D65 weighs plans for budget reductions

While they don’t like to think about it, the administration and board of the Evanston/Skokie School District 65 are already making plans for budget reductions in the event that its $14.5 million operating referendum should be rejected by the voters next month.

Superintendent Paul Goren this week unveiled possible reductions of $5.1 million in the budget for the next school year and an additional $3.7 million for the year after.

Goren emphasized that the proposed cuts would be rescinded if the referendum is approved by the voters in the April 4 election.

The reductions for next year would involve pink slips to about 30 teachers and 10 support staff that are school-based, plus an additional nine positions in central administration and operations.

The effect would be to eliminate the band and orchestra program for fourth and fifth graders, class size increases for middle school arts classes, reductions in the industrial arts program, assistant principals, coaches, aides in the two-way immersion program for English and Spanish learners, as well as modest class size increases in academic subjects as well as increases in class sizes of middle school physical education.

Overall, the school-based budget would be cut by $3.9 million, including personnel savings of $3.2 million and non-personnel savings of $700,000, which includes $550,000 by continuing to delay purchase of new science curriculum materials.

The budget for central administration and operations would include personnel cuts of $470,000 and non-personnel reductions of $740,000 that includes cuts in consulting and staff training, offset by increased fees and fee collection. The overall reduction in this category would amount to $1.2 million.

Looking ahead to the following school year (2018-2019), reductions would amount to about $3.7 million that could include further class size increases, eliminating geometry for middle school students at Evanston Township High School, perhaps closing one or more schools, and reducing transportation services to the minimum that is legally required.

A public hearing on the proposed cuts is scheduled for Monday, March 20, before the board votes on the administration's proposal.

Details of the budget proposals are available on the district’s website.

 

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Comments

If you believe that voting

If you believe that voting against this referendum will lead directly to action focused on retirement benefits & administrative consolidation you are mistaken. Your "no" vote leads to a lower quality education for our kids- it's all laid out right here. Please don't sacrifice our kids in an attempt to punish school administration. Please remember that kids are the future revenue generators who will make financial decisions about programs & services you might want & need. If you say no to helping kids today, please don't complain if they say no to your requests tomorrow. $40/month seems like a small price to pay to maintain a quality educational experience for our kids & to maintain your property value.

If it does not lead to

If it does not lead to discussions on retirement benefits & administrative consolidation that is the fault of the administration not the voters. There are other choices they could make than those they outline. Indeed a cynic might suggest that they outlined ones designed to cause pain in an attempt to make voters feel forced to approve the increase. If the refferedum fails (when, I hope) they may well make different choices, and parents should make their voices heard to force them to make different choices. Do not give them the easy way out, particulary as it will cause financial pain to many in Evanston.

 

So how do we get D65 administration's attention?

The years of administrative bloat and mismanagement need to be behind us. Taxpayers are frustrated with business as usual at D65. Now the D65 administration wants more money to do more of the same--lackluster performance for many children and an overstaffed administration.

My own experience with D65 administration has been dismal. I have tried to get minor things done at the Hill Center. These are small scale things for my own children that, according to parents in other districts, should have been easy to accomplish. Sadly, I have been disappointed every time by the lack of interest and enthusiasm that pervades the Hill Center. My experience even getting a call back from a phone message has been abysmal.

I value my students' teachers and school administrators as true professionals who work hard. But major changes need to be undertaken at the Hill Center and they should have happened right after Hardy Murphy left.  Remember--those folks told us just a few years ago that we had plenty of money to build a brand new school and staff it.  Can you wonder why people are skeptical?   

How do taxpayers get the attention of the D65 leadership? I love my children and want to support all students' success.  But I do not endorse the D65 administration.  That means that voting no on this oversized referendum seems like the only way to get their attention.

 

Not this Board or Administration

Just to clarify, neither this board nor this administration supported or endorsed building a new school in the 5th Ward. I was personally opposed to the 5th Ward school based on fiscal issues, and continue to be opposed to any new school in any ward. We do not have the money. Imagine what our community would be facing today if we incurred the additional debt to build a new school and the additional expenses to operate a new school? Governance matters and leadership matters and sound decision making matters. Hopefully people attention to school board elections because governance matters.

