Education

St. Charles School Board hires nonprofit organization to conduct equity audit

An equity audit of the St. Charles School District has begun. In December, board members unanimously voted to hire Chicago-based nonprofit group Consortium for Educational Change at a cost of $44,850. Staff had recommended hiring the company to do the equity audit.

The St. Charles School Board is moving forward with an equity audit of the St. Charles School District.

At Monday’s School Board meeting, board members unanimously voted to approve hiring Chicago-based nonprofit group Consortium for Educational Change at a cost of $44,850. Staff had recommended hiring the company to do the equity audit.

The purpose of the equity audit is to conduct a comprehensive review of the district’s current practices and educational outcomes “to ensure every student has access to and participates in meaningful learning opportunities that result in positive outcomes, regardless of individual characteristics or group membership,” district officials said.

“Despite our best efforts, disparities exist in our achievement data across some of our student groups,” Assistant Superintendent of Student Services Christine Igoe and Director of Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Tracy Taylor said in a memo to school board members. “We need a better understanding of the factors that contribute to these gaps and to develop a comprehensive plan to address them.”

Beginning with the 2022-23 school year, each school district will be responsible for publicly posting their progress towards equity on their school report card utilizing an Illinois State Board of Education developed continuum.

In June, board members unanimously voted to pause its Deep Equity training until after an equity audit is completed. In March, board members voted 4-3 to use Deep Equity — a professional development program from the California-based Corwin Company – to provide professional learning to staff on diversity, equity and inclusion.

Following three hours of comments from both proponents and opponents of the Deep Equity program, St. Charles School Board members on June 14 voted 7-0 to pause the agreement, with no penalty being incurred. They also decided that using different materials, the district will continue the training after completing an equity audit.