Pay now or pay later with D97 referendum

Opinion: Letters To The Editor

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I am a parent of one (and soon to be two) elementary school students, and am writing in support of the District 97 referendum. To me it's a pretty simple issue: We can pay now, or pay more later.

I have heard the argument that Oak Park schools need to do more with less. This strategy, at best, will maintain the status quo. We need to invest more, and expect more. The current national standard for evaluating school performance is annual yearly progress, and District 97 has achieved this progressively increasing benchmark since it was instituted. District 97 is a high-performing school district, and we don't want to lose that momentum. We need to hold our administrators, teachers and school board accountable for the continued — and increasing — success of our students and schools.

I have heard the argument that increasing taxes for District 97 will discourage people from moving here. To the contrary, shortchanging our schools will be a deterrent for families looking for a home, and it will also cause current families to move out.

I have heard the argument that the timing for this referendum (which amounts to an additional $38 per $1,000 in paid property taxes) couldn't be worse. I agree. But not passing District 97's proposed referendum will have significant, long-term consequences for our public school students, our property values and the overall vitality of our community.

Brad Hoffman
Oak Park

Reader Comments

3 Comments - Add Your Comment

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You're a Genius, Brad from Oak Park  

Posted: April 4th, 2011 12:11 PM

Let's just vote YES and then let District 97 do less with more. And then come back and do it all over again in just a few years. What a brilliant plan! Young families from all over Chicagoland will be flocking here to pay high taxes for schools that are worse than they can get elsewhere.

JennyWren  

Posted: April 4th, 2011 11:58 AM

Yes, we can pay later after D97 has become more realistic about their revenue stream and has made an effort not to plan for more programs and pay raises than their income and reserves can support. There is already an increase over last year, even without the referendum.

Noel Kuriakos  

Posted: March 30th, 2011 1:20 AM

Four schools failed AYP last year while almost all D97 received their pay raises. Teacher evals & pay is not tied to student test performance or learning out comes. A tax increase will NOT improve our scores, teaching effectiveness or learning outcomes. It will not allow minority students to catch up to their white peers. It will not stop the yr after yr deficit spending. What is simple to understand is a NO vote. It will force D97 to find savings from total compensation. Save NOW.

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