Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern


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District 65 Receives $1 Million To Improve Shools’ Air Quality

The Daily Northwestern

Evanston/Skokie School District 65 announced Monday that it received a $1 million grant from the state of Illinois to improve air quality in local public schools.

The grant money will be used to update ventilation systems in the district’s 16 schools, said state Sen. Jeff Schoenberg, D-Evanston, in a press conference held at Haven Middle School, 2417 Prairie Ave.

“It’s our job to make your job – learning – as easy as possible,” he said. “I wanted to do something for Evanston students because you are the future.”

Schoenberg, chairman of the state Senate Appropriations Committee, said he was disappointed after a school funding bill that he helped sponsor failed last year. He said he worked hard to get the money for District 65 this year.

“Asthma and other respiratory problems in kids are becoming a way of life,” Schoenberg said. “This was me exercising my chairmanship on the Senate Appropriations Committee.”

Superintendent Hardy Murphy instructed the sixth- and seventh-graders assembled in the room Monday morning to applaud when Schoenberg entered the room.

“This is the kind of representative government that makes it all work for us,” Murphy said.

Ald. Elizabeth Tisdahl (7th) and District 65 board member Jerome Summers also lauded Schoenberg’s efforts.

“Jeff Schoenberg is being a radical on school issues, which is exactly what we want,” Tisdahl said. “Jeff Schoenberg rocks.”

According to district press releases, school administrators will spend the grant on new air handling units and ventilators that are more energy-efficient and are expected to ultimately save the district money on energy and maintenance costs.

Construction on the units will begin this summer, said District 65 maintenance supervisor Eddie Harrison.

According to an Illinois Senate press release, more than 40 percent of asthma-related hospitalizations in Evanston involve children under 15. When the audience of students was asked how many had allergies or asthma, about half raised their hands.

“Air quality has become an issue in all school systems,” said Amy Odwarka, an English teacher at Haven. “This is a great opportunity for the school district to have as healthy a situation for the kids as possible.”

Reach Megan Crepeau at [email protected].

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District 65 Receives $1 Million To Improve Shools’ Air Quality