Support for early childhood collaboration

Opinion: Letters To The Editor

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My family and I are new to Oak Park. I do not fully understand the past problems between OPRF and village hall. I also do not understand why past problems between adults would impact the future of a program that will provide such critical services to the families most in need.

To me, the Collaboration for Early Childhood's program does not seem to be a "magic bullet" solution to the achievement gap in education, and that is why I think it will work.

They are not offering a computer-based program, they are not saying better teachers are needed, and they are not threatening to close down schools. The Collaboration is offering to provide services from prenatal care through early childhood, which, I believe, is the most sound and reliable way to address the achievement gap in education.

It is not a quick fix. Rather, it is one that will require a great deal of hard work over a long period of time. The Collaboration also identifies the need for unified community support.

Consistency and routine are important in the lives of children, especially during the early childhood years. The Collaboration's proposal is a forward-thinking approach, one that attempts to fix the root of a problem.

I hope District 200 can put past problems aside and support the Collaboration.

Dan Cultra

Oak Park

Reader Comments

69 Comments - Add Your Comment

Comment Policy

OP parent  

Posted: February 8th, 2013 10:18 PM

Ding Ding Ding is a winner! He/she is right - the Collaboration "plan" is a bunch of feel-good ideas with no action articulated. They aren't asking for bake sale money - they want tax payers to increase their budget from $200,000 to over a million dollars, with no clear explanation of what they will do beyond meeting, collaborating, and distributing. I support early childhood education. That's why we should save our money for programs that will educate children.

FYI  

Posted: February 8th, 2013 8:41 PM

Notice it's 2 people from RF saying don't use D-200 $$! lol If the money is in the General Fund it doesn't have a legal restriction on how it gets spent on education.

Robert Zeh from River Forest, Illinois  

Posted: February 8th, 2013 6:59 PM

I do not understand why a high school district should fund early childhood education. This plan should be funded by district 97; that is the appropriate body for funding preschoolers. The reality, of course, is that District 200's pile of cash is attracting people who want to spend it, from swimming pools to early childhood education. Although there are a set of benchmarks on the handout from the Collaboration for Early Childhood's presentation to OPRF, I don't see any clear metrics for determining if the program is a success. The benchmarks are for kindergarten, so it is unclear how we will tell if this program helps children attending OPRF. Before starting to fund a program we should have a clear idea of why we'd stop funding it.

Dale Jones from River Forest  

Posted: February 8th, 2013 6:26 PM

Everyone here continues to miss the most important point. Taxing bodies must fund those things that are in their area of staturory responsibility. No matter how worthwhile a program is, it must be funded by the taxing body that has responsibility for that function, or the funding must come from private sources or a government grant. D200 is not responsibile for early childhood education and just because they have a surplus, it does not give them the right to spend it any way they want.

All OP Families Deserve Consideration from OP  

Posted: February 8th, 2013 5:48 PM

Taxes are being brought up because they are so darn high in OP. And, of course, because we pay taxes which D200 has seen fit to stockpile to the tune of $120 mil, I believe. But, I didn't pay those taxes for pre-school, I paid them for the high school. So, spend them there, and stop coming up with new things we "have to fund or civilization crumbles." Let's be choiceful, and ask whether this is a govt responsibility. The economy stinks and OP families deserve some consideration.

Unfortunately  

Posted: February 8th, 2013 4:53 PM

And I'm still waiting for someone to provide examples of how this ECC proposal has been even semi-implemented somewhere and what were the costs and results? Otherwise, all I'm reading is "Build it and they will come (excel)" sort of stuff. Nice rhetoric. Expensive rhetoric. But certainly not rhetoric which is peer reviewed and thus can be acceptable to thinking adults. Or is OP supposed become the social-experiment of the US? I don't recall that being debated in the last OP election.

Preschool parent  

Posted: February 8th, 2013 2:23 PM

You were welcome to throw your hat in the ring for any office with that in mind, Ding Ding. We elect people who represent us and make decisions about how to spend our tax money. And most of us support CEC, I think. Now, I was clear that I don't think it goes far enough. I'd like to see more. But unless you have a viable option you'd like to put forward, this is the best option on the table.

