My daughter attended Longfellow School from kindergarten to sixth grade. She received an excellent education there from many fine teachers, in particular, the late Earl Bitoy, winner of the prestigious Kohl Award, who exemplified everything that’s great about teachers.

Later on, my daughter and her family moved to Geneva, Ill., an idyllic town on the Fox River. But, as soon as her daughter was ready to enter kindergarten, back to Oak Park they moved! The schools in Geneva were just so-so and lacked any diversity whatsoever. My daughter wanted more for her child. Now her daughter attends Longfellow, the same school her mother went to. Or will it be the same?

I am heartsick about this. I’m facing the possibility that my own granddaughter won’t have the same educational opportunities her mother did in the ’70s and ’80s. If the referendum fails, instrumental music, CAST and elementary art will be eliminated. Maybe some people don’t understand it, but this would be devastating to us and our family. These are the very areas that my granddaughter excels in. We can’t necessarily afford private lessons and there would be no band or orchestra experience. No art class? Elementary school is where children learn all the basic techniques and understanding about art that they can use as they progress through school, and as lifelong learners.

We must maintain quality schools in Oak Park. Vote yes.

Elizabeth Rexford
Oak Park, retired District 97 teacher

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