Administrative costs are low, contrary to popular opinion

I would be curious ot understand what Administative bloat you refer to?  Here are some facts:

- The Adminstrative portion of the budget has shrunk from 5% to 4% at the same time we grew by more than 1400 kids.  

- For the past few years the D65 Adminstrative portion of the budget has been in the lowest (best) quartile in the state.  

- The ratio of Administrators (school-based and central office) to students has shifted over the past few years from 114:1 to 175:1.  I'm not sure if this is good or bad, but relative to your concern about bloat, it certainly indicates fewer administrators.

I'm not sure who said that we had plenty of money to build a new school.  The District asked for money because in fact they did not have money on hand to build a new school.  

As for your customer service experience, I suspect there are several factors at play.  One factor is certainly the reduction of positions in the central office over the past few years.  It's not always advertised when a person's role is eliminated or when a person is terminated, but there are fewer employees there compared with the prior Administation.  That impacts the customer service provided, though it's not the only factor. 

Again, I appreciate people here who are willing to deal with specific, accurate facts in making their decision on the referendum.

A response and questions for one in the know

Due to multiple children, my experience with the Hill Center began more than 10 years ago. No discernible difference in the quality of the service provide during that time.

Sadly, any comparison limited to other Illinois school districts is not compelling, given the huge proliferation of districts in this state. That means that there are many relatively small districts that skew the data. A comparison to districts of similar size nationwide would likely be more telling. 

I know what I have experienced and observed with other parents.  Often encountered:  bad attitudes; poor customer service; parents treated more often than not as adversaries on the least little thing; and general incompetence, including wrong information on legal requirements.  Without a strong foundation of employees at the Hill Center, I will always be skeptical of any requests for more funding.

With your access to so much information, can you please explain D65's plan to reduce class sizes and why that is necessary?  According to a report in the Daily Northwestern, the superintendent's plan for the referendum money includes reducing class sizes. I see no need for that. And no mention of it in the glossy brochures.  

Is it true that the teachers' contract includes a provision for enhanced compensation to the teachers if this referendum passes?

Even though the contract may be complicated, I am pretty certain that someone who has inside knowledge of the teachers' contract can give us a straight answer to these questions: what is the maximum percentage compensation (not just salary) increase in each year?  What is the average percentage compensation (not just salary) increase in each year?  

If no one at D65 has these numbers, I would assert that that is another indication of incompetence in running D65. Any business owner or employer must know the facts of the operation's compensation package or they cannot effectively run their operation. 

Misleading

When 30 year veterans of the district like Sue Schultz, Ellen Fogelberg, Pat Markham, and Susan Farrand retire there is a natural decline in admin salaries when new and less experienced people come aboard. Don't pretend that it was an intentional move by the district. 

Yes, let's reward the teacher

Yes, let's reward the teacher's union for massive fiscal irresponsibility and enormous waste...."for the kids" of course!

Private schools operate on far less and they're better

Well Gosh,haven't we've been hearing that if this $4.9 million referendum fails schools would close? 

Notice that Goren and D65 don't tell ya HOW THE MONEY would be used if the referendum passes. And notice that this referendum came about just after D65 gave the Teacher's Union a cushy pay hike. In the real world, when things are tight there's this thing called a pay raise freeze.

But no, D65 and the Teacher's Union uses scare tactics to get another huge multi-million shot in the arm as if taxpayers are their personal ATM machine.

The new president and his administration are now talking about school vouchers to help parents send their kids to the school of their CHOICE. There are plenty of quality private elementary and middle schools right here in Evanston that I believe already are superior to D65 schools.These schools operate on far less and still have band and orchestra, and even foreign language classes, starting in 4th grade!! 

Say no to the D65 referendum. And if you don't like D65 check out the private schools.