Ding Ding Ding - We have a Winner  

Posted: February 8th, 2013 2:21 PM

If we were serious, we would be opening up preschool programs like they have at Longfellow to get at-risk kids out of the "store front kiddie warehouses" (that you see in South OP). Leaving at-risk kids in these places, coming in doing some "training" of people who cannot get a job in a Montessori school and keeping a "voluntary database" of kids is really the best use of our time and money? Do you really think the places that need to be targeted apply Heckman's approach to early childhood care?

Ding Ding Ding - We have a Winner  

Posted: February 8th, 2013 2:11 PM

The problem, Preschool Parent is that it is not really "action" that is being taken by "most OPers." It is merely throwing money around with ZERO accountability or measurable metrics. The fact is this is yet another "OP-feel-good-look-we-are-doing-something-pat-yourself-on-the-back" effort that passes as "action" here. If people were serious, we would have a real debate (not just talk about taxes), but no one does that because they do not want to get their hands dirty.

Preschool parent  

Posted: February 8th, 2013 1:32 PM

@Still confused It has nothing to do with Middle Class Guilt. I see it as not just for at-risk or low-income but a good resource for everyone, rich included. And, thankfully, I think most OPers disagree and would rather take action than sit on their hands. The majority of candidates for office in spring want to expand and support the program. Nobody is campaigning on elimination. We're not that kind of community. And I'm thankful for that.

Still confused from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: February 8th, 2013 1:31 PM

So now we have a new tax grab, little detail, and no real metrics? I am unconvinced. And parents CAN do so much. The difference between prepared and unprepared? Books and words. Both are free here. Go to the library, talk to your baby. Montessori may hone tweezer skills (Why??) but kindergarten readiness...Richard Scarry, itsy bitsy spider and respect. It's is not too high a bar to hold parents to. Please don't force us out of our home because others won't get there.

Still confused from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: February 8th, 2013 1:26 PM

"Attempting something" is better than nothing, is not an explanation of what the ECC can do with the resources that are taken from families. AT A COST. And different from what is already being taxed and delivered. We are pricing people at the margin out of Oak Park with the very programs you assuage your Middle Class guilt with--without result beyond taxpayer pain. There are vacancies at established outreach programs, ISBE $ available, and accountability standards in place.

Preschool parent  

Posted: February 8th, 2013 1:20 PM

Parents can only do so much. But we'll agree to disagree there, Wondering. I believe in taxes being levied for a whole range of things that benefit the community and create a better quality of life. We'll have to solve it in the voting booth. lol Re: taxes to Franklin--I think it's more about just tax-awareness and being concerned where they are going. Although the D-200 thing bothers a few people. "Also confused," I think you missed my earlier example of what the Collab can help with.

Just Wondering from Oak Park  

Posted: February 8th, 2013 1:11 PM

I appreciate your reply. That said, I believe the examples you provide are also different than early childhood education. I am arguing for taxation only for things I can't (e.g., build roads) or shouldn't (e.g., police our streets) do myself, but from which the public benefits. I think parents can and should prepare their children to start school; programs that relieve them of this duty trouble me.

Franklin from Oak park  

Posted: February 8th, 2013 1:10 PM

Um, maybe I missed something about why is there so much talk about taxes? From my understanding District 200 would be contributing with funds that are already available, not looking for a tax increase. And Just wondering - Some parents don't have the luxury of staying at home with their children from birth until Kindergarden. Not all Pre-school is free. This is looking at improving early child education for all, especially those who can't afford a Montessori program.

Speedway from Oak Park  

Posted: February 8th, 2013 1:03 PM

Interesting that River Forest gov. wants no part of the ECC. They don't feel it is necessary for RF. The ECC says we have 800 at risk kids in OP. I find that number pretty high. Wish I could see some demographics for these kids. It is surprising to see that high no. in such an ??ELITE?? community as ours.

Also confused from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: February 8th, 2013 1:01 PM

I posted on earlier stories, I too do not understand what this Collab brings that IL preschool for all, vouchers for programs such as HeadStart and the Day Nursery, don't. And the numbers, sadly, show that while 'high risk' children benefit from preschool, the gains are lost by 2-3 grade. I love what J. Canada did in Harlem, I don't think it fits here. This will be more well intentioned resource flushers checking a box for effort...and then explaining failure on not ENOUGH flushing.

