Evanston-Skokie School District 65 officials are coaching parents about what to say to state lawmakers about school funding cuts.

They’ve posted a sample letter on the home page of the district website for use in writing or e-mailing lawmakers. It urges restoration of state aid to schools, without mentioning any of the tax-increase proposals on the table.

The sample letter describes District 65 as “a place where ideas blossom, creativity flourishes and young minds are nourished.” It adds that nearly 43 percent of students are from low-income families “who desperately need the supports and services valued and provided in our community.”

Lawmakers are considering raising the 3 percent state income tax to 4 or 5 percent to provide money to fund the slashed programs. 

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. “School District 65, a place
    “School District 65, a place where ideas blossom, creativity flourishes and young minds are nourished.”

    D65 schools are not all bad and are far from being the worst in the state, but after my 12 years experience with kids in the district, this characterization sounds like a bad joke. There are individual teachers and principals who are fantastic, but their best efforts have very little to do with the direction and guidance of the district which seems to be far more interested in dumbing down and teaching to the “bubble.”

    “School District 65, a place where we focus on doing OK on the ISATS. You can focus on creativity and nourishing young minds at home where it doesn’t get in the way of ISAT practice.”

  2. Anonymous Al’s questions for lawmakers
    Here’s what parents should ask lawmakers:

    1) Why won’t you support Democrat Meeks’ bill for school vouchers, and apply it to every school district in the state? That way, parents can choose which schools to send their kids too.

    2) The biggest fiscal problem facing Illinois, which is on the brink of bankruptcy, is the unsustainable union pension. Why not give citizens true reform and switch the pension to a 401k plan? Why not enact legislation that would allow cities such as Evanston to reform their pension problems?

    3) There is an oncoming train wreck that legislators do not seem to be addressing. That is the expected hundreds of thousands of new Medicaid enrollees in this state that will cost Illinois taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars in new expenditures – thanks to ObamaDemcare. Why won’t you join the other 16 states and sue the federal government for this unfunded mandate?

    4) Illinois has a 12.2 percent unemployment rate and the state is out of money. So, why hasn’t ONE state union employee lost their job?

    5) Evanstonians have lost or are losing jobs, and are upset to see their property taxes continue to rise as their property values continue to decline. They are all tightening their belts and balancing their budgets. The last thing they need is to pay more taxes. Could you lower the income tax rate by one or two percent?

    If any parent shows some chutzpah and ask these questions, be prepared for the political spin, dodging and sugarcoating. Pay attention to the different answers you’ll surely get from a Democrat and Republican politician. You might be surprised.

    1. The Medicaid expansion is not
      The Medicaid expansion is not an unfunded mandate. The federal government is assuming 100% of the cost of the expansion for the first three years and then 94%, 93%, etc. down to 90% for the program starting in 2020. The person writing this comment has a great deal of misinformation about the bill. Anyone can go to the Kaiser Family Foundation website – http://www.kff.org – for ACCURATE information on health reform, not the scare tactics that have been put out.

      1. Needs some help

        Can you kindly guide me, and others interested, to the page or fact sheet on the KFF website stating how Medicaid will be funded?

        I went there (thanks for the URL) and got lost amidst all the information. It is complicated.


      2. Question then
        If the fed assumes all this cost for Medicaid (in various percentages), let me ask you a question.

        Where is the government going to get the money to fund Medicaid?

        To say and do are two different things.

        Let me give you a hint – T_xes. Or how about V_T.

        It is a bad bill.

  3. Dist. 65: Focus on budget not lobbying
    Rather than focusing on the major budget shortfall that is coming on like a freight train, District 65 administration is trying to lobby its way out of making the tough choices that will have to be made. Springfield will not be able to bail out Evanston’s schools. The state is broke.

    When teachers are laid off has it occured to the School Board or the Administration to go back to the Teacher’s union to see if they will re-negotiate their lucrative 3 year contract. The Teacher’s union will reject it because the tenured teachers will not take a pay cut to save the younger teachers jobs.

    Programs like TWI, African-American program, new technolgy and some special education programs will all have to be re-examined.
    If you think the Library branch closing was a hot issue wait until these programs begin to be put on the block. Buckle up.

    1. Unbuckle
      The TWI program is in place to give services, required by law, to ELL students. Of course, it is enrichment for those non-ELL students. It has been shown that this program saves the district money because additional teachers are not needed to give services to the ELL students. Other programs, such as, ACC is pure enrichment for all the students in the program. Class sizes are very low in that program and they struggle to fill the K class in the fall. Also, students are bussed to the program at Oakton. Special education is already getting hit and I think this is a lot more to come as we wait and see what will happen with the wonderful Park School.
      District Administration needs to spend more time looking at it’s own house and give it a good spring cleaning.

  4. Obamacare Medicaid expansion is not funded by the feds
    Oh yes, the Medicaid expansion under Obamacare is an unfunded mandate.

    Here’s a quote from the Florida Attorney General in Bloomberg News.

    Florida will have to spend an additional $1.6 billion for Medicaid and hire 1,000 new workers to accommodate the overhaul, the state’s Attorney General Bill McCollum said yesterday in Orlando, Florida.

    “This is a bad bill,” he said. “That’s a political determination and a practical one.”

    Yes, why do you suppose 16 states and counting are suing the federal government?

    And according to the Kaiser Foundation, the U.S. government covered about 57 percent of Medicaid’s cost in 2008. That’s not 100 percent coverage.

    Oh, and let’s not forget the 16,000 new IRS agents that will be snooping around in our business to enforce the government mandate that EVERYONE be enrolled in government-approved health insurance.

    Illinois is on the brink of bankruptcy with the unsustainable pension leading the way. Wait until more than 150,000 people join the state’s Medicaid system – healthcare welfare.

    Does anyone wonder why more and more doctors refuse to treat Medicaid patients? Because Medicaid pays very poorly. Don’t expect it to improve either under Obamacare.

    The real question is why hasn’t Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan joined the other 16 governors in the lawsuit?

    Read the story for yourself – http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=ajwSWE6H1kHM

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