Oak Park schools ask voters to support $75 million bond sale referendum

Tax hike would expire in 2018, board says


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By Terry Dean

Staff reporter

Click here to see the presentation District 97 made last Thursday.

District 97 plans to ask voters to support a $75 million working cash bond sale referendum in April 2011.

That will amount to an increase of $61 for every $1,000 paid in property taxes. Taxpayers, though, won't see that increase until their tax bills arrive in the fall of 2012. The District 97 Board of Education agreed on the $75 million bond sale at their Tuesday board meeting and presented that recommendation to the community at a public forum Thursday.

The board is scheduled to finalize their ballot question at the Dec. 14 meeting before formally approving it on Jan. 11.

"We've been looking and really have focused now on a very alternative way of funding the district for the short term and immediate future," said board President Peter Traczyk to about 40 people listening to his presentation in Irving School's auditorium. Joined by Supt. Albert Roberts and members of the school board, Traczyk explained that they preferred a working cash bond option as opposed to a permanent rate increase in order to ease the burden on taxpayers.

The bonds would be paid off by 2018, and at that time the district would seek another referendum for a rate increase. Annual budget reductions of about $700,000 will also need to be made in the meantime, Traczyk said. The money from the referendum, Roberts added, would not only cover the district's structural deficit, expected to reach $6 million by 2018, but also fund such things as capital improvements, technology and increased foreign language instruction. In all, roughly $10 million would be spent through 2018, money that is included in the referendum projection.

Roberts mentioned, in particular, the need for improvements in technology to improve overall teaching.

"While we have a strong curriculum, our world is changing very quickly," Roberts said. "It's becoming very technologically dependent and very globally interdependent. So we must provide a way for our students to be the best they can be in a very different society than perhaps students from the previous generation."

Traczyk and Roberts also addressed likely counter-arguments from voters cool to paying more to support the elementary school and prefer to cut spending instead.

Roberts insisted that cuts alone won't solve the structural deficit. As an example, he said, even if the district cut every single administrator, plus 34 teachers, that by itself would not be enough. Roberts, however, did say there would be reductions in the administration.

The board also plans to develop a policy on how the district will manage the money, which will include ongoing updates from the administration to the board.

"So we're going to put in place a process by which it's going to be very transparent in how we manage these monies going forward," Traczyk said.

Jim Kelly, an Oak Park resident with no children in the school system, said after the roughly hour-and-a-half forum that he will support the referendum.

"I think they did an outstanding job of helping us understand where the school district is now, financially and structurally and educationally," he said, "and what the consequences are in not passing this referendum and what the benefits are if we do."

Kelly said he didn't need time to think about whether or not to support it.

  Oak Park schools referendum presentation

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Posted: December 1st, 2010 12:29 PM

@Mike If you'd like to pay my $950, I'll be happy to send you the bill. The unhappy people in Oak Park will leave as soon as more happy-to-burden-themselves-with-more-taxes people like you show up to buy our not-underwater-single-mortgage houses. Oh wait. They would see the tax bill first and look elsewhere...

No More Money  

Posted: December 1st, 2010 11:00 AM

Couldn't agree more with Oh Please. Oak Parkers are so gullible! Remember how "the children" would suffer and fall behind their peers in other suburbs without the benefit of two state-of-the-art junior highs and a new library? Funny thing...after all that tax money spent, we have two under-performing junior highs and a gorgeous facility for the homeless! Way to go Oak Parkers! It's not the additional $1000 that will hurt us--it's that increase combined with the $14K bill we already receive.

NotSharing from Oak Park  

Posted: November 30th, 2010 9:05 PM

Regarding the enrollment numbers in D97, Jassen is correct on the high end - about 6450 in the 1970s. However, the low end has actually been close to 4500 and it has risen fairly steadily to the current 5500. Even when the enrollment was around 6500, class size didn't differ much from today's numbers, but there were far fewer special needs and support teachers. Those rooms freed up by fewer students are now filled with students receiving mandated additional academic help offered by a specialist.

chet21 from Oak Park  

Posted: November 30th, 2010 11:19 AM

Jassen, regarding "Irving bribe," go to this WJ page from last week's paper: http://www.oakpark.com/News/Articles/11-23-2010/Irving_landscape_redo_might_benefit_from_Oak_Park_referendum Irving parents can't even raise $10,000 for this massive project-which will cost at least $1M! Focus on paragraphs 6 7, where, wink/wink, the supt "said he supports Irving's project" if they win the referendum-$2.8M "on schoolyards"! A bribe! Raise OP taxes, today, for this?!? Shameful. Vote no and start over!

Jason Malley from Oak Park  

Posted: November 30th, 2010 10:59 AM

Can I kindly ask that if you feel the need to post a number, statistic or percentage that you please include the origin of the data? Too many times people have posted to this board with incorrect numbers. Example of Hatch school enrollments and $10,000 pay cuts for teachers. To be taken seriously you must have facts to back your arguments.

Jassen Strokosch from Oak Park  

Posted: November 30th, 2010 10:37 AM

@joker FYI, a quick correction on your enrollment numbers. The highest enrollment in D97 in the 70s was 6450 and the lowest was around 5500 (basically the same as today). It never came close to 9000.

Jassen Strokosch from Oak Park  

Posted: November 30th, 2010 10:29 AM

@Chet21 Out of curiosity, what is "the Irving bribe" you are referring to in your comments? I haven't heard that before.

Jassen Strokosch from Oak Park  

Posted: November 30th, 2010 10:23 AM

@Beye Parent - A couple points of clarification. The Irving petition simply asked for the Board to clarify it's policy and spell out what can and can't be purchased more specifically. It never requested an end to PTO spending of any kind. Secondly, D97 policy has always required approval before acceptance of gifts, tech or otherwise. Technology purchases by PTOs continue. Look at tonight's Board packet and you will see Holmes PTO requesting to purchase 25 iPod Touches and a docking stations.

chet21 from Oak Park  

Posted: November 29th, 2010 9:59 PM

Salary control seems to be an issue everywhere: WASHINGTON %u2013 President Barack Obama on Monday proposed a two-year freeze of the salaries of some 2 million federal workers. I'm with the President on this one - and so is the country. We need this sort of realization from the D97 board. We will only achieve this necessary action (my proposal is to return to 2008 salary schedule - OP can't print money like the Fed can) by defeating the referendum. If they win - they're flush with $$.

Not Real Life  

Posted: November 29th, 2010 4:40 PM

When are public institutions going to start running their "business" like the real world? Pensions. Really?!?!? Yeah, the private sector has all types of new pension packages these days for employees. What are key programs, what are core functions? Unfortunately, the slide show was a lot of fluff. It's time for the school district to look deep and come up with a sustainable plan for the future. Asking for more, more, more isn't the answer. Eventually, people will collectively say, "No!"

