PTO Council thanks our village trustees and the representatives of our other local taxing bodies (District 200, the library, the park district, and Oak Park Township) for their willingness to discuss collaboratively the fiscal dilemmas currently facing District 97. We believe this model of intergovernmental cooperation shows great vision on the part of our elected representatives.

However, we are concerned because we have yet to hear what action will emerge from this joint discussion. Time is running short. Budget timelines and contractual obligations require a resolution of this issue before the end of March.

We respectfully urge the Village of Oak Park and all of our other taxing bodies to follow through with financial assistance for Dist. 97 that is as robust as possible, as soon as possible.

Everyone understands that the well being of our village is inextricably linked with the well being of our public schools. As noted during discussion of its financial problems, Dist. 97 finds itself with a projected shortfall of $5 million for the next two years. This structural deficit, the result of tax caps and the meager amount of education funding that comes from the state, persists even after several years of Dist. 97 budget cuts totaling more than $4.7 million.

Clearly, Dist. 97 has cut as much as it can without sacrificing the education quality Oak Park expects. The time has come for our local jurisdictions to approve joint funding that will benefit the community’s greatest asset: its schools.

Bruce Cox, Teri Dixon, Melissa Elsmo, Molly Galo, David Hennings, Jeannette Hess, Mary Ann Jordan, Ron Martin, Mary McCabe, Shenita Muse, Donna Myers, Jamie Pack, Ellen Pimentel, Sally Prescott, Jill Sapoznick, Lynda Shadrake, Carollina Song, Teri Svehla, Peter Traczyk, Lynne Williams, Michele Zurakowski
District 97 PTO Council

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