ETHS board accepts grant

Lily Leung

With a $3.6 million budget deficit looming over District 202, Evanston Township High School Board members unanimously accepted a $131,530 Title I grant at last Monday’s meeting.

Despite school board members’ concerns about No Child Left Behind Act restrictions attached to the funds, board member Margaret Lurie said the board accepted the money to help alleviate the district’s financial woes.

In a memorandum distributed at the meeting, Superintendent Allan Alson recommended using the grant to fund a program to improve literacy and math skills for students who do not meet the state minimum score on the Prairie State Achievement Exam.

The board will use the program as a loophole to fulfill the act’s requirement of using the money for test improvement while also increasing student achievement, Lurie said.

In addition to the No Child Left Behind funds, the board will use $91,227 in Title I district money to create the new program, which students can enroll in beginning next summer.

Although no members voted to reject the funds, Lurie said school board member Ross Friedman was most “agitated” about the plan because he feared it would be a burden on the school board. Friedman could not be reached for comment.

The board also authorized Alson to write a letter to the Illinois and U.S. departments of education to express his concerns about the act. Alson will criticize the law for only using students’ results from the state achievement exam to indicate academic success and will point out the negative consequences of allowing students to choose an alternative school if their schools do not meet state standards.

Lurie said taking the money was the right thing to do, even with the act’s strings attatched.

“It’s not a time to thumb our noses at the money,” Lurie said. “The community would not be happy.”

Reach Lily Leung at [email protected]