There are so many things

There are so many things wrong with this comment, I don't know where to start. First off, bringing up the (scare caps) Teachers Union (I presume you mean the District 65 Educators' Council) and then accusing them of "scare tactics," well, that's just high grade irony right there. And acting as though private schools aren't out of reach for most Evanston residents and telling folks to "check them out" is really some Let Them Eat Cake level trolling on your part. 

But really, the main thing is that yes, Al, they do tell you (er, I mean "ya") what they'll do with the money if the referendum passes. See they listed all the cuts they'd make if the referendum fails. Meaning,...stay with me here, Al, stay with me... if the referendum passes, they won't. Do. Those. Cuts. 

Just vote no

Private schools won't be out of reach for "most Evanston residents" if President Trump enacts a federal school voucher program. Low income folks would get a school voucher to help them send little Johnny to a school of their choice!

How did D65 school admins come up with the $4.9 million figure before deciding what items would be cut from the district, just announced this week? The budget reductions is just a PLAN. Stay with me Steve M. If the referendum fails it doesn't mean these specific cuts will be made. It. Is. Just. A. Plan. Dog whistle for the sky is falling!!!

School admins are hoping they can avoid the hard decisions. Last year was a reassement year and now this year property taxes are skyrocketing.

We will pay at least a few thousand more this year than last year. We have to make hard decisions. I guarantee you most Evanston single family property owners will pay four figures more than last year. Why should hardworking and hard hit property owners get smacked again with higher taxes because D65 decides to give a pay raise to teachers then the next day tell everyone the district is broke and needs $4.9 million more a year?

Remember a few years ago the district wanted to build a new $28 million school? 

Vote no on the $4.9 million referendum!

Some information for your consideration

The Administration has been clear about what would come with a passed referendum:

- 1:1 technology devices for middle school students

- Additional layer of security for entry ways at 5 schools - Lincolnwood, Orrington, Washington, Bessie Rhodes and King Arts

- Restoration of at least one FTE reading specialist at every school

- Contribution to our fund balances (savings) to ensure long-term financial stability

- Maintaining current class sizes and programming, so keeping in place all the programs noted as cuts

If the referendum fails, school closures are a real possibility.  

Appreciate everyone in our community who focuses on the facts and hope that these facts are helpful to you.

What the D65 Board and Teachers Union did insults all of us

Richard Rykhus, you were a D65 school board member. You're telling me that $14,9 million per year is needed for "technology devices for middle school students," additional security for 5 schools (meaning more staff), hiring a reading specialist, contributing to a fund balance and maintaining current class size and programs, 

First, your list adds more to the budget. So right off the bat the school board wants more money to add stuff to the budget, not just to maintain it. Second, how is it that the school board gave teachers and staff a pay raise and then in the same month ask for the $14.9 million to avoid massive layoffs? How does that square with anyone?

Shouldn't the school board put forth the $14.9 million referendum BEFORE giving teachers and staff a pay raise? 

In other words, the school board and the Teacher's Union are holding Evanstonians hostage. See, if the referendum fails then some teachers allegedly lose their jobs but the others still have their pay raise and benefits. The students are the real losers. If it passes, the school board avoids making hard decisions and the Teacher's Union get the pay raise without sacrifice. Taxpayers are the losers. Students face potential larger classrooms and program cuts all because D65 gave the Teacher's Union their pay raise and other beenefits before asking Evanstonians for more money.

That, my school board member friend, is an insult and disservice to all of us.

If the referendum fails, would D65 consider a consolidation with D202 to save money? D202 is one school that calls itself a school district. Think of all the money both school districts can cut from the budget on administrative personnel layoffs. Other Illinois school districts have consolidated successfully. Why can't D65 and D202? 

