I have a suggestion to alleviate the budget shortfall for Dist. 97. I feel the teachers and administrative staff of Dist. 97 should all take a pro-rata pay cut to absorb the $719,000 shortfall. This is much more acceptable than eliminating teachers and other vital staff. Certainly, the Dist. 97 personnel unaffected by the shortfall would want to help their colleagues and students of Dist. 97.
There are those who will say this is an unacceptable approach. Did anyone ever stop to think that each time the voters of Oak Park pass a school referendum, the taxpayers, in effect, take a pay cut by virtue of the higher taxes we pay? Referendum after referendum has passed in our village, and they have raised our property taxes so high many people can no longer afford to live in their own homes! Now is the time for some sacrifice to be made by Dist. 97 staff.
Some other suggestions:
Moratorium on pay increases for the next two years.
A more realistic contribution by Dist. 97 personnel to their health benefits (about 35 percent would be a good start).
At least partial payment for extracurricular activities by students who choose to participate in those activities.
Eliminate tenure, it only protects the weak teacher.
Combine Dist. 97 and Dist. 200. There is too much overlapping and bureaucracy. It can be done; just work it out and get it done.
Daniel R. Hefner