Posted by Keith Reed
There were 29 members present. Guests were Steve Hawkins from the Carol Stream Rotary (guest of Heidi Sibert); Paul and Martha  Gallo (PVC guests); our two speakers from District 36 Trisha Kocanda and Brad Goldstein; and Kate Hughes, Director of Communications at District 36.
ANNOUNCEMENTS: President Leske announced the following membership anniversaries: Jeanne Beckman-23 years; Eric Birkenstein-9 years; Carl Yudell-4 years; and Ric Borjesson-1 year.  The Counseling Center is having its 125th anniversary benefit on March 15 from 7-10 pm at the Chicago Botanic Gardens in conjunction with the annual orchid show. The Winnetka Thrift Store was involved in starting the Counseling Center and Terry Dason announced that the Winnetka Thrift Shop was selected the “business leader of the year” by the Winnetka/Northfield Chamber of Commerce.  The Shop, along with 8 other organizations and individuals, will be recognized at the Chamber’s Annual Recognition Lunch on April 10 starting at 11:00 AM in Matz Hall at the WCH. 
Joe Nash reminded everyone of the Kids Against Hunger 2nd Annual Benefit Concert at Little Ricky’s tonight from 7:30-10:30 pm featuring the Gerald McClendon Band, complete with raffles, auction and dancing. Heidi Sibert announced that March 16th is the date that our club members are scheduled to pack about 1400 sacks of food for Hungry Children in Nicaragua.  Details will be announced later, but this year there will be raffle prizes such as a fitness center membership at WCH, White Sox tickets, tickets to the Village Follies Revue, a Spring Flower Container from James Martin Associates, and auction items such as a sports jacket, gift cards from EJ’s Steak House and Little Ricky’s,  and tickets to the Winnetka Music Festival Headliner  this summer.  Ric Borjesson announced that he, Tony and Ned attended a District meeting to present our Club’s request for a global matching gift from the International Rotary to help support our Ecuador project and that the meeting seemed to be positive.  Bill Leske announced that the Wilmette Rotary is having its annual benefit March 7.
HAPPY BUCKS:  Barb Tubekis donated for the reception that our “homemade” Valentines received from the patients in the Vets Care Center—these Valentine cards were made by our members at last week’s meeting as part of our “random acts of kindness” program.  Terry Dason gave because she recently became a grandmother for the second time.
DIG and GRIN: Tony did his usual good job in explaining religious conflicts among married couples where one thinks he/she is God and the other disagrees!
SPEAKERS:  TRISHA KOCANDA AND BRAD GOLDSTEIN FROM WINNETKA SCHOOL DISTRICT 36:  Trisha is the Superintendent of the District and Brad the CFO. They explained that the April 2nd Village election will have the following question to be voted on by the Village residents:  Should the District “improve the sites of, build and equip additions to and alter, repair and equip existing buildings, including, without limitation, constructing safety and security improvements, increasing accessibility under the ADA, replacing electrical, plumbing, mechanical and HVAC systems, complying with the Health/Life Safety Code, renovating classrooms and Resource Centers/libraries and adding multi-purpose/lunchroom space and gym space, and issue bonds of said School District to the amount of $90,600,000 for the purpose of paying the costs thereof”.  The District’s plan would be to close Skokie School so that there would be only four schools to improve and maintain (Skokie was closed in 1983 and reopened in 1998 due to increased enrollment); to try to maintain the neighborhood school approach in Winnetka; and to have 5th through 8th grades at Washburne.  About 10% of the money would be spent each by Greeley and Hubbard Woods upgrades, about 27% would be used for Crow Island and the rest for Washburne.  It is estimated that this plan would increase taxes each year over the current bond and interest payments by an estimated $276 annually per million dollar value of the house.  There has been much input from all affected people and organizations and the surveys show that 92% of the Village thinks Winnetka presently has a quality education system; 82% want to maintain the neighborhood school approach; and 74% agree that the District has to make repairs and upgrades.  The District is now experiencing a slight downturn in enrollment which is expected through 2026, but this factor seems to be cyclical.  Other trends include the fact that more students are now eating lunch at schools and many are  having to eat in the hallways and foyers; and the type of space now used by schools has changed considerably with more need for flexible work areas and larger spaces for group activities.  The speakers said that 54 million dollars of these repairs are absolutely essential at this time, but if the referendum is not approved that only the urgent maintenance needs will be done, that Skokie school will continue to operate as a 5th school and the portable trailers will need to stay in use at Crow Island.
The speakers encouraged the audience to learn all about this referendum by attending information sessions on February 25, March 18 (6:30-8:00 pm) and March 21 (6:30-8:00 pm) at Greeley, Washburne and Crow Island, respectively.  There will also be opportunities to meet with the School Board Members and Superintendent Kocanda from 3:30-5:00 pm on Feb. 27, March 6 and March 14 at the District Office or you can call for an individual appointment at 847-446-9400.