Even though Lincolnwood Elementary School enrollments for this year were below projections, the number over all for the Evanston/Skokie District 65 schools appear to exceed projections, a committee of the board was told Tuesday night.
A preliminary report for three schools—Lincolnwood, Haven, and Nichols—contained in the advance packet distributed to the district’s Finance Committee before the meeting, showed that 36 fewer students reported for class at Lincolnwood than projected, most of them in kindergarden.
For the district as a whole, however, the unofficial figures for the opening of school were some 97 more than projected back in May, according to Chief Information Officer Lora Taira.
The Opening of Schools Report, a detailed analysis of the number of students enrolled at the end of September, is expected to be released in November. Last year, the total number of students in the report was 7,352, an increase of 346 students from the previous year.
Because projections indicated a growing number of students over the remaining years of the decade, the district called for a referendum to build a new school in the 5th Ward of Evanston and to make extensive renovations, including additional classrooms, at existing middle schools.
When the referendum failed in March, the district dropped plans for the new school, but went ahead with plans for some of the middle school renovations, based upon the borrowing capacity of the district that did not require a referendum.
As plans proceeded for making some of these renovations Tuesday night, board member Jerome Summers complained that their actions were, in effect, “a back-door referendum” that ignores the needs of students in the 5th Ward, with a 90 percent population of low-income African-American and Latino students.
“This is how institutional racism happens,” he complained. “There is zero consideration for children in the 5th Ward.”
Finance Committee Chairman Andrew Pigozzi responded that “what we’re proposing are very small incremental renovations that are very much needed at these various middle schools.”
While Summers agreed that the renovations being proposed are the correct ones to make for the short term, the board, he contended, is nevertheless continuing to neglect the needs of “some 600 or so kids that for 45 years are still waiting at the bus stop” to be transported daily to schools in the perimeter of the district.