On Nov. 8, voters in Oak Park and River Forest will either pass or fail to pass the tax hike referendum tied to a new pool at OPRF. Yes, that seems obvious.
Last week, though, the school board felt the need to clarify that point for voters. In our villages’ own fractured political moment, the school board said that if the referendum proposal it has backed goes down to defeat, no one should assume that the scaled back pool plan, promoted by aggressive referendum opponents, will become the de facto second choice.
It is a fair point. To a point.
This is a straight-up vote on a very specific aquatic center and a plan to pay for it combining spending down of outlandish reserves and selling bonds that will be repaid over years via a property tax increase. If voters in Oak Park and River Forest approve the plan, it will be built.
If, however, voters defeat the referendum, the topic of swimming pools won’t simply vanish. Nearly everyone agrees the current pools are obsolete, that replacements are necessary, and it all comes down to where, how big, how much. And that means another referendum is inevitable.
Somewhat defensively, we’d say, the school board warns voters not to count on the so-called “pragmatic pool solution” being the new first choice. Instead, says the board, the process would start from scratch. Maybe so, but scratch still presumably reflects the limited possibilities our postage-sized campus allows.
So, voters, make your decision, cast your vote. And then wait, either for construction to begin or for more politicking.