Additional invoices obtained by Evanston Now show that the cost of armed, round-the-clock, seven-day-a-week security for District 65 Superintendent Devon Horton has been more than $475,000 since last summer.
And the total will top half-a-million dollars for a 12-month period, if the final month of the security contract, this June, sees bodyguards provided every day, as has been the case for most prior months. The typical monthly invoice has been in the range of $47,000 – $48,000, depending on the number of days in the month.
District 65 contracts with a private security company for the superintendent’s protection.
Horton has reported threats, and at a May 23 Board of Education meeting, stated publicly that “I sit here with armed security 24 hours a day.”
There was no public mention, however, of the cost. So Evanston Now filed a Freedom of Information Act request. The invoices received added up to $356,395 since July, 2021 when the agreement for armed security took effect.
However, invoices for two full months and two partial months were not included in the response, so we then asked for, and received, those documents, which total $120,362.
(For some reason, bodyguard services were not provided to the superintendent from November 1-7, 2021. The district’s latest FOIA response notes that, but does not say why the protection was not used during those dates).
Adding everything together, the cost from late July, when the first security detail started, until the end of May, 2022 is $476,757, with this June yet to come.
District 65 is paying $65 per hour for the superintendent’s armed guards, according to documents received from the school system. For holidays, the hourly rate goes to time-and-a-half.
It’s unclear if the personal bodyguard protection will be extended past June 30.
District 65 had a previously existing contract with Skokie-based Phoenix Security for things such as unarmed security at board meetings, and checking buildings during weekends for vandalism or mechanical problems. That contract was amended as of July 1 last year to add “executive protection” through June 30, 2022.
That contract also states that “The term of this agreement shall be from the Effective Date until June 30, 2022, and may be renewed by mutual written agreement of the parties.”
In our most recent FOIA request, Evanston Now asked for “Any internal District 65 communications/documents regarding the possibility of extending the current Phoenix Security contract amendment past its expiration date of June 30, 2022, or developing a new contract for such services. This would include any draft contracts, extensions, or amendments which have been drawn up.”
The district’s answer, dated June 22, was “There are no records responsive to this request.”
Horton says he has armed security guards (5/24/22)