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.