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On Oct. 8, the District 65 School Board discussed the effect of directives or requests for information made by the Board’s Finance Committee or the Board’s Policy Committee when the Superintendent disagrees with them.

Board President Katie Bailey said she thought if a directive was issued by one of the Board’s committees, “it should stand,” unless the Superintendent disagreed and the matter was brought to the full Board for a decision. She said the Board meets every two weeks, so there would be no problem in quickly resolving an issue.

“If at the committee level there’s a difference of opinion about how we go forward, I think it’s important to get some resolution from the Board on how to go forward,” said Superintendent Hardy Murphy. “If four Board members or the Board say this is something we should pursue, then absolutely, as a staff, we have to pursue it.”

Eileen Budde, a member of the Policy Committee, said, “I think what’s brought the conversation up now is the algebra pilot. In my mind, I thought we [a majority of the Policy Committee] had understood that nothing would be changed and then the pilot appeared.”

The algebra pilot collapses Algebra I (which has been offered to students above the 80th percentile) with Algebra 8 (which is offered to all other students). The pilot, implemented this year at the magnet schools, was discussed by the Board for the first time at its Sept. 24 meeting, although Board members were aware of the pilot shortly before school began.

Tracy Quattrocki, chair of the Policy Committee, said “We had a full meeting in May about math and discussed going slowly and going to the full Board before any changes were made.”

Dr. Murphy said the algebra pilot did not represent a change, but a pilot to assess whether Algebra I and Algebra 8 should be collapsed on a District-wide basis. He added that he thought implementing the pilot fell within the role of the Superintendent, rather than in the Board’s role of governance.

Ms. Bailey said there was an ambiguity in the Board’s policies concerning this issue. She asked the Policy Committee to prepare and recommend to the Board a policy addressing these issues.

Larry Gavin

Larry Gavin was a co-founder of the Evanston RoundTable in 1998 and assisted in its conversion to a non-profit in 2021. He has received many journalism awards for his articles on education, housing and...