Beye Parent from Oak Park  

Posted: November 29th, 2010 2:29 PM

The Beye PTO raised enough money last year to purchase Beye School 3 smartboards, 30 iPod Touches, and 5 iPads. However, the D97 Board has changed the donation policy after Irving started an online petition to stop PTO technology donations. PTOs can no longer donate technology, without approval, for fear of a technology gap rising between the schools. Maybe the board should revisit the policy, let PTOs donate technology, and ease some of the burden on taxpayers.

chet21 from Oak Park  

Posted: November 29th, 2010 9:02 AM

To "NotSharing" - redo your math. What side of ledger? Expenses. The $6M figure presumes status quo staff AND raises AND program enhancements. It uses the base of today. Reduce the base (go to 2008 step-tables), including the Irving bribe AND K-5 Spanish AND multicultural, and the numbers are in surplus. This is NOT draconian!!!

joker from OP  

Posted: November 28th, 2010 9:30 PM

Joking right??? In the 70's the enrollment was nearly 9000. In the 80's the enrollment was still nearly 7000. The 5500 figure showing that enrollment is "up" is a statistical anomaly, a blip in a low enrollment number caused by parents putting their kids in Montessori or the parochial schools, realizing that D97's schools deliver a poor product. And you conveniently forgot the lavish benefit packages at D97, 1/3 of the salary structure.

NotSharing from Oak Park  

Posted: November 28th, 2010 8:25 PM

Just a couple thoughts: For all the people leaving OP due to high taxes, D97 enrollment is up again, to over 5500 kids. Also, whether you cut teachers' salaries 5 or 10%, you still are short of the $6M needed annually with NO new program upgrades. All teachers make just over $35M. A 10% pay cut is still only $3.5M. Or cut ALL employees 10% and you only get $4.6M. Cut K-5 Spanish ($600K) and the Multicultural Ctr. ($200K) and you're still short of $6M. Cuts can't do it alone without more revenue.

Al Traybert from OP  

Posted: November 27th, 2010 8:25 PM

To Mike, Joel: How fast will you move out of OP when your kids have been graduated? Will you be singing the same song about the education of kids when they're no longer your kids? Hypocrites. 20% of the population are out of work or underemployed & that includes OP'ers yet the teachers' union have egregious pay increases/ benefits packages scheduled. It's not about the kids its about the teachers and their unions & other wasteful spending. No one, including you, would run a home this way.

chet21 from Oak Park  

Posted: November 27th, 2010 3:34 PM

Wow, take off for a few days and learn that I'm "angry" and "obsessed" with "small govt" and more!?! Wow! What does "small govt" have to do with questioning a referendum? Why is my proposal to return to 2008 salaries, during the worst economy since the GrtDeprsion, "shameful?" Am I "small govt" for questioning this 11/23 WJ headline?: "Irving landscape redo might benefit from Oak Park referendum." OP schools/children need this, too? Traczyk promises $$ IF ref passes? Is this "Chicago Politics?"

W. from Oak Park  

Posted: November 27th, 2010 9:26 AM

@ Jeff - it really is not about the children it is about protecting an establishment - really. If it were truly about the children then the whole educational debate would have been solved a long time ago. Once education became unionized it stopped being about the children.

Exile out of Oak Park  

Posted: November 26th, 2010 8:36 PM

I know 3 families with school-aged children who left Oak Park for Riverside, Glenn Ellyn et al because of O.P. taxes. My friends in a $600,000 home in north Oak Park are about to leave, because of their $14,000 taxes plus repair costs after multiple floodings. Deep pockets are not bottomless. And why would young families want to move to Oak Park with its old housing stock aka money pits, when newer construction, lower taxes and good schools can be found elsewhere?

Jeff from Oak Park  

Posted: November 26th, 2010 6:07 PM

Actually, dude, it's precisely about the children, since this is a school referendum. The tragedy is that you and your small government propagandist fanatics are making it about you. By the way, read the powerpoint before you attack. Administrative positions are being reduced. Think saving less than a hundred bucks a month is more important than education? I pity you.

Oh Please from Oak Park  

Posted: November 26th, 2010 3:50 PM

Oh, please. This is not about "the children". The fallicy of this debate is that more $$ equals higher quality education. The money always goes to administrators, union leaders, and fluffy programs (i.e multi-cultural dept) that have nebulous value. Stop using "the children" as human shields to confiscate more and more of the taxpayers earnings without accountability and measurable success at all levels.

Joel from Oak Park  

Posted: November 26th, 2010 2:34 PM

Exactly. Don't take your anger and obsession with "small govt." out on my kids. What makes you think you are so special that you can get services without paying for them? Shame on you! Have you any concept of shared sacrifice? And don't say "District 97 needs to share in the sacrifice." They've cut expenses for eight straight years! No one wants to pay higher taxes. But Americans have traditionally got through crises by sharing burdens. All I see here is "I got mine." Disgusting.


Posted: November 26th, 2010 2:04 PM

Vote yes. Let's show the children of this commmunity that people care about their futures and the people who teach them. If the 950 dollars a year will put you in the poor house, then you have much bigger problems. Don't take your aggression out on my kids. When will the unhappy people move out of Oak Park? Short sale your second mortgaged properties and get moving! Your energy is pathetic.

KEC from Oak Park  

Posted: November 26th, 2010 5:45 AM

Using bond proceeds to pay short term bills is no way to run any kind of 'business'. All this is saying/doing is 'put off until tomorrow what you don't want to face today'. When D97 shows us the efficiencies they've implemented, then I'd consider raising taxes but not until then.A tax increase for schools will NOT be getting my vote.

Mary Ellen Eads from Oak Park  

Posted: November 25th, 2010 9:54 AM

They may be working to capacity, but are they doing work that needs to be done.Any employee, can keep busy during the work day. But what are they doing? Could the work be merged, contracted out, or is there a technological alternative that would be cheaper over the long run. And when public employee unions are involved, you can always assume a certain amount of exaggeration. Middle class taxpayers can no longer afford to be the last ones standing when fiscal sacrifice is handed around.

Daniel Hurtado  

Posted: November 24th, 2010 11:03 PM

Don%u2019t mean to sound - Surely you do not believe that teachers work only 6.5 hours a day. Teachers take work home with them to prepare lessons, to grade homework and to grade tests, and often spend extra time to meet with parents and/or students. If you want smaller classes, longer school days, and higher quality of teacher, then you must be willing to pay for it.

Daniel Hurtado  

Posted: November 24th, 2010 10:57 PM

PM. Yes, I think that a few hundred dollars in property taxes will not materially affect an unemployed person who happens to own property worth half a million dollars. The difference between $14,000 and $14,854 per year in that circumstance is not material. Balance that against cutting a teacher%u2019s salary by $2,500 to $5,000, or even more. I think no one should be urging a yes or no vote until everyone has more thoroughly examined the facts.

