The District 65 school board has decided to ask voters to approve a $48.2 million referendum to build a new school and expand some existing buildings. How to you plan to vote on the issue?

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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    1. Board: Please read polling results on here.

      You guys are beyond a bunch of idiots.  Get on Planet Earth.

  1. What is the data from the 5th ward survey?

    I keep seeing reports that the 5th ward residents were surveyed about this school, but I don't see the results anywhere.  

    Bill- Do you have a copy of the data?  Or does anyone else out there?

    Thanks 🙂 

    1. Neighborhood surveys

      The school district has done a couple of surveys about a new school.

      We reported on the first one in November 2010 and on the second one last August.

      Each story contains a link to the full survey report.

      — Bill

      1. Which people are demanding the school?

        Bill- thanks for re-posting the data from the survey. 

        It appears from these surveys that an overwhelming majority of people who live in the fifth ward like their current schools, and aren't sure if they would even want to change to a new 5th ward school.  So, it is puzzling to me that people in town keep writing/saying that "people" are demanding this school. Which people are demanding this school? 

        More questions for Bill or anyone else. I have been digging and can't find these answers…

        What is the data on the overcrowding?  Is overcrowding an issue at all schools? Does anyone have class sizes for each of the schools in district?  Do some schools have unused space or classrooms that are not full?

         What are the enrollment projections for 3-5 years from now? 

        If we build a new school, how will we staff it?  Will we increase taxes again, or pull teachers from the current schools?  The budget deficit for this year is 3 milion dollars, and the district is thinking of cutting staff or not filling retired-teacher spots this year.  How will a new school affect staffing at the existing schools?  The budget deficit is estimated to be as high as 8 million in 5 years, how will we staff all the schools then if we are building new spaces?

  2. 92% of parents in the 5th ward are happy with the schools now?

    All this talk of how the 5th ward people are demanding a new school, but the survey data says 92% of 5th ward parents are happy with what they have?! 

    The north side schools are overcrowded, but I've yet to see a study that shows that ALL the schools in town are overcrowded.  If I am wrong here, please share the data and I will stand corrected.

          How about a study that asks North Evanston families if they would be willing to redistrict and bus their own kids to the southern parts of town to less full classrooms?  I think if you compared the two sets of data, you would see what the issue really is here.

         If you have the $$ to pay another few hundred dollars in taxes, it's easier for you to pay up than actually live what you preach.    I  also think many of the people in north Evanston live in la la land when it comes to the economic realities of people that they proclaim to care about "helping." …


  3. Re: new school

    From my perspective, I view economics from a kitchen-table point of view. If my husband and I don't have enough money in our budget or check book to pay for something, our family goes without. (except for really important things, like medical emergencies and car repairs) Otherwise, we DO NOT overextend ourselves.

    Things are really tight in our household, financially speaking. Our condo property taxes have gone up. Our health insurance will go up in the new year. Our transportation costs are going up in February. However, the available money supply (what my husband and I earn) will stay the same. I hear similar things from all over the United States. My husband and I have pulled the belt almost as tight as it can go.

    Are these school board members in touch with financial reality? What about the City of Evanston's check book? How much do they have in the bank? How about District 65? How financially solvent are they?

  4. Cost

    Does anyone know how long Evanston residents will pay for the referendum if passed? An extra $127 a year seems like a no-brainer for me to help meet Evanston's growing needs. 

    1. 20 years

      The district says they typically issue bonds that run 20 years. So it would be $127 a year for 20 years.

      However, this may not be the only request the district makes for tax hikes over the next year or so.

      — Bill

    2. A vote NO is a vote YES for staff, fiscal responsibility, equity

      Would you build an addition on your house if you could not pay the grocery bill?

      This referendum is what the district is proposing.  They are in a budget deficit of 3 million, this year, with projections going straight down for the upcoming years.  There are talks of cutting just about everything. See here-

       Yet, now we are talking of building on and creating new schools? 

      Who will staff this new school? We can not afford the staff we have, so how will we hire new teachers plus all the supports-principal-nurses-janitors-etc? 

      This $127 per $200,000 is completely misleading.  Unless the district plans on moving staff from other schools to a new school, taxes will have to go up again.  .  Add these increases on to the 11% increase in property taxes from the city the past over the two years(plus increased fees) and all of a sudden these `minor`increases here and there are not so minor. 

      If the people who demand this 5th ward school, who don´t happen to live in the 5th ward according to the phone survey results, cared so much about the poor in this town, they would realize that `minor`increases for them, equal an inability to pay the grocery bill for others.

      A vote against the referendum is not a vote against the school district. 

       A vote NO is a vote YES for fiscal responsibilty and better long term planning.  A vote NO is a vote to keep the $ invested in teachers instead of pretty new spaces.

      A vote NO Is a vote for equity.  Re-district and let the north students be bussed south, where the schools have room for them.  The south kids have been bussed for years, now let the north step up and live what they preach.

      1. Evanston school referendum

        It seems clear that Evanston has an abundance of cash.  A school district that can afford to give its superintendent such a hefty increase in compensation surely must have a largesse squirreled away.  Chicago's school superintendent is paid barely more than Evanston's, according to two newspaper articles.  The fact that the Evanston pay raise came to a board vote almost in secret –the issue was not on the board agenda–only adds to taxpayer suspicions.

      2. a vote no is a vote yes…

        i really agreed with many of your points, jennybean.  good thinking!  will the citizens of evanston realize any of these points? only if thinking people get them out there in the public square.  so, letter-writers of the world unite! you have nothing to lose but your ever-increasing taxes.

        mary brugliera

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