When Evanston/Skokie School District 65’s new superintendent, Paul Goren, starts work a week from next Monday, his contract will provide him a salary of $250,000 a year.

The contract, released to Evanston Now by the school district in response to a Freedom of Information Act request, also shows that the district will pay $25,000 cover the cost of Goren’s contributions to the teacher’s retirement system and provide a retirement annuity.

The superintendent will also get 25 vacation days and 15 sick days.

Goren’s base salary will be 5.7 percent more than what former superintendent Hardy Murphy received during the 2012 school year, according to figures from the Illinois State Board of Education.

But Murphy received over $73,000 in retirement and other benefits that year — substantially more than Goren is scheduled to get. Murphy’s contract called for 25 vacation days and 13 sick days each year.

Goren’s contract runs for four years, with any salary increases during the term to be agreed upon by the school board.

Murphy resigned last August, and Goren, a 16-year resident of Evanston, was selected by the board for the job in March after a nationwide search.

A reception in his honor is scheduled for 6 p.m. in the district’s board room on his first day on the job, May 19.

Related stories

Goren combines local roots with national expertise

Goren is D65 pick for its new superintendent

D65 Board approves contract with Goren

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

Join the Conversation


  1. It could have been written better
    If the contract paid him a salary of say $60,000 a year wth a bonus of $10,000 a year for every point that could be closed in the achievement gap of minority students (e.g. 15 point decrease in year one equates to a bonus of $150,000), I believe he could be a much better superintendent. I know that all the previous superintendents could not get this done, but did they have any incentive to really try? Money, like fear, is a great motivator. And if he closed the achievement gap and/or if the minority students excelled beyond the non minority students, he could have been offered a life contract of $5 million a year.

    1. Achievement Gap persists

      The Achievement Gap not only persists in Evanston, but across our nation. Our prior Superintendent, Dr. Hardy Murphy, tried to "close the gap," but with limited results. Clearly the disparity in outcomes is concerning and has significant repurcussions for our society. But maybe a different approach is required. Maybe we should search deep into history and go back to the time of Socrates. The "Socratic Approach" may cause us to ask different questions and through this process maybe we can implement different programs that may actually help all students achieve their potential. For example, one question we may want to ask is "Why does an Achievement Gap exist?" Why is the Achievement Gap especially pronounced in Evanston? Why do many Black and Latino demonstrate academic success in Evanston schools? (the discussion historically focuses on underachieving minority students in Evanston – maybe the discussion should shift to understand why and how many minority students succeed – maybe emulating success and explaining how to be successful will enable more minority students to succeed.

      Dr. Goren has a distinguished track record of success and we can all hope he is able to provide an opportunity for all D65 students to achieve their potential.

      1. A distinguished track record of success

        He has no track record of success in running schools.  He has not actually worked in a school district in decades.  And has never run a public entitiy.  I am keeping my fingers crossed.

        1. A demonstrated track record of success

          Look at Dr. Goren's track record of success. He has distinguished himself and left a positive impact on the organizations where he has worked. After I met him and spoke with him I was impressed with his understanding of the academic and social issues impacting Evanston and D65 and of his broader views outside of Evanston. Most importantly, he will bring leadership skills that will enhance and improve our school district and community.

          Many people questioned why Ford Motor Company hired a leader from Boeing, because he wasn't an "auto guy" and he drove a Lexus. Well fast forward to today, and Alan Mulally is being celebrated as one of Ford's most successful CEO's.

          It's the person that matters, and D65 is fortunate to have hired Dr. Goren.

          We can all hope in the future that we'll be celebrating his successes at D65.

          Give him your support and lend a hand – all our students need some extra help.



      2. Achievement Gap
        In my humble opinion, it will be hard, if not impossible, to find a comprehensive solution to the achievement gap if we don’t tie race/ethnic background to family income. Many underachieving minority students are also part of the lower income group. This means they have less access to qualified tutors to help with homework or catching up, and less participation in extra-curricular activities that add to the intellectual capital of each student, such as music lessons, theater or dance lessons, expensive summer camps, etc. the list goes on and on and it seems almost impossible to try to close the gap only modifying what happens during school time. What students do after school matters as well, and unfortunately at that point schools have limited influence.