Preschool parent  

Posted: February 8th, 2013 1:01 PM

Preschool parent...you're right, it was me. It's a fair question--I think where the divide may be coming from. But if you think about it, it's no different than why should we spray for mosquitoes. Why not homeowners? Well, to make sure it gets done. And it's about public health. There is a public interest at stake. Why do we have garbage service when it could be done privately? I'm sure there's somebody who thinks we should! lol

Just Wondering from Oak Park  

Posted: February 8th, 2013 12:57 PM

With apologies to local parent, I think it is Preschool Parent who made reference to early childhood education in the same list as roads, bridges, etc.

Just Wondering from Oak Park  

Posted: February 8th, 2013 12:51 PM

It would help me, and I mean this without rancor, if local parent would explain why early childhood education is an essential government service instead of a profoundly important parental obligation. I understand why I am taxed to build roads - citizens cannot build those things themselves. I also understand why I am taxed for a public school system; again something citizens could not produce on their own. I don't understand why preparing children to start school is the state's duty.

Preschool parent  

Posted: February 8th, 2013 12:51 PM

I actually agree with some of what is being said...sadly CEC isn't going far enough. I'd love to see an org doing a full range of services to be comprehensive instead, but CEC will do. For now. One battle at a time. And I agree Oak Park should be for everybody from birth to seniors. We need to offer a full range of services to meet everyone's needs. But that's a big job. It does require lots of tax money, but I think most OPers support a wide-ranging public policy on all fronts.

Ding Ding Ding - We have a winner  

Posted: February 8th, 2013 12:29 PM

Local Parent gets it. The CEC is going to provide training for the people working in "kiddie warehouses" (let's not kid ourselves here)? What happens when these "teachers" switch jobs? Will CEC train their replacements and on and on? Will CEC be monitoring what is exactly happening in the "kid warehouses" on a daily basis? This is what stinks about all this. Lot of talk, lot of $, not much REAL action and accountability. If CEC was opening preschools, I'd be cool with this.

local parent  

Posted: February 8th, 2013 12:21 PM

Time out - the Collaboration is not planning to provide preschool education. It wants to continue to provide professional development to providers, which I hear it does well. The planned expansion however, is heavy on data collection, meetings, directories, and paying for outside contractors. I would like to see a real plan - one that clearly identifies services and their cost. The current plan is really just a bunch of blue sky doing something for everyone garble.

Speedway from Oak Park  

Posted: February 8th, 2013 12:07 PM

afford to live here you should move out? Isn't that rather narrow minded? A community should be for all the people as all the people support it. There is no law that says we have to engage in this EC Collab. Yet, OP believes we should so all OPers should pay for it. How about people who believe that strongly would donate to this cause and make it happen instead of forcing it down everyone's throat. Instead of every child is worth it, change it to every person is worth it.

Speedway from Oak Park  

Posted: February 8th, 2013 11:59 AM

I guess I am a tax whiner. In 1988 my taxes were $900/yr. Now they are $6000/yr. Most of you pay a lot more. Is this pre-school education important, I think it probably is. Realize we have spent over $5million on a gymnastics cntr., over $22 mil on redo of Ridgeland Pool and ice, passed referendums on D97 and continue annual tax levy for D97 and D200 with D200 hoarding $100 mil plus. Seniors got a 26% tax increase last year and have lived here for 30-40 years and you are saying if you can't

Preschool parent  

Posted: February 8th, 2013 10:51 AM

Agreed, OPP. I think my difference is that I disagree with those saying "show me this works and what the numbers will be" before it gets off the ground. I want to see it launched, given several years to come into full bloom, then we can all bicker about whether it is cost-effective, producing results, etc.. The proof is in the pudding...but we have to put the horse before the cart. I'm afraid some of the critics are setting too high a bar...attempting something is better than nothing.

Oak Park Parent  

Posted: February 8th, 2013 10:28 AM

There is not doubt that preschool education is important. But that does not mean that this proposal, full of administrative salaries and increased office expenditures, will acutally produce improvements in preschool education equal to the cost. Yes, services are important. But the services need to be efficient and, if funded by tax dollars, accountable to the tax payers.

