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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.

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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 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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