Questions for those who voted yes

Opinion: Letters To The Editor

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I voted no for the District 97 referendum. Contrary to the line that those of us against increased spending don't value kids/education/arts, I'd like to go on record and say that that is not true. I just think spending has gotten out of control.

To all the yes voters I pose these questions: When is the right time to say no? When do we say the coffers are empty (or getting there fast), we value all of the above and reform is necessary? When do we go to the table and start making the tough choices? I am sincerely looking for informative answers.

Rebecca Dittmer
Oak Park

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@confessions  

Posted: April 16th, 2011 11:50 AM

I think that your assumption that only people "just like me" value a quality education is just false. Equally false is the assumption that this is all about MY child. Quality public education is not only about everyone's children, but also improves the quality of the entire community, which I believe everyone should be entitled to.

OP Parent  

Posted: April 15th, 2011 9:03 PM

Chet, you keep saying you don't know about any of the cuts, and people keep telling you about the cuts. Is it possible you suffer from short- and long-term memory loss?

confessions from op  

Posted: April 15th, 2011 5:10 PM

To:@confessions...yes, we will have to agree to disagree. My point is that raising taxes when we already fund our schools at an exorbitant rate makes our community attractive to ONLY one group...people just like you. That's terrific and I hold no grudge against you. But for others who are not just like you, you have made it harder to live here or driven them closer to moving. All because you felt entitled to make them pay for YOUR child's education, rather than paying for it yourself. Sad.

chet21 from Oak Park  

Posted: April 15th, 2011 12:23 PM

@Couldn't do it. You wrote "Having followed the cuts the board made in last few years, there was nothing left to cut..." Please help me - what exactly were "the cuts" that you referred to? I honestly don't know of ANY. Yes, they might have "cut" an asst to the asst administrator, but that doesn't count. Deferring paper clip purchases, "cuts" due to enrollment declines and/or travel restrictions for D97 personnel don't, either. The budget just shows expenses increasing 5% per year - every year.

@confessions  

Posted: April 15th, 2011 11:38 AM

I don't follow your reasoning. I don't really see how having an attractive school system that meets the standards and expectations of parents who value a good education makes this a worse place to live. I truly am sorry that you're so bitter about this, but I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree.

confessions from op  

Posted: April 15th, 2011 9:30 AM

To: @confessions...and yet by insisting that your neighbors (who are already funding OP schools at the top 1% in the state) pay for all of those educational advantages rather than being willing to reach into your own pockets and fund them for your children, you divide this community and make less diverse, and a worse place to live. But, it Sounds like you feel entitled.

Eduardo from Oak Park  

Posted: April 15th, 2011 8:25 AM

@Miss America can't follow your logic you will have to elaborate. @ Luke in 2004 the wealthiest 25% of the US owned 87% of the wealth. At 70% you are under taxed by my calculations. If the US system collapsed tomorrow do you think the bottom 10% would notice any difference? Shouldn't those who stand to gain the most from the status quo pay the most to maintain it?

Tom Scharre  

Posted: April 15th, 2011 6:27 AM

Ms. Dittmer: your entirely justifiable request will not yield answers on this forum. Though I congratulate your courage and am pleased to call you a neighbor.

@confessions  

Posted: April 15th, 2011 5:57 AM

It has nothing to do with foisting parental responsibilities on others. It has to do with a great education that gives our kids, and our community, an educational advantage and opportunities that you can't get elsewhere. This is why I moved here, knowing that the taxes were high, and why I voted yes. Believe it or not, when looking at the communities around Chicago, what sold me on OP was the schools. I voted yes to keep them at the quality that I bought in at.

confessions from op  

Posted: April 15th, 2011 5:17 AM

Thanks for the honesty Couldnt...I dont like paying for your kids extras, but at least youre aware and comfortable with hoisting your parental responsibilities on the rest of us! Congrats on balancing your personal budget while damaging mine.

Couldn't do it  

Posted: April 15th, 2011 12:10 AM

Rebecca, thanks for asking the question. My main reason for voting yes, was it was cheaper to me to have the increase than to have to pay out of pocket for many of those programs. Having followed the cuts the board made in last few years, there was nothing left to cut, except those "none core" programs. Even when the No was pressed on what out of control spending they would cut, they only said teacher salaries. The NO had nothing better. They checked the budget, surely, several times.

Luke Scottwalker from Oak Park  

Posted: April 14th, 2011 9:49 PM

Eduardo, please...spare us the "tax the rich" statist mantra. The upper 10% (of which I am not one) pay 70% of all federal personal income taxes, while the bottom 50% pay a whopping 3%. It's not the "revenue"...it IS the SPENDING, at all levels of government. We had a golden opportunity to do the responsible, truly progressive thing locally, and we as a community blew it. Let's hope the rest of Illinois awakens from its coma in time to save us all from ourselves, before the producers are gone.

Miss America from Oak Park  

Posted: April 14th, 2011 12:49 PM

Oh yes, Achieving World Peace should DEFINITELY be a requirement before any Oak Parker votes NO on a tax increase. Jeez...no wonder our taxes are so damn high!

Eduardo from Oak Park  

Posted: April 14th, 2011 9:11 AM

I voted yes. When we start demanding that spending on needless wars end, that we can't afford historically low taxes for the upper 10 percent earners, then I believe we should start cutting back on education and not the other way around.

d97 mother  

Posted: April 13th, 2011 11:54 AM

Start talking to the State of Illinois.

tjk from Oak Park  

Posted: April 13th, 2011 9:42 AM

I voted yes as well, for two reasons: 1) in the grand scheme of things, $38/$1,000 of taxes is not in and of itself a back breaker, and 2) with two kids about to enter Mann, D97 was essentially holding a gun to my head. But I think the ploy was disgusting. My question is, why did the D97 board run unopposed? I'd love to see some people who have had enough, and will stand up to the unions (if you believe in the salary freeze, I have a bridge in Brooklyn I'd like to sell you), run for the board.

john murtagh from oak park  

Posted: April 13th, 2011 2:00 AM

Great questions. I think the voters answered it by voting not use the kids as the first example of how we all should support fiscally responsible. To me the D97 outcome was a one time vote of confidence. Without better fiscal management, I would not vote Yes as I did this go-round.

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