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Proviso Probe

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

GOV, if Westchester & FP have to follow the law, why not D209? [D209]

Suburban Life (Erick Bieritz) has an article about how the political discussion about leaving District 209 (Proviso Township High Schools) stalled in Westchester.

Maybe it’s time for Westchester and Forest Park to revive the discussion.

I’ve heard that Forest Park sends $5 million per year to District 209, but only 100 students. Forest Park is paying $50,000 per Forest Park student. The average cost per student for the whole district is $14,093.

Forest Park and presumably Westchester are subsidizing other District 209 communities.

Illinois law won’t let Forest Park or Westchester leave the district unless the seceding communities can prove there will be no adverse financial consequences on the district.

OK. But if Forest Park and Westchester are going to be held to the law, why isn’t District 209 held to the law? The Illinois State Board of Education, Cook County State’s Attorney and Regional Superintendent of Schools have all let District 209 break the rules and the law in ways that have cost the taxpayers money.

So, if Westchester and Forest Park don’t get to leave District 209 we at least should have our financial contribution to the district protected from extra-legal and inappropriate uses.

Westchester and Forest Park should create a bill of particulars about how tax money has been improperly used by District 209 and how the relevant authorities knew about the money being misused, but failed to take corrective or punitive action.

It’s absurdly unfair to Forest Park and Westchester taxpayers to say the law obligates us to pay into District 209, but that the relevant authorities are too lazy or cowardly to enforce the laws to keep our taxes from being pilfered.

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