Prospects for sharing superintendents between Evanston’s two school districts may possibly be aired at an upcoming meeting of the Joint 65 and 202 Committee at the high school next week.
The agenda for the meeting, released by both districts Wednesday, lists “virtual consolidation” as the first topic of discussion when representatives of the two districts meet in Room W124 of Evanston Township High School, 1600 Dodge Ave., at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 11.
“Virtual consolidation” is a term both boards have adopted to represent areas in which key administrative functions can be shared as a way to operate as a unified school district, even though they are legally two entities, each with its own board and tax base.
Evanston/Skokie District 65 operates elementary and middle schools and District 202 operates Evanston Township High School. Both districts encompass students from all of Evanston and a portion of east Skokie that shares a common border with Evanston.
The possibility of a shared superintendent arose with the resignation last month of District 65 Superintendent Hardy Murphy. The staff is now being led by an interim superintendent and a chief administrative officer, pending the selection of a permanent superintendent.
District 202 is led by Superintendent Eric Witherspoon, who previously managed a large unified school district in Des Moines, Iowa.
A model for two districts sharing a single superintendent and other key administrative staffers exists in nearby Lake Forest, where both the elementary and high school districts have employed the same person as superintendent since July of 2004.
A description of the arrangement on the District 67 website notes that it “provides a more efficient use of taxpayer dollars by reducing administrative costs to both school districts. Both districts also benefit from having a support staff who handle responsibilities for both districts.”