I will move to amend Onnie's motion to establish a mission statement for a New
Trier Educational Foundation by adding a final sentence. I want and need to
explain to you why my vote turns on the addition of that sentence, which is : "Not
less than ten percent of the expenditures of the Foundation shall be spent for the
benefit of high school students not residing in New Trier Township."
We represent this township both literally and figuratively. Figuratively, we
stand for the values of the people of this township. We must stand up for them
and for their values in all that we do, including voting on this mission statement.
The people of this township believe in sharing. They realize that on average
we have income and assets far in excess of those in other parts of Chicago.
They believe in sharing some of that bounty with others. The mission statement
must reflect the value of sharing as it is practiced in New Trier Township.
Sometimes examples help. We have a good example of sharing in New
Trier's relationship with Harper High School in Chicago. I have provided you with
chart about Harper and New Trier with data from the Illinois State Board of
New Trier's relationship with Harper is long standing. Thirty Harper and thirty
New Trier students have gotten to know each other each year through a variety of
activities. The students find out that as individuals they have a lot in common, but
that their schools do not.
The data show that each New Trier township student is supported by
$413,785 in equalized assessed valuation. Each Harper student is supported by
$84,219. In other words, New Trier has almost five times more in real estate
assets per pupil than Harper. The pattern is the same for teacher salaries and
operating expenses per pupil, although the disparities are much less. But the
message is clear: Harper students have much less to work with than New Trier
students, and that affects the quality of the education made available to them.
That is where this township's value of sharing comes in. The new Trier
Foundation will not be able to give Harper or any school the resources available to
New Trier students. But the Foundation needs to help in the name of all of us in
the township. Ten percent of its disbursements will stand for our community's
commitment to the value of sharing.
If the New Trier foundation were adopting its own mission statement,
things might be different. A foundation is a private non-profit corporation. Its
directors are not elected. It is not responsible to the public. It does not stand for
the public. But we do.
Since we are passing on the foundation mission statement, we must
insure that it reflects the values of New Trier township. The motion as contained
in our briefing book provides for support only of district 203 programs. As such it
does not reflect the value of sharing which we practice individually, as families,
and which we hold up to New Trier students as a model for their behavior.
As elected representatives of this community, I believe we must stand
up for our community's values. Doing otherwise will signal to New Trier students
that we really do not believe in sharing. And if we as representatives of the
community do not believe in it, why should they? We can not escape the effects
of our example.
Unfortunately there is a timely example of this in the most recent edition of
the school paper. Selected and surely unrepresentative student opinion showed a
lack of desire to share the Winnetka Campus this school year. We should teach
by example by holding up the value of sharing.
Accordingly I ask you to support my motion to amend the motion by
adding the following sentence: "Not less than ten percent of the expenditures of
the Foundation shall be spent for the benefit of high school students not residing
in New Trier Township."