  2. Once again–wrong focus

    The Board once again thinks one person can change everything, so they pay through [the citizen's] noses.  Much of the money for an untested official [were his prior schools as much in need as Evanston ? did he boost the test scores to 90%+ ? was there a substantial increase in student graduating high school and going to college [much of which is determined well before high school] ?

    People rail against the high salaries on Wall Street and corporate executives but school do the same thing with administration. Anyone who works for a company/school will tell you that it is mostly the employees who produce the results–executives take credit [money] when things go good and blame the employees when things go bad [but keep their salary].  The Board made the same mistake.

  3. Sick Leave for D-65 Superintendent

    I think we are fortunate to have someone like Paul Goren lead our school system. Leadership matters and paying someone $250,000 per year to lead this important, complex public system seems reasonable. I am curious, will the School Board be paying him for accrued but unusued sick leave should he leave in the future? For instance, if he is our superintendent for 10 years and only takes on average 2 sick days a year, he will have accumulated 120 sick days (24 weeks, $115,384). While I understand the benefit of sick leave to the recipient while employed, I do not think it should be paid out upon someone retiring or leaving to take another job. Unless I missed something, the current contract seems unclear on this point whereas it is clear he can accrue and be paid out for 35 unused vacation days (max).

  4. Are two heads that much better than one?

    So, Evanston taxpayers pay for two superintendents (for D65 and D202) each for what Chicago taxpayers pay for one superintendent.

    If Evanston can eliminate an unnecessary unit of government, i.e. the Township, why can't the school districts be consolidated?

    1. Because neither board has a

      Because neither board has a compelling interest to objectively investigate that question. Consolidation threatens Board members' positions.

      1. Ann, Exactly Right

        Paul Goren is a fine man and is well qualified for the position. He has a great background. He will do well.

        The school boards in Evanston are spendalcoholic. You hear it time and time again. More spending does not make a better school. Our school boards usually try for every dime they can squeeze out of the taxpayers without making the schools any better but just making the teachers richer.

        There is no need or argument for two superintendents and two school boards. Being able to deal with K through 12 would be better for the students and the school system. Combining staff and resources could also reduce the burden of very high property taxes by reducing staffs and supply costs.

        This would be a win, win, win for Evanston.

    2. Government would never end its own power over the people

      For once I agree with you, John. I think most Evanstonians would like to eliminate an unnecessary unit of government and consolidate D65 and D202. The only way that can happen is if voters organize, petition and demand consolidation,

      You mentioned the dissolution (not elimination) of the Township as an example. Remember, the Evanston City Council in 2011 could have given voters a binding referendum to eliminate the Township right away but deferred to an advisory referendum because township attorneys were threatening to sue the city. Voters had to wait two years for Springfield lawmakers to pass a bill sponsored by Daniel Biss to abolish the Evanston Township. While all of that was taking place,  Evanston Township Assessor, Bonnie Wilson, a former president of the Evanston Democrat party, opposed the township dissolution and had applied for a pension even though she was working part-time. Not sure if she ever got it but the City Council this year gave her a nice goodbye with hugs and a bouquet of flowers.

      Unfortunately, in the Township dissolution debacle, the City Council decided to hire a new full time employee to handle the Township duties rather than farming it out to Cook County. which provide the same services. So, essentially we still have government waste but not as much.  

      More than 20 years ago Evanston voters were so angry at the City Council because of a sharp rise in property taxes that they organized and got a voter referendum to successfully reduce the number of council members by half.  

      It's going to take community activism to consolidate the school districts. Otherwise, it will be the same as it ever was. Government on its own would never elimninate its power over the people.

      1. D65 & D202 Consolidation study


        As i recall, a Kellogg Professor led a team which analyzed consolidating the 2 school districts in Evanston. Can you post a link to their report if one exists? 

        Thank you.


      2. Still to many Aldermen

        Evanston still has substantially more aldermen per resident than even Chicago—and you know well(?) Chicago works.  It is well past time for another reduction.  While at it either get rid of the Mayor's office or City Manager.  And then start with a review of all city offices—not by Council appointed consultants who are/will be beholding to the Council but an independent university—exclude NU to prevent further politics or claims of politics.

        Consolidation of schools is a no brainer.

    3. I think between the two

      I think between the two superintendents the city is paying out almost $600,000.00 a year.

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 *