D65 Board weighs fine arts and disability issues
The Evanston/Skokie District 65 School Board is close to making final decisions on restoring some or all of the fine arts and physical education teachers to next year’s budget and whether to move a small class of emotionally disabled students from Lincolnwood Elementary to Kingsley Elementary in the fall.
The two items were on the agenda for discussion at Monday’s board meeting that did not end until nearly 1 a.m. Tuesday.
After hearing numerous complaints from parents about an administration proposal to reduce the number of fine arts and physical education teachers while maintaining about the same number of hours of instruction by reducing teacher planning time and moving instructors strategically among the district’s schools, some board members have advocated restoring at least some of the positions.
In a memo to the board from the district’s comptroller, Kathy Zalewski, a revised budget projection for the coming fiscal year showed that positions could be restored at the four Title I schools by reducing the budget surplus from $208,000 to $154,000.
Title I schools are those with a high percentage of students from low-income families. In District 65, these schools are Dawes, Oakton, Walker, and Washington. Final vote on the budget before presenting it to the public for a required public hearing is scheduled for the board’s next meeting on August 20.
On the disabilities issue, advocates for disabled students urged the board to reverse the administration’s plan to move the emotionally disabled class, which consists of five students, from Lincolnwood, which is short on classroom space, to Kingsley on the grounds that it would be emotionally destabilizing for this vulnerable student group to change schools.
Superintendent Hardy Murphy insists, however, that the move would be educationally best for the students. Barring a last-minute decision at the August 20 meeting, the administration is proceeding with plans to move the program to Kingsley for the 2012-2013 school year.