Evanston/Skokie School District 65 Superintendent Paul Goren addressed a small group of interested persons Tuesday on the need for an operating referendum to benefit the district’s schools in the upcoming April election.
Using many of the same visuals he employed in a similar presentation Monday night at the regular monthly meeting of the district board’s Finance Committee, Goren emphasized that the decision to put the issue on the ballot is not only wise, but essential.
“This is the only election scheduled for 2017 when we can ask the community to vote on this issue,” he said. “To delay it for another year would not be good.”
While details of such a referendum have not been approved yet by the District 65 Board of Education, the issue has been discussed many times over the past year by its Finance Committee as a way to deal with what Goren called “structural deficits” facing the district.
He expressed the view that the appropriate amount to request in the referendum is an additional $13.5 million, which translates to an additional $438 on the property tax bill of the average home in the district.
Most of the dozen or so members of the audience appeared to be mainly parents of elementary and middle school students who were sympathetic to his cause, and a couple of them urged him to seek additional support from such community groups as Northwestern University and even from Evanston Township High School District 202.
It was noted, for example, that the high school raises enough revenue to finance an annual per-pupil expenditure of about $21,000, compared with $14,000 for District 65.
“Don’t be afraid to make the Big Ask,” one attendee said.
Goren will be making a similar presentation tonight, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., at the Fleetwood Jourdain Community Center, 1655 Foster St.