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Does Skokie Have too Many School Districts?

Skokie has six school districts. We want to know: Is that too many?

According to the 2010 U.S. Census, Skokie has a population of 64,784 people. At the same time, the village touches on six different school districts.

To some residents, that’s too many.

Consolidation is not something under the control of the school superintendents. Instead, it falls under the control of school boards and the local taxpayers, even as Governor Pat Quinn pushes for a reduction of school districts.

With the State of Illinois being heavily reliant on property taxes to fund education, the costs of maintaining schools draws ire throughout the state, especially in areas like Skokie.

All in all, Skokie has six school districts (District 219, 68, 69, 72, 73 and 73.5) that serve about a dozen different schools.

We wanted to know: Does Skokie have too many school districts?

Share your thoughts by posting a comment below.

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h m February 22, 2013 at 12:46 PM
Ther are actually 6 school districts in Skokie. Old Orchard (68), Lincoln (69), East Prairie, (72), Fairview (73), Oakview (Mc Craken 73 1/2), Niles North/West(219) & Evanston (65). Yes that is too many school districts. .
patty o"malley February 22, 2013 at 02:22 PM
There are 5 "grade school" (K-8) districts in Skokie. All 5 are separate taxing bodies. All have a different tax base and all impacted differently by their particular area. District 65 is a Evanston school district and has its own tax base(All of Evanston is one grade school district(k-8). District 219 is a additional taxing body that covers Skokie, Lincolnwood and parts of Morton Grove and Niles.The Skokie districts are 68,69,72,73, ad73.5. All of these districts feed into 219.
Josh Nachman February 22, 2013 at 02:24 PM
This may not be the best approach / question...do we have too many? How about among the current Skokie school districts which are garnering the best scores and which have the best budgets and what can we do to improve those in need. Volume is not the enemy, consider focusing on quality and cost.
BOB February 22, 2013 at 02:48 PM
Absolutely ! Likely there is no other city with a populatio of Skokie's that has this many districts. One time, there may have been a need but not in this day and age. Similarly populated suburbs such as Arlington Heights, Schaumburg, Des Plaines and Oak Park, either have 1, 2 or 3 if the high school is included. Part of the problem the Superintendents and other administrators in the districts have cushy relationships where they would never think of combining neighboring districts. Where does State Representative Lang stand on this issue ? It would be better if districts voluntarily consolidated as opposed to having the Legislature impose rules and policies, in that a forced agreement generally has many flaws. Keep in mind that comethis office, there likely, barring Congressional or Presidential Intervention no Saturday mail delivery. Postal services reasoning is that business conditions no longer justify it, and the Postal Service is running deficits. Locally, consolidation should be looked at in the same light.
BOB February 22, 2013 at 02:50 PM
Error. Word office should be replaced with August.
Sandrina Roc February 22, 2013 at 03:17 PM
Thank you Patch. You've been listening to me. You won't have the Superintendents fighting for this because most if not all will lose their job. Some districts fight it because although some have reasonable debt, others have loads of debt and the more financially responsible don't want to take on the others' debt. But if we could eliminate 4 or 5 Superintendents, and pool resources and supplies better, there should be some savings. At least a study should be done on it. Also, years ago a huge committee was formed to cut costs at District 219. I was on that committee. It's budget is now $154,000,000 for maybe 5,500 students. A new committee needs to be formed and an honest effort to cut that budget by 10 - 15%.
Sarah February 22, 2013 at 03:29 PM
We do have too many along with too many high paying salaries. We need the school board to step up and fix this problem. Maybe with the new election coming up someone will tackle it. I certainly hope so
EH February 22, 2013 at 03:31 PM
Yes, there are too many. It seems that consolidating administration and other redundancies would be more efficient. But I wonder what the history is that led Skokie to have 5? Are those historical reasons still valid?
George Slefo (Editor) February 22, 2013 at 03:39 PM
@ h m - Thank you. Post is updated. Best, George
Carol February 22, 2013 at 03:44 PM
Yes, there are too many school districts. Basic economic laws such as economies of scale would mean a single school district in Skokie would operate more efficiently and save taxpayers money. A single district would also eliminate current inequities of funding which funnel all of the commercial property tax revenue from places such as Old Orchard into one elementary school district, while other districts with less commercial real estate must lean more heavily on residential property owners. Houses that are a mere two blocks apart in some areas of Skokie have substantially different property tax liabilities. Achieving consolidation will be difficult and tricky for many of the reasons already mentioned here: the debt loads aren't equal, there won't be ANY superintendents to champion this process (unless it's one that is retiring) and there will likely be active groups opposing what they would call loss of local control. But in a village this size, local control can be applied to one elementary school district quite ably.
patty o"malley February 22, 2013 at 03:52 PM