But again, if D65 is willing to give teachers and staff a pay raise, knowing there is not near enough money in the budget, how can we expect the school board to be financially responsible with the additional $14,9 million it will get every year forever and ever. And how can we expect the D65 school board to have the ability to think outside the box and take on innovative ideas such as school district consolidation? 

opposed to referendum

Before I'm willing to pay nearly $500 more in property taxes (do the math, $1.25 per day sounds cheap, but it's not), a nearly 5% increase in my property taxes, I need some serious questions answered. An influx of 1,500 new students in the past 10 years? Really? the system can't accommodate 150 new students a year? I don't know how many classrooms there are, but 1 or 2 more kids per class doesn't seem like an undue burden. And why hasn't the addition of this many families added to the tax roles? Do we want to encourage people to rent in Evanston because resident homeowners are funding a more quality system than they can get in, say, Chicago? Class sizes up to 30? Boo-hoo--during the baby boom, my elementary school routinely had class sizes of 50-52, sometimes on split shifts. Sure, that's not optimum, but given the realities of belt tightening and people working harder across nearly every industry, I don't think that's too much to ask. Sure teachers work hard, and so do most of the rest of us. But I know of very few jobs where you can command the salary of $47,000+ (average District 65 salary--some make far more) with a BA, working only 9 months, and retire with a pension as much or more than you earned working. Do you have that at your job? I disagree that this level of increase will add to property value. Already we appear to have a good enough system that people want to move here (hence the 1500 new students). In reality extremely high property taxes affect the salability of your property--young families will definitely go elsewhere if they can purchase the same value of house with much lower property taxes. Finally, this is a statewide problem, and activism needs to be directed at the state level, not at wringing out Evanston's taxpayers. Personally, I pay around $9,000 in property taxes. Apparently $7,000 of that each year (and I've lived here more than 20 years) has gone to support a system my own child never attended. I AM in favor of a strong public school system, but taxpayers cannot be considered an unlimited piggybank. By using higher property taxes as a cure-all, you are driving out seniors who will no longer be able to afford to stay in their homes (unless very low income and eligible for senior freeze) and young families who cannot foot the bill. You are pushing Evanston into a loss of the middle class and a bifurcation of wealth--rich people who can pay any tax, and poor renters who are subsidized by them. I'm waiting to see some convincing argument that doesn't manipulate numbers to make it look like we're voting on chump change. In reality, this is an expensive proposition built on shaky premises. I'll be voting no.

Some data for your consideration...

...as I think additional information could be helpful:

- The increase of students/class is more than 1-2 per class. It does vary by school and grade, but knowing that the student population growth is more than 20% compared to 10 years ago we could expect each class would grow by 20% (which is closer to 4-5 more kids per class). People aren't complaining about that growth - it is the additional 4-5 kids per class that would be very challenging to manage.

- Class sizes may have been 50-52 at some point (not sure if you refer to Evanston?) and please know that research on class size consistently shows that larger class sizes negatively impact learning and achievement, for all kids.

- Many of the classrooms can barely accommodate 25 kids. When they go up to 30 it will create an even more physically-challenging learning environment.

- Most people in the community agrees that the state needs to help. With the current leaders in place, no help is on the way, and won't be anytime soon. The financial challenge for D65 is happening now. Waiting for Springfield would be a failed strategy.

- Taxpayers aren't an unlimited piggy bank. The last time an operating referendum passed was 30 years ago. This is a rare ask of the community.

I realize that this issue is complicated and it's important to have the facts clear when making a decision.

More data needed-like the union contract...

That is a good point, lets have more data, such as the recently ratified union contract.  Is it true that if the referendum passes, teachers get a pay bump tied to the referendum succeeding?  That would be very helpful outcome to know prior to voting. The Union should speak to that, not the district.  Can Evanston taxpayers rest easy knowing the Union values transparency and wants to provide  clearly understood data to inform the taxpayers who fund their salaries?  Or will the Union remain silent....?

1500 new ? Documentation

Odd that 1500 ADDITIONAL students is quoted.

Evanston's population does not seem to have increased much or at all---seems even decreased.

Article after article says the age of the population is increasing--fewer young people to support the elderly---"baby boom". Is Evanston such an exception ? 

Are the elderly leaving Evanston—if  so why and retirement housing does not seem to back that up---and being replaced with a population of childbearing age ?

We have added more and more high-rises---not buildings you’d expect a disproportion of K-12 children to be in. We are told fewer parking spaces are need since we are more a ‘commuter’ town—people with kids require more not fewer cars and parking spaces.  I’d suspect that also means more professional many of which are ‘empty nesters’ not parents of K-12 kids.

