D65 board notes food distribution shortfall

District 65 board members, school officials, and a resident's couch at the start of the board's virtual meeting on Zoom this evening.

District 65 school board members this evening voiced diappointment that the supply of breakfasts and lunches for free distribution at four community sites in Evanston ran short today and said they hope another distribution can be arranged for Wednesday.

The district along with Evanston Township High School and the City of Evanston provided food distribution every weekday last week, but decided to shift to handing out a once-a-week supply of five breakfasts and lunches today.

The board, holding a virtual meeting using Zoom conferencing software because of the shutdown of public gatherings in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, addressed its agenda items in less than an hour, approving all of them on unanimous votes.

Interim Superintendent Phil Ehrhardt reported that the district has distributed more than 700 computer devices and 200 cellular hotspots to families who don't have such equipment at home for their students to complete elearning projects while the schools are closed by the novel coronavirus.

He said arrangements have been made for 78 district employees who still get paper checks to be able to pick them up at a drive-thru location of Byline Bank.

He also noted that school bus drivers are still being paid as are substitute teachers, along with the regular teaching staff in the district.

The board adopted a calendar for next school year, after noting that given the uncertainty around school plans these days, it may need revision before classes actually start in the fall.

Ehrhardt outlined a schedule for selecting new principals for Haven Middle School and King Arts School that would see an online survey for stakeholders launch at the end of this week, set a deadline for candidates to apply of April 13 and have candidate interviews at the schools the last week of April.

The board then would name the new principals at a meeting May 18 and the they would start work on July 1.

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