Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Suggested itinerary should you find yourself in Washington DC, the week of June 12 - 17 without one after completing a couple of meet and greets

DC Jazz Festival
June 1-13, 2011. Enjoy more than 100 jazz performances at concert venues and clubs throughout Washington, DC.

La Dolce DC
Through July 31, 2011. Washington, DC will celebrate all things Italian this spring a citywide festival that coincides with the 150th anniversary of the unification of Italy. The event showcases Italian culture through architecture, art, dance, design, fashion, music, theatre, film, food and wine.

The Source Theater Festival
June 10–July 3, 2011. Source Theatre, 1835 14th Street, NW Washington, DC. See new works in theater, dance, music, visual art, film, puppetry, spoken word, poetry and hip-hop. Performances include eighteen 10-Minute Plays, four one act plays, eight “Mash-Ups,” Project 24/7, three staged readings and a one-of-a-kind opening night event.

U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club
June 13-19, 2011. The U.S. Open, which was first conducted in 1895, is one of 13 national championships conducted annually by the United States Golf Association. Apparently this is sold out - perhaps the good Congressman Schock could get you in.

Should you find yourself near or on the National Mall you must visit Jefferson Pier the Lincoln Memorial, the National World War II Memorial at the east end of the Reflecting Pool, the Korean War Veterans Memorial, and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial

Located directly south of the mall, is the Tidal Basin featuring rows of Japanese cherry blossom trees that were presented as gifts from the nation of Japan. The Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial, George Mason Memorial, Jefferson Memorial, and the District of Columbia War Memorial are located around the Tidal Basin.

When you get to the Smithsonian Institution go directly to the Sackler and Freer galleries, which both focus on Asian art and culture; but make sure you save time to spend hours in the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden.

The National Gallery of Art is located on the National Mall near the Capitol, but is not a part of the Smithsonian Institution. The East Building of the National Gallery of Art houses the modern art collection. Allow yourself plenty of time to just roam.

D150 Board split on D.C. trip
Two Peoria District 150 School Board members and the superintendent will travel next month to Washington, D.C.

But approval for travel to the nation's capital, when the school district will again finish out the year in the red and is looking ahead to yet further cuts next year, only narrowly gained support Monday night. Afterward, one board member said the $7,500 cost out of the Education Fund "comes on the backs of students."
The vote was 4-3.

Board President Debbie Wolfmeyer and board Vice President Linda Butler will travel to Washington, D.C., between June 12 and June 17. Superintendent Grenita Lathan will go from June 12 to June 16.

There was no discussion or comment during the meeting regarding the travel and nearly split vote.

"It's an opportunity to meet with legislators and hopefully Department of Education personnel to voice concerns we have and also to get information from them on the future of what's going to happen with schools," Wolfmeyer said after the board meeting.

Wolfmeyer said there currently is no itinerary.

The trip is being sponsored by U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock, R-Peoria. The entire School Board was invited, in addition to area union leaders, business leaders and heads of social service agencies.

Dissenting votes were cast by Jim Stowell, Laura Petelle and Martha Ross. Approving the measure were Wolfmeyer, Butler and board members Chris Crawford and M. Lynne Costic.

Petelle said she would have liked more discussion on the matter.

"What I hope to get is some information on where the government is headed with helping school districts - it's also an opportunity in small group settings ... to share some concerns we have in our district," Wolfmeyer said, adding that she believed having more of the district's leadership represented could be beneficial.

But the approved travel also comes less than one month before the School Board will hold its annual reorganization meeting, which could mean a change in leadership on the board.

Two School Board members, Ross and Costic, traveled to the National School Board Association's national conference in San Francisco in April. The cost of that trip was unknown Monday night.


Emerge Peoria said...

If you just so happen to be on a "public servants" salary or dime, the good news is many of the suggested venues are FREE.

Stowell's sensibility will be missed.

Sharon Crews said...

Consider the paragraph below from Elaine Hopkins's PeoriaStory.com blog. LaToy Kennedy has already been to Washington, D.C., to learn about school reform. How many 150 administrators or board members need to go on trips to Washington, D.C., especially this one at the behest of Republican Aaron Schock, who has not yet planned an agenda. How many important people (besides himself) will he be able to round up in just three weeks to visit with Peoria people? Don't you think Arne Duncan already has a schedule planned well in advance of June 12?

Emerge, you are right. We sat in the audience last night speculating why Jim pulled the travel request and to what he was objecting? Why in the world can't those in attendance in board members be allowed to know the specifics about what is up for a vote--especially, when the item costs money? I did guess correctly that the three (Wolfmeyer, Butler, and Lathan) must be going somewhere since one June board meeting had to be cancelled since they would be absent.

Emerge, you are, also, right--frequently when administrators or teachers get to go on these junkets, they often spend their time shopping or sightseeing on the public's dime.

From PeoriaStory.com
Start with the travel of school administrators over the past school year, as released, under a Freedom of Information Act request. The documents show that while the district claims to be short on money, as it lays off teachers and other school personnel, taxpayers in the district have paid almost $9,400 for two administrators, Supt Grenita Lathan and chief curriculum officer LaToy Kennedy, to attend conferences this year.

Sharon Crews said...

Someone on PJS blog just asked a good question. Why would Wolfmeyer and Butler be allowed to vote on their own travel requests?

Anonymous said...

