Evanston/Skokie District 65 administrators plan to use a new equity funding process to develop their budget for the 2019-20 school year.

“An equity commitment provides and focuses resources on student needs, especially students who have been underserved or marginalized,” Raphael Obafemi, chief financial and operations officer, said in a presentation to the school board Finance Committee Monday night. “It does not mean that every child in the district receives equal dollars.”

The district doesn’t spend equal dollars on all students now — given that some students, including English-language-learners, bilingual students and those with disabilities receive additional funding.

Details on how funds may be reallocated based on the new equity funding approach were not yet available.

For the upcoming 2018-19 school year, Obafemi said, the budget will be based on the district’s priorities and student enrollment.

District priorities include new executive director of black student success, equity coach and community school coordinator positions as well as instructional technology for the middle school Access to Innovate program.

Increases in middle school student enrollment require two additional English-language-learner teachers as well as 3.5 more general education teachers.

Zero-based budgeting will be used for non-personnel expenditures, with reviews and renegotiation of vendor contracts as well as programmatic and capital building needs, Obafemi said.

The draft tentative budget for 2018-19 will be presented to the Finance Committee June 4.

Join the Conversation


  1. What we really need to talk

    What we really need to talk about is the “equity” involved in school-based PTA-initiated fundraising via events in people’s homes, auctions, etc. Parents at x school want a new library, and so that school is allowed to raise and take funds to build the new library. That’s equitable because…?

    1. it’s equitable because…
      … ALL students get to use the library.

      Instead of vilifying parents who spend countless hours and spend THEIR OWN MONEY to provide MORE opportunities for ALL students, why not suggest to the board and administration the shortfalls at some schools.

      1. All students at that school

        All students at that school get to use it, yes. But from a districtwide perspective, it’s not equitable. Buidling improvements–which ALL D65 schools are sorely in need of–should be an operating budget expenditure, not a matter of which school can marshall donations.

        These social, off-site fundraising events exacerbate a status hierarchy among parents. Viewed with fresh eyes, they’re a effectively  a not-so-subtle way for parents to privatize public education.  

        1. Equity High Horse
          If you are so gung ho about equity, then i’d suggest that you go to Springfield and lead the charge to change how education is funded in Illinois.
          How is it equitable that Evanston is able to spend about $17,000 per year per student at D65 and $25,000 per year per student at D202 which is 60-80% more than the state average?

          How is it equitable that Evanston schools can pay our teachers 20-30% more than the state average yet the state contributes the employer portion of their pension which effectively forces poorer school districts to subsidize wealthier school districts?

          Viewed with fresh eyes, you can see many inequities in our country, our state, our community, and our schools; some obvious and others not so obvious.
          Maybe Evanston should become the antithesis of “Lake Wobegon” and instead of everyone being exceptional, we can all become average or equal.

          But before we decide to go down this path, we all may want to reread, “Animal Farm.”

          1. Most of your points here are

            Most of your points here are tangential to the specific issue I’m raising. I’m not a communist and I’m not defining equity as sameness. I’m also very well-apprised of how education funding works (or rather, doesn’t work) in Illinois, in other states, and nationally. 

            But relative to this article and the district’s current efforts, we’re only speaking to equitable funding WITHIN D65. 

            My question is simple: From a District-level perspective, how equitable — socially and financially — are the longstanding private parent fundraising events at various schools in D65? Practically speaking, however well-intentioned — do they create inequities when it comes to what students at different schools receive?

            Here comes a real courageous conversation….

          2. Nobody’s stopping you
            Dear Jennifer F. – nobody is stopping you from writing equal checks OF YOUR OWN MONEY to each and every school in D65, maybe even the whole state.

            While you are at it – you can always overpay your federal, state and local taxes to the extent you actually pay them. It’s easier to divvy up others’ contributions.

            And let people who actually CHOOSE to do something above and beyond mandatory simply be.

          3.  Fundraising

            For what it’s worth, we pay quite a bit in taxes and 15% of our income last year went to charitable contributions of many kinds. We’re affluent by any definition and are as capitalist as they come. I’m not speaking against any and all fundraising, or all fundraising in the schools.

            I’m questioning a particular KIND of fundraising among some parents at some schools, and the inequities across schools that it creates. 

            Everyone knows what I’m speaking to, but it seems that few are willing to call it out for what it is.

            Too bad.


          4. P.S. If we’re going to invoke

            P.S. If we’re going to invoke Animal Farm, I would contend that the implicit message of these social parent fundraising events is, “All D65 schools are equal. But some schools (i.e., my kids’ school) are more equal than others.”

  2. Equity for taxpayers?
    When will the District 65 Board and Administration start to consider equity for taxpayers?

    We just passed the District 65 Referendum for which people will soon get the bill and realize how much taxes
    are being raised. And we’ve seen the spending habits of the Administration on new administrative positions.

    And we’ve seen the new teachers contract.

    And then we’re going to start hearing about another deficit at District 65.

    And then we’ll be asked to spend more money for “our children”

    But what about people living on a fixed income, or people working 2 jobs to make ends meet,
    or people who’s salary has been flat for the last 5 years…where is their equity?


    1. Their equity is in their
      Their equity is in their homes & in their freedom of choice to complain & campaign for tax relief, to adjust their budgets to align with contemporary costs, & to stay/leave their abodes if the costs are too onerous or unpalatable. Lots of choices available.

  3. What [Who] is next ?
    “District priorities include new executive director of black student success”
    I expect before long we will have an “Executive Director” for “Student Success” of children who have one black and one Latin parent, who are female, LGBT, and left handed.
    If the schools would spend more time and money on education rather than victimology, providing jobs for every out-of-work for sociology major and providing social comforters of every imagined ‘need’, our school and student success would be better.
    Instead we have turned the schools and EPL into a psychiatrist’s couch.

  4. Bad Analogy to ELL, bilingual and students with disabilities
    Comparing race to the above is a bad analogy and counter-productive. Disability status, and language needs are determined by assessing individual students. To put an entire group into a similar special needs classification soley based on their race is pre-judging individuals. This is not a good message to send and misses the mark in terms of helping students who need extra help.

Leave a comment
The goal of our comment policy is to make the comments section a vibrant yet civil space. Treat each other with respect — even the people you disagree with. Whenever possible, provide links to credible documentary evidence to back up your factual claims.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *