Quantcast

D65 discusses referendum for new school

It began blandly enough, with members of the Finance Committee of Evanston/Skokie School District 65 discussing the arcane agenda item, “Space Capacity Options,” at their meeting Thursday evening.

Mostly they talked about several ways to relieve space pressures at Dewey and Willard schools.

It began blandly enough, with members of the Finance Committee of Evanston/Skokie School District 65 discussing the arcane agenda item, “Space Capacity Options,” at their meeting Thursday evening.

Mostly they talked about several ways to relieve space pressures at Dewey and Willard schools.

But before the meeting ended, committee members were talking about how to set up a referendum committee to sell the idea to voters of financing construction of a new school in the central core of Evanston.

A referendum would be required to sell bonds to obtain the funds to construct the school.

Board President Keith Terry reminded the committee that this was just the beginning of a discussion that would continue in earnest at Monday’s meeting of the full Board, where the issue labeled “Long-Term Planning to Address School Space Concerns” is item No. 20 on the agenda and that the only decision likely to come out of that meeting will be a definition of the process for moving forward with ideas for addressing the space capacity issues.

Superintendent Hardy Murphy denied that the staff was pushing the new-school option. “All we’re doing is presenting the facts,” he insisted.

He said a new school would be instrumental in dealing with the space problems at the district’s existing schools. He warned, however, that the redistricting of attendance lines that would result from bringing a new school on stream never fails to rile up the district’s parents.

And committee member Andrew Pigozzi, an architect, said that even if a new school were constructed, a great deal of work would be required to bring the existing schools “into the 21st Century.”

One question that was never answered by staff members was posed by the committee’s chair, Katie Bailey: “If we have fewer students now than we did in 1999, why do we need to add more capacity?”

Monday’s Board meeting is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. at the Joseph E. Hill Education Center, 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.

Editors’ Picks