I take it personally that the Business and Civic Council is recommending a no vote for the District 97 referendum [Business leaders urge no vote on referendum, Viewpoints, March 23]. Ask any of my neighbors what shopping bags I carry into my house. No Costco ... haven't even been there! Rarely Target. Not eating out in Bucktown.
We bought our house for one single reason: Oak Park schools. But if I'd have known that our kids weren't going to have an art teacher (good grief! I had an art teacher in rural Indiana in the 1970s), or a librarian on duty to serve 450 kids and six grades, or play the oboe with Mr. Greco (this man is a saint), or learn Spanish in the best years for language, or that my child would be one of 30-plus kids in an overwhelmed classroom, we can guarantee we'd have chosen another part of Chicago.
I have been buying local for 10 years — supporting all the local businesses I can with the many expenses of renovating an old home, feeding a family and raising a couple of busy kids. Educational reform, teacher pensions, union negotiations ... these conversations should rage on. And hats off to District 97 board members who are doing the hard work with these issues — most of which are beyond their immediate control.
I find it jaw-dropping that the BCC would recommend villagers stomp away in a tax huff from the problem-solving table to force District 97 to strip our children's school down to a radically compromised school experience. It is the first time I have been genuinely and thoroughly annoyed in Oak Park. It will take some time for this shopper to cool off.
Shop local and support local businesses? Even after what the BCC said? Yes, because I'm not going to stomp off in a huff. Support Oak Park Schools? Absolutely. Vote yes.
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