Sharon Kristjanson in Pioneer Press concerning $174 million NT renovation


Discussion over the school board's 174 million dollar renovation referendum (Feb. 2, 2010) is heating up.

An essay from New Trier Township resident Sharon Kristjanson ran in the Pioneer Press today. The essay explores the idea of “dignity” as it pertains to politics and cooperative government, and is an enlightening bit of journalism seeking to bridge gaps rather than to burn bridges.

This is significant because Kristjanson is listed as a member of New Trier Choices at, a group of citizens opposed to the 174 million dollar renovation plan that was recently approved as a referendum for the February 2, 2010 ballot. Considering the way that the school board, Superintendent Yonke, and the steering community have conducted their business during this process, Kristjanson’s approach in this essay is commendable and honorable.

Below is an excerpt:

The distortions that are developing in the New Trier petri dish are numerous: In some circles, the school administration and board are portrayed as acquisitive people who crave magnificence and are out of touch with economic realities. Conversely, those speaking against the proposal are portrayed as blind to the needs of the school.

None of the above is true.

The school wants to replace aging buildings that are an inefficient use of space for today’s needs; left untouched they are a wasteful use of taxpayer dollars to maintain.

People who are opposed want the plans to be modified to take into account several issues. Some taxpayers would like the project to be split in two, separating the east- and west-side renovations so that the tax burden can be spread over a longer time-frame. Others believe that a truly viable plan needs to integrate the Northfield campus into the overall strategy. The neighbors would like the plans to address safety concerns; to spend $185 million and not do so seems foolish.

For the entire essay, click here.

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