Preschool parent  

Posted: February 8th, 2013 9:29 AM

Not to bring politics into it, but this issue is sort of why I can't vote for Anan for Village President. I'm all for being responsible with finances, but I also need to hear more about the other side...improving services, fixing our aging infrastructure. So far, as much as I dislike the VMA, the one with the more balanced, moderate plan is Hedges. You can't just be against high taxes. There must be accountability about maintaining essential govt function and expanding the offerings.

Shawntee from Oak Park  

Posted: February 8th, 2013 9:24 AM

I agree with Preschool Parent. Babies are more important than homeowners. If you cannot afford your home, you should move.

Preschool parent  

Posted: February 8th, 2013 8:56 AM

I'd support efforts to keep people in their homes in OP. But, on the other hand, we can't let civilization crumble and have to keep improving it, increasing our social programs, and doing what must be done. Regardless of the economy. Which, I realize has just stirred the hornets nest of anti-tax folks. But it's true. Early childhood programs must be funded. It's simply a cost of living. Sewers need maintenance, schools need funded. That's life.

Realistic parent  

Posted: February 8th, 2013 8:46 AM

My taxes go up $1,000 each year, which has become a burden to my family. We will hang on through high school if we can but are trying to fix up the house so we can sell it, as Speedway has noted many people are doing. The folks who push for raising local taxes for various projects don't seem to realize or care what the bad economy we are in has wrought on some families and also must have enough means to comfortably pay these tax increases. But many of us are struggling to pay these tax bills.

Preschool parent  

Posted: February 8th, 2013 8:14 AM

I could get behind the idea that if they want to simply expand each elementary to include free preschool starting at age 3 and include comprehensive screening and help for the kids who need it...that would be an ok alternative, but my guess is not all the schools have the space to house that kind of total program. It quickly becomes necessary for someone outside the schools to run it. Like a nonprofit. Which is what this is. Though not nearly on the scale necessary.

Kelly from Oak Park  

Posted: February 8th, 2013 8:06 AM

@Franklin, I took a look at that website you suggested, and it talks about educating kids through pre-k programs. Doesn't Longfellow (in D97) already have a free pre-k program?

Preschool parent  

Posted: February 8th, 2013 7:43 AM

Not a complainer here--rare, it seems in this town--I'll pay my fair share for early education, seniors, better schools, paved roads, fixed sewers, improved public health, whatever you'd like. ALL of it, really. Please! We need it all. I said it before...it is very disappointing to hear that anyone in this day & age would question fully supporting kids from birth to K. I can only shake my head at the ridiculous ways OPers sometimes find to whine.

Perfect Example from Oak Park  

Posted: February 8th, 2013 5:21 AM

This letter is a perfect example of why Oak Park has incredibly high taxes. Each of the individual proposals seems terrific -- in this case, who wouldn't support early childhood education? But, when you've lived here for a while, you come to realize that there's ALWAYS another expensive proposal lurking that seems reasonable and "like something we should do". And then you approve it. And then you get your tax bill. And, when you want to complain, you realize that YOU are the problem. Think.

Speedway from Oak Park  

Posted: February 8th, 2013 4:00 AM

kids through high school and then plan to leave are community for areas with lower taxes. How many of you are here for the schools only and plan to leave when they are not needed personally to avoid our expensive taxes. What has become of the community where seniors are leaving. Then I say that too much is already being spent on parents and children and not enough on singles and seniors. We pay more in taxes than all of those rich suburbs somebody is trying to compete with.

Speedway from Oak Park  

Posted: February 8th, 2013 3:55 AM

I think it can help, but may not some of the high risk kids. I think it can be great for kids who are not at risk for a jump start on educ. Will this increase the gap, it could. To me this aspect is similar to starting kids in kindergarten at 6 instead of 5. Why, 6yr olds are more mature and do better than many 5yr olds. Then there is another side, that of cost. OP ers are do gooders. Say yes to often without looking at the costs. Around my neighborhood many parents are seeing their kids

