Spot Check: How Future Ready is Your Checkbook?

The future is one step closer. We’ve got numbers. And another option. And a special School-Board-on-Core-Team meeting, Tuesday, May 8th.

Marching orders, here we come.

On Tuesday, April 24th, the School Board listened to one-and-a-half-hours of Winnetka’s a great place to live, and neighborhood schools are the main reason to live here. Then did a 180 into what the Future Ready Core Team’s been up to this past month. Namely our places, their spaces, and the dollars to deliver them. For the next generation of learners. Green shades on.

(Just in case… Future Ready 36’s the name of the Winnetka School District’s Educational Master Facility Plan. Heavy on “facility,” it’s the first master plan in 20 years, and is how the District intends to make a good thing better before it has to make a bad thing good. You’re welcome.)

Form and Function, Meet Dollar Sign and Decimal

Bragging rights or side-eyes, the educational cost-per-child is going up. Cost-per-taxpayer, TBD, but this is what we know. Plus or minus 5%.

Money, money, muh-ney

Up front costs

  • Design and construction
  • Needs new money - will finance
  • $43.2M - $117.7M
  • From minimum to keep our buildings from deteriorating - upgraded electric, basic health and safety issues,etc., maybe kitchens and HVAC - to full-on Future Ready.

Cost to keep up

  • Over the next 30 years
  • Paid from the O&M and Energy budgets
  • $22.3M - $53.5M
  • Depends on how new, how many buildings, and how much Ready is future enough.

Total cost over the next 30 years

  • New and budgeted money
  • $97.0M - $167.7M

There's more, so much more. Here's your drill down.


They’re thinking referendum, lease certificates, or alternate revenue bonds.

Debt limit’s $96.9M right now. Springfield would have to OK anything more. Consolation or not. Pluses, minuses and discussion.

What We're Watching

  • Intel on how the new tax laws will impact voters' pockets and the will to "invest."
  • Contingencies for other taxing bodies' to-do lists, and because life goes on, other District 36 initiatives.
  • Reliability of the demographic projections. District 36 is only one bad private school principal away from being swamped again. And what's with that 5 years out thing?
  • The Village's culture (AKA Winnetka Way) just joined the cost and capabilities convo. How the Board will calculate its impact. More surveys? Engagement sessions?
  • The ask in real dollars per each of our personal bottom lines.

We will share.


Tuesday, May 8th. Special session of the School Board - Hubbard Woods School Auditorium. 7:00 pm.

Major sifting and winnowing, and hopefully marching orders and a tight leash for the Core Team, whose deliverables include an analysis of light, medium, and heavy options for each concept, construction costs and phasing, and better enrollment predictions.

How Future Ready are You?

They’re going to do something. You’re going to pay for it. It’s probably going to involve neighborhood schools, and it’s definitely going to involve redistricting. It’ll cut some of the transitions, you’ll get A/C and kitchens if you want them, and hopefully enough outlets for everybody to recharge – literally and figuratively.

And you're probably not going to like all of it. Do yourself a favor: Don’t wait until referendum to voice your opinion. Referenda cost real cash money. Your tax dollars.

Get up to speed.

The Future Ready website is ready and waiting with podcasts, a drill-down of the numbers and how they got them, demographics, agenda reports, research on transitions, surveys and analysis, and (yes!) more. Even the Big Picture. Smartest person in the room, here you come.

Show up.

Tuesday, May 8th. Special session of the School Board - Hubbard Woods School Auditorium. 7:00 pm. Core Team on the hot seat. Future Ready 2.0 on deck. Know where they're going.

Speak out.

Yes, it can be intimidating – but only the first time. And no, everybody else is not smarter than you. (OK, we get it - wimp out and email the Core Team or contact your favorite School Board member.)

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And as always, stay tuned to Spot Checks - we'll bring you stuff as it happens.