The District 202 School Board held a virtual meeting via Zoom on April 20, at which members approved a contract with Team Reil for upgrades to the shot-put area, discus cages and long jump areas Evanston Township High School outdoor track. In February the Board approved a contract with Track Surfaces Company to replace the surface of the track.
The District’s capital budget for the resurfacing/upgrade project is capped at $750,000, and together these projects are expected to come in at $538,238.
Board member Gretchen Livingston questioned whether spending that much money in times such uncertain as these, when so many families are suffering economic hardship. She said she and Superintendent Eric Witherspoon had had an email conversation about this and she asked him to tell the other Board members about his response to her question, which she then posed.
“Is it really the right time to spend this money on track equipment, given all that’s going on in the community? I am aware that ETHs has the money and construction is allowed and probably would be allowed … but is it appropriate to spend this money now? I see that the City, which is in a worse financial position – is pulling back on some capital projects,” Ms. Livingston asked.
Dr. Witherspoon said, “You raise a good question. One of the advantages is that his is an industry that can be working, providing income for families; suppliers keep things going. This is an investment in some families.
“The project is funded by debt certificates and [the funds] can only be used for capital projects. The fact is we have the money; we’ve already issued the debt certificates.”
Ms. Livingston said she felt “more comfortable” with that information. “What I would like to say is that, going forward, I think we need to have a little more discussion on issues like this. We need to preserve what we have.
“I just want to make sure we have that discussion and the Board can weigh in. I don’t know what the world is going to look like in the future.”
Board members approved the contract unanimously.