Surprise? Many worked together

Surprise? Many worked together

In its Nov. 18 editorial, The News-Gazette's editorial board regarded lopsided approval of the Champaign school district's $183 million bond referendum as "one of the biggest" surprises of Election Day.

The bond referendum's success did not surprise me, but The News-Gazette Editorial Board did with both (i) its opposition to the Unit 4 bond referendum and (ii) its post-election conclusion that passage of the school construction plan was a big surprise.

It is all about consensus building. A thoughtful school board, an interested group of citizens operating under the banner "Keep Central Central," an advisory committee composed of Champaign's finest, our local labor unions, the teachers and staff at Unit 4 (operating for many years in inadequate facilities) and residents interested in seeing Champaign-Urbana maintain its position as a leader in public education, all supported the bond referendum which led to its passage.

None of us want to pay higher property taxes, but Champaign's public school facilities have been inadequately funded for decades for a variety of reasons. Even the "new" high school (Centennial) in Champaign is over 50 years old.

When executives are considering locating their businesses in C-U and when new hires are evaluating offers to join the University of Illinois faculty, one of their first questions is "How are your local schools?"

There have always been good things happening inside Unit 4 classrooms, and soon we will be able to tell prospective newcomers that the schools in Champaign have entered the 21st century.