By John Hubbuch
I have lived in Oak Park since 1976, and have voted for every referenda. District 200, District 97, Library, Parks --each and every one of them. I did this for any number of reasons, but the main was simple: I was afraid if we didn't have great municipal services---especially the schools--- then young families from places like Lincoln Park would stop moving here, and Oak Park would become like Austin. I fully intend to vote for this referendum.
Despite this blind allegiance to raising my taxes, I have keenly followed these past referenda campaigns. Which is why I don't believe the District 97 Board when it suggests that if its spring referendum for $75 million in working cash bonds fails that it may cut 77 teaching,support and administrative postions. Really?
77 positions equates to 7 or 8 in each school. It is hard to imagine that you would have to gut the schools without borrowing some money, phasing in the cuts, asking for less money in a subsequent referenda--- something short of Armeggedon. It's like going from having a termite inspection to razing your house.
If the situation is so drastic, how come the community wasn't presented with a referendum before this Doomsday clock read ten minutes to midnight. I know the playbook for passing a referendum is to scare the voters, especially the parents of school children, by presenting worst case scenarios. But for once I wish the Board seeking the referendum would not treat us like little kids and give us poor slobs a realistic, nuanced presentation.
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