By Terry Dean
Oak Park taxpayers looking to weigh in on District 97's planned spring 2011 referendum will have a chance at a public forum on Nov. 18. That's the only confirmed date for a forum. It will take place at Irving School, 1125 S. Cuyler Ave.
The District 97 Board of Education will also have two public study sessions to talk about its operating referendum. Those will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 2 and Saturday, Nov.13. The board settled on those dates during a referendum planning discussion at their regular board meeting last Tuesday. Members also discussed having a second forum either this fall or early next year.
School board members were aware that Nov. 2 is election night but that was a date all could attend the first session. And even if another public forum can't be scheduled in the fall, voters will have a chance to speak during a public commentary portion at either of the study sessions, likely to occur at the end of the meeting with a half-hour time limit.
Board members and administration stressed that any public commentary will follow the same format as its regular board meetings--speakers will be timed and board members and administrators will respond to specific questions when the public commentary has concluded. Those responses are usually done at the board table or after the meeting at a later date. The public forums will be a different format allowing for a Q&A, members said.
The study sessions will also take place at a school.