Dist. 113 Leadership Team Presents Findings

After spending a year researching the high schools, a study group shared what needs should be addressed.

Two sets of recommendations were presented to the District 113 Board of Education on Monday night. , the other came as a surprise.

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David Brint and presented the leadership team's findings during Monday's meeting. The two have worked on the leadership team over the past year  -- since shortly after -- to figure out what needs and Deerfield High Schools face and when each of those needs should be addressed.

100 volunteers, 5 committees, 1 year

During the past year, Brint and Hainsfurther explained, over 100 volunteers, including five different study groups, took several tours of the high schools. They also visited neighboring high schools, met with engineers and architects and to figure out what projects the district should prioritize going forward. 

"When this process started I didn't have a beard, and I had hair," Hainsfurther jokedd at the opening of his discussion.

The presentation offered general guidelines the school board should keep in mind as it begins mulling over ways to address its needs. For example, Hainsfurther and Brint made clear that the leadership team believes needs should be prioritized in terms of urgency and addressed in a cost-efficient manner. One slide in the Power Point read that projects should focus on "function not flash."

"We're not looking for these facilities to be the Taj Mahal," Hainsfurther said. "We want them to function."

From need to have to nice to have

The leadership team also divided school needs into tiers in order to distinguish importance. Tier one includes fixing parts of the school that are suffering in core ways. The pools in both schools were an example of a tier one project.

"The pools have reached the end of their useful life," Hainsfurther said. "They are not worth putting money into, in the opinion of the study group."

Hainsfurther was quick to point out, however, that the leadership team didn't have any suggestions to make once the needs were acknowledged.

"What [the pools] get replaced with is an open question," Hainsfurther said. "There are all sorts of ways to solve problems, that's not our job."

Because the report didn't mention solutions to the district's needs, it also didn't mention costs. The lack of detail did not go unnoticed by some of the residents in attendance.

"I'm very disappointed by the lack of specificity in the recommendations that came from this effort," said Steven Narrod, who spoke after Brint's and Hainsfurther's presentation. He encouraged the board to accelerate the process.

"We're covering the same ground, we need to pick up the pace," Narrod said.

Some of the board members, however, were pleased with the report. praised the presentation for its precision.

"It seemed like every [need] was important in the previous plan, but this plan is much more clear," Sandlow said.

Education First presents plan

The second presentation was made unofficially by Sam Shapiro, who recently stepped down. He spoke on behalf of , the group that opposed the district's referendum last April.

"What we saw tonight actually is not a better plan," Shapiro said about the first presentation. He then submitted a packet that outlines a proposal that is estimated at $30.9 million for infrastructure and $22.9 million for vocational and physical education. He said his biggest problem with the plan presented earlier was that it didn't include any costs.

"You're not able to make trade offs when you're not able to discuss costs," Shapiro said. "You lose creativity."

Deerfield resident Harry Steindler spoke after Shapiro and was handed a copy of Shapiro's proposal. He echoed Narrod's concerns that this process might be moving too slowly.

"We need to get going," Steindler said. "Reflection is important… but we can't take too much time."

An interim report

According to Brint, the missing details in Monday night's leadership report will be filled in over time.

"This is just an interim report," Brint said at the beginning of his presentation. Hainsfurther called it a summary of what the committee thinks are the most urgent priorities.

Sandlow said that study groups like the leadership team were not going anywhere, and that they would reconvene occasionally.  agreed.

"As we go through this process we will have periodic updates with the board," he said.

For more news and updates, "like" us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.

Editor's note: This article originally stated the Education First proposal as costing $30 million. The actual cost is  is estimated at $30.9 million for infrastructure and $22.9 million for Vocational and Physical Education. Patch apologizes for the error.

For a play-by-play (or should I say "tweet-by-tweet") of Monday's meeting, check out Lane Young's Twitter page.