Daniel Hurtado  

Posted: November 24th, 2010 10:44 PM

Mary Ellen, I agree we need more context. It probably would be better, though, not to answer your own questions before we have the facts. It might be that secretaries and assistant principals are already working at full capacity, and that firing some of them would significantly impair the delivery of educational services.

Daniel Hurtado  

Posted: November 24th, 2010 10:36 PM

Chet, you stated: %u201CA 5% cut will D97 them thru this difficult economic period.%u201D So, setting aside MC and Spanish cuts, show us the math. As to the $5k in salary cuts, I have been accepting at face value the assertions of opponents of the referendum that teacher salaries are at $100k. If they are less than that, it simply reinforces my arguments. If a teacher is making $50k, a $2500 cut is still 5 times the amount that you think is heartless to require you to pay in additional taxes.

W. from Oak Park  

Posted: November 24th, 2010 7:41 PM

@Sidney Wickes - At tis rate It will be the outrageous property taxes that keep young families w/children from buying in OP - even if they would love to send their kids to our schools they won't be able to afford to live here if the schools aren't reigned in - vicious circle we continue to find ourselves in in this community.

fundemental disconnect  

Posted: November 24th, 2010 5:59 PM

I'm wondering why Oak Park didn't hire a local person or at least someone in state for the superintendent's position. One attribute of a healthy organization is that they mentor and promote people from within. Look at the district office and you will see few people who came up through the ranks - why? It's cheaper and more efficient to create a stable home-grown administration and work force. Why should the taxpayers suffer from the inability of the district to build capacity from within?

Don't mean to sound sad....  

Posted: November 24th, 2010 5:39 PM

I look at the salary schedule, the contractual work hours at the middle school (6.5 hours) and my tax bill, and it just doesn't add up. Start sending high school students to tutor after school and get more parents to help out with programs. For my 15k I want smaller classes, a longer school day and higher quality of teacher (especially at the middle school). I wish I had these things, but I don't. and no out-of-state fund raising triple dipper is going to convince me to pay more.

I wish I had the money.... from Oak Park  

Posted: November 24th, 2010 5:34 PM

I wish I had the money to pay more taxes, but I don't. You see, I work for a school district that pays far, far, far less than any Oak Park School, and despite my subject area master's degree, community involvement, and specialization in teaching children of color, no Oak Park School would interview me. I know many great local people who would love to work in Oak Park Schools, but didn't even get an interview! With the extra money I would have made, I would happily pay more taxes! Oh well...

Les from op  

Posted: November 24th, 2010 3:51 PM

Every child will be sent home with literature. The parents of every child will be told their school will close if the tax is not passed. Those are the scare tactics used every referendum. To help fight the increase, join our organization: oakparkreferendum@yahoo.com

Property Values  

Posted: November 24th, 2010 2:02 PM

Voters are warned not to deny the schools anything as it might dampen property values. Well, guess what - the economy and the foreclosure next door already did the damage. People trying to sell in OP now have to claim their ($14-20k)property taxes are "under appeal". This tax cost will never go down even as values plunge. Look at the actual sales data - a 3bdrm house in lovely NW OP sold for under $200k. At taxes rise and prices drop, the tax bill will soon exceed the mortgage!

PM from Oak Park  

Posted: November 24th, 2010 12:51 PM

Mr. Hurtado do you really think that a few hundred dollars in property taxes will not affect the unemployed? While it may not give them a job it could mean the difference between their being able to keep their home. And by the way if we are talking $61 per 1000 of property taxes its more like $854 added to the $14,000 property tax bill I have on my $500K house. No choice here, we must VOTE NO.

chet21 from Oak Park  

Posted: November 24th, 2010 10:48 AM

Daniel, yes I've "done the math" (MBA hasn't gone to waste!) and, yes, 5% cut and axing multi-cultural center and K-5 Spanish program provides MORE than what is necessary from referendum. How about YOUR math? How did YOU come up with 5% cut equaling $5,000 for teachers? $100,000 avg salary? It's not. Just revert to 2008 salary/step-table levels. Hardly draconian. It'll keep class sizes the same more time for core curriculum.

Mary Ellen Eads from Oak Park  

Posted: November 24th, 2010 8:51 AM

Some of this information isn't helpful without more context. For example, how many secretaries are there per school? Is it possible that that these rather small elementary schools currently have more than one secretary, in the age of technology. The same for assistant principals and district office support staff. If the referendum passes, it looks as though at least some of the new cash will go to maintain a local jobs farm.

j.oakpark from Oak Park  

Posted: November 24th, 2010 8:39 AM

want to know what each teacher and administrator gets paid in D97? Here is a link:http://www.familytaxpayers.org/salary.php

Daniel Hurtado  

Posted: November 24th, 2010 8:07 AM

Chet, do you happen to know what the unemployment rate is among OP property owners? Have you done the math that would show that a 5% across-the-board paycut would make up the shortfall? On a more rhetorical note, I still don't understand why it is more just for a teacher to take a $5,000 paycut than for a property owner to pay an extra $500 in taxes.

Daniel Hurtado  

Posted: November 24th, 2010 8:00 AM

I sympathize with the emotional appeals Chet. I took a 50% paycut last year myself. But those appeals don't really engage the issue. New college grads are probably not property owners, and thus do not pay property taxes. To the extent there are unemployed property owners, a few hundred dollars in new property taxes will likely not affect their employment status one way or the other. We should not allow hard times to stop us from investing in our kids' and community's future.

chet21 from Oak Park  

Posted: November 23rd, 2010 11:08 PM

Daniel,I have too many OP friends and neighbors who are either unemployed or fear losing their jobs. Many also have "kids" who are college grads (or will be in the spring) and they have no jobs-or are p.t. at low wages. I want to repeat that my kids had mostly wonderful teachers at Irving and Julian and I'm grateful. Also, the "deficit" figures from D97 presume business as usual - which includes raises AND expanded programs. A 5% cut will D97 them thru this difficult economic period. Vote No.

Daniel Hurtado  

Posted: November 23rd, 2010 10:32 PM

Chet, it may be that across the board salary cuts are advisable. But I'm not sure 5% is "minor," nor that it would be enough to make up the projected shortfall. The 20%unemployment/underemployment figure does not apply to Oak Park, and anyone on food stamps likely does not own property and would not be affected by the property tax increase. It's "heartless" to levy an additional $500 tax on the owner of a half-million dollar house, but not heartless to cut a teacher's salary by $5k-$10k?