 

Um, it's NO vote for us

My family will be voting “NO” on the referendum. Why? I’m tired of the liberal establishment holding taxpayers hostage, as many of the yard-sign displaying, card-carrying lifetime Democrats succumb the Stockholm Syndrome: glorifying the Democrat leaders who have made wretched financial decisions for years and decades.

Tax, spend, tax, spend, threaten, tax, spend, scare-monger, tax, spend, pad pension, spend, tax. Rinse, repeat. For the privilege of living in a VERY modest home in southeast Evanston, I pay about $13,000 in property taxes, and this referendum would add about another $750.

No thanks. Let's challenge the hollow arguments: “It’s for the kids”. It’s not. Upon the mere threat of striking, D65 teachers received pay increases and contract upgrades in December:  And weeks after the teacher raises, the cry for MORE TAX MONEY! Hint, if you don’t have the money, don’t spend it, only to immediately extort it from the residents.

“Property values will plummet without our great schools!” False. Property values will stagnate or fall due to the crushing (and growing) tax burden. Yes, I’m paying more in taxes than many comparable houses in Wilmette, Northfield, etc.

And, own it Evanston: Most Evanston schools aren’t that great, especially compared to neighboring suburbs. My kid could go to Lincoln, an overcrowded, academically average school, if only she isn’t bused to some other location, due to overcrowding.

And why the overcrowding? Could it be due to the relentless vertical construction in Evanston? Wealthy Northwestern University taking so much real estate off the tax rolls? A massive tax-exempt Church on every other corner? Sanctuary City policies; Evanston’s “open door” policy? As I write this, I sense the liberals are lining up to tell me how heart-less I am. “Oh, goodness it’s for the KIDS!”

Well folks, as much as I love Bob Dylan: “The Times They Are A Changin”. Liberal doctrine is being refuted. You are losing. Your Democratic machine has run dry of oil, and it seizing up. Only, you can’t admit that. Because you only speak to like-minded, yard-sign toting Evanston liberals.

You live in an echo chamber, and you hear only your voice. My family is leaving shortly. If I’m going to pay up my child’s education, my child will receive the best education I can afford. And, it’s just a short drive north of Evanston. I hope I can sell my little house for close to what I paid for it.

Wow. Very hostile.

Wow. Very hostile. The referendum costs you $750 & you're threatening to leave altogether? Good luck selling your house if the referendum fails. Property values are linked to people's valuation of community schools. Hope you get that the same people who may be looking to buy your place will also be looking at Oak Park, Wilmette (& their schools), etc. Your home is a less attractive place if the schools near your home are underfunded. In this manner, a yes vote is both "for the kids" (minus a bitter connotation) & in your own economic best interest. Feel free to be heartless- recognize you'll be harming your own pocketbook. $40/month is a modest ask given it has been 30 years since D65's last referendum.

Vote no

I am curious as to why there are no VOTE NO signs available to display if you are find yourself on that side of the fence in this community?

Because you'd have to pay for

Because you'd have to pay for them & paying for something doesn't seem to be popular with y'all in the heartless crowd. Just put out a picture of a school or a kid with an X across it. Then again, those little hoodlums might just have a reaction to your miserly self, so I'm guessing you wouldn't have the guts to put out the sign anyway.

Disagree

Sounds as if you are bitter that not everyone is jumping on the let's raise taxes bandwagon.  Sorry to disappoint you but I don't hate children just because I am not gullible.

I suspect that at least some D65 money is behind the Vote Yes signs and glossy brochures. So I am paying for them. 

Hoodlums...

By hoodlums, I can only assume you mean the machinery of District 65 and their ilk. To voters on the fence, I suggest putting out a yard sign that reads "VOTE NO" and waiting to see what happens. It might help you decide.

