New Supt. Connie Collins isn't the only recent change at District 97. In two years, all six major administrative positions?#34;-from the business director to the person in charge of special education?#34;have changed. And a new board president was named in April along with two new board members.
On Friday night, June 17, Marsha and I went to a party to celebrate Dr. Jack Fagan's 17 years of District 97 superintendency. The guest list was pretty special?#34;only those who had served on the Board of Education during Jack's tenure.
Especially over the last five years, we don't imagine it's been easy being the Village of Oak Park's development director. There's been a resurgence of economic growth downtown, most of which we find to be positive. Some of that, of course, has been driven by the private market. But perhaps more so than in other area communities, village government has been an extremely active player in development activities, especially downtown.
In mid-July, the Cook County Assessor will reassess the value of all Oak Park properties. Oak Park residents may have unhappy memories of the last reassessment in 2002, when assessed values increased by an average of 46 percent for residential property.
When it comes to keeping a lucrative car dealership in Oak Park, signing off on a "business retention" agreement replete with various land/cash incentives is a no-brainer for the village board. Car dealerships generate gobs of sales tax, so it's both good and profitable to keep them around.
Please allow me to affirm that I am a true believer in the Council Manager form of government. It has stood us in good stead for 50 years and has moved Oak Park far ahead of its neighbors who retain the use of the aldermanic form. It has allowed us to become the diverse, welcoming, prize-winning village we are, while our neighbors to the south suffer from scandals, intrigue and party politics.