34 Comments
Feb 13Liked by Tom Hayden

Here's what we know...

- At the start of the 2024-2025 School year D65 will be on it's 7 superintendent. That's less than a two year average for leadership.

- Look at the number of central office leaders who were in place in 2012 and look at the number now.

- The BOE has known for more than a decade schools were crumbling and have chosen to do nothing to fix infrastructures and basic needs of buildings which are nearing 100 years old.

- In 2017, the campaign around the referendum was to keep programs, improve buildings, and make upgrades to expand 21st century learning and opportunities none of which has happened... just more spending and less accountability.

- How is it that the BOE can say building a new school on the back of equity is the right thing to do with deficit spending, low test scores, and no one holding anyone accountable at a leadership level is the right thing to do... not to mention what do the Northwest Evanston schools look like when you eliminate the students who are bussed to those schools from the fifth ward? Not very diverse... what does the demographic of Haven look like if you take away the fifth ward students?

- One more question.... how many of the vested leaders who were moving D65 in what was seemingly a better direction 7-8 years ago are still in those positions at the district and/or building level? D65 used to work hard to build capacity within buildings and the community and now you are left with a large constituency of individuals who know nothing about Evanston, are not vested in the community and think they know what Evanston is, but have not taken the time to learn REALLY about the needs of the community and its children.

The sad thing is the loudest voices have chosen to stop talking and, as you noted, pull their children out of Evanston schools. They love the community, love the environment, love the interactions, but would rather pay for private school then deal with trying to change what is the worst Evanston schools have been in many many years.

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It’s time. It’s time for the board to resign en masse. It’s time for the administration to turn over to a group of people that actually knows what they are doing. It’s time for the reasonable/rational Evanston tax payers to stop being bullied by a group of people that shouts “Racism! Inequity!” at views that are counter to their beliefs.

I urge readers of this blog to write/call the school board and demand change. This group of people has completely mishandled the finances of the district, choosing to ignore challenges staring them in the face while focusing on coming up w land acknowledgment statements, non-academic curriculum and justice circles causing a mass exodus of students and families (of which my family was part of).

There is not one sector in the country where people could individually and collectively screw up their duties and responsibilities so poorly and remain in their positions, keeping the status quo. Look at those building maintenance costs! Look at enrollment! Look at our costs! Look at all of Tom’s exceptional, meticulous reporting on the missteps along the way!

It’s clear. Change is needed immediately to avoid even more damage. Please demand it.

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Feb 17Liked by Tom Hayden

This news is both not surprising and appalling. We need more than good intentions from school board; we need courageous people who don’t cower from honest and tough discussions. Our discourse should deal with facts. When Horton was superintendent , facts were ignored . Who was helped? Certainly not D 65 students. Resignations would suit this situation.

Vikki Proctor

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Thanks Tom for all the work you've been doing. I am a new parent in Lincoln school area and it's very disheartening to learn about the state of the schools. This is complete negligence on the part of the Board.

It makes no sense to me why none of the board knew any of this. How is this a surprise? Do they understand basic economics, like interest? How can we trust these people to solve the problems?

I am a little late to the game on some of this stuff. There is a lot of discussion about the 5th ward school. I think it's an admirable way to right wrongs of the past and heal the community. But I am concerned it will encourage gentrification rather than meet the needs of the 5th ward. Were there more pragmatic/innovative options on the table? The mismanagement of the situation again points negligence. I could go on......

I know you are winding down the substack posts, but I hope there will be a forum to organize and hold the Board accountable. A cohesive opposition rather than individual candidates is worth a shot in the next election.

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Thanks so much for the update, despite the grim outlook. Is terminating work on the new school even possible? I thought we were locked in due to the nature of the lease certificate or can we pay the penalty to cancel it? I assume the penalty will be less than the overall cost. I am really surprised they haven't broken ground at this point.

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As a retired school social worker who has worked for quite a few superintendents I can tell you that they read the qualifications the school district puts out and deliver just that during their interview So they become proficient in the use of educational jargon. They use words like “through the lens of equity we will deliver……..”. Neither the Board nor the parents/community have listed basic competency. as a priority You wouldn’t hire a doctor or a pilot without putting competency first Let me give you an example. The district is spending $416,000. per day to put students in cabs! Why? I assume these students come under the purview of the special education administration. How many students with an IEP need cabs? When I worked on the special education team we always wrote goals to address disruptive behavior Again it comes down to competency. You can’t just attend meetings in the administrative building never seeing a student. Most administrators attend meetings. They go months without seeing a student. I can pretty confidently say that the candidates they are interviewing know exactly what this community wants. When I go to a doctor I want someone who knows what tests to run, what they mean, what meds to prescribe and to know what symptoms can mean etc.

As Mark Twain wrote “God created idiots for practice then he created school boards”

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Good post Tom. A couple questions: the RoundTable and Evanston Now both reported that there was a memo or report in the board packet from the consultant which was then removed from the web after Fridays Evanston Now story.

Do you have a copy of that posted? Is there anything other than that slide deck that was prepared by the consultant?

On the penultimate slide they say reductions should be made based on return on investment and a “Racial Equity Impact Assessment.”

What are the criteria that inform the “Racial equity impact assessment “?

Did they make ANY mention about halting the new school at the meeting? At the very least they should have it as a scenario with cost estimates that can be compared with other scenarios.

Also, what is going on with the Superintendent search? It has been total crickets on that front.

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