Speedway from Oak Park  

Posted: February 8th, 2013 3:46 AM

cont. to be hired by EC Collab. to run program in the area. I suspect monies will be held by EC Collab. Funding to increase everyyear to approach $1.2 million dollars. EC Collab to start here in OP and extend it's program to ? Collab wants to follow the children through the years but is new?? and has no data of it's own. Will this narrow the gap in the HS I suspect it will. Remove it, not really. It addresses a lot of needs but it still counts on the parents. The parents who have poor edu

Speedway from Oak Park  

Posted: February 8th, 2013 3:37 AM

EC Collab. site said, children of parents who are college educ. did the best. Less parental educ. assoc with more risk. One parent families at risk, children of parents with stressful home-life at risk. It struck me that the parents were a lot of the issue. Collab. wanted to reach the parent thru the child. Parents can reject any and all resources. People would be trained to go to pre-schools and day-cares to assess the children, but can probably be rejected by any of the sites. Coordinator

Franklin from Oak Park  

Posted: February 7th, 2013 10:58 PM

If you are honestly interested in this topic here is a great policy brief talking about how early childhood education saves us millions. http://www.actforchildren.org/site/DocServer/IlliniosEarlyChildhood_ROI_5-11.pdf?docID=1121

Franklin from Oak Park  

Posted: February 7th, 2013 10:52 PM

Speedway, Would you rather pay for it now, by setting up the possibility for bright futures? Or do you want to pay later? With people could go on welfare or commit crimes and then you have to pay for the police, jails, and prisons.

Realistic parent  

Posted: February 7th, 2013 10:49 PM

fine, with good teachers, creative projects, etc. It doesn't need fixing. What my kids really could have used was a more rigorous early elementary experience. I made up for it with lots of hours of "mom school" at the kitchen table. Now they are great students in middle school. I would spend more $ to reduce class sizes in 1st and 2nd grade. An effort to organize a volunteer corps of tutors for this age level would be more effective as well.

Realistic parent  

Posted: February 7th, 2013 10:42 PM

I'm with Unfortunately and Speedway. The Collaboration obviously means well but we have no shortage of good intentions here in OP. They are not providing adequate details on how the money will be spent, but they want a lot of it. My children attended one of the preschools listed as a beneficiary of the Collaboration's efforts. I would bet that not many Collaboration members can say that. Why? Because preschools here are segregated. The school my kids attended was ...

Unfortunately  

Posted: February 7th, 2013 10:08 PM

@Preschool parent. You are correct with your 8:27pm comment - I do NOT "understand what it (Collab) really does" and that's why I'm asking all of these questions. Also, they are asking ME for money - and so why should I/OP&RF taxpayers be doing all of the research? I'm also not a newbie parent - like you are. My kids didn't attend pre-school and weren't behind in any area, excelled at OPRF and are today at top universities. "Gap Kids?" Where does successful model for Collab exist for those kids?

Unfortunately  

Posted: February 7th, 2013 9:51 PM

And who is going to provide the oversight - academically, emotionally, AND financially for this $1million+ annual program? Is there a precedence for D97/D90/D200 to work with ongoing independent/private programs which they fund? I'm unaware of the schools doing this. Will the staff be unionized/certified? Who do they report to - only their own board? Who are they? Who will they be in 5 years? Are we paying for them? Their appointed staff? Who/what else? How is eligibility determined?

Preschool parent  

Posted: February 7th, 2013 9:31 PM

Realistic mom-- I think some of the importance of Early Childhood is that you're right it can't be too intensive. So they have to be surrounded by it and immersed in it to pick it up gradually over time. Which is why providing that environment is so important is to begin to pre-soak them, so to speak. lol

Speedway from Oak Park  

Posted: February 7th, 2013 9:12 PM

Have been to the Collab. site. The gist of it was offering resources to hi risk kids and parents, training daycare teachers in early childhood ed., really checking on preschoolers for readiness. Sounds great, sounds really exclusive and expensive. Is it a very good and expensive idea, yes. But, why should I pay for more. I don't have any kids and I've been supporting a heck of a lot of kids for the last 25 yrs with my taxes. I'm retired now and I cannot afford more taxes. Need to prioriti

Realistic mom  

Posted: February 7th, 2013 9:06 PM

I spent a lot of time in my kids' preschool and early elementary classrooms as a volunteer, reading with the kids. Their brains can only input so much at that age. IMO, intensifying the reading and math curriculum in 1st and 2nd grade would be a more effective use of precious resources.