Bringin' Down Briarwood May 23, 2012 at 04:11 PM
Sooooooo many problems with E1st. But I don't need to go any further than the first bullet point on their presentation. "The Community Needs a Better Plan." Can somebody please tell these knuckleheads that the plan still hasn't been presented?
Richard H Heineman Jr May 23, 2012 at 05:31 PM
OK, where do I begin? E1st was able to speak at the comment section of the meeting like anyone else. During that 2 minutes they said that they had a plan and they later they passed it out. All information and concepts should and will be put into the mix for consideration. Most of what is in this so called plan is unrealistic and does not meet even the basic needs of the district. The most important of these needs is student safety. The objective in making the presentation was to be able to say that their advice was not taken and therefore you should vote against any future referendum. Their overall objective is to attempt to discredit any of the community work that has been done. This is why they have been creating “news”. An example of this is Sam Shapiro leaving the leadership committee. After a hundred meetings, with one left to go he did not show up. This was received with a collective yawn by everyone that was not trying to discredit the process. This move was political and planned as part of the campaign against any referendum. The leaders have been aggressively opposing any and all tax increases for decades. This is certainly their right, but do not be deceived, their actions have nothing to do with a better plan, it is about defeating any referendum. www.deerfieldusa.com
Let's Get Real May 23, 2012 at 06:52 PM
Why so huffy? I think that the plan submitted by Education First looks very good.
Jacob Nelson (Editor) May 23, 2012 at 07:37 PM
I deleted the first part of your comment. Profanity on Patch won't be tolerated. Click here to see our commenting guidelines. http://bit.ly/Kexja7
Average Joe May 23, 2012 at 08:15 PM
Kind of ironic, last week several people were wondering where Ed. First's plan was and were calling for them to present a plan at the meeting, and that what's they did. Guess you really do have to beware what you wish for.
Ed Brill May 23, 2012 at 08:15 PM
I thought you said it was "last call and the lights have been turned on, but you can tell your friends you were there." What I heard, BDB, is that there is a lot of work ahead. And I hope that all of the community constituent groups come together to get that plan together. If that happens, I think only good things will come.
Bringin' Down Briarwood May 23, 2012 at 11:51 PM
Nobody disagrees with you, Ed. Let's hope E1st decides to participate this time.
Bringin' Down Briarwood May 24, 2012 at 12:32 AM
It's very simple why I was huffy? E1st did not respect the process THEY outlined. and they tried to shoot it down at several points throughout the process. This process is almost exactly what they wanted and they have not been able to take advantage of it. They elected not to participate in the process they outlined. They were not prepared for the process they outlined. And they were not able to build a consensus within the process they outlined. They are taking the community in circles as well as wasting the time and an immense amount of money that they supposedly value so much. If they had their plan approved within the year-long process, you wouldn't have heard a peep out of me. Instead, they hide their hyprocrisy in so many ways.
Bringin' Down Briarwood May 24, 2012 at 02:16 AM
I'd like to ask a question again from my original post. Since we're all about transparency, who were the authors of the E1st presentation? Also, can you clarify who NMI Consulting is, the company who assisted you on putting together the presentation. There are a mess of NMI Consulting web sites out there. Lastly, let me give E1st a forum for this one. You won't hear a peep out of me if there is a formal response. As you've seen, I think you handled a process that you proposed pretty poorly. After all this, the main question in my head is if you can't manage a relatively small group like these committees, why should I believe that you have the correct ideas to manage a multi-million dollar school system and the diversity of ideas and people that go with that? The floor is yours ...
Bringin' Down Briarwood May 24, 2012 at 02:39 AM
"Political and planned as part of the campaign against any referendum?" Nahhhhhhh, couldn't be.
Let's Get Real May 24, 2012 at 02:49 AM
Why all the questions? I actually compared the plan presented by Education First and the one that was presented by the leadership team and find that the Education First plan has a lot more merit. What is it about the Education First plan that you disagree with?
Let's Get Real May 24, 2012 at 02:55 AM
What is it about the Education First plan that you find unrealistic? or that does not "even meet the basic needs of the district?" The Education First plan looks like it covers all of the bases. What specifically do you mean by student safety? What would you do differently than the Education First plan?
Let's Get Real May 24, 2012 at 03:05 AM
Beth - I just reviewed the community survey results that are on the District 113 web site http://www.dist113.org/communityaction/Market%20Research%20Minutes/Market%20Research%20Results%20Community%20Survey.pdf It does say that flexible classrooms are not important (p.13) to the community. It also says on p. 18 that Job skills development is important, but not perceived to be delivered by the schools. There is a whole section on this so evidently there is a strong belief in the community that vocational education is an unmet need.
