District 65’s new school committee voted Wednesday night to include specific attendance boundaries for a new school in its report to the full school board.

The committee directed the district’s chief information officer, Paul Brinson, to prepare a map showing school boundaries that would include the portion of the 5th Ward west of Green Bay Road and the portion of the 2nd Ward west of Dodge Avenue and north of Dempster Street.

The committee is scheduled to vote on the map and the rest of its report at a meeting Aug. 16.

The areas labeled (in blue and white) 1, 2 and 3 on this map are proposed for inclusion in the new school’s attendance area. Students in the three areas now attend Kingsley, Lincolnwood, Orrington and Willard schools. The portion of the 5th Ward labeled 4 would not be included in the new school’s attendance area.

A telephone survey of parents of students in the proposed new school’s attendance area has not yet been completed, according to Superintendent Hardy Murphy, yet the committee expects to get an earful when they appear at a joint meeting tonight with 5th Ward Alderman Dolores Holmes at the Fleetwood-Jourdain Center, 1655 Foster St., beginning at 7 p.m.

The only item on the agenda at tonight’s meeting is “Community Input,” at which anyone from the district, including those living outside the new school attendance area, will be invited to comment on the initiative.

Although public comments will be limited to three minutes each, the committee will accept written comments of any length to be attached to the minutes of the meeting.

Wednesday night, the committee asked Murphy to compose three referenda questions—one authorizing the Board to build a new school, another to issue bonds for capital expenditures to pay for it, and another to issue new debt to pay operational expenses.

District attendance projections call for total enrollment to increase from 6,573 students this year to 7,150 students by 2019, an increase of 577 students.

Brinson said this would require the hiring of an additional 25 to 30 teachers, whether a new school is built or not, in addition to extra classrooms currently under construction at Dewey and Willard schools.

An estimated $1.6 million a year would be required to pay for non-teaching staff at a new school, including a principal, assistant principal, secretaries, nurse, psychologist, social worker, custodians, librarian, technical support, and food service workers, according to data provided by the administration.

Brinson said that would be partially offset by some $500,000-$750,000 in reduced busing expenses, which currently total about $1.8 million, as many of the students currently being bused to school each day would live close enough to walk to the new school.

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. Non-teaching staff

    I thought that the district's librarians and media specialists are considered teachers. Is this not true?

    1. Re: Non-teaching staff

      Not sure what your point is.

      Some or all of these employees may be part of the teacher union bargaining unit, but that doesn't mean they are classroom teachers. Logically, in considering required staffing, they can be counted separately — and there's somewhat more flexibility in how many of them are required for a given number of students.

  2. How facts can change when it is convenient

    "Brinson said that would be partially offset by some $500,000-$750,000 in reduced bussing expenses, which currently total about $1.8 million, as many of the students currently being bused to school each day would live close enough to walk to the new school"

    Several years ago the district did an analysis about bussing and concluded that due to the sheer number of busy streets students would have to cross, in most instances it would be unlikely that the district would be able to greatly reduce bussing. 

    Many years ago when my children were at King Lab I was amazed at the number of children who were picked up within six – eight blocks of the school.  When I called the transportation dept I was told that because of the heavy traffic on many of the streets these students were bused to Lab.

    How much you want to bet that bussing isn't reduced by 28-40% by a new school in the fifth ward? And the "facts" will change once again.

  3. So no other new lines will be drawn?

    If Neighborhood school placement is the goal, and racial (economic?) balance is no longer a deciding factor, why are my kids being bussed over a mile away from the lower part of the 2nd ward canal neighborhood up and over to the Skokie/Evanston Walker school? That border goes all the way east to Brown south of Dempster. Was it just more convenient to alleviate growth at those particular schools? Just like the lottery for TWE and magnet programs conveniently went to incoming families at those schools vs. elsewhere? I'm all in favor of neighborhood schools and I'm wondering if any further revisions will be made to the district map overall to help support this initiative.

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