Vote No

DUH!! Why would someone pay money they will need to use for their property taxes for a bulk supply of signs that are enjoyed by the neighborhood male dogs on their daily walks. It always amazes me how many of these signs appear around Evanston as election time nears. Do people really make their voting decision around how many signs appear in their neighborhood representing one person or another. There are still signs that are no longer even valid showing up from the recent presidential election. At the least these signs would be more helpful if they contained some facts instead of just names or simple phrases displayed in multiples throughout the neighborhood. What happened to PTA and more direct parent involvement in the schools day to day functions to enhance or help out in deficient areas? How does providing money for flyers and signs make up for direct involvement in your children’s early educational years? How many people will be making their Yes or No vote decision from actually experiencing what it happening in a classroom vs. how many signs they drive past as they are part of the parade of cars dropping their children off each morning?

Vote no

These budgetary pressures were well known when th last CBA agreement was signed. What did the teachers union "sacrifice?" 3-5% automatic annual raises, and zero pension and health reform. You can raise my taxes when the union gets serious about cutbacks.

Voting no, too

We're voting no, too.  As a lifelong Evanston citizen and someone who is constantly paying property tax that just keeps higher and higher every year, there has to be other plans and better ways to raise funds for education.  I received a flyer to vote yes for the referendum and my first thought was "Great use of money.  Spend money on an oversized color flyer but you want ME to pay more in my property taxes."

I'm also sick of how people immediately jump to Northwestern University and demand that they should pay more.  If NU were to suddenly pick up and leave, Evanston would lose out a lot of money, funds and resources.  Think of the students, faculty, staff and guests (including athletics) that visit and stay in Evanston.  This also doesn't include the weekend programming and summer camps and sessions that are ongoing.

3-5% annual raises is a LOT when people weren't getting anything.  There needs to be better clarity and Evanston itself is in a property bubble.  Housing here is expensive and you don't get the bang for your buck here, especially with the high property taxes.  If ALL these people that are putting all this effort into "VOTE YES for the REFERENDUM" started some sort of fundraising campaign and put all of their efforts into that, I'd support that.  Something like FUNDRAISE/SPONSOR DISTRICT 65.

More information

I'd like to share a few facts based on your comments:

- The District didn't and legally can't spend a dime to promote a yes vote on the referendum.  The colorful flyer you reference was funded by your neighbors who donated to help educate the community on the referendum.

- The teachers' raises are not 3-5% annually in the most recent contract.  Please review the contract for details as it is complicated and varies by year, but your statement is not accurate.

The flyers were paid for by

The flyers were paid for by PARENTS in the district, not the district.

Consultant

I heard today in a school that the school district had hired a consultant to advise it on how to present its referendum. Not technically advocating for the referendum. Is this true? Is this consultant advising parents on how to build and mobilize SaveEvanstonSchools?

Contract facts

The teachers do not have an automatic 3-5% annual raise in the most recent contract.  Not even close.  The contract is available to the public if you want to review it.

Where is a public copy of the

Where is a public copy of the contract located?  It seems unusually difficult to find for a document that should be of interest to everyone considering the referendum.  

Richard Rykhus

Please provide a link if the contract is available to the public.

Vote no

Schools already consume almost 70% of our high property taxes. They are like cancer which only grows. And saying we need to pay $14 million extra to support housing prices is like saying cancer is good for weight loss.

And what do we need the small class sizes for anyway? Like the other poster said, I went through classes with 35-40 children, school that operated two shifts - and turned out to be just fine.

Also, talk to somebody who homeschools their children because of serious sports career aspirations. Ask how much daily studying they need to do to keep up. Public school is very little about learning and 90% about crowd control. Very expensive for what they do.

D65 referendum

If the financial situation was so dire, why did the District agree to the D65 contract? Isn't this a breach of their fiduciary duty?

Now D65 is going to play with our emotions by scaring us into believing that band and orchestra   will be gutted.  What about activity fees for those that enjoy the benefits of D65 on a sliding scale? There are plenty of ways to save money in D65 without one teacher being laid off. Reduction in staff via attrition? Cuts to administration? Cuts to the platinum benefits that no one in the private sector enjoys? If D69 can operate with 22 students per classroom, letting D65 float from 20 students per classroom to 22 as a byproduct of attrition isn't such a bad thing either.

