Jul 28, 2014
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Hot Money For Evanston's Schools

Thinking outside the box just might be what it takes…

Hot Money For Evanston's Schools

I’m not moving anytime soon. Still, I find it interesting to learn what others’ impressions are of Evanston. 

For instance, someone considering our town as a potential home might click on a site like www . HomeSurfer .com. It describes us in a variety of ways, but the one detail we might all consider – whether or not our children attend/attended Evanston/Skokie District 65 -- is how our school district fares in student performance AND in its financial statements. 

I’ll be honest: I don’t know anything about HomeSurfer.com.  I'll also leave the number crunching to the experts.  I do recognize, however, that our school system is hurting.  It has tremendous merits, but it has a long way to go, and we're not rolling in extra funds.  

Potential home buyers considering Evanston peruse sites like HomeSurfer.com all the time.  A city’s public elementary school system is often the litmus test for home buyers. It’s really too bad potential buyers aren’t given a personal tour of the Joseph E. Hill Education Center (a.k.a., the headquarters for school district 65 or, as one District 65 teacher referred to it today, “The Big House”).  What a stunning example of a school district's success!

Not.

We’ve got kids on 101 degree days like yesterday and today, sweltering in classrooms without air conditioning and fighting over spots in front of fans.  We’ve got administrators enjoying comfortable central air and ergonomic seating while our students are wilting in 3rd floor classrooms.  Have you ever tried to concentrate when you're sweating? 

A heat watch was issued by the City of Evanston Tuesday.  A heat watch?  How ironic that these final school days (extended due to the blizzard in February!) haven't been canceled due to the lack of adequately cool classrooms. 

A friend of mine picked her kids up from school early today.  She said she felt guilty sitting in her air conditioned home, thinking about her young children sitting in their non-air-conditioned classrooms during this last week of school. When I arrived to pick mine up at dismissal time, there were parking spots aplenty...everyone seemed to have grabbed their kids and whisked them to local cooling centers.

I’ve got an idea!  Let’s rent out our overheated classrooms to yoga instructors.  Hot yoga is the latest rage, right?   Hot yoga classes in the elementary schools! When the weather’s this hot, we can rent out tens – nay – hundreds of sweltering rooms to yogis everywhere.  We’d make a killing.

Our students could spend time outside in the fresh air (or at least under the shade of trees) while businesses ( and folks like "The Yelling Yogi") could rent our overheated classrooms for their hot yoga courses.  It’s a win-win for everyone. 

Of course, we'd have to affix special coat-racks outside the studios/classrooms for District 65 administrators attending hot yoga classes on their lunch hours; no doubt they all wear lots of layers working in that beautifully air-conditioned building of theirs.

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