It is very difficult to compare the different schools given the fact that they are funded so differently. Enrollment is another issue. We have 2( K-8) single building schools in Skokie, Fairview and East Prairie with enrollments of 600 or so students. District 69 has 3 buildings 1600+ students and a underdeveloped tax base with one of our schools in Morton Grove with approximately 25% Morton Grove students.. District 68 has 4 buildings and a very developed tax base. It would be hard to get a accurate read on test scores because so many issues factor into that number. All 5 school districts have their own curriculum. We have students all feeding into the Niles West/North with a different core curriculum. We should all use the same text books but that again is a question of money. This issue impacts the entire community and if we can't change the district lines lets at the very least look to ways to balance the educational experience for all kids in Skokie/Morton Grove.
Carol S. Kohn February 22, 2013 at 04:04 PM
The part of Skokie that is part of the Evanston schools should stay like it is since it's only the Walker and the other school (which I can't recall the name of) as College Hill and Timber Ridge were part of it when they were open. The high schools should stay like they are; but the elementary and middle schools could merge into one in my own opinion!
patty o"malley February 22, 2013 at 04:23 PM
Houses DIRECTLY across the street are different school districts/tax base. One side of Mulford is District 69 and the other is 72.
Amkor February 22, 2013 at 09:51 PM
So everybody agrees we have too many school districts in Skokie. Everybody realizes our property tax is so high, big part of it is due to funding the school districts... ...No what?.... Can we make a change? I doubt it.
A February 22, 2013 at 10:10 PM
Not so quick. In some areas, there may be economies of scale. In others, loss of control may make some operations less efficient. And it would have an impact on tax rates. Do we all consolidate at the district with the highest rate, or the lowest. Plus, the quality (perceived or real) and tax rates all had/have an impact on what we paid for our homes. Consolidation will result in winners and losers in this regard. And, if we're going to take this approach, why not consolidate all of Niles Township or Cook County. Wouldn't that be logical for those calling for consolidation? (is it that the poorer districts want to consolidate with the wealthier districts but not the other way around?) Not that these (and a wide range of other) issues can't be dealt with, but its not a simple or quick solution to anything. Its not clear or a given, whether or not consolidation would save money or...more importantly...enhance education in Skokie.
Amkor February 22, 2013 at 10:25 PM
That it's not easy to change doesn't make it unjustified, or undoable... There is no reason to have multiple administrations for so many small school districts. Yes, some people will loose their jobs, true, but tens of thousands of residents will win.
Janet February 22, 2013 at 10:32 PM
By combining the districts you do realize that you would be bringing ALL of the residents to the district with HIGHEST tax base and teacher salary would also be effected. So a resident that is in district 72 or 73 with a lower tax rate would now be paying more for their home. Yes, you are eliminating redundancies but is it really cost effective? As for D219, they have to stop spending our monies. The need for more administration is ridiculous. They now have a director of equity, director of humanties....seriously we have more Administrators than we have kids.
Amkor February 22, 2013 at 10:41 PM
I'm not sure about the DETAILS, I only know that the system is antiquated and corrupt, typical Illinois shenanigans that brought the state to its knees. I fully agree as to your comment about D219. The money wasted there on constant and unnecessary "window-dressing" constructions (at least in Niles North HS) — is mind boggling.
patty o"malley February 22, 2013 at 11:07 PM
The idea here is very simple. We would all be one school district/ tax base. Sharing the benefits of Old Orchard, Village Crossing, the new Walmart and hopefully a Reinvented Downtown at some point. We would also share the adverse affect of economic downturn and poorly funded schools at the state level. Who would have thought the state would not pay their bills? There has been a great deal of discussion lately about how Skokie has changed. Did Skokie begin to change when funding for our schools changed? We may be a "poorer district" but we are also very dedicated to the community and providing a great educational experience for our kids. It just is so much harder in some districts then others.
unknownauthor February 24, 2013 at 07:33 PM
Reader "Janet" has got it right. If the five districts are consolidated and the tax rate reverts to the average, some taxpayers will pay more (e.g. those living in District 68) and some will pay less (e.g. those living in District 69). Even with some total cost reduction due to elimination of redundancies, this idea would be a tough sell to the taxpayers whose taxes would go up......DAN
patty o"malley February 24, 2013 at 08:47 PM
So I guess the solution is to sit back and watch more and more families move out of our community, put cameras in the "troubled parks", hire more police, and leave the Desiree restaurant vacant for another 10 years. It takes a Village.... willing to change or at the very least see the big picture to move forward and adjust to a changing world.
Amkor February 24, 2013 at 09:18 PM
It's called good, efficient management. No private company would have survived long with such redundancy and inefficient structure. But it's not only our school districts, Illinois in general is SO sick, maybe it's time to FINALLY roll our sleeves up and do some work to bring logic and honesty to our system?

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