Oak Park schools expect to hire more teachers

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By Terry Dean

Staff reporter

Preliminary enrollment projections for the upcoming school year at Oak Park District 97 indicate a need to hire additional teachers and staff.

According to data from the district, some buildings' staffing numbers will remain the same while others, including Irving, Holmes and Longfellow, are projected to need two additional teachers. The increase in staff is due to projected larger classroom numbers in the upper grades. Brooks and Julian middle schools are also projected to require additional staff as the larger primary classes start moving up. Each school, for instance, will need a foreign language teacher next year. The projected enrollment at Brooks next year is 869 students and at Julian 940, slight increases from the current school year. Enrollment increases are expected at the elementary schools as well.

D97 officials, however, stress that enrollment projections are preliminary, based on the number of families who have registered for the fall thus far. More families are expected to register this summer and into early fall, the officials note.

In all, the district is expecting an increase to 12 FTE (full-time equivalent) certified staff, which includes special and regular education teachers.

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Speedway from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: June 8th, 2013 12:27 AM

Tossing around the term xenophobia has really been incorrectly used. The correct phrase would be theft of public education from someone to cheap to pay for what they want and use others to reach their goal.

D97 Taxpayer  

Posted: June 7th, 2013 3:53 PM

D97 the "few people" you should direct your anger at are the scammers not your neighbors or the school district which is doing what it needs to do to be a responsible steward of public funds. But I'll ask again: if your personal values include providing a free education to Chicago students, just how many do you sponsor now with your own money? Or are you a stingy xenophobe after all?

D97 parent  

Posted: June 7th, 2013 3:00 PM

I'm with your earlier statement, muntz, I think there is a way we can make the process easier while still respecting the need to check residency. I'd think a lot of those documents could be made into bring this OR this. We have to recognize that the majority of people trying to register aren't scammers, make it easy on them, hard for the cheaters, and be more friendly in the process.


Posted: June 7th, 2013 2:53 PM

Being fearful of outsiders and being fearful of having to pay for outsiders are two different things. Put me in the latter camp. While I agree the current residency check may not be very efficient, it has been proven more effective than past practices.

D97 parent  

Posted: June 7th, 2013 2:07 PM

It's not "easy peasy" as an actual resident though, Taxpayer, to have to go through a list of ridiculous documents to register my children because a few people who live here...assuming you know the meaning of the word xenophobia...are afraid of outsiders. It's not very efficient, welcoming, and I don't think it represents the values of the community well.

D97 Taxpayer  

Posted: June 7th, 2013 1:50 PM

The required info lists gives you ten different options, in place of credit card bill and bank statement you could provide your vehicle sticker receipt and a piece of mail received at your residence. Easy, peasy. And D97 parent, you seem to have a lot of free time on your hands anyway. Maybe there's better ways to spend it than spreading false information and making false claims of "xenophobia".


Posted: June 7th, 2013 12:29 PM

I agree that the SD should find a middle ground that balances privacy and effectiveness during these residency checks. But I would rather pinch my own pennies than have non-residents pinch them for me.

D97 parent  

Posted: June 7th, 2013 12:21 PM

Here's a link to the full registration requirements to anyone curious about how aggressive they are. I'd like to see everyone's bank statement & credit card bill on the thread, please! Oh, wait, you're uncomfortable with that? lol http://www.op97.org/hr/Registration.cfm

D97 parent  

Posted: June 7th, 2013 12:16 PM

Have you see a list of the variety of documents parents are required to produce though? It's not just 2-3 things. It's a whole list that requires the parent to hand over information that they may otherwise like to keep private--the district makes copies. And how much would the district pay in legal fees and expenses if someone brings a lawsuit? That certainly doesn't help the bottom line for you penny pinchers.


Posted: June 7th, 2013 12:01 PM

Residency, not address, is key. You can get your DL with an OP address, move the next day, then claim that same address as your residence up until expiration. That is not right. Students shouldn't be able to put Uncle Reggie's 1BR apt as their residence if they are not actively living there, no more than I can claim Uncle Reginald's Winnetka address and send my kids to New Trier. I stand by my analysis comment as knowing the origin and trends of our temporary students can help us plan the future

Uncommon Sense  

Posted: June 7th, 2013 12:01 PM

What is inconvenient about providing a driver's license and other third party documentation to prove residency? It takes all of 30 seconds to produce a bill from a utility company or bank confirming address online. It cost way too much money for the village to play around on this issue. What else could OPRF do with $4 million or whatever it is costing to educate non residents?

D97 parent  

Posted: June 7th, 2013 11:53 AM

I agree that we should be reserving resources for legal residents of the district. The only problem I see is that our requirements are a bit over the top. Which goes back to Bridgett's point that if somebody says they live here and have the address to prove it, we may be too excessive in our attempt to keep people out when in fact they have a right to enroll.

OPRF Parent from Oak Park  

Posted: June 7th, 2013 11:51 AM

I agree w/Uncommon Sense...it's not an "invasion of privacy" to be diligent in confirming residency. The school system is a critical civic asset, one which costs taxpayers lots of money per household. It's not xenophobic to protect this asset from theft...yes, theft. That's what happens when non-OP residents game the system. They're stealing from all of us. I get why they try, but I don't have to like it, and I don't. It's worth a little inconvenience to prevent theft of our public services.

D97 Taxpayer  

Posted: June 7th, 2013 11:48 AM

D97 parent, given your stated concern for students outside Oak Park how many private school scholarships do you sponsor for Chicago school children? Or are you all talk and no action when it comes to spending your own money, not your that our your "xenophobic" neighbors?

Uncommon Sense  

Posted: June 7th, 2013 11:38 AM

Given the exorbidant property taxes that homeowners pay to live in OP, I don't think it is being xenophobic to demand that our school resources are reserved for legal residents of the village. I have no problem if someone wants to create a scholarship fund for deserving kid from Austin, Maywood or whereever to attend OP schools. However, this "all for the kids" mentality regardless of cost has to stop. We can't afford it.

D97 parent  

Posted: June 7th, 2013 11:13 AM

Frankly, the district has a duty to educate any child who comes forward with an OP address regardless. As a parent who just enrolled a child, I can say that our process borders on an invasion of privacy already--asking for things like credit card statements, bank info, tax documents. There is a fine line between asking for an OP address on photo ID and the kind of "keep out" mentality we give off. I'm a little ashamed of our xenophobia there.


Posted: June 7th, 2013 11:02 AM

Interesting. I would love to see a breakdown for Chicagoland that lists the # of students for each school district who claim temporary residence and attend school in one district while also claiming residency in another. It would be beneficial to see where our temporary students are coming from (proximity, quality, homelessness, etc) as it costs approx $20K/yr to educate a student at OPRF. School board, that's $4M (according to Bridgett)...are you listening?

Bridgett from Oak Park  

Posted: June 6th, 2013 5:30 PM

I recently learned two things: 1) By state law, a school district must allow a student without a permanent address to enroll in their district. So, as an example, if a child uses an Oak Park resident's address but claims that it is only a temporary situation, that child, by law, can attend a D97 school; 2) That there were 200 children that fit this description last fall.


Posted: June 6th, 2013 10:14 AM

All the more reason to ensure that all enrollees are truly residents of Oak Park. Please stay diligent on residency checks!

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