Spot Check: Village of Learners Being Tested

Tear down Washburne? Get rid of neighborhood schools? What will it take to give our kids the best chance at competing in a 2025 world-to-be-determined? Board Meeting Tuesday, March 20th. Raise your hand.

On Monday, March 12th, District 36 presented its vision for the future. Packed house. In two-and-a-half hours, our Village of Learners learned that our school buildings are too old, too hot - no, too cold - and their walls are bereft of outlets, that our classrooms and gyms are too small, that kids - especially pre-adolescents - don't do well when moved from place to place, that accessibility is no longer optional, and that parents have packed one sack lunch too many. Oh, and our enrollment is declining.

Our schools rank high on the list of why people move to Winnetka. But that shiny new thing on the corner of Willow and Sunset Ridge could be making our School Board's "good teachers, bad places" blues worse.

So the Board hired a consultantLaunched a master plan - called it "Future Ready" - researched, road-tripped, and recommended. Three "of the most fiscally responsible concepts" later, they're taking questions and fine tuning.

Break it Down for Me, Please?

All three concepts cover must-do’s (think accessibility, A/C, kitchens, upgraded electrical, basic health and safety issues, etc.), shift the current school boundaries, and reduce the number of transitions. Pricetag: $22.4 million - $33.7 million if you want A/C.

“Enhance” and “Transform” add Future Ready learning. Pricetag: TBD.


  • In - neighborhood schools for K-4
  • Out - Skokie
  • In - Washburne for 5-8
  • No Future Ready curricula
  • Current class size, TBD
  • Least expensive up front, maybe the most over time because of continued maintenance issues
  • Smallest projected cost savings over time
  • 2-6 years to implement


  • In - neighborhood schools for K-3
  • Out - Skokie (keeps auditorium for community meeting space)
  • In - Washburne for 4-8
  • Some Future Ready curricula with additions and renovations
  • Keeps current class size
  • More expensive up front, less to maintain
  • 5 years to implement


  • In - Crow Island for K-1
  • Out - Greeley and Hubbard Woods
  • Out - Washburne (keeps gyms for community sports space)
  • Added - new school at Skokie for 2-8
  • Maximizes Future Ready curricula
  • Keeps current class size
  • Most expensive up front; least over time
  • Largest projected costs savings over time
  • 3 years to implement

Drill down.

Not a School Issue - an Everybody Issue

In 2017, 38.6 cents of every one of your property tax dollars went to the Winnetka School District. Whether you have kids in District 36 schools or not. And roughly 75% of you do not.

What’s Next? You!

This is their best thinking. Now it’s time for yours.

Sift, winnow, maybe take one from column A and one from column B, and decide what you want and will pay for. Consultants will cull, spreadsheet, add dollar signs, and hand off their final best case to the School Board. School Board who will one-on-one and when they're done, tell you how and how much you'll pay for the future of District 36.

Dateline: June.


You've got three months. The District's been working on Future Ready since July. Whether you think it's long overdue or would like to see a little more "make do," they want to hear from you. Do your homework, ask smart questions, get the answers you deserve.

Watch the Future Ready presentation [3/12/18 podcast]

Check out the Future Ready D36 website for timelines, past presentations, and to download the presentation and handout

Show up, speak up

  • School Board Meeting, Tuesday, March 20th, (yup, Election Night - but this is that important) Washburne 7:15pm

  • Outreach Session, Thursday, March 22nd, 7-8:30pm, Greeley School

Stay in touch - sign up for the District's newsletter, The Wire

Take the Survey

Stay tuned to Spot Checks - we'll bring you stuff as it happens.

And in case you're just learning about this, here's the plan for the plan. (Hint: we're in Phase 5. There is no Phase 6.)