Dist. 303 offering parents, community members Deep Equity workbook for review

Ahead of a discussion next month on whether St. Charles District 303 School Board should terminate its contract with a company it recently hired to help promote diversity and equity, parents and community members will have the chance to review a Deep Equity participant workbook.

The workbook is being used as a resource with Dist. 303 administrators for professional learning. In March, the board voted 4-3 to approve a $119,026 contract with Deep Equity.

Those who want to review the workbook can sign up for a 20-minute appointment. The workbook is available for review at the Dist. 303 Administration Center, 201 S. 7th St.

Board members will renew discussion about Deep Equity at their June 14 meeting. At the May 10 School Board meeting, board member Ed McNally proposed the board terminate a contract with Deep Equity, which it hired to provide professional learning to staff on diversity, equity and inclusion.

McNally voted against the contract along with board member Heidi Fairgrieve and newly seated board member Joseph Lackner. McNally said he preferred the district first look at its needs in house “as opposed to using a group like Deep Equity that’s expensive and it’s an outside group that doesn’t know our community.”

“I don’t think there is anybody in this room who doesn’t want equity, the equitable treatment for all,” McNally said. “It’s a matter of how to get there.”

Two of the goals of the district’s partnership with Deep Equity are to ensure all students achieve at high levels and to eliminate educational barriers and disparities.

At the May 10 meeting, board member Carolyn Waibel shared with the board a quote from a student about their feelings on the issue and reiterated her support for Deep Equity.

“As board members, you have a civic duty to uphold the highest priority to provide a sufficient and satisfactory education for all students, regardless of status or ethnic values,” Waibel said, quoting the student. “The board wonders why students keep transferring out of this community. It’s because we don’t implement programs like this.”

“That is a powerful statement coming from one of our students,” Waibel said. “I think it’s really important to go forward with Deep Equity.”

Eric Schelkopf

Eric Schelkopf covers St. Charles and writes entertainment stories for the Kane County Chronicle.