The District 200 Board of Education on Thursday re-approved a resolution originally passed in January 2009 calling for the board to work toward controlling costs at Oak Park and River Forest High School.

The sponsor of the resolution, Ralph Lee, has argued that OPRF’s expenditures are outpacing revenues, and that the school should work to bring those more closely in line. Doing so, he said, will prevent the high school from having to go back to taxpayers for a referendum, which the school has projected by 2018.

The resolution passed 5-2. Amy McCormack and Terry Finnegan voted against the measure. Both were elected in April of 2009, month’s after the previous board approved the resolution. At Thursday’s regular monthly board meeting, members spent more than a half hour discussing the merits of the resolution, if it needed to be changed and whether the school has lived up to it.

John Allen, who also voted for the measure in 2009, said the school has lived up to the measure. He noted that administration, and in particular the school’s chief financial officer, Cheryl Witham, has been able to reduce costs. The board on Thursday also approved the school’s 2011 fiscal year budget, showing OPRF fund balances totaling more than $80 million and a $5 million surplus from the previous year. Allen credited Witham and administration for containing costs and finding savings. He said their work has allowed OPRF to hold off going for a referendum until at least 2021. 

Finnegan and McCormack voted against the resolution over specific language in it, but also maintained that the school has succeeded in controlling costs. 

Wednesday Journal will have additional coverage in next week’s paper.

CONTACT: tdean@wjinc.com

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