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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D202 board hears sustainability policy update, student fees adjustment proposal

Anavi Prakash/The Daily Northwestern
The district’s sustainability policy includes a goal to have 25% of its food options locally sourced and 50% be plant-based by January 2030.

Evanston Township High School District 202 Board of Education heard an update about the district’s sustainability policy at its meeting Monday evening.

Since the district’s Green New Deal Sustainability Policy passed in February, the Green New Deal Sustainability Policy Planning Committee has created an action plan. The plan revolves around eight goals, including some centered on food waste, environmental education and greenhouse gas emission reduction.

In alignment with its food goal, ETHS has eliminated milk cartons and individual condiment packets in the cafeteria, using bulk bottles instead, according to Kim Minestra, the district’s director of nutrition services.

Minestra said the next food-related action is to increase plant-based options at each meal service. The committee’s goal is to source 25% of food locally and have 50% of food options be plant-based by January 2030.

The district is also currently implementing a climate change curriculum in its biology and civics courses, committee member and ETHS senior Milo Slevin said.

The committee also plans to create a public-facing web portal to display data and actions, according to John Crawford, the district’s director of operations and sustainability.

Slevin said the various aspects of the sustainability policy prepare students for what the future of the climate holds.

“This is not just about a group of community members, a group of students, a group of teachers,” he said. “We want this to be integrated into the framework of ETHS, and we want every student to leave (having) been well-educated on climate change.” 

The board also heard a recommendation about changing student registration fees from the district’s business office.

The proposed change will standardize the fee for all grades to be $365. Currently, students in grades 10 to 12 pay $340, while freshmen and transfer students pay $380.

The additional cost of $40 is for new students’ uniforms, a heart rate monitor band and CPR certification.

Under both the current and suggested structures, students who qualify for free or reduced lunch pay a registration fee of $25.

Kendra Williams, the district’s chief financial officer, said student fees are an “instrumental tool” to help support various district programs. 

“(Student fees) go a very long way when we’re talking about how we can support extracurricular activities that pull so many of our students in,” Williams said. “If we want to continue to expand what we want to offer to our students, (the fee adjustment) is one of the ways that allows us to do that.” 

Williams added that a change to registration fees is necessary due to the expansion in district offerings. She cited giving every student their own Chromebook as an example of a new offering since the last fee adjustment, which occurred during the 2014-2015 school year.

Part of the proposal also includes replacing heart rate monitors with smart watches, which the Physical Education Department recommends because watches create more equitable and fair fitness assessments, Director of Business Services Rudy Meo said.

Later in the meeting, ETHS junior Rachel Durango-Cohen was sworn in as the new student representative on the board, replacing ETHS senior Nicole Yao, who was the student representative for the last two years.

Board member Patricia Maunsell emphasized that collaboration with students on district policies pushes the district in a positive direction. 

“Working together and listening to our students is what I believe is the best of what we are at ETHS,” Maunsell said. 

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Related Stories: 

School sustainability coordinators provide hope for community 

District 202 board reviews 2022-2023 discipline report 

ETHS board passes sustainability policy

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