Preschool parent  

Posted: February 7th, 2013 8:32 PM

Realistic mom--one of the problems with all-day Kindergarten has become that preschools now are tasked with transitioning children to a difficult school environment. Several area preschools actually hit that fairly hard for what they work on with kids. Preschool is a powerful tool for creativity, problem solving, math, early literacy skills, If children don't have them BEFORE that critical elementary time they are already behind.

Preschool parent  

Posted: February 7th, 2013 8:27 PM

Speedway--I'm an at-home parent & plan to send my children to preschool because of how important it is. You're thinking of daycare. Unfortunately--the Collab is a nonprofit, I believe. There are many like it around the nation. Do the research. Don't forget it isn't just results-driven but also coordination of resources, helping people find resources, providing information. It's not an experimental program, it's a partner and connection. I'm not sure you understand what it really does.

Realistic mom  

Posted: February 7th, 2013 7:50 PM

In pre-school, if you are lucky, your child learns to sit still in a chair and share toys. This is good. But It is NOT the magic formula for erasing the achievement gap. The critical years in which the foundation for reading and math skills is laid are K-2, really 1st and 2nd grade. We now have all-day kindergarten in OP where kids learn to function in a classroom. This Collaboration is seeking a lot of money for I don't know what.

Unfortunately  

Posted: February 7th, 2013 6:21 PM

Alright, again, I'm not seeking to argue generalities about which state spends more (or less) or why (or why not) universal pre-school will enable everyone to obtain "decent jobs...less poverty..." but where have the proposals for "Collaboration" been previously attempted and what were the results? This group wants a lot of our money and so are the various OP Bd members, etc asking these questions and also being provided specifics as to WHO will be controlling the money? What precedent exists?

Speedway from Oak Park  

Posted: February 7th, 2013 5:42 PM

@Franklin - Why is pre-school so important. You think parents who stay home with young children are all incapable. I thought pre-school was used for two worker households to watch their kids while they were at work, and most of them pay big bucks for this service.

Franklin from Oak Park  

Posted: February 7th, 2013 5:16 PM

Pre-school is REALLY important. The return on investment beats out almost any other social public policy. Those are arguably the most important years for development, and a missed opportunity can require years and 10s of $1,000 to attempt to bring young people up to their appropriate levels. Not to mention a better educated public means folks that can get decent jobs, which means less poverty, which means less crime. Which means less tax dollars for police and prisons.

Preschool parent  

Posted: February 7th, 2013 7:01 AM

Unfortunately, when you look at the data IL is ok, but not great. Other states outperform us in universal preschool and access to services for families, more dollars spent, more children served. It's a mix of state, county, local, regional. We're #1 in preschool access for 3 yr olds, but fall to 15th for 4 year olds. And we're 30th in the resource rankings.

Speedway from Oak Park  

Posted: February 7th, 2013 12:28 AM

@Plain truth- Personally I don't care what color the child. I think enough is spent on educating OP kids. If the schools want to decrease their spending on older children for pre-schoolers, that's fine with me. I prefer to see our tax dollars support all of OP citizens and not just children. Everyone in OP is not rich. OP needs to prioritize what is really important, pre-school ed or a new gymnastics center. You can't have it all.

The plain truth from equality  

Posted: February 6th, 2013 8:55 PM

Only people who hate the Black children are against this great project. If you do not want to support our poor Black children ... move out of Oak Park.

Unfortunately  

Posted: February 6th, 2013 8:27 PM

@Oak Park Parent. You realize that Mr. Cultra, in his 2nd paragraph, is linking the "Collaboration" with the "Achievement Gap" - and not children in the OP Special Ed program? I also know of some parents who either moved or declined to move to OP because of their concerns with D97 (I liked D97 for my kids). But, to repeat, where else does a program like "Collaboration" exist in IL or any where else? I am simply trying to learn why we should adopt this, to me, vague and expensive program?