I was there when they lost from Oak Park  

Posted: November 23rd, 2010 9:53 PM

REPLY TO JOHN MURTAGH - I agree with both of your points. However, the $75 million D97 proposal is not "best offer," and presumes status quo PLUS more! In today's dire economy that is simply insulting and disregards the true pain felt by many Oak Parkers. I suppose that D97 MUST first make this effort - because only if they fail will they have the leverage to return to the employees and say "we tried," and then obtain "shared sacrifice" from the unions. Sad, but true.

john murtagh from Oak Park  

Posted: November 23rd, 2010 9:05 PM

REPLY TO I WAS THERE - 500 characters are rough. If I had more characters, I would have mentioned that it was not unusual to lose two or three times in a row and make cuts to make the next effort appealing. We even made cuts to the length of the millage. In two of the winning millages, we had reached the point that all programs were decimated. It was all very painful. My message is to win the first time by using all the tools to win that you would employ the second or third time.

I was there when they lost from Oak Park  

Posted: November 23rd, 2010 8:37 PM

For all of those "concerned" about Armageddon/North Berwyn occurring to OP with a failed D97 referendum - I was there when D97 lost a referendum in 1988 and D200 lost in 1995. After the loss, the boards took out their pencils and, with community assistance & "shared sacrifice" from staff, shrunk their initial requests (OPRF reduced its levy request by over 70%!) and "won" on the next ballot. So, one can vote "no" in March and still avert the dreaded "North Berwyn" doom!!!

john murtagh from Oak Park  

Posted: November 23rd, 2010 6:03 PM

No question that property value goes down when school quality declines. It is a dangerous argument in a millage referendum though. Many people think their residential property taxes would go down as well. They do not.

Sidney Wickes from Oak Park  

Posted: November 23rd, 2010 5:51 PM

Incidentally, I agree with Mr. Murtagh. The burden is on 97 to show reductions and increased efficiency. I would simply point out that the power point above, crafted in advance of the referendum being finalized is rather specific in this regard. And 97 has a track record of doing more with less. Those residents who rail against this referendum are in for one hell of a shock in 2018 when they issue the proposed rate increase that will be necessary if they succeed in defeating this referendum.

Sidney Wickes from Oak Park  

Posted: November 23rd, 2010 5:40 PM

Has no one considered property values in this equation? Has anyone wondered what would happen to Oak Park in the long run if the schools fell into disrepair and the technology became outdated? Oak Park would no longer be Oak Park. It would be Berwyn North.

john murtagh from oak park  

Posted: November 23rd, 2010 5:06 PM

From the 70 to 90, I participated in 15 millage increase efforts. We won 3 and lost 12. I learned was that the community was supportive once they were convinced that the increased taxes was just. The burden of proof is on the district. Realistic sacrifices must be shown and they have to be across the board. That includes all salaries. Closing schools during a millage effort is bad news. Inflicting wounds on your best friends is never a good quick solution.

W. from Oak Park  

Posted: November 23rd, 2010 4:51 PM

Languages are great but the reality is does the language need to start in K-5th or can it start in say 5th grade and then continue into the middle school curriculum? Then if a parent feels they would like their child to participate in a foreign language then they should find and pay for it on their own. My kids did not start Spanish until 5th grade and are getting A's in HS.

Jason Malley from Oak Park  

Posted: November 23rd, 2010 4:34 PM

Languages offered at OPRF; Levels 1-4 Latin, German, Japanese and Chinese. Levels 1-8 French, Italian. Levels 1-10 SPANISH. And AP in French, Italian and Spanish. Cool that there are so many languages OPRF. I am married to a college language professor, English and Spanish and I bet she would tell you that if you learn one language you can learn many, particularly in the romance languages ie Spanish. There is no better time for second language acquisition than I the early years.

chet21 from Oak Park  

Posted: November 23rd, 2010 4:11 PM

Daniel, 40 million Americans are on food stamps and 20% are either unemployed or underemployed. The vast majority of college grads can find NO employment and D97 wants to raise taxes by $75million for both a continuation of annual raises and program enhancements?!? Naperville, Wheaton, etc teachers took salary freezes. Massive layoffs are occurring everywhere. I'm requesting minor salary program cuts rather than layoffs/class size increases. Raising taxes today in high-tax OP is heartless.

Daniel Hurtado  

Posted: November 23rd, 2010 3:32 PM

Certainly it would be good, if there were an interest, to include other languages in K-5 as well. But Spanish is the most relevant foreign language to know in the United States. We should WANT to continue expanding our kids' education. Do you have any data to show that the presence of Spanish teaching in K-5 has eroded learning of the "core" subjects? Finally, you're not suggesting that K-5 Spanish will be the primary consumer of the $75 million?

chet21 from Oak Park  

Posted: November 23rd, 2010 3:14 PM

Daniel, the K-5 Spanish program was begun less than 10 years ago at Irving. It piggy-backed upon a parent-paid lunch-time program. OPRFHS offers a lot of language programs and many students, particularly top ones, choose languages other than Spanish. Employers hire native speakers who also have cultural/family ties - not D97-type kids. Spanish (and French) IS in the 6-8 program and if some parents want K-5 - have them sign up elsewhere. Spanish is a frill and takes time away from core. $75m?!?


Posted: November 23rd, 2010 2:44 PM

That should be "are irrelevant?"

Daniel Hurtado  

Posted: November 23rd, 2010 2:19 PM

Adam, I completely agree that much of the higher academic performance by OP students is certainly attributable to their higher socio-economic background, parental involement and even genetics. But surely you don't mean to say that the quality of the school environment, the quality and commitment of teachers, and the breadth of programs and opportunities that are made available to students str irrelevant?

Daniel Hurtado  

Posted: November 23rd, 2010 2:13 PM

Chet, I'm not sure all would agree that exposure to foreign languages is less valuable in our current market than math or science. But even if it is, it is far from worthless and to eliminate it from D97 would be to erode the quality of education for OP students. We should be looking at "waste" - i.e., redundancy, unused resources, etc. Eliminating programs not only makes education inferior, it creates intractable fights regarding whose ox will get gored.

Daniel Hurtado  

Posted: November 23rd, 2010 1:54 PM

Thanks Jason. I was using a number (250) that someone else threw out. The fact that there are more than 300 students at Hatch fortifies my point.


Posted: November 23rd, 2010 12:47 PM

So much silly stuff being said. I'm not a teacher, but historically teachers have never been valued to equal their contribution to society. Historically it was not unusual for them to have second jobs over the summers to make ends meet - decades before this economic disaster we are ALL living through. Home school your kids if you think you can do a better job!

chet21 from Oak Park  

Posted: November 23rd, 2010 12:08 PM

"Chet21, are you talking about the FLES program? I believe the FLES program was originally identified as being one of the programs on the chopping block." But if D97 wins the referendum - won't they keep it? This $75m is to not only maintain status quo, BUT EXPAND IT!?! Spanish program and AYP are like water and oil. The daily minutes devoted to Spanish subtract from the core curriculum - and they want to expand and make the kids "bilingual" - yikes! And all for just $75m!?!

