District 65 offices at the JEH Education Center.

Despite allegations that some union representatives have been targeted with retaliation, the District Educators Council (the teachers union at Evanston/Skokie District 65) helped plan the system for transferring teachers from one school building to another.

This does not mean that the union endorsed any individual shift, or had a role in moving specific individuals.

However, a statement from the district, signed by Superintendent Devon Horton, all seven Board of Education members, and DEC president Maria Barroso said “In the spirit of collaboration and transparency, the district administrative team and DEC … leadership designed a collaborative process to develop staffing plans.”

With District 65 enrollment shrinking, administrators have said 22 teaching positions will be eliminated in the fall, and moving some educators to new buildings will help fill the gaps while preventing any layoffs.

The statement on avoiding layoffs and DEC involvement is not new, and Evanston Now has reported it.

However, we have now seen a longer district statement which was sent before the transfer announcements, which contains the superintendent’s, board members’, and union president’s names.

The statement says efforts were made to honor teacher preferences, “yet this was not always possible in some circumstances.” It adds that a top administrator and the union president would be available to meet with impacted teachers “so that any concerns may be addressed.”

It appears, however, that at least some of those concerns still exist, particularly at Haven Middle School.

Parents applauding Haven school teachers.

Three former Haven PTA presidents have said the transfer of two union representatives and five other veteran Haven educators are retaliation against those who have spoken out about problems at the school.

Evanston Now has requested a comment from the union president, but we have not heard back.

Jeff Hirsh joined the Evanston Now reporting team in 2020 after a 40-year award-winning career as a broadcast journalist in Cincinnati, Ohio.

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