CHAMPAIGN — If you use Twitter and have questions for the Champaign school district, take note.
The school district is hosting the first in a series of chats on Twitter from 2-4 p.m. Friday, Feb. 15.
To participate, follow the school district at http://www.twitter.com/unit4schools, and use the hashtag #AskUnit4 in your tweets to the school district.
You can see the chat by logging into Twitter and searching for #AskUnit4.
The first hour will be dedicated to answering questions about various options for what to do with the school's aging facilities, and in the second hour, those participating can ask questions about facilities and the school district in general.
The chat will be after the school district's Feb. 12 Community Dialogue, at which options for what to do with the school district's older buildings will be unveiled. (The community meetings are scheduled for 3-5 p.m. and 6-8 p.m. at the I Hotel and Conference Center in Champaign.)
By the day of the Twitter chat, the options will be posted at futurefacilities.champaignschools.org, Champaign schools spokeswoman Stephanie Stuart said.
Stuart said the idea came from Carly McCrory, communications director at the Champaign County Economic Development Corp.
The Champaign school district has focused this year on what to do with its aging facilities and has been working with community organizations, Stuart said.
McCrory suggested a Twitter chat, and the school district decided to create a series of such chats, "as just another way to have an open dialogue with the community," Stuart said.
Stuart said not everyone can attend school board meetings or other community events, or they might not feel comfortable there.
"Twitter is just another place we can be open with the community," Stuart said.
Stuart, McCrory and Superintendent Judy Wiegand will all be at Champaign's Mellon Administrative Center as they host the chat. On the phone, they'll have Scott Leopold from DeJong-Richter, the educational facilities planning firm the school district has been working with, to answer Twitter users' questions, Stuart said.
"We're hoping a lot of people take advantage of this opportunity to have that open dialogue with us," Stuart said. "It's important to (fulfill) the superintendent's goals and goals of the district."
McCrory said she participates in several Twitter chats each month on various topics and said Champaign County has a strong community of Twitter users.
She said she's been paying close attention to the school district's Future Facilities process and has seen local people talking about it on Twitter. She thinks the Twitter chats will provide the school district and local Twitter users an easy way to have a conversation.
"They'll be getting their questions answered very quickly," she said of people who will participate in the chat.
Chatting on Twitter is even easier than sending the school district an email, she said.
"A lot of people are checking (Twitter) throughout the entire day anyway, whether it's for personal use or for their job," McCrory said. "It's an easy outlet to get feedback or give feedback."
If anyone has questions about the Twitter chat, or the best apps to use to participate, McCrory said they can call herself or Stuart.
You can reach Stuart at 531-0252 and McCrory at 359-6261. You can find the Champaign County Economic Development Corp. on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/CHCEDC.