Adam from Oak Park  

Posted: November 23rd, 2010 11:50 AM

"Good Schools compared to what" Where did you move to? I may go. I have D97 kids. "Parent of distr #97 student voting NO" had it right. Smart parents make smart kids. Teacher in OP know that and place lots of the education of the child on the parents. I can't see $75 million making our kids education any better. Like most OP kids they will be educated with or without the money. Bad timing D97. No way this will pass.

Be Clear  

Posted: November 23rd, 2010 11:42 AM

Chet21, are you talking about the FLES program? I believe the FLES program was originally identified as being one of the programs on the chopping block.

chet21 from Oak Park  

Posted: November 23rd, 2010 11:35 AM

"Shutting schools is not the answer to the financial crisis, today" I agree, but "healthy debate" is a good thing. My "solution," without apologies, starts with eliminating K-5 Spanish program and Multi-cultural dept. The K-5 Spanish program takes away valuable time from math, science, reading, etc. Further, most of my kids' peers do NOT take Spanish at OPRF. M-C dept is PC fluff with no measured benefit to the students. Next? 5% wage cuts - NOT job cuts. Next question?

Jason Malley from oak park  

Posted: November 23rd, 2010 9:01 AM

To be clear the D97 2009 school report card shows student counts:Hatch 318Beye 408Holmes 467Irving 415Lincoln 563Longfellow 620Mann 520Whittier 427It is hard to take anyone seriously in this debate if you don%u2019t know the facts. 318 is not 250. And 68, the difference is 3 classes of kids. Shutting schools is not the answer to the financial crisis, today

Daniel Hurtado  

Posted: November 22nd, 2010 11:14 PM

The distance to Whittier isn't the issue. Whittier could not physically accommodate an additional 250 students, and you would need to retain most of the teachers to maintain even a minimally acceptable teacher to student ratio. Not sure what you consider the 4 north side schools. Whittier, Bye, Mann and Holmes? You're going to tell people east of Ridgeland and North of Division that they must send their kids to Bye or Holmes? It's not going to happen. So let's talk about realistic solutions.

Lawn Order from Oak Park  

Posted: November 22nd, 2010 10:55 PM

Since Whittier is all of 7/10ths of a mile from Hatch, and is also in NE Oak Park, it's a very workable solution. Simple redrawing of the school boundaries would move kids among the 4 north side schools. One well paid D97 admin should solve the puzzle in a week. No additional busing needed. Kids can walk, bike, or carpool (in hybrids preferably). Parents in all parts of town would enjoy the reduced taxes. Very progressive and radical thinking, wouldn't you say?

Daniel Hurtado  

Posted: November 22nd, 2010 10:40 PM

Why would anyone have a vacation home in or near Oak Park? I really don't understand the animosity toward teachers, who have never commanded compensation commensurate with the demands and importance of their work. If there are teachers who are not performing, that is one thing. But we should be proud that we sufficiently value the education of our kids to compensate teachers more generously than other jurisdictions do. It still doesn't match the value of what they do.

Daniel Hurtado  

Posted: November 22nd, 2010 10:26 PM

OK, let's consider closing Hatch. How would that work? Do we dump all 250 Hatch students on Whittier?Of course not. Do we distribute the Hatch students among the other 7 elementary schools and bus them? If you lived and had children in North East Oak Park, would you think that is a good idea? How much would it actually cost to implement such a transition? We need practicable solutions.

Daniel Hurtado  

Posted: November 22nd, 2010 10:14 PM

Les-1.What does "curtail" language programs mean?I don't think one could reasonably deny the value of language classes as a general enhancement of learning.2.See ohs re: musical instruments.3.What evidence do you have that computers are under-utilized or are not needed for those who do not otherwise have access to computers?4.My view is that making teachers take a hit is a bad idea given their value to society. 5.Have you analyzed the cost and feasibility of consolidating D200 with D97?

Roots of the problem....  

Posted: November 22nd, 2010 9:32 PM

The $ problems today stem from perks that boosted salaries 20% for each of the last 5 years prior to retirement, for the sole purpose of inflating pensions. Now the bills are due, and little of this $ goes toward education. That is why these are "structural" deficits, because they are contractually obligated. The advocates of these plans should be ashamed of the fiscal mess they created. No coincidence most retired admins&teachers have vacation homes far from Oak Park.

I'll Go to H--- First from OP  

Posted: November 22nd, 2010 1:48 PM

I'll go to h--- before the teachers in their hubris get PAY RAISES while I have to shop at ALDI and WalMart for food because I'm out of work and my wife in expecting. Show some compassion, you greedy b-----ds.

chet21 from Oak Park  

Posted: November 22nd, 2010 12:44 PM

As noted in a post elsewhere, the primary purpose of the referendum is to pay for increased wages, benefits and pensions for employees. I'm friends with many D97 teachers and they are well aware and sensitive to the challenges of their friends and neighbors in today's financial climate. As a parent with two recent grads from D97 I am requesting that Oak Park votes down the large referendum sum and then we work together on a "fair" plan for all of us. If it passes it will hurt a lot of us.

Les Cut the Taxes Golden from OP  

Posted: November 21st, 2010 9:50 PM

When both D97 & 200 were without heads, I wrote to the papers that consolidation was now appropriate. But the board of D97 nixed the idea. When candidate filing occurs, make sure you vote for candidates for D97 who FAVOR consolidation. It's better for the students, the grade-gappers, and the town. oakparkreferendum@yahoo.com if you want to defeat this latest tax gouge. I still recall their pitch for $60 million for middle schools: "Pass it or housing values will plummet." Guess what?

Joseph Abelson from Oak Park  

Posted: November 21st, 2010 9:43 PM

I had a small advertising business, but lack of business and I had to close shop. I%u2019m looking for a job. My friend down the block was a successful jobbing musician for decades, but the business has dried up and he%u2019s waiting tables. Another friend was told he could keep his job if he worked 4-day weeks and took a 25% pay cut and paid his own health insurance. He had no choice but to agree. Let the teachers feel the pain of our economy%u2019s downturn. Why should they be immune?


Posted: November 21st, 2010 9:12 PM

Here's an idea for a non-binding referendum question to be placed next to D97's next election:"In lieu of a $75M bond issue that will cost the average homeowner an additional $1,000 per year in taxes, should Oak Park hire an independent third party expert consultant to explore savings including the cost savings in consolodating D97 and D200?"

River Forest from River Forest  

Posted: November 21st, 2010 8:13 PM

Gee thanks Lawn. You are so magnanimous to "allow" River Forest to remain apart of District 200 while picking up the administrative costs of Oak Park schools. Is it any wonder that River Forest residents are looking for a way out of District 200 and all of the other connections that we have with Oak Park. We pay and Oak Park spends. Nice deal if you can get it.