Don't forget that the Roundtable stated that there are $90 million in capital improvement items in the D65 pipeline! What about the projected 33% increase in income taxes? 

To keep our diverse population, we need to say no to this referendum as crafted. The net impact will be driving more and more people out of our community as they cannot afford the property taxes either via ownership of their residence or the cost of property taxes baked into the rental cost

Further information

- There are $90 million in capital improvements needed.  The overwhelming majority of those will not be done in the next few years.  There is no pipeline to address anything other than he most fundamental needs - roofs, masonry, HVAC, secure entrances, etc.

- See my comments above on the current spend on Adminstration.  It's very low already.

Who would/will oppose the Referendum

Most resident support 'good' education but probably many question whether students are getting it---at least from some teachers and schools. The schools don't provide much about the quality or documentation of success. What we seem to get is news about sports teams, music and art--while there is value as supplements, not the prime reason for the school or the large expense. Rarely about the academic success of students. Most taxpayer with no children or without children in schools in the last few years only judge by what they see on the streets---and that not very good. All we see is budget increases, higher payments to administration. We see no indication of good teachers being rewarded and bad or inadequate teachers being replaced. Those who may vote against the Referendum include: those with no children or grandchildren in the schools, those who see the bad behavior of students on the streets---including disrespect of people and property, those victims of crimes by students, those who home school or already put them in private schools, those who realize student mostly get 'information' in school but 'learn on their own time or from parent support" [admitted some teachers go beyond what is required and foster real 'learning', those who dislike the liberal---don't bother me with facts---the students are indoctrinated with, those tired of the schools telling them they are racist and any ideas that don't fit the ultra-liberal line are wrong. Who is to blame if it does not pass---the school and administration.

How do you define 'good'?

As a parent of 3 children who have graduated from the district, I know I have 3 children who understand the world around them and have experienced lessons from classroom teachers, fine arts teachers, librarians, social workers, reading specialists, teaching assistants,  pyschologists, administrators that have expanded their minds, views and thoughts. And in this world (so different than the late 1960's elementary ed world I lived in) they were given the baseline skills that they can build on at ETHS, universities and in future education and careers. 

Let's move forward Evanston and support the work going on in Evanston D65. I am an educator in the district and I am so proud of the work the staff and students do in D65. We challenge each other to be better educators and students. We redefine what 'success' is. We re-imagine a world in which all children and adults work together. 

Let's work together, please support the referendum.

Why didn't we

Why didn't we (parents, taxpayers, administration) work together before the contract was negotiated?  Why aren't we discussing user fees based on income?  The ask is too big knowing there is going to be a $90 million ask, a 33% income tax increase and who knows what else.

$25,000 to insure a family is an embarrassment.

No!

Do not let the Public Sector Union get away with these scare tactics. They are already burning the state of Illinois to the ground.

D65 referendum

Good conversation everyone is having.  I went to the D65 website and was able to find that for family coverage, D65 is contributiing annually $20,543.80 towards family coverage and looking at the prior teacher's contract is funding 81% of the cost.  That means the billable annual premium is $25,361.73 for family coverage.  Going to the Kaiser foundation website, in Illinosi the average family premium in Illinois is $17,227 with an average employer contribution of $13,337/year.  Why are D65's costs 47.2% higher than norm?  Why is D65's contributions 54% higher than the norm?  With a staff of 1400 (likely 700 full time, benefit eligible) serving 7,871 students, we couldn't save $2 million per year realigning the benefits--maybe more?  If the financial situation is so dire, why hasn't this been done?

Why I will also vote NO

Speaking of insurance... Being self employed I rely on the exchange for health care. It's horrible enough now for affordability, let alone what might happen with the Republican health care "reform" disaster going on in Washington. Frankly I'm scared that I will be priced out of the market. This is on top of the Democratic/Republican mess that is called "Springfield,IL". Higher taxes are surely on the way. Then there is Larry Suffredin asking for more money too. I value good education as well as the next person and have paid tens of thousands of tax dollars over the years to support it. But it's the wrong ask at the wrong time. If it's a choice between fighting to keep my health insurance and your child's 5th grade band experience (one of the programs on the chopping block supposedly).... sorry, not trying to be rude or selfish here, but your child does not even enter into the conversation.

