I commend Dan Burke for raising the profile of the very important issue of per-pupil spending in District 97. The numbers presented in Wednesday Journal on Nov. 8 demonstrate that a per-pupil expenditure disparity of 28 percent exists between the school receiving the greatest expenditure and the school receiving the smallest expenditure. Indeed, closer scrutiny of these numbers suggests that this troubling percentage may, in fact, be larger.

The disparity should concern everyone associated with Dist. 97. Yet apologists for the district [Per pupil spending figures flawed and could be divisive, Viewpoints, Nov. 15] like Stephen Huth warn against an honest evaluation and discussion of the issue as potentially “divisive.” We elect leaders to confront serious issues, as Mr. Burke has, in a forthright and honest way. We expect that our leaders can debate and resolve the important issues relating to the equitable distribution of educational opportunitites in Dist. 97 in a manner that increases citizen confidence in the district’s decision-making.

Indeed, if, as Mr. Huth suggests, a robust evaluation of the problem will demonstrate that the disparity is “meaningless,” then the district should welcome scrutiny. Failure by the board and district to investigate the disparity-particularly during a time in which the district performs important strategic planning-amounts to nothing less than an abdication of its responsibilities.

John Murphy
Oak Park

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