It shouldn’t be a complete surprise that a group of unsupervised adolescents are getting into trouble when they gather at the parks on Harrison Street. Foul language and bullying tactics are common in many places. But that doesn’t mean they are acceptable in Forest Park.

Police Chief Jim Ryan and a handful of concerned parents are absolutely correct in their understanding of the root problems. Curmudgeonly complaining will only go so far in convincing a rebelling teenager to change their ways. Issuing citations that teens take home to parents who are more problematic than the kids isn’t the answer.

So while an early push to open a youth center seems worthwhile, we’d urge the stakeholders-cops, park staff, and, most importantly, neighbors-to stand tall in what they expect their neighborhood values to be. These kids need the adults to be the adults and to call them out each and every time they act like punks. Get organized. Be present. The neighborhood belongs to the grown-ups not to the unruly teens.

Problems in District 209? Yawn.

The school board in District 209 on Monday heard a valid, if somewhat generic, list of areas for improvement from its new superintendent, Nettie Collins-Hart. It is good for the parents, the board and the administrators to be reminded of the shortcomings so that we don’t become apathetic. It would be even better if we saw a little movement on these issues so that we’re not having the same discussion over and over again.

Our hunch though, is that she’ll be out the door the moment she begins to tell board President Chris Welch he is poisoning the district.

$52,170 and counting

As District 209 continues to spend tax dollars defending school board President Chris Welch against a defamation suit the public has no business paying for, we’ll be tracking how many students could have been educated with that money.

Using information from the state’s 2007 annual report card, Welch’s $52,170 in legal bills could have covered classroom costs for more than six kids, operating costs for more than three kids and the entire school year for more than two kids.

Classroom costs for 6.6  kids (at $7,900 per student)
Operating costs for 3.1 kids (at $16,346 per student)
One education for 2.1 kids (at $24,246 per student)


Editor’s note: No new bills were approved at the Oct. 20 meeting.

If you’ve got comments about how your money is being spent, call Supt. Nettie Collins-Hart at 338-5912 or Chris Welch at his Chicago law office at 312-641-1555.