District 65 offices at the JEH Education Center.

Evanston/Skokie School District 65 expects to eliminate 22 teaching positions for the 2022-23 school year.

In a memo for a Board of Education committee meeting on Monday, Chief Financial Officer Raphael Obafemi says the district has been able to identify $1.65 million in savings by cutting the 22 jobs.

However, Obafemi says “this reduction would be achieved through retirement, attrition and natural turnover in staffing without having to do layoffs.”

District 65 is in a continuing downsizing mode. Enrollment, now about 6,800 in preK through 8th grade, is expected to keep dropping over the next several years.

The district already cut nearly $3 million worth of jobs and other programs in the current school year, from a total budget of about $150 million.

Before the 2022-23 budget is presented later this year, Obafemi says, “the goal is to identify other additional reductions through efficiencies in program spending.”

While District 65 is looking to save money by cutting positions and sharpening the efficiency pencil, it is also moving forward on a $40 million new school in the 5th Ward.

Officials have said that savings through reduced school busing will cover the long-term cost of the school along with the interest on money borrowed for construction.

In his memo, Obafemi says the district has a bond rating of Aa2, and based on that good evaluation, “we should be able to receive an attractive interest rate during the competitive sale of the underlying bonds” to finance the lease certificates for the new bulding.

Obafemi says six brokers have expressed interest in bidding on the bond sale.

That number, Obafemi adds, is a reflection of the district’s “strong and stable financial position.”

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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