Lawn Order from Oak Park  

Posted: November 21st, 2010 7:05 PM

1. Eliminate one ENTIRE SCHOOL (Hatch or Whittier in all likelihood)including staff. Sell building, create park land and new private housing stock. 2. Consolidate D200 & D97, eliminating dozens of duplicate admin positions. RF can remain part of D200. This is a unique chance for OP to be truly "progressive" (not the phony leftist kind) and right-size its school system to match its population and the realities of our tax structure. This isn't 1968. We don't have 65000 residents anymore.

Parent of distr #97 student voting NO  

Posted: November 21st, 2010 10:27 AM

Oak Park schools have a reputation for being good. Bottom line, they are good because educated people cluster here for job opps. in major city. The offspring they reproduce are smarter than the average bear because of genetic transmission of intelligence. It's not hard to teach above average students. Also, many OP kids are fortunate to be enrolled in art, music, computer, athletic classes from an early age. Reducing frequency of specials won't matter so much. The fundamentals are key.

'good schools' compared to what?  

Posted: November 21st, 2010 8:50 AM

Except for maybe 3 comments related to education, you are all like rats in a cage fighting. Our kids are still in school and we moved from OP because the quality of teaching in OP was poor. We now have lower taxes, our kids are performing better in our public school. Better management means they spend time on education and we don't need to hire tutors. Imagine that! & yes, there is diversity! My suggestion: Start demanding results from the schools, and not just excuses.Or move.


Posted: November 21st, 2010 8:32 AM

To Anastasia: it's not a case of appealing property taxes. We did that and got a small decrease. It's a case that we're still being over taxed. The taxes are based on an overstated assessed value when the houses were at the highest value. Have you checked to see what houses are actually selling for now? Have you seen how many are empty due to foreclosure? To the person who spoke about getting a 2nd job to pay for the increase for the referendum, that's great but many can't even find A JOB!

Becky from Oak Park  

Posted: November 21st, 2010 8:27 AM

Even though my child is leaving D97 at the end of this year, I believe that good schools are key to a solid commuity. If I believed more money was the answer to the problem, I'd support the referendum. However, throwing more money at schools has been proven numerous times as an ineffective way to make AYP. As pointed out by Ellen O'Hara the 2 beautiful, middle schools have failed to make AYP. Study after study has shown that support at home is what matters-not the amount spent per student.

DoingSome Math from Oak Park  

Posted: November 21st, 2010 8:27 AM

Take a look at the District Report Card on their website. We have smaller class sizes than state average (18-20 vs 21-23). Increasing class size by one student would eliminate 14 teachers (5500 kids divided by 20 vs 21) and hardly overburden the rest nor give our kids a horrible situation. While you're at it, look at average salaries for administrators and teachers, as well as ohter expenditures. www.op97.org/administration/cards/2010/District_ReportCard_2010.pdf

Mary Ellen Eads from Oak Park  

Posted: November 21st, 2010 7:47 AM

How about eliminating teacher bonuses for masters degrees, should they exist in D97. This idea has gotten some press lately because Bill Gates has come out in favor, amont others. The education industrial complex will scream Many schools of education make big bucks by offering, shall we say, noncompetitive masters degrees to those seeking higher salaries for minimal effort. According to Gates et al, masters degrees have little or no effect on teacher effectiveness.

A. No Voter  

Posted: November 20th, 2010 5:31 PM

Here are a couple of radical ideas to save $$. 1.Revise school boundaries to achieve equity in enrollment numbers. Lincoln has 500 students and is adding 2 classrooms. Ridiculous when Hatch has only 250 students. Or close a school, Hatch or whichever has lowest numbers. 2.District 200 has many, many millions of dollars in reserve. How'd that happen? Demand District 200 redistribute monies to feeder schools. Please, sheeople, refrain from voting; let those with more brain power be heard.


Posted: November 20th, 2010 4:15 PM

Ms. Thomas makes an excellent point. D97 choses to renovate a bathroom ($100,000!!) and threatens to cut the arts and other programs. I know when times are tough I defer home renovations and put that money toward my child's extracurricular programs. I don't think people choose to live in Oak Park because their schools have great bathrooms. Vote NO, they can't be trusted to make sound decisions.

W. from Oak Park  

Posted: November 20th, 2010 2:17 PM

Found in the Bravo article post It hasn't been mentioned at forums or in the press, but many are thinking and saying it privately, so I'll say it here..Why isn't D97 seriously looking at eliminating an entire SCHOOL? (Hatch or Whittier come to mind, but the entire system should be evaluated from the ground up.)Our population is down 15000 from the 60's peak, yet there are the same # of school buildings, more teachers/admin, etc. Consolidation of schools should be on the table in broad daylight

W. from Oak Park  

Posted: November 20th, 2010 1:52 PM

Wasn't there a post about there being 15,00 less students in the D97 system since the 1960's. The post also spoke to school consolidation to cut costs.... did that post just disappear? Thought it was very on point!


Posted: November 20th, 2010 10:50 AM

Students already rent their instruments. There is a separate group called Ping! that helps kids who are unable to pay for instruments. https://sites.google.com/site/pingoprf/

Les from OP  

Posted: November 20th, 2010 9:48 AM

1. Curtail foreign languages. I'm fluent in Spanish from 4 years at OPRFHS. Kids can't read/ write English!2. Eliminate purchase of musical instruments. The kids can rent from the schools or music studios or buy after displaying skills.3. Reduce computer needs. 90% of the homes have computers, many of which are portable laptops. Or share4. Rewrite contracts so that teachers pay larger amount of P&W.5. Vigorously prosecute non-residents for fees.6. Consolidate district with D20

Stephanie Thomas from Oak Park  

Posted: November 20th, 2010 9:09 AM

I have a 3-year old son who will enter Kindergarten in the Fall of 2012. To that end, I am reviewing the details of the upcoming District 97 referendum with great interest. That being said, before I even consider voting in favor of the referendum, I need a full explanation of why District 97 needs to spend $100K to remodel a restroom in the fairly new Brooks Middle School (see "School Notes" in Wednesday Journal dated 11/3/2010). I look forward to a detailed response. Thank you.

Daniel Hurtado  

Posted: November 20th, 2010 8:43 AM

Perhaps we can agree that responsible participants in this discussion neither: (1) support tax increases for their own sake; nor (2) want existing educational programs to be eliminated or teachers to be fired. So why don't we try to have an enlightened and respectful discussion about how either of those outcomes can be avoided?

Daniel Hurtado  

Posted: November 20th, 2010 8:33 AM

J, there have been suggestions in these threads that the shortfall can be addressed by 10% teacher pay-cuts across the board, or by firing some teachers and/or administrators. I havn't tracked how schools have or have not improved over the last decade, but I do believe that they should not be allowed to deteriorate. It is an economic fact that costs increase over time. Therefore, even to maintain the quality of the schools will require increased funding over time. That's just a fact of life.

