By John Hubbuch
I've been reading the back and forth on the relative merits of District 97's referendum vote on April 5. There's a lot of parsing of school law, finance and educational programs suggesting that, after the analysis of all the data, an informed decision can be made. In our hyper-rational world, that's how were supposed to make decisions. In fact, I think for many of us, including myself, it's exactly the opposite. We have an intuitive, emotional response, and then we sift the mountains of data, cherry picking evidence to justify our decision. Heart trumps head. We just don't want to admit it.
Well I do. Here are my admittedly idiosyncratic reasons for voting in favor of the referendum.
I've lived here for 34 years, and have voted in favor of every revenue-raising referendum, so I'm not about to break my streak now.
The people on the board seem pretty smart, reasonable and dedicated. Only morons would go for a referendum in these difficult economic times unless it was absolutely necessary. So I'm guessing the district really needs the money.
In the back of my mind, I'm always a little worried that a mediocre school system will result in young families deciding not to move here. One thing leads to another, and we're a community in decline. Good sushi is important, just not as important as good schools.
Voting against the referendum feels kind of Tea Party-ish. I'm sure Rand Paul and Sarah Palin would oppose this referendum, and I sure don't want to be part of that crowd.
If the referendum passes my taxes will go up $300. I've spent more than that on Bulls tickets, high-end golf and Morton's. If the time comes when I can't afford to pay the taxes, I'll just move.
It just seems like a town's schools should have plays, co-curricular activities, foreign language and enrichment programs.
My three sons are grown now, but they received a really good education for 12 years in the Oak Park school system. They are the fine men they are today in part because of that education. It just seems wrong for me not to support the kids and families that come after them.
Lily is my 2-year-old granddaughter. She is the light of my life. I'd do most anything for her. She can't vote on the referendum, even though it will greatly impact her. So I'll cast my vote for her. We haven't discussed her position, but I'm pretty sure she is in favor of it.
John Hubbuch, an Indiana native who moved to Oak Park in 1976, is a retired lawyer. Hubbuch served on the District 97 school board and coached youth sports. He is the father of three and grandfather of one. Read his blog at OakPark.com/community.