Lencioni defends parking lot petition drive for D303 Move Forward
Blue Goose Market President and CEO Paul Lencioni said he wants to help people raise their voice.
In doing so, Lencioni, who was recently elected to the St. Charles City Council, has put himself in the discussion that continues to swirl around the St. Charles School Board's decision to hire a company to help promote diversity and equity.
Lencioni gave permission for the group D303 Move Forward to gather signatures in the Blue Goose parking lot on Tuesday on a petition calling for the School Board to halt funding to the firm Deep Equity. St. Charles District 303 school board members in March voted 4-3 to approve a $119,026 contract with Deep Equity, which will provide professional learning to staff on diversity, equity and inclusion.
"I'm always going to help raise their voice," Lencioni says in a video on Blue Goose Market's Facebook page. "Blue Goose is always going to support people who want to have a more robust conversation."
In the video, Lencioni also implores community members to listen to each other.
"I want to encourage you to always have the courage to listen to somebody on the other side, to help people have a voice," he said. "Whatever your perspective is, if you want to raise a conversation, I'm going to be helpful."
Those for and against Lencioni's decision are making their views known on Blue Goose's Facebook page. Board members will renew discussion about Deep Equity at Monday's school board meeting.
At the May 10 school board meeting, board member Ed McNally proposed the board terminate a contract with Deep Equity.
McNally voted against the contract along with board member Heidi Fairgrieve and newly seated board member Joseph Lackner. McNally said he preferred the district first look at its needs in house "as opposed to using a group like Deep Equity that's expensive and it's an outside group that doesn't know our community."
"I don't think there is anybody in this room who doesn't want equity, the equitable treatment for all," McNally said. "It's a matter of how to get there."
Two of the goals of the district's partnership with Deep Equity are to ensure all students achieve at high levels and to eliminate educational barriers and disparities.
At the May 10 meeting, board member Carolyn Waibel shared with the board a quote from a student about the issue and reiterated her support for Deep Equity.
"As board members, you have a civic duty to uphold the highest priority to provide a sufficient and satisfactory education for all students, regardless of status or ethnic values," Waibel said, quoting the student. "The board wonders why students keep transferring out of this community. It's because we don't implement programs like this."
"That is a powerful statement coming from one of our students," Waibel said. "I think it's really important to go forward with Deep Equity."