David Greenberg May 24, 2012 at 03:34 AM
Re: Flexible Classrooms - yes the survey does say that. And Yes, during the referendum I was opposed to them. However, after sitting on the 1914/et. al Study Group and getting more in-depth information about them, I believe that *some* flexible classrooms could help us to save costs and use space more efficiently in the schools. The trick will be to work out the schedules and uses for those rooms - and that needs to be part of the Master Plan. I honestly believe that the District didn't communicate the purposes for flexible classrooms well enough - so it seems like fluff at first blush. But once one delves into the possibilities, it makes a certain amount of sense in some instances. I'm not convinced it'll be right for every class or area - but in some it can. A better job of explaining how the flexible spaces will be utilized, and how they'll save us money while enhancing the education of our students will go a long way.
David Greenberg May 24, 2012 at 03:38 AM
Regardless of how you feel about Education First's proposal - we now have a STARTING range of costs. We've got Education First on one side at $30.9 Million, and D113's original plan at $133 Million. We know from the results of the Referendum that $133M was too high and too full of "wants" or "nice to haves". So somewhere in that range I'd be willing to bet that an Architect can take a look at our priorities and the work we've all done over the past year and give us some options to explore. Again, it's not going to be easy - it's going to take time. But I really do believe we'll get it done...
Let's Get Real May 24, 2012 at 04:08 AM
David - I think Education First's plan is about $53 Million when you include both parts of it
Average Joe May 24, 2012 at 04:30 AM
Whoa, I feel like this forum is the Chicago Streets during the NATO conference. All this spew is baloney, can’t we be civil to one another and discuss rationally or do we need Daley’s cops to bring in law and order (remember the streets in 1968)?
Bringin' Down Briarwood May 24, 2012 at 04:43 AM
I'm simply looking for the same level of transparency that they are seeking from the administration. One organization can't hold another to a certain level of accountability if they don't offer the same. And we've never seen anything close to something transparent from this group. Shame on the community and E1st for that one. As for what I don't agree with, it has nothing to do with their plan. Much like the present E1st position - one that completely discredits a plan that has yet to be presented - my issue has EVERYTHING to do with how their plan is presented. They chose to ignore the process THEY outlined. They should be held accountable for that. As you'll see, they will ignore any direct and very tame questions.
Bringin' Down Briarwood May 24, 2012 at 04:45 AM
You're right, David. That is a good point. It's nice that E1st finally educated itself enough to actually put a dollar figure out there. Too bad that couldn't happen one year ago.
Bringin' Down Briarwood May 24, 2012 at 05:02 AM
I'll take my share of the blame for it, AJ, and I apologize to the group who are more accustomed to dealing in an honorable way. However, when this group starts treating the community with more respect, I'll be happy to tone it down. In the meantime, until people start addressing this important issue without the never-ending hypocrisy, shifty tactics, exaggerated hyperbole and flat-out lies, the community should get a little more angry. Talk about a waste of district money. I wonder what the cost is of time spent on this that could have been dedicated to other objectives.
Let's Get Real May 24, 2012 at 05:32 AM
Mr. Briarwood - You are obviously a very active particpant on the patch and I sure got a lot of chuckles reading through some of your old material. I don't understand why you would say something like "That is a good point. It's nice that E1st finally educated itself enough to actually put a dollar figure out there. Too bad that couldn't happen one year ago." I just found this post by you just over a year ago: Bringin' Down Briarwood 4:11 pm on Friday, April 22, 2011 Harry - Have you seen the revised E-1st site and the moderately detailed proposal for $50 million? I only gave it a quick glance, but, from someone not in the eye of the storm, it seems like a reasonable starting point. However, I'm interested to know if my first inclination is correct: the amount of work they are looking for is probably financially unfeasible for $50M. Any thoughts? ... Looks like Education First actually did have a dollar figure out there a year ago. I agree with your last statement in that posting: "Personally, i don't care who offers a good proposal just as long as it advances the schools at the rate this district is accustomed" http://highlandpark.patch.com/articles/letter-to-the-editor-care-co-chair-looks-to-district-113s-future By the way, did you ever get a response from Harry?
Bringin' Down Briarwood May 24, 2012 at 06:01 AM
LGR - You might want to pay attention to the date on that posting as well as the key word ... "revised." After the referendum, E1st made a load of changes to its site, many of which contradicted previous, pre-vote statements. Suddenly, out of the blue - after the vote - they had a number as well as a statement that changed their mission from "We will get to work ..." to "It is the job of the school board to ..." So if you want to take seriously a $50 million number that was put out there AFTER the vote in a less-than-one page overview, be my guest. That's why I was asking the question. That number has not been a part of their site for a long time or any discussion in a year, so I don't know how seriously E1st took their own proposal.
