Assuming Monica Sheehan’s count is correct, it seems that an intrepid group of organizers have managed to miraculously drum up nearly 4,300 petition signatures — enough to force the high school’s $17.5 million swimming pool bond issue to a vote in the upcoming March elections. That’s, of course, assuming the petitions are all valid. And it would be the height of folly for the Oak Park and River Forest High School board to mount a challenge to these petitions. Clearly a substantial portion of voters have concerns and the school board will have to make its case.
In the past, we’ve expressed our support for the school board’s decision to put this two-plus-year saga of the pool to a much-deserved end. The high school urgently needs a functional pool. That said, the idea of demolishing the only parking garage on campus to allow the pool has never made sense.
Now, seemingly, we have members of the Oak Park village board sending signals to the high school that it won’t approve the daft plan to shift those parkers onto surrounding streets without a referendum. This is all very complicated and fascinating.
We have traditionally opposed citizen referenda not required by law, preferring to see elected officials make the choices we put them in office to make. But with considerable credit to the petition drive organizers, the hand has been forced here.
On to the vote.