Today I read an article from the Chicago Tribune/WinnetkaTalk about a Winnetka homeowner who wants to rezone her home by moving school boundary lines. Apparently, she purchased a home in 2018 and saw that the school district was listed as Avoca. She assumed it was a mistake . . .
With that little blunder she realized her child must now travel many miles to a school in a different town. She also worries that Winnetka children sent to Avoca will miss out on playing with many of their friends who will be involved in Winnetka school activities and sports.
She joined a group called Winnetka United which represents approximately 50 homeowners in this small southwestern portion of the Village that is incorporated into the Avoca School district. The area includes Woodley Road, most of Indian Hill Road, and the streets that encircle that area.
Notwithstanding that Avoca is rated as “exemplary” by the state (of which only 10% of schools fall into that category,) homeowners in that section prefer to see children attend Greeley School in Winnetka. Hence the name, Winnetka United, the idea being that all children in Winnetka should attend a Winnetka school, not one located several miles away in Glenview.
This is not a new idea and has been bandied about over the years. Winnetka United has hired a Chicago consultant to, “lead a campaign to change what they call ‘antiquated’ boundary lines.”
From this realtor’s point of view, homes sold in that area must always be quantified as being in the Avoca school district. I always explain to buyers that the school is actually higher rated than Winnetka schools - but it’s not a neighborhood school. Regardless of where the house is located in Winnetka, children can’t walk there. There are also major roads to cross - Lake St. for one.
But a thorny issue for the Avoca school district would be the loss of $1.1 million in property taxes should the proposal be approved. Avoca superintendent Kevin Jauch says that would be “devastating.”
But it would be a complicated endeavor, however, to complete a process called “detachment of territory.” Petitions must be filed, a hearing panel would be selected and public hearings would be held. After all this, the losing side would be able to contest the verdict in court. This will take time.
I like things neat and tidy and the current structure is not that. It’s a matter of logistics and is confusing for buyers new to the area to learn that their chosen Winnetka home is zoned for a school in Glenview. However, I know many people who wouldn’t send their children anywhere else. I have one client who moved out of the Avoca school district to Wilmette and paid tuition for her son to complete his final year in the Avoca district because she loved it there so much.
I see the point of wanting to be "united." Children living within this area usually attend school in one of three schools: Avoca, Saints Faith Hope and Charity, or North Shore Country Day School. You could conceivably have three homes next door to each other where all the children are off to different schools in the morning. Many North Shore schools are the heart of their community and this disjointedness is not desirable to some buyers.
Either way children in both schools will receive an excellent education. If the proposal fails and the current boundaries remain in place, I will continue to explain the zoning to buyers. But I won’t let them “assume” anything.
Filed under: Real Estate