Recently Wednesday Journal reported on the loss of crossing guards for all Oak Park schools due to the village's cost cutting. District 97 has identified money in its budget to pay for crossing guards at key corners. Ascension will soon lose four crossing guards at vital intersections for lack of funds [Oak Park at standstill on Catholic school crossing guards, News, Oct. 6]. Ms. Mary Jo Burns, principal of Ascension, has indicated that $26,000 is not easily found.
To most parents, this must seem silly. Of course we must find a way for our children to reach school safely. Thankfully most parents in Oak Park no longer need to ponder tough choices about their children's safe journey to school. Stop for a minute and imagine you send your child to a private school in Oak Park. If you send your child to Ascension and live in Oak Park as I do, you would've already paid taxes to the village and to District 97. You would be sending monthly tuition checks to the Ascension office. You would be saving the district roughly $5,000 per student by not sending them to your local public school. You could quickly calculate that Ascension saves District 97 roughly $2 million annually. Doing some more math, you could see that $26,000 is barely 1 percent of $2 million.
In the end, I am pretty sure you would wonder why some of the money that you're giving to the village or to District 97, or why some of the money you're saving District 97, cannot be spent on your kids' safety. I know I do.