communication has been horrible. I believe that is most frustrating- they knew this was coming last year but didn't inform the families of the impending changes. Our taxes are high and now we are expected to pay out more for childcare and just figure it out if this doesn't suit us.... Priorities need to be straightened out. I was on task when I taught in the classroom form first to last bell. If I expect my kids to be attentive from 8:50-3:20 adults need to be accountable too.
Neal January 31, 2013 at 08:09 PM
Heather, I couldn't have said it better myself, why didn't we hear about it when the decision to change the work day was originally brought up? Now it's too late because they are uber committed..
Andrew L. February 01, 2013 at 11:52 PM
I agree with you. Can't the teaches attend the meetings during the summer holidays when all the normal parents are working?
Linda Trost February 02, 2013 at 01:09 AM
I agree totally with you, Heather. We should NOT be expected to pay for childcare either. This is covenience for the staff, but hardly for "we the people," whom they work for.
gjnbln February 02, 2013 at 02:50 PM
why is noone talking about all of the junior high after school activities that would be cancelled for the day if there was an early release? do i have this wrong? my kid does tons of after school activites which are teacher supervised, and if they are in meetings, then there would be no activites, correct? sports, clubs, cheering, talent shows, dances, homework clubs.....many good activites that keep kids occupied are right after school....and yes, they are run by the teachers.
LS February 02, 2013 at 05:37 PM
We have been and are talking about the effect on junior high after school activities. That is the reason the Friday Early Release works best. We were told early on by the Superintendent's Office that Friday is a day that teacher run after school activities are not scheduled. Therefore, Early Release on Friday is best for junior high.

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