How District 65's Equity Efforts Screwed the Fifth Ward (again)
Chiming in to say thank you for all your work on this. Whatever happens, Evanston can't be the community any of us want it to be (whether that's pro-5th ward school or not) if we don't deal honestly with the facts and each other. It's obvious that hasn't been the case here, and I hope whatever reckoning follows leads to higher standards in that regard from our elected and appointed officials.
Thanks Tom. Maybe your incredible efforts will push thus community into honest discussion. Was shocking to hear board members ( in Monday’s special meeting) stick with the k-8 model. As one board member said ..to protect kids from nooses at Haven. Hopefully she has apologized and retracted.
This story should be a documentary!
A commitment to equity does not mean asking no questions of the Black superintendent. In fact, it is the school board's job to question the numbers, ask to see the proof, to look out for the interests of the district. The board NOT doing this for Horton; am I the only way one sees this as a variety of soft bigotry?
It seems likely that the board had to have had discussions about the lack of progress on the school, and those discussions presumably were done in closed meetings. Did they simply tell themselves that any discussions about the school were linked to Hortons performance and therefore no record of the talks had to happen?
The question for the board needs to be did you ever follow up with the admin on this incredibly important school? if not, why not.
And from the way Hernandez kept mentioning k-5 in various reports on roundtable/Evanston now, there had to have been some communication to the board from the administration behind closed doors.
Tom, thanks for all you do, and your continued scrutiny and diligence. It’s too bad all those smart women with financial backgrounds who ran in opposition to the existing and incumbent Board members (who are complicit in this travesty) were essentially ignored, maligned, or run out of town when they were raising many of these same issues during the last school board election cycle. I guess Biz, Joey, and the rest have a lot of questions to answer going forward because, you know, math…
I wish I had the resources to make a documentary about this …
The Dekalb press is aware of this story and has reached out to Horton for a comment. I am so curious what his response will be if any. He had to know this was going to come out as did Obefami the CFO. I emailed the board a few days ago in a respectful tone asking for answers to basic questions and haven't received any response. I assume their inboxes are very full, but still. I wonder if they are being advised to not respond. Also, the Facebook brigade has been eerily quiet. They are just as complicit as Horton, Obefami and the board with putting D65 in this mess. How do they live with themselves in good conscience? How does the board and the crazies in this town not see that moving forward with this school will only hurt the children in the long run?
I looked up when the soonest that there can be turnover on the Board:
Soo La Kim, Joey, Donna Wang Su, and Biz are up in 2025.
I cannot imagine any sane and semi-aware person re-electing anyone who sits (and quite possibly lies) on this board. If they are not downright complicit in the fraud/scheme promoted by Horton, they are responsible for foisting the disinformation about the Fifth Ward School on the public.
I hope folks fill out the Superintendent Search survey. Not sure that it will matter to the board in terms of the job ad and who they hire, but it can't hurt to put views down for the record.
I doubt the Board has any shame, but you would think that as an act of contrition for their severe screw up of hiring Horton they might have a normal superintendent search this time.
He probably wouldn't have even made the finalist list if they had conducted a normal search in 2019 given his lack of experience and financial issues.
Great article. As someone who has financed many commercial real estate projects, a big rule of thumb is to not lock in your financing until you have final contracted costs. And that was during low inflation. For the board to know inflation was sky high and never ask for a budget update? Come on. That’s like a basic fiduciary responsibility. If Sergio weren’t so far up Horton’s ass maybe he could have seen straight.
How about this, the White House asked Horton to be part of an event on Black education: https://www.ed.gov/news/media-advisories/white-house-initiative-black-americans-and-discovery-education-presents-power
I hope everyone who reads this shares it far and wide. The Board are all guilty of lies and scheming with Horton. This school must be stopped. It was fine when we (allegedly) had the money to pay for it through cost savings. But we don’t. Therefore, any school building must be put to a referendum. Plain and simple. This whole fiasco needs to be a true crime podcast.
Tom, I am wondering if there are any other big money 'surprises' that we may see? I am thinking of all the deferred maintenance costs on existing buildings that were discussed last year (I think).