I had totally forgotten about the 2019 election that was uncontested.

A couple additions to your timeline: board member Mendoza quit mid term in April 2021, board member Tanyavutti quit mid term in 2022, Weatherspoon (lost the election in 2021, but selected weeks later to fill Mendoza's seat) quit mid-term.

For me, these things add up to a crisis in governance. It is no wonder that Hernandez and the board in 2020 felt comfortable conducting the superintendent search behind closed doors--they hadn't even faced contested elections, so why would they be concerned submit themselves to public scrutiny over the superintendent search?

We have seen in both the 65 and 202 boards over the last 5-7 years a number of people just quit midterm, or there being uncontested elections (like one of the 202 seats this time around).

I am wondering whether consolidating the districts into one district might improve governance as well as the student experience. The most recent joint meeting of the districts showed a large gulf between 202's expectations and 65's. It seems ridiculous to have an entire school district for just one school.

If we consolidated, maybe we would get better candidates. There may be more scrutiny placed on their backgrounds and policy positions. Right now you have so many people running for each board that it is hard for many voters to evaluate their fitness for office. Then there are all of the other curricular benefits and cost savings that could come with consolidation.

Are any of the current candidates even entertaining this possibility?

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Oh that's a great point - I had totally forgotten about all the resignations in the interim.

I hadn't considered amalgamation but I think it's a good idea. It feels kind of like the Evanston Township vs City of Evanston combination they did a few years ago. We had like multiple layers of governance basically doing the same stuff, so we can save us all trouble by combining into one.

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Mario Gonzalez says:

April 1st, 2023 at 12:15 AM

Lucy, please take your criticism and vote for the opposition of the 9th award candidate: tell your friends who live in the ward, too. My neighbor wrote 6 emails to the current Alderman Geracaris and he did not reply to her 1 single time. She is an older woman and needed some attention to resolve a problem with her car and the parking. He never bothered to answer after 6 emails! But he is the preferred child of the Mayor so he is very hard to beat. Please encourage your neighbors to vote against Geracaris!

You once commented when d65 arrested a parent for 7-8 emails that they need mental help. This old lady should be arrested according to you. Shameful community full of shameful people

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Disagree. There is a difference between a constituent asking for help and someone harassing a teacher.

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Many years ago someone explained to me that the reason we have unhelpful educationist-dominated school boards is the nature of the job. If you want to do a good job, you'll need to spend quite a bit of time at it. Regardless of what you do, a large part of the community will hate you. You won't be paid. The sort of person most likely to seek such a post is an insider who gets a living from something related to "education."

Occasionally an actual member of the public, a sensible person who likely has children enrolled in the schools but earns a living in some other business, will stand for election to the board. Having no interested organization behind them, such a person is unlikely to be elected. Example last election was Angela Blaising. This time, John Martin.

I suppose correlating school board election days with property tax billing dates might be of some help here, but the County has a lot of trouble getting bills out on time, and renters, tho many are affected by property taxes, pay them only indirectly.

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This comment is really interesting. I'm new to reading this substack and am curious as to how long its readers/commenters have been paying attention to the D65 school board. 5-ish years ago and for years prior, the board had plenty of people who did not work in the field of education. They were sensible and smart people with various types of occupations, well intentioned liberals who said all the right things about valuing equity. But they didn't do anything to make a real difference like push the 5th ward school forward or redraw attendance boundaries to balance enrollment (a few schools that were getting too crowded had additions built - which at this point seems like a gigantic waste of money). They did not have success in refocusing the district's energy and resources to make a difference in the opportunity gap (but they did have success using energy/resources to revamp the math acceleration program, which I am aware some people are outraged has now been discontinued).

I've been watching the school board for a long time, way before the current folks were elected. The individuals named in the above comment would seem to me to represent a return to D65 board circa 2011-2016. They are obviously smart and caring people, but their viewpoints are not new. The current board's priorities represent something different and I am hopeful that their efforts will produce results over time. A decades-old problem was never going to be solved in three years. I'm not saying the current board or any individual is perfect. I'm not even saying they've done everything properly because I don't really know. But I do know that change is hard, and this board has been willing to take (political) risks that prior boards were not. I want the board to be successful because I want our kids to be successful. I want Evanston to become a community that is actually equitable. Not one where a candidate for school board says things like "equity and excellence can coexist." I am certain this was not intended to be insulting. And that's the point. People who sit on our school board need a baseline of understanding about the ways systemic oppression is upheld by well intentioned people, and be willing to disrupt them. From what I can tell so far, only one of the non-incumbents gets it. It's not about coexisting - excellence does not exist without equity.

On a separate note, I am glad to have come across this substack. It is refreshing to see that there's someone willing to ask questions and look for accountability who is also not willing to allow people to indiscriminately trash D65 for every single thing (unlike other Evanston blogs and the shadow group who puts out "Evanston Schools Update").

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I think it is possible to hold all the thoughts in your head at once:

- D65 is doing good things (my son is in the district for a reason!)

- D65 is doing bad things (and possibly some very bad things, like corruption)

- Reasonable people can and should disagree on matters of policy

- We need to turn the heat down on our discourse and move back to a place where people can feel comfortable using their real names again

- Our electoral system is legitimate

- Elections have consequences

- The ideal way to remove people you don't like in power is via elections

- Voters need good information to make decisions and transparency is vital to this

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Mar 14, 2023Liked by Tom Hayden

Appreciate and agree with your points. Many things can be true at once. Again, a big reason why I am glad I found your site. Only thing I might differ on is that if someone is putting out a publication saying it contains facts, they should put their name on it. Random citizens giving an opinion without a name is not as big of a deal imo, but maybe I'll rethink it. This is the first time I have commented anywhere. Hoping we get a huge turnout for this election, regardless of who wins. Thanks for all your work and info!

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Yes but there is another way - people working right now on helping an outsider get elected stick with them after they get elected - sort of an informal volunteer staff.

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That too!!

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