They should not have voted. They should have abstained because it involved monies being spent on THEM. Only Dr. Lathan should be going. I know very well that this is going to be a "fun" trip on the taxpayers dime, just like the trip Ross and Costic just got back from in San Francisco....do they really need to go to the National School Board Conference? Costic has never even been to the state conference. Why is this district continuing to send people on free vacations? That is exactly what is going on.

Anonymous said...

Let's not forget that the district paid for SEVEN people to go to CHINA....Mary Spangler being one of them....can you say BEND OVER taxpayer, this won't hurt a bit....PLEASE. To what benefit was that trip to China other than a free sight seeing trip.

Anonymous said...

the only trip they should be taking is down Western hill, right on Howett, left on Griswold

General Parker said...

I think this should be brought back. I don't think they can vote on an item in wi=hich they will benefit from. This could even be illegal what they did. It should have only been five members voting on that.

Anonymous said...

If not illegal......definitely unethical.....but then again thats NO surprise. Ignorance as an excuse has worn out its welcome.

Sharon Crews said...

It's probably be too late--they'll be back before the next board meeting, ironically delayed because of the trip.

Anonymous said...

Tip of the iceberg.

Anonymous said...

Amazing how much time the super Super spends outside the office, makes you wonder who is handling all of the paperwork.

Sharon Crews said...

Has anyone heard if the following rumors are true? That Mark Bills (with only 200 kids) and Charter Oak will both have full-time librarians while Whittier and Calvin Coolidge will share a librarian--each with a librarian for 1-2 days a week. I haven't heard about the possible plans for librarians at other schools.
Am I the only one who feels that consistency and fairness should be followed? Of course, someone did offer the observation that Lathan's child goes to Charter Oak.

Anonymous said...

Haney's sympathic article today based on rumor with teachers' negotiations further proves his close relationship with former teacher/principal Dave Kinney. Teachers' should be wary of any promises made by this administration which has repeatedly treated them as second class citizens. Cabinet staff are dismissed, marginalized, kept vulnerable, principals shuffled like cards- why would teachers be treated any better?

The district's lack of a coherent pd plan for the year (other than Thinking Maps which a normal person could learn in 15 minutes versus fly in pd by friends for days) has been riddled with problems of payment for teachers, lacked organization and clarity. Having a longer day without focus or a plan is simply a longer day to do worksheets. Its the time spent with children which is critical- not the amount of time.

Nothing this administration has done is more than window dressing- moving principals, lofty talk about basics such as literacy by 3rd grade, growing lawsuits, favoritism for NC key individuals who make 6 figure sums and sponsored to travel the world while teachers are heckled by that very person regarding an extra hour of pay for pd. WAKE UP and start asking where is the beef instead of an hour of songs at board meetings and junkets for girl friends to go shopping.

The combined damage of the lawsuits, fuzzy spending, the stream of interims/vacant positions, the placing of key folks for the vulnerability versus expertise, the firing of cabinet members, the patronage of placing principals, the shifting of teaches at the last minute will be a long term bill for a district with a leader who has plans on being here a short time.

This town deserves better.

Anonymous said...

Some of Whittier and Coleridge students live in West Peoria which is not serviced by Peoria Public Libraries. They have no way of checking out books. If really interested in supporting childhood literacy, these schools would be a top priority from a library standpoint. But, it would take a local knowledge of the city to help with this.....

Parent/taxpayer said...

Note that the first "complaint" by anon above is "riddled with problems of payment for teachers". Nothing like exposing one's self-interst - probably sole interest. Go work somewhere else if you don't like it - simple enough teach?

Peoria Anti-Pundit said...

Where were you people when I blogged on two of them going out to California on the public dime????????

Ross was one of them and they charged the District for their trip and their lunch and dinners.

Sharon Crews said...

I definitely missed it anti-Pundit. I had FOIAd all travel requests through March--these were April trips. I haven't heard the amount yet.

Anonymous said...

I would just like to know why Lynn Costic, who has been on the board for less than 3 months, would need to go the National School Board Convention in San Francisco when she hasn't even been to new school board member training in Springfield. My guess, a vacation paid for by the tax payers....Martha Ross is "famous" for going on every trip she can finagle out of the district....she has done it for YEARS. Guess since she doesn't get a "pay check" for being on the board, she's determined to get "something" out of the district. I hope someone asks the two of them at the next board meeting what exactly they "learned" from the conference and will they being doing an "inservice" for the rest of the boe like all teachers have to do when they go to conferences.

Sharon Crews said...

When I asked for Travel Requests in a FOIA, I, also, asked for the reports each traveler wrote about the conferences, etc., they attended. I received some reports but none from Lathan or Kennedy. My request went through March, so it didn't include Ross and Costic's trip to San Francisco.

Anonymous said...

Mrs. Ross said she has a powerpoint presentation to share with everyone all she learned in
California. Right. If it isn't a CD she bought with a canned presentation - it ain't happenin.

Peoria Anti-Pundit said...

Anon: According to Stowell, the District already owns that "canned" CD presentation which is why he objected to the trip to California in the first place. They could have saved money and watched the whole thing here.

Anonymous said...

Again, vacationing with taxpayer dollars. If the BoE had to abide by the same BS shoveled down the teacher's throats, I guarantee they would NOT be taking trips and calling them CONFERENCES...Martha has been on the board long enough to know what goes on at board conferences.....it's a shmooze fest at best.

Peoria Anti-Pundit said...

Ross is the biggest pig at the trough.