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Forum: Scrutinize school board candidates

Updated: March 4, 2013 6:45AM



As we approach the local election season, we need to take a good hard look at the philosophies of those running for school boards, especially in a district such as Rich Township High School District 227.

Swimming is an activity that everyone can enjoy, regardless of age or athletic prowess, it has substantial health benefits and the ability to swim can save one’s life. But students and residents of District 227 can’t easily enjoy swimming because the three high schools don’t have pools.

Rather than install swimming pools, District 227 board members for many years, lacking in foresight and long-range planning, spent money on other physical improvements, including most alarmingly a multimillion-dollar administrative building that sits vacant after business hours. This white elephant does nothing to contribute to a quality education for the students or prepare them for future success.

The current board and its predecessors financed additions to the schools without providing room for an administrative wing at one of them that would have negated the need for the administration center.

Today, the District 227 schools are on the state’s academic watch list, and most of their students do poorly on the annual Prairie State Achievement Exam. The focus of public education should be to provide a quality education for all students, giving each an equal opportunity for success.

School board members have an oversight responsibility — they must make certain that there is staff development and accountability and that hiring is done competently according to high standards. What criteria for hiring and evaluating personnel are used in District 227?

We need people on the District 227 school board who are passionate about the welfare and well-being of our children. We need people who will put students first.

Helen L. Burleson,

Former member,

Flossmoor School District 161

Former member,

Illinois State Board of Education

Tax breaks for jobs

After reading about Tinley Park granting a sizable property tax break to the developer of the planned Golden Corral restaurant, I have a suggestion.

With the current state of our economy, the “employment carrot” is a good way to get the attention of village officials and developers know it. So, why don’t village officials turn it around and get the developer to agree by contract to give Tinley Park residents 50 of the 100 jobs he says the restaurant will bring to the village?

If he agrees to do so, then the village board grants the tax break. If at least 50 Tinley Park residents are not employed by this new business after one year, the tax concessions go away permanently. This tax break should be a two-way street.

It’s called good-faith negotiating and not just caving in to any business that shows interest in locating within our village. If a developer is baiting our village with jobs in trade for tax relief, then he should have to fulfill his side of the bargain and come up with the jobs.

Ron Bernier

Tinley Park



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