D65 chief is ‘humbled and appreciative’

Evanston/Skokie School District 65 Superintendent Paul Goren Thursday disseminated a letter to the community, saying he is “extremely humbled and appreciative” of their show of support in approving the $14.5 million operating referendum on Tuesday by a four-to-one margin.

Goren said he wants to assure taxpayers “that the board and administration remain committed to reducing the structural deficit, exerting fiscal management, and identifying efficiencies” that include “the development and implementation of a funding policy this spring.”

The superintendent added that “we are very fortunate to live in a community that not only embraces public education, but champions the important work of our teachers, support staff, and administrators in educating the children of Evanston and Skokie.”

Now in his second year as superintendent, Goren, from the beginning of his tenure, regularly warned the board at meetings of the Finance Committee and the full board that a day of reckoning was approaching when additional funding would be required to maintain the quality of the area’s schools.

Of the eight school districts in the county with tax referenda in Tuesday's election, only two of them recorded a "Yes" vote in excess of 60 percent., according to the Cook County clerk's website. At 80.45 percent, the District 65 vote came out on top, followed by Northbrook/Glenview District 30 at 75.54 percent, which was a bond issue to build a new school.

Following is the text of Superintendent Goren's letter:

“Dear District 65 Staff, Families, and Community,

“On April 4, Evanston and Skokie residents turned out in record numbers to vote on many important issues, including the $14.5 million District 65 operating referendum. According to the Cook County Clerk's website, the referendum was overwhelmingly successful with a vote of 80.45% (YES) to 19.55% (NO). 

“Thank you to all those who made their voices heard and to those who participated in the process along the way. On behalf of our School Board, I am extremely humbled and appreciative of this show of support. We are very fortunate to live in a community that not only embraces public education but champions the important work of our teachers, support staff, and administrators in educating the children of Evanston and Skokie. 

“Through the successful passage of the referendum, our community has expressed confidence and a commitment to investing in our public education system. The added funding will eliminate projected deficits through 2025. As a result, all school-based referendum-related reductions and the vast majority of central operation reductions will be reinstated.

“We recognize that there were a number of people who voted both for and against the referendum and who are rightfully concerned about fiscal prudence. I want to assure our taxpayers that the Board and Administration remain committed to reducing the structural deficit, exerting effective fiscal management, and identifying efficiencies. This includes the development and implementation of a funding policy this spring. 

“I can promise that we will not take for granted the community investment in our public schools. We will work to accelerate our momentum on student achievement, literacy and reading, and social and emotional learning while remaining focused on equity and equitable outcomes.

“Our team works day-in and day-out to make a difference in the lives of all students. We are committed to working together with our families and community partners and to providing regular updates on our progress. 

“We are deeply grateful for the strong support of our schools. Thank you.

“Sincerely, Paul Goren, Superintendent of Schools, Evanston/Skokie School District 65.”

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Comments

Or you could have reduced the

Or you could have reduced the money spent for excessive compensation for administrators. You are pricing homeowners out of Evanston. 

"We are going to be fiscally

"We are going to be fiscally responsible. Now watch us give ourselves big raises, and do absolutely zero pension or healthcare reform at the next cba requiring another massive tax hike in about 4 years!" For the kids of course.

Thank you, D65 administrators!

While I understand the frustration of some residents due to an increase in their property taxes, I applaud the administrators of District 65 for doing the right thing in order to continue providing quality education for our children. In public administration, leaders can only spend what comes in. When it is not possible, they either increase taxes or reduce expenses. Reducing expenses usually leads to lesser quality or quantity of services. On top of that, a diverse district such as Evanston's presents a series of challenges that add to the expenses. I support the initiative of Dr. Goren and the support of the community in such a tough call and will be hppy to see future students enjoy the benefits my children have enjoyed over the years in District 65.

Looking for success from my investment

Part of the D65 campaign was to keep the classes small, while attracting, and keeping the best teachers.  Since this is an investment in our future, I will be looking to see a graduation rate in the high 90 percentile.  

Curious about development & implementation of funding policy

"This includes the development and implementation of a funding policy this spring " What is that? Spring is now! If this funding policy is right around the corner why is it just coming to light now in this humble appreciation speechifying?  Will next year's $500 dollars added to my tax bill be the same $500 as this year or in addition to this years $500 and the next and the next...?  I could use a funding policy to continue to live in Evanston -- I am very curious to hear what that funding policy is.

referendum

I made a copy of the 'promises' and 'threats' listed in the plea for passing the referendum. Now I will be  watching for any new consultants (usually not listed as salaries paid),  bonuses to administrators in the central office, and another costly program or set of materials that will cure all ills. If only the money would be spent on improving foreign language experiences and science facilities, and not on projects that directors initiate to make their positions seem necessary.