Mary Ellen Eads from Oak Park  

Posted: November 20th, 2010 8:32 AM

So, we need $75 million to deal with a $6 million "structural deficit"Anyway, I don't think that a pay cut for teachers is realistic. The challenge would be to rein in future increases both in salary and benefits. That is unlikely to happen with new millions sloshing around in school system coffers. Party time for the teachers and their union. Not to mention already very highly paid administrative personnel. Largesse totally unconnected to whether the kids learn or not.


Posted: November 20th, 2010 8:29 AM

Les, I don't know if the purpose of your posts is to push people toward voting for the referendum, but if that's the case, they are working.

J.oakpark from Oak Park  

Posted: November 20th, 2010 8:20 AM

Daniel, can you please tell me how you come up with $10k pay cut for teachers? Not sure how you come up with that number. In the ten years I have been living in Oak Park my property taxes have more than doubled. They will go up again with a passed referendum, and continue to do so forever. The tax man does not lower taxes, ever. Unfortunately I can not point to one thing that has gotten better in Oak Park or the schools for my now doubled property tax bill.Daniel, can you please tell me how

Daniel Hurtado  

Posted: November 20th, 2010 8:18 AM

Again, Les, you (and A Nony) cite no data to back up your claims. And even if it is true that parents with children in the schools are more likely to support the referendum, it doesn't make them wrong just because they are closer to the issue. If you believe the referendum is unnecessary, you should explain why, on the merits, rather than throw stones.

Daniel Hurtado  

Posted: November 20th, 2010 8:05 AM

Ellen, surely you are not contending that OP schools are not a draw (even if they are not the only draw, or the top draw). And if our schools are back-sliding, as you suggest, surely it is not the correct response to cut back on the schools' services and offerings. Anne, what you are saying is that it's worse for you to have to pay $450 (about $37/month) than for a teacher to take a $10k pay-cut (are lose his or her job) and for kids to be deprived of music, theatre or sports.

Les from oak park  

Posted: November 20th, 2010 8:05 AM

Dear OHS: How about some honesty? You always have been committed to a tax increase vote for one and only one reason: You have a kid or two in school. And within 5 years of their graduation you too will bolt from OP because you don't want to pay the taxes anymore. Here "anymore" = "my kids aren't in school now."

Les from OP  

Posted: November 20th, 2010 8:00 AM

Reply to Hurtado. How many kids do you have in school, Daniel? The schools ALWAYS go for tax increases in off-year elections. Why? They know in large-turnout general elections that the users of the system (parents of kids) would be outvoted by the 80% of voters who don't have school kids. To ensure this vote, they send the kids home with flyers and the PTOs tell the parents of the electin. The majority of the $$ votes come from users. I won't even address the ignorant logic of police etc

A Nony from OP  

Posted: November 20th, 2010 7:51 AM

Hurtado you're an idiot. Young families move here because they couldn't get their intellectually-deficient kids into the magnet schools in Chicago but work downtown, don't want long commutes, and view the property taxes as an alternative to private school tuition. They have no connection to Oak Park except their kids and move when their kids graduate. Is this what you mean by community involvement?

Ellen O'Hara from op  

Posted: November 20th, 2010 7:46 AM

Here we go again. "Property values are high because people move here for the schools." 1. Every poll shows OP's draw is by far location. 2. Every referendum (library, parks, schools) claims THEY are the draw. 3. Our schools are not that good anymore by any statewide measure. The Middle Schools got failing grades in 2009. 4. Student performance in study after study correlates with family educational level and income, not money spent per student.


Posted: November 20th, 2010 7:09 AM

Oh, god, do you know what Prop 13 did to California schools? Yes, that's all we need.I was anti-referendum, but the spam for tax-lowering lawyers, Les's rants, and pro-13 suggestions are making me reconsider.

Anastasia Poulopoulos from Chicago  

Posted: November 20th, 2010 6:04 AM

Are your taxes too high? Are they uniform with your neighbors? Is there an error in the description of your property? You can wring your hands in frustration or your can appeal the assessed value of your property. Visit www.AppealMyTaxes.BIZ or call me for more information at 312-545-9252.

We need an Oak Park Proposition 13!  

Posted: November 20th, 2010 12:21 AM

What do I need to do to get a vote on an Oak Park version of proposition 13, freezing property taxes, on the ballot?http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proposition_13NO MORE!


Posted: November 20th, 2010 12:18 AM

Could that powerpoint have been more vague (eg Technology: Teachers should have access to certain technology). Is this some sort of sick joke? Why is there open warfare on the dwindling middle class who live here. Taxes official (property) and unofficial (parking madness) go up and up and up, we will increase the enrollment in the schools by building a housing project on Madison to pour more kids (who incidentally will have parent *not* adding to the property tax coffers) into the schools...

Anne Onymous  

Posted: November 20th, 2010 12:09 AM

Daniel,You find $450 I'll be paying under this so trivial, please let us know how I can collect your charitable contribution to my cause.Education is important and should be well funded, but haven't the last few years proved how asinine funding government through property taxes is. Lets impose a local sales tax, a local income tax (so the renters who are exempt from this hardship, yet take advantage of the schools can pay too) anything other than more oppressive property tax. Enough alread

john murtagh from Oak Park  

Posted: November 20th, 2010 12:01 AM

I would vote Yes. First, I believe strongly in the importance of education. I would go out and get a part time to pay the increase if I had to. Why - the plummet of housing values has cut deep. It will be a long time to get back to what we paid in 2007 with a booming economy. It will take even longer in this slowly recovery property. With a slowly recovering economy and massive education cuts, I might as well convert the house into a homeless shelter.

Daniel Hurtado  

Posted: November 19th, 2010 10:39 PM

I hear you Gregg. But as a realtor, you surely know that a prime consideration by prospective buyers, even those who do not have children, is the quality of the schools. Do you want to tell the market that Oak Park is cutting back on school funding, and is considering cutting or eliminating programs in the arts, languages and sports?

Daniel Hurtado  

Posted: November 19th, 2010 10:28 PM

The logical extension of the argument that only people who have children in the schools should fund a school tax is that only people who require the services of the fire and police departments should pay taxes to support those services. We all pay taxes for services that we don't use. It is a system based on reciprocity. Moreover, even childless people benefit from good schools: enhanced property values, community stability, and attracting responsible, productive people into our community.

Gregg Kuenster from OP  

Posted: November 19th, 2010 10:17 PM

Having both school age children and owning property, I am on both sides of this issue.I have been trying to sell OP real estate without luck for two years. Foreclosures are killing the market. I have not made up my mind on the referendum. Many people are losing their homes and suffering.I think we need more ideas.

