Discover more from FOIA Gras
A Correction to Yesterday's Story
And How Skokie built a school in 22 months using a lease certificate while Evanston still hasn't laid a single brick in 18.
FOIAGRAS is a free newsletter run by Tom Hayden (FOIA GRAS LLC) that explores various topics in local Evanston Governance, especially around ETHS and School District 65 (Evanston/Skokie). I publish and share all my data and reports. Subscribing is free, so please subscribe or share.
After yesterday’s story, I miraculously had a follow-up FOIA response arrive in my inbox. It was a copy of the lease certificate for District 69: Skokie and Morton Grove. I reported yesterday that they used a bond to fund their school construction, instead of a lease certificate. Today they provided me a copy of their $25,065,000 lease certificate.
Therefore, Raymond James’ list of public school districts using lease certificates was only false for 2/8 of the list instead of 3/8 of the list. I stand corrected.
While we’re at it, let’s take a look at the $25,065,000 Skokie Lease Certificate. What did they do with the money?
Proceeds of the Obligations will be used to (1) build and equip the new Lincoln School Building and improve the site thereof and (2) pay the cost of issuing the Obligations.
Final construction costs came in at roughly $44.6 million, which will be funded by $13 million in reserve funds and $32 million in previously issue construction bonds, the release said.
The date on the District 69 lease certificate is January 14, 2020. Construction began in the midst of COVID in April 2020. According to the architect, by October 2021, the school was completed and open for students.
That is 22 months from the time the money was deposited until they had a completed bona-fide school. Meanwhile, District 65 is 18 months in and we still don’t even know if this will be a K-5 or K-8 school and who will be in it.
It’s fair to ask if the School Board and Administration intends to build a new school or if they always just wanted the accolades for it. Consider this line item from Dr. Horton’s resume application to DeKalb:
We launched a redistricting task force that identified a way to fund a school in a community that has not had one since 1968. This was accomplished without a referendum, spending of reserves, ESSR [sic]2 or fundraising.
Perhaps it was always about the resume line item and not about an actual school or the students in it. Stay tuned - more to come on this in a story on Sunday evening / Monday morning.
This raises a fair question: if the cost for neighboring Skokie was $44m for a junior high school, how is District 65 going to build a school for the $40m they’ve taken out with the lease certificate for a much larger K-8 school?
I find it ironic he made a typo with ESSER funding considering how willing he was to use ESSER (federal) funding for pet projects, such as CREATE65 or hiring consultant friends.