Beth Shapiro Kopin May 24, 2012 at 07:20 PM
This is a very complicated decision process. I am sure that there are many of us in the community who would appreciate understanding the criteria and analysis that you used to decide that the Education First plan looks very good.
David Greenberg May 24, 2012 at 10:34 PM
OK, $53.9M with both parts then. It's still a starting point... BDB: We've got a lot more information regarding wants v. needs at the Schools that none of us had when this all first started. It should help all of us to craft a better plan...
David Greenberg May 24, 2012 at 10:36 PM
The cost of the time is pricey to be sure, but truly less than the $133M before interest... We've always know this would be an expensive proposition. The idea behind it is to get the needs right so we can hopefully save some money. If we had to spend $100K to save millions, I think most people would be OK with that...
Bringin' Down Briarwood May 25, 2012 at 05:07 PM
So Dave, since you've taken the unfortunate, very pro-E1st position again, why should the community believe that they want to craft a better plan when they decided not to participate in the process they outlined and decided to work around? Why should I/we believe they are better prepared to craft a cooperative plan ... this time?
David Greenberg May 25, 2012 at 05:45 PM
BDB: What's "Pro E 1st" about what I've said? I merely said that regardless of how one feels about the proposal - at least we have a range to work with on costs. We know what each side would spend, so as we work to craft a better plan those numbers can be kept in mind. Mr. Shapiro aside, there were and are other Education First persons who participated in the process. I'm not faulting Sam for standing up for his beliefs and leaving when he felt they were violated - in fact I commend him for that. The fact is, there's a proposal on the table from Education First, I for one, would prefer to compare/contrast the aspects of the proposals from Education First and the District rather than bicker about this other superfluous stuff. If you hate the plan, OK, why? If you like some aspect of the other plan, OK, why? There's a metric ton of additional work to be done in this process, it's not going to happen overnight, but it'll get done. Bickering is only going to drag out the process. Discussions such as we've had in the Study Groups will help to move it forward...
Bringin' Down Briarwood May 25, 2012 at 09:43 PM
It's not the proposal that's the problem (although I'm sure it is). It's how arrogantly E1st ignored the community and process for which it supposedly found so important yet discredited at every chance it got. The fact that ANYBODY wants to put them on equal ground is ridiculous. I'm not going to sit here and debate the plan while they bash the district's plan ... THAT DOESN'T EVEN EXIST. You call some of this superfluous and I'm sure we'll see much of the same from E1st in the coming weeks (already have). Amazing how up in arms the group was over the slightest details of transparency – you know, that one portion of one section of the market study which was only another portion of the consideration that went into the recommendations of a plan that hasn’t even been developed. Yet we're going to refer to how they "tinkled" all over the entire process as superfluous without any analysis. I hope you’re right and we only talk about actual plans. I assume that means we can stop the nonsense about raw data and transparency. But you know that’s not going to happen. And these fools aren’t about to step up, show some cajones and answer questions about their own plan from the community. It's all hit and run ...
Bringin' Down Briarwood May 25, 2012 at 09:44 PM
... As has been par for the course with this group, there's a certain set of rules for the community which E1st will hold them accountable for, but then E1st can do whatever it wants, ignore the layers of hypocrisy and mindlessly waste the community’s time and money with its moving target. That’s what bugs me – not the plan. I have full faith in the committees and the district to do this right and cut costs where it's needed. It's pretty obvious these guys are going to do what they want to do. I hope the study groups absolutely ignore every sentence of that plan – most of which was probably conceived on the coattails of the committees anyhow. I’m sure there’s nothing earth-shattering in there. I'd be SHOCKED if the cost-cutting ideas weren't already represented throughout this whole process. They should be, but in a tactful, good-faith and professional manner that doesn't cheapen everybody's work. And I sure wouldn’t give them a seat at the table. That’s the price they should pay for the way they’ve done business. If they want a seat, I’d ask the same question: Why should I/we believe you are better prepared to craft a cooperative plan ... this time?
Susan Kozloff June 01, 2012 at 02:13 PM
Totally agree! District #113 spends nearly $29,000 per pupil...second in the state in expenditures....however, we know that $28,000 goes toward administration and staff. I would think that with paying these high, high salaries that we would have hired personnel who have finacial expertise and put asid funds for our now upon us rainy day.


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