Arts staffing on agenda for D65 finance meeting

The Finance Committee of the Evanston/Skokie District 65 School Board will hear from administration officials tonight how they plan to maintain art instruction at current levels in the elementary schools while reducing the fine arts staff by six positions.

In a six-page memo from assistant superintendents Susan Schultz and Mike Robey to Superintendent Hardy Murphy that is included in tonight’s agenda packet, the administrators contend that elementary school students will continue to receive 160 minutes of art instruction each week, which they contend “far exceeds what is provided in many neighboring districts.”

In fact, the district intends to enhance fine arts instruction next year with the addition of drama for students in the third grade, the memo states.

Although the allocation of full-time equivalents for the 10 elementary schools will be reduced from 8.8 to 7.2, a loss of 1.6 positions, the total reduction for all schools, including the middle and magnet schools, would be approximately six positions, largely achieved through attrition.

One way the reduction in the elementary schools would be achieved while maintaining the same amount of time for fine arts instruction, according to the memo, is by reducing the amount of planning time for fine arts teachers from 130 minutes per day to 90 minutes.

The public portion of tonight’s meeting will begin at 7 p.m. at the district headquarters, 1500 McDaniel Ave.

Charles Bartling

A resident of Evanston since 1975, Chuck Bartling holds a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University and has extensive experience as a reporter and editor for daily newspapers, radio stations and business-oriented magazines.

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