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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5th and 2nd Ward parents demand clarity, communication from District 65 board

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Elisa Huang/The Daily Northwestern
Foster Field. The new Evanston/Skokie School District 65 school in the 5th Ward will be built on the field, but parents from the surrounding neighborhood say they’re worried about the project’s financial future.

As officials tackle budgetary setbacks in constructing a new 5th Ward school, a group of 37 families from the 5th and 2nd Wards demanded transparency and fiscal responsibility from the Evanston/Skokie School District 65 Board of Education in an open letter sent Monday evening.

District 65 has been planning to build a new neighborhood school in the 5th Ward for a year and a half. The neighborhood was previously served by the Foster School, which closed as a neighborhood school in 1966. 

District 65 officials said they hope to foster equity by allocating resources to one of Evanston’s predominantly Black Wards and cut back on transportation costs accumulated from bussing 5th Ward students to other schools.

However, at its Oct. 16 meeting, the board of education shared shocking news: construction plans for the school are projected to cost $25 million over the initial $40 million budget. The board is continuing to deliberate alternate plans — but to cut back on expenditures, they may have to sacrifice student capacity or sustainability goals.

In Monday’s letter, 5th and 2nd Ward families said that they are concerned about officials’ current cost estimates. 

“Our request is straightforward: we support the establishment of a 5th Ward School, but we implore you not to impose an excessive financial burden on residents or compromise the quality of our children’s education,” the letter reads. “A 5th Ward School loses its purpose if our community cannot afford to live there or if it lacks the necessary staff and resources to thrive.”

While the letter expressed full support for the 5th Ward school, it asked for further clarity on several key points, such as construction plans and plans for  additional funding.

The budget crisis has prompted backlash from District 65 community members, including 5th Ward residents and parents invested in the Two-Way Immersion program that could be cut from the new school. 

Though parents and community members have demanded accountability and financial responsibility from the board of education, many remain wholeheartedly supportive of the 5th Ward school.

“We are invested in sustaining our unique community by both supporting our children’s future through quality education and maintaining the affordability and accessibility of our neighborhood,” the letter reads.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @lilylcarey

Related Stories:

Bessie Rhodes parents demand TWI program be separated from 5th Ward school plans

‘Sick to my stomach’: 5th Ward school is $25 million over budget, board to consider alternate plans

Land Use Commission OKs new 5th ward school plans after discussion of parking, green space

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