Please comment on individual “walkingshed” maps from the social capital inventory section of the report.
Residents of Champaign and Savoy are diverse and each individual family has unique needs and preferences for the future of the local high schools. The Social Impact Analysis of the Central High School Relocation Study examines some of the social dimensions of high school locations. Census data from 2000 and 2010 was used to outline demographic characteristics of the district. “Walkingshed” maps displaying population and area amenities attempted to show geographical differences in social capital. Interviews with approximately 30 individuals were used to characterize stakeholder perceptions.
Information from the Social Impact Analysis can help stakeholders weigh the merits and deficiencies of particular sites. National trends in school siting have changed several times in the past and ultimately no outside authority can mandate the best course of action for the Unit 4 community. As the discussion among the school board, parents, school staff, and the wider community continues, these pros and cons of proximity to population, connection to social networks, and stakeholder viewpoints should be discussed.
- Population is currently most dense in the central part of the district, but growth is mostly occurring near the edges of the urbanized area.
- Racial and ethnic groups are currently somewhat stratified, as are incomes, thus the locations of the high schools may benefit some residents more than others. A school located in the south or southwest part of the district might disproportionately impact lower income or minority families due to transportation burdens.
- A school located in the core of the district would have direct access to more community resources and a larger resident social network. An edge school has the potential for access to significant social resources in the future but some sites have limiting land use constraints.
- The most common subjects of discussion among interviewees were facilities for athletics and other extracurricular activities, differences in location and accessibility, the need for significant building and facility improvements, and prioritizing educational programming.
- Other interview themes included equity, sustainability, history and tradition, planning for the future, the urgency of problems, and the decision-making process.
- Each individual has her or his own priorities, many of which are in direct conflict with the priorities of other constituents. An analysis of the interviews does not produce a clear consensus of opinion, thus significant negotiations and compromises may be necessary in order to come up with a solution that is satisfactory for most people.
- More public engagement would help the District quantify the strength of opinion about particular aspects of the future school.