What Happens If District 97's Referendum Fails

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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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