Oak Park Parent  

Posted: February 6th, 2013 7:57 PM

Where would parents move to . . . well I know of several who have moved to Hinsdale, Naperville, and even Wisconsin and Colorado. Of course, that was after their kids started school and the families came face to face with D97's limited ability to meet the needs of kids with disabities

Unfortunately  

Posted: February 6th, 2013 6:31 PM

@Preschool parent. Where are these families "going to move" to for these type of services? I've been trying to find out where else something like this exists? @Ms Courter: if "the Collaboration works with RF child care and preschool providers"...are you also seeking money from RF elementary schools and RF Village Board - as you are with OP elementary and OP Village Board? I have no idea if this proposal is nirvana for social workers/families or not -can't we work on a trial basis first?

Speedway from Oak Park  

Posted: February 6th, 2013 6:29 PM

I'm forced to pay taxes for D97 and D200. It's ok with me but the costs keep growing to provide a better education. Now I feel forced to pay for the CEC. The boards for various taxing bodies have felt it necessary to make a decision for all of us. I don't think that is right or fair. I wish all these do-gooders would stop spending my money for me!

local parent  

Posted: February 6th, 2013 6:15 PM

The proposed "plan" is full of generalities and does little to articulate how kids will benefit or how benefits will be measured. Many of the activities proposed are no more than "coordinating" services already being provided by governmental bodies. Not clear how helping a non-governmental body mutiply its budget x7 (from $200,000 to $1,400,000) will improved educational outcomes.

Dale Jones from River Forest  

Posted: February 6th, 2013 5:24 PM

D200 levies taxes for the purpose of secondary education. The D200 Board should not expend funds for any other purpose. Only units of government authorized to levy taxes for early childhood education should fund it. Probably D97 and D90. If a referendum is needed to provide the additional levy, then that is the right and legal approach.

Ann Courter from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: February 6th, 2013 4:34 PM

There seems to be a misconception that the Collaboration serves only Oak Park. In fact, the Collaboration works with River Forest child care and preschool providers, too, provides its resource directory and Watch Me Grow developmental guide to River Forest families, and screens many River Forest children for hearing and vision. River Forest residents serve on the Collaboration's board, and River Forest providers are members of the Collaboration Council. A letter to the D200 board with all the details is posted on the D200 website and at collab4kids.org <http://collab4kids.org> . The proposed expansion of services to fully implement the strategic plan developed in 2008 is also posted both places.

local parent  

Posted: February 6th, 2013 2:55 PM

Supporting early childhood sounds like a good idea but . . . do we really want the HS to give away $$ equivelant to 5-6 teacher positions to enable a private organization to almost triple administrative salaries, increase "contracted services" from $32,000 to $662,000 and do it from offices where they'll pay $65,000 in rent rather than the current $3,000. As a private organization, the Collaboration is not required to have any accountability to taxpayers.

Confused  

Posted: February 6th, 2013 12:33 PM

@Grants Huh? What do you mean OP isn't a social service entity? Umm, actually it is! lol We provide a whole range of social services already. That's WHY governments and school districts exist is to provide social services. This is an essential function of what they do.

Grants  

Posted: February 6th, 2013 12:17 PM

Or it could be funded by grants and fundraising. Parading to each tax body for money is a back door approach. Those 3 entities are all funded out of a single resource pool. What makes early collaboration different than head start? How many other programs are funded intening to serve this same need? How do you determine that you have the right target? Were the current Gap kids in OP systems for the last 12 years? OP is not a social service entity no matter how good our hearts.

Dale Jones from River Forest  

Posted: February 6th, 2013 11:21 AM

Dan, as a new resident of Oak Park you may not be aware that D200 is not just supported by Oak Park Taxpayers, but is also supported by River Forest taxpayers. Use of taxes collected by D200 to fund a program for Oak Park children would be misuse of the those funds by the D200 board. The Collaboration may be a good program, but should be funded by either D97, the OP Township, or Village of OP.

Preschool parent  

Posted: February 6th, 2013 7:17 AM

Great letter of support, Dan! Even further, I don't think critics appreciate that parents are LOOKING for this support and that if the community fails to completely get behind it, families are going to move...to other towns, other states even, that believe in fully investing in early childhood. Not only screening for at-risk, but supporting infant to preschool families in general. Not funding this sends a strong message about not caring.

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