I am proud to say that I voted yes in support of the District 97 referendum today. My reasons for doing so were both emotional and rational.
Emotionally, I cannot imagine living in a community where elementary school children did not have the opportunity to explore and learn about art, music, theater, foreign language and sports. Where librarians and gifted and talented teachers were not valued. Where "just the basics" was good enough. I moved to Oak Park five years ago because it was a thriving, diverse community that valued families and education. I don't want to disappoint my children with anything less.
Rationally, I believe that the district has been financially responsible and truly needs the money that it is asking for. I make that statement after taking the time to educate myself by reading the district website, by exploring the websites of the campaigns both for and against the referendum, and by attending a referendum forum at Beye School.
Unless the referendum passes, the district will not be able to make payroll in just a few years. They are on the brink of a financial crisis. A national debate is raging over collective bargaining agreements and pension reform, but in most cases, there is little that can be done in the short term at the local level. District 97 is doing the best it can with what it has.
The time is now to act in support of our teachers, our children and our community. Vote yes for the District 97 referendum. For an average cost of just $1 a day, you'll be glad you did.