Daniel Hurtado  

Posted: November 19th, 2010 9:48 PM

So you decide what you believe before you have any factual basis for it Les? The article above cites a resident who has no children in the schools but supports the referendum. There are at least 4 couples on my block whose children are long-gone from the OP schools, and who have no intention of moving out. And we have several senior citizens who have not had children in the OP schools for a long time, if ever, and yet have no intention of moving. I doubt my block is an anomaly.

Daniel Hurtado  

Posted: November 19th, 2010 9:29 PM

$15,000 in property taxes would be paid on a house with a current market value of about $700k. The proposed one-time property tax increase would be $915. Not pocket change, but not enough to throw the owner into poverty. Probably not even enough to seriously dent their lifestyle. But rather than give up the $915, some of us would prefer that our teachers take a $10k pay-cut or perhaps lose their jobs altogether, and, of course, heck with our kids.

Les from OP  

Posted: November 19th, 2010 8:35 PM

And don't give me this crap about 1989. Money is money. $60 or $70 million for the middle schools. Every year or so another "health safety" non-referendum bond to the tune of a few million, supplements to the education or building fund. I hoipe this time the Wed. Urinal has the guts to say "NO."

Les Golden from oak Park  

Posted: November 19th, 2010 8:33 PM

I wish the supporters of this latest tax gouge will provide their names so we can prove that only those with kids in the school want this. As soon as their kids are graduated they move, not wanting to pay the taxes for the next generation. so don't give me this crap about "the future" and "the children." You only care about the FUTURE of YOUR CHILDREN and care nothing about the community. Hey, D97, we're in a depression. Can you spell thyat? D-e-p-r-e-s-s-i-o-n.


Posted: November 19th, 2010 6:45 PM

It's nice that you have the extra funds to pay for the referendum. Do you have an extra $1,000/year so you can pay my share?

D97 Has My Support  

Posted: November 19th, 2010 6:33 PM

Yes, Yes, Yes! Current and future elementary school students should not pay the price for mismanagement in other areas of government. District 97 hasn't had an increase in in operating rate since 1989 (21 years!). The District 97 Board has responsibly - and very carefully - constructed a reasonable request for funds that meets our students' needs, respects the taxpayers and, ultimately, honors the values our community prides itself on. Vote Yes and Support Oak Park's Children!

Becky from Oak Park  

Posted: November 19th, 2010 6:21 PM

NO! I believe better utilization of resources is necessary. Administrative cuts should be made among other things. As a co-owner of a small business, I've had to make difficult cuts this year myself. Look at the number of forecloures in this community. How about un/underemployment? I'd move out of OP if I could, but no one wants to buy my house because the real estates taxes are already too high. I know the people in OP haven't met a referendum they didn't like, but it's time to say NO NO NO!!!

m from oak park  

Posted: November 19th, 2010 5:22 PM

Insane, in a word. The school sytem will always suck up as much money as is thrown at it, and still be gasping for more. Please vote no, or think of a formulation for a referendum that would have people without children in the system pay a base amount, and have those with additional children using the system pay an additional amount (like a graduated scale). How to implement this fairly? I dunno. That doesn't seem to be a priority with our taxing entities-so I'm sure they could figure it out!

Cut Les from OP  

Posted: November 19th, 2010 5:14 PM

The VMA sleazes will work with D97 to pass this tax increase referendum as they did in the past. That way they get the D97 staff to vote for their candidates. Incestuous w____, only interested in keeping their place at the slop trough of taxpayer cash. Send a letter to oakparkreferendum@yahoo.com to mobilize against these people who care only about padding their influence and pocket book and less about the viablity of Oak Park.


Posted: November 19th, 2010 5:00 PM

Can't cut PE. As I understand it, daily PE is a state mandate: http://www.aahperd.org/naspe/publications/upload/Illinois-profile.pdfBurns off some steam, too.

Tom Scharre  

Posted: November 19th, 2010 4:29 PM

In a word...no.

j from Oak Park  

Posted: November 19th, 2010 4:18 PM

By the way in my opinion the kids are not any smarter with all the money thrown at them, if anything, sorry to say, they are much dumber and ill prepared for society. This is partially a school issue but more so a parental issue. As always there are exceptions.

S. Plissken from Oak Park  

Posted: November 19th, 2010 4:17 PM

@Gail Moran: Spoken like a true, blue VMA representative. What is your role at the VMA again? That is besides being a cheerleader.

Cut Cut Cut from Oak Park  

Posted: November 19th, 2010 4:11 PM

No way no how, tired of this tax issue every year. If its not the schools its the county or some other outrageous gouge on property owners (Low Income Housing Project, plese don't get me started). I will state my case again, once i sell my OP property I am gone out of Oak Farse and Crook County.

Mary Ellen Eads from Oak Park   

Posted: November 19th, 2010 4:07 PM

It is important to remember that the Democrats and Governor Quinn are seriously considering a state income tax increase of one to three percentage points, to be voted on during the January lame duck session. This would, of course, be in addition to the property tax increase if approved locally. For many families, that's a lot. There is also some talk of property tax relief connected to the income tax increase. It would be useful to know how that might affect District 97 specifically.

gail moran from oak park  

Posted: November 19th, 2010 4:00 PM

District 97 and its children, our future leaders, will have my support in this referendum.

elizabeth sexton from Oak Park  

Posted: November 19th, 2010 4:00 PM

My tax bill just went up $800 this time when the 7% cap was quietly phased out. I will not be supporting any tax increase.

Rob from Oak Park  

Posted: November 19th, 2010 3:58 PM

In general I agree with Will. If you look at slide #4 it summarizes Revenue $64.7MandExpenditures Salary/Benefits $53.9MOther $14.6MTotal $68.5MA budget deficit of $3.8MA 10% reduction in Salary/Benefits covers the gap.Although, I do not believe only Salaries should be targeted. ALL programs should share the burden. If the reductions are made across the board then nothing is eliminated nor singled out.

Cut from OP  

Posted: November 19th, 2010 3:49 PM

That's another $1000 for every home now paying $15,000, with 2011 a reassessment year.Sorry, gluttons at D97, I'm not going to eat gravel and grits so your teachers can make $100,000 for an 8 month year.To join the fight aghainst this outrageous tax increase, send an email to oakparkreferendum@yahoo.com.Les Taxes is Golden to keep businesses from leaving Oak Park!


Posted: November 19th, 2010 3:40 PM

A temporary across the board pay cut of 10% will fund everything without program cuts or referendum.D97 has been planning the referendum for years and had plenty of time to renegotiate union contracts. Fact - wages go up in D97 regardless of economic climate; taxpayers' wages have gone down in bad economy.Increasing my taxes is a pay cut to me - I vote NO until the pain is shared.

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