Even though Evanston is served by two school districts — one for kindergarten through the eighth grade and another for grades nine through 12 — they ought to function as one, said Jonathan Baum at the kickoff Sunday of his campaign for election to the District 202 Board of Education, which runs Evanston Township High School.

Even though Evanston is served by two school districts — one for kindergarten through the eighth grade and another for grades nine through 12 — they ought to function as one, said Jonathan Baum at the kickoff Sunday of his campaign for election to the District 202 Board of Education, which runs Evanston Township High School.

Jonathan Baum, right, speaks to a supporter at the campaign rally.

Communication between District 202 and District 65, which runs the city’s elementary schools, has been an issue in Evanston for decades and was a factor in the recent decision by the high school to place all students in the freshman humanities class rather than placing some students on an honors track based upon a test given to them while still in the middle school, a decision Baum says was made too early before the consequences of the change could be fully evaluated by the 202 board.

“I want to help secure a seamless education for all our children from preschool through 12th grade,” said Baum, who served a four-year term on the District 65 Board that ended four years ago. Providing a seamless education, he said, is essential.

“We may be two school districts,” Baum declared, “but from the perspective of parents, teachers, and, most especially, students, it must be as if we were one.”

Some 60 to 80 persons attended the kickoff, held in a private home in southeast Evanston. Among supports there were Evanston Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl, a former District 202 Board member, and aldermen Colleen Burris and Jane Grover. In fact, Baum said that he counts seven of the nine aldermen as supporters.

Mayor Tisdahl, who serves as an honorary co-chair of Baum’s campaign, told the assemblage that prospective residents select Evanston primarily because of its schools “and not because of the water, even though it regularly wins taste tests,” she said.

There are three vacancies on the 202 Board to be filled at the April 5 election. Incumbents Jane Colleton and Mark Metz, plus challengers Cherie Hansen, Scott Rochelle, and Baum have qualified as candidates on the ballot. A third incumbent, Mary Wilkerson, recently withdrew from the race. 

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...

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3 Comments

  1. Consolidate D65 and D202

    The best way for the two school districts to act as one is to consolidate them. So far I haven’t heard any candidate propose that idea.

    Just sayin.

  2. Agreed– what money could be freed up…

    … to educate kids by eliminating the unnecessary redundancy that exists by having two school districts? 

    1. How wide a District ?

      Combining the two Evanston districts is no-brainer. 

      What would be more significant would be to combine with Skokie.  Given that Skokie and Dowers Grove already are combined and the area tey cover, I suspect that is impractical.

      I may mis-understand the Wilmette school district, but can Evanston combine with Wilmette's non high school district ?

      The governor has called for consolidation, this one would be a good move even if laws have to change.

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