Education First, District 113 to Re-Evaluate Rehab Plan
Community group strategizes for a meeting with school officials.
“What we want to do is present them with our goals,” said Pete Koukos, chairman of the community group and Highland Park resident.
Education First thinks the necessary improvements at Deerfield and Highland Park high schools can be done for less than the $133 million the referendum called for spending.
“It is up to us at this point to bring to them what we think is a reasonable, rational approach to solving their needs and meeting those needs,” said Koukos.
Koukos said he spoke with Superintendent George Fornero last Monday and both men agreed to the meeting.
The purpose of the meeting will be to “identify areas of agreement relative to the facilities and technology plan,” Fornero wrote in an e-mail to Koukos the next day.
“This is going to be a very congenial meeting and they’re interested in finding out where we’re coming from,” Koukos said. “We’ll see how that meeting goes.”
During the April 5 balloting, more than 55 percent of the votes were cast against the District 113 referendum.
Now, Education First has begun the initial steps to work on developing what they think will be a better plan.
“We’re using the numbers [District 113] provided as a rough estimate of what the cost would be with the reduced scope,” said Sam Shapiro, a Highland Park resident who attended the group's strategy meeting Wednesday.
Education First contends the necessary improvements to both District 113 schools can be addressed for $46.9 million, according to its website.
“Really what we’re proposing isn’t so much hard numbers but a reduction in scope,” said Stan Miller of Highland Park.
“The numbers probably will be different but if you do it on this scope that’s really what the plan is,” he said.
Members of the District 113 Board of Education discussed meeting with Education First at Monday night's board meeting.
"Let's find out from the experts that Education First was alluding to in their postings, what their experts acknowledge and what has to be done," said Harvey Cohen, the newly elected president of the District 113 School Board. "I hope there will be some areas of agreement."