The cost of educating a student in Evanston/Skokie District 65 elementary schools is expected to top $20,000 this year under a tentative budget recommended by the board finance committee this week.

That’s an increase of 3 percent from last year.

The cost of educating a student in Evanston/Skokie District 65 elementary schools is expected to top $20,000 this year under a tentative budget recommended by the board finance committee this week.

That’s an increase of 3 percent from last year.

And, while the proposed budget for this year is balanced, the district’s projections show operating fund budget deficits starting next year growing to nearly $9 million, or more than 7 percent of operating expenses, by the 2015-16 fiscal year.

So School Superintendent Hardy Murphy announced at the finance committee meeting the names of 26 people appointed to an ad hoc budget committee from among 46 applicants to make recommendations about the district’s budget issues.

In addition to five representatives from the district’s union bargaining units, the panel members include two members of last year’s mayor’s budget review panel, Aleks Granchalek and Mark Sloane; two former District 65 board members, Bob Eder and Mary Erickson; health care consutant Susan Greene; catering firm owner Kaquana King; architect Colby Lewis; real estate agent Carol Lind; NU management professor Therese McGuire; NAACP branch president George Mitchell; strategic planning consultant Tom Mulhern, management consultant Andy Rolfe, and non-profit consultant Jill Zimmerman.

Other members include Jorge Alonzo, Lawrence Bryne, Richard Emrich, William Hogan, Doug Holt, John Kosiba, Les Lynn and Gail Lobin.

The committee is scheduled to hold its first meeting Sept. 6 and meet twice monthly through November.

The full school board is scheduled to discuss this year’s budget on Monday and hold a public hearing and approve the budget on Sept. 26.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. And they are considering building a new school???

    Seriously, the district is actually considering building a new school when they are facing 7% budget deficits???

    Also a 26 member committee is ridiculous. Anything over 10-12 is unmanageable–unless, of course, the whole thing is a sham, which would be par for the course with this superintendent.

    1. Of course it’s a sham

      Many of the members of this committee are long time supporters of Dr. Murphy. Mary Erickson was his hand maiden on the school board, it's unlikely she'll be any different on this committee. D65 has a history of creating committees to justify conclusions that have already been reached. I have no doubt this will be no different.

  2. Those costs seem high !

    While the $20,000 probably includes more than 'tuition', ie. may include schools meals, it still seems high.  If the schools are charging parents the fees that have been written about in the newspapers recently, then even that $20,000 is an understated about given how much more parents have to kick-in.

    That is about 1/2 NU tuition. 

    Are we getting our [or rather children's] worth ?  Test scores seem to indicate that we are not.

    Just saying we value education does not mean we mindlessly tax and spend more.  I'm sure there will be comments that the right -wing is anti-education and we need to really pour money into the schools.  How many of them keep plowing money into their failing business or stocks ? A serious evaluation of the administrative costs needs to be done—and probably a 'house cleaning. 

    Unless there is more cost control and the quality of the education improves, soon cuts will have to be made.  Sports, arts and others would come first.

  3. How about we take all that

    How about we take all that money we're paying for the inflated salary and perks of the superintendent and put it where it can really do some good?

    1. Consultants to study school cost ?

      Since Evanston is famous for hiring consultants how about one more.

      This time one to study the school budget, administration, and need for new schools given population [existent and ACCURATE projections].

      But instead of using consultants who will recommend what the Board or administration wants to hear, hire a university [but not school of education] to do the research. To avoid the politics, hire a well known non-Illinois university with a top business school to do the work [if they feel they need to talk to schools of education for clarification or anyone else they can do so].  The emphasis should be on budgets not the 'education' aspects.  The schools certainly need a sound evaluation of the educational policy, but keep that separate.

      I normally ask why the city does not use NU, but in this case, and to prevent questions of influence either way, perhaps use MIT, Stanford, CMU or such—where there is a strong science emphasis to counter the, as Richard Feynman called it 'dippy' course emphasis.  I hesitate to mention Stanford since they are well known for 'California style' anything goes but they do have the GSB.  Certainly keep away from professional consultants who only package up prior studies [after sticking their finger up for the wind] and charging $$$$.

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