I commend the District 200 school board members for their leadership and decision-making regarding the funding for the much-needed renovations of the physical education facilities at Oak Park and River Forest High School. They demonstrated fiscal responsibility and the prioritization of “those things that are best,” the school motto, as they considered the options available for funding this important next step.

Board President Tom Cofsky’s One View in last week’s Wednesday Journal Viewpoints section, “Why Option 2 was the best path for Project 2,” spells out the rationale for funding the project using debt certificates rather than referendum bonds.

This decision allows D200 to “replace PE facilities built in 1928 with PE learning spaces that meet the needs of this century’s learners,” as Cofsky noted.

Equally important, this decision allows D200 and the OPRF administration to now move past this multi-year decision-making process and shift attention to other improvements on which there is much-needed focus. During the April 27 meeting, board member Kebreab Henry challenged those of us who have been active as supporters or resistors of Project 2 to remain engaged and bring energy and commitment to the continued positive growth and development of the high school.

I welcome that challenge from Mr. Henry, and I hope many others in the community will join me in collaborating with the high school as it tackles issues related to all aspects of equity, academic achievement, safety, gender-based harassment, and more. I also hope we can collectively move forward as a community by prioritizing the success of construction of Project 2 and the other phases of the Imagine Project and the success of our community youth as they progress through OPRF High School.

Once again, thank you to the D200 board for leaving a tangible and meaningful legacy while contributing its time, intellect, and open-mindedness to this “best” decision.

Alison Welch
Oak Park resident & OPRF parent

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