My background is in higher education, and I have done significant work in the area of interest-based problem solving and negotiations. I have a doctorate in education, and at the present time, I teach and advise doctoral students in education, represent Oakton Community College at the State University Annuitants Association, serve on a Highland Park commission, do volunteer work, including affordable housing, and serve on three boards. I have volunteered to assist the District in moving forward.
I know that the D112 Board all worked hard to do what they believed to be the right thing for our children and school district. However, what they are doing now is detrimental to our children, our school district, and our community.
As many on the Board, administration, and community have said, it is time to move on. In order to make that happen, the Board must support the work of the community in those efforts. The efforts MUST be interest-based, with the interests of the children and the community coming before those of the Board. The Board has an interest and fiduciary responsibility regarding the finances of the District. Closing schools is one option to partially satisfy this interest. Another is to pass a referendum. There are additional options that should and must be considered. By insisting on holding on to the position that the only way to satisfy the Board’s fiduciary interest is the previously passed BDR3 and not considering the various other interests and options, the Board Chairperson and others are standing in the way of moving forward.
BDR3 must go and so must Chairman Cohn and others who are determined to close particular schools and unwilling to consider other options if they truly want what is best for the community and for moving forward. In fact, if Mr. Cohn was no longer Chairperson of the Board, the process could move forward more quickly. Schools may need to be closed, and a referendum may need to be passed. The community MUST come to the decision on its own, after considering all the options that satisfy the interests of the community, which schools those should be. It can’t be done with a “threat” hanging over our heads. Costs and benefits including those that are not financially measurable must be considered. It has to be about more than just the savings from not operating any particular building … it must include the impact on the children, families, the larger community, businesses, and possible future uses of the buildings.
We can’t use an interest-based process if Board members involved in the process have already decided that certain schools must be closed. That approach only alienates the community. There is no harm in delaying BDR3 so that the community can do this important work. If Mr. Cohn and individual Board Members cannot help the community move forward, then they should resign so that this important work can proceed.
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