Thanks, Dan Haley, for your continuing coverage against the ever-expanding OPRF Reserve Fund, now at $110 million. In March 2007, just before the school board election, we were complaining about the then $40 million high school reserve fund and that was before the Great Recession. Today, about six years later, it has grown nearly 2.5 times and we are in severe economic times. Doesn’t the D200 board have any sympathy for what this is doing to us as taxpayers?

Here is the problem: The D200 board controls the amount of the fund and the amount we are assessed each year. They have the ultimate say-so on this. However, since they are not skilled in school finance, they are guided by Cheryl Witham, assistant superintendent for finance and operations. So what she recommends is pretty much what they vote. She keeps recommending more and more, and they keep voting more and more.

A few months ago when this came up, the board said the huge fund was needed because one never knows where the school pension fund situation is going. There were other reasons six years ago. And there are always lots of reasons.

However, it is our money they are stockpiling, and it keeps getting bigger and bigger without regard to the other taxing bodies or us as taxpayers.

Here is what we need to know: How much is adequate and how much is excessive? What do other school districts stockpile in their reserve funds? And the board and Ms. Witham need to share their justification for this with the taxpayers since we are so severely affected in these tough times by their decisions.

We need good detailed answers and we are not getting them.

Charles Chauncey Wells

Oak Park

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