Say No to D65 Referendum

I've lived in Evanston all my life and never heard such a crappy way to get money for the schools. Using scare tactics and threating employees with losing their jobs is very tacky. Now, on the other hand I would vote Yes to merge D65 and D202 and get rid of the wasted overhead at D65. I know change is inevitable, but this D65 needs a huge change in the administration waste. People of Evanston, please get out and vote No April 4.

Agreed - Vote Hell No

Do you knw the district just hired a new administrator? Literacy Director? So now we have a Director of Curriculum, a bi-lingual literacy director and a bi-lingual co-ordinator? Goren promised that the first cuts would not effect schools yet he made cuts to the band and orchestra teachers first, library assistants first, literacy coaches first. He declared at the last board meeting that he would not release any member of his Cabinet. He is offering up Sheila Burk as his sacrificial lamb. Still wanna vote for this or give them a year to figure out what the hell they are doing. Goren needs to go first.

There used to be a notion

There used to be a notion that people were willing to sacrifice for the betterment of future generations. Looks like the Baby Boomers got lucky by the timing of their birth, rode the coat-tails of their parent's successes & now want all the resources for their retirement. Don't be surprised when you prioritize yourselves today that others won't prioritize you as you slump towards infirmity. Hope you enjoy those health care premiums while they last. At least our kids have time on their side. Let's hope they don't screw the country up like y'all greedy Boomers have.

You aren't bothered by the

You aren't bothered by the fact that we are paying at least 20% more than we should for benefits?  What else are we being overcharged for?  This is about letting D65 know we expect them to be good stewards of our money.  If they can't show stewardship, why should we give them $116 million now and 2 years from now another $90 million?  We owe it to our children to show we can think critically not emotionally.

Looking to further burden

Looking to further burden local taxpayers to simply fund the district's operational expenses, without any notable progress towards meaningful change around the underlying root cause for the referendum -- the union's compensation cost structure, specifically addressing the stranglehold of the current guaranteed defined benefit pension plan -- is rather disingenuous and a very difficult ask. This is particularly concerning for many when additional tax asks from Springfield are imminent.

Misleading the taxpayers

Instead of asking the taxpayers for more money why don't we look in the  pockets of the overpaid administrators? They told everyone their salaries were frozen but that was AFTER they got their first increase.  All the while they're telling their staff that there's no money for staff raises.  Then they gave themselves ANOTHER increase! We don't like the bullying and scare tactics using their employees as pawns by firing them to scare the community into voting yes.  Instead of firing staff that's been there for years why not stop hiring assistants for the assistants for the administrators?  If there really isn't money why don't they discontinue mileage reimbursement which I believe is over $2200(?) year?  Do they all travel that much that they need another $2200 in their pockets?  I'd think that with their inflated salaries they could do without this and put the money back into the schools.

I totally agree.  I've been

I totally agree.  I've been bringing my kids to that building for several years and most of the time, with infant and toddler in tow the handicapped door doesn't open.  I also saw a handicapped person being helped into the bathroom because the bathrooms aren't fashioned for the disabled.  How about spending some of the money on making things accessible instead of lining your pockets?  

Why isn't TWI and ACC on the chopping block?

The shakers and makers at D65 warn of impending layoffs and program cuts such as band and orchestra if the $4.9 million referendum fails

I find it curious that programs such as TWI and the African Centered Curriculum (ACC) appear to be safe. Not every school has TWI and the ACC at Oakton Elementary has had unimpressive results. Shouldn't these marginal programs be on the chopping block? 

The school board 5 years ago said it would investigate ACC after test results showed a decline in reading scores among students in the program. Not sure what became of that investigation.

Band and orchestra would affect every school in the district. TWI and ACC benefit only a handulf of schools and students.

Anyone else question D65's priorities?


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