A special meeting of the Evanston/Skokie School District 65 Board of Education has been called for Tuesday night to consider a possible referendum to be placed on the April 4 school elections ballot that would raise an extra $14.5 million a year in property tax revenue.

Need for the additional taxes has been discussed frequently by the board and its Finance Committee for the last two years and is considered an urgent matter now, due to tax caps tied to a rise in the federal Consumer Price Index (CPI), which has been considerably less than the increase in many of the items purchased regularly by the board.

Failure to pass the measure would be considered an invitation for the board to take drastic steps to curtail programs and skimp on services currently being offered to public school students, in the opinion of Superintendent Paul Goren and several board members.

The last time the board asked the taxpayers to pony up additional revenue was five years ago to build an elementary school in the Fifth Ward, a largely  African-American residential area where most students are transported by bus to schools in other wards. That referendum failed.

Tuesday night’s meeting will be the final board meeting for the board’s Finance Committee chairman, Richard Rykhus, who announced his resignation, effective Wednesday, due to a job change. He said he wanted to stay on the board until it voted on the proposed referendum.

Related stories:

D65 unit recommends a $14.5 million referendum

Neighborhoods split on school referendum

Rykhus to resign after referendum vote

Charles Bartling

A resident of Evanston since 1975, Chuck Bartling holds a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University and has extensive experience as a reporter and editor for daily newspapers, radio...

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  1. It’s all a scare tactic for more money
    There’s a lot of hand wringing and nervous talk that if Evanston voters do not pass the proposed $14.5 million referendum schools will close and class sizes will balloon to more than 30 kids a classroom.

    It’s all scare tactic. They won’t close any school because that would mean teachers and admins would lose their jobs. If the D65 school board and superintendent are so concerned about the so called fiscal crisis why did they recently capitulate to the demands of the Janitor and Teacher Union’s for a pay hike?

    If D65 needs all that money for undisclosed operation budget items then drastic cutbacks and other measures should be taken such as merging D65 and D202 to cut out the duplicative bureauracy.

    But that would never be considered because these fat cat bureaucrats want to keep their jobs and cushy jackpot government union pensions. Notice how the school board gave the teacher raise before suggesting a $14.5 property tax referendum?

    Say no to the $14.5 million property tax referendum!

    1. Agreed. The answer is no.

      Where is the evidence that the D65 administration has done everything that it can to operate D65 effectively without such a hefty tax hike?  Instead, it is the ever-so-easy, easy-way-out to tap the poor taxpayers for more. 

      I live on a fixed income.  That means that I have a full time job of 70 hours a week (no overtime as I am salaried) with no automatic pay increases and no pension when I retire.  Social Security increases are larger and more predictable than our pay increases these days.

      You (meaning every taxing authority on my tax bill but especially the school districts) are pricing the middle class out of this city. It is well past time that you stop and consider that good stewardship includes financial responsibility and the hard work to make that responsibility a reality. 

      Remember that not that long ago, the D65 administration told us that we absolutely had to build a new elementary school and we had the money around to build it and staff it.  Different superintendent now, I know, but what happened?  Was that all a lie?  These wild swings in financial information are rather hard to believe. 

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