Talk about a big week. Decisions made over the last few days are going to have a lasting impact on Forest Park, and have all but guaranteed 2009 will be different from 2008.

Late last week the school board voted to do away with the traditional K-5 elementary school structure that many here have fallen in love with. Time and again-and from both sides of the discussion-we heard that close-knit community groups have held a mutually beneficial relationship with their schools. While there may be drawbacks to the grade-level centers that will be implemented next year, we see no reason for such collaboration between educators and parents to cease. It is imperative that District 91 do everything it can to make this transition as inclusive a process as possible.

It’s also critical that parents not throw their hands up because they don’t like the board’s decision. A school is nothing but bricks and mortar. A community takes so much more.

Not too far down the street from where educators have grappled with the future, Village Administrator Mike Sturino has been entertaining what tomorrow holds for him. Quietly, Sturino was offered a job to work on behalf of the transportation industry in Illinois and, quietly, he accepted.

Sturino’s tenure in Forest Park has been anything but easy, and the job is made all the more difficult by an antiquated form of government in which a forward-thinking professional finds him or herself collared by the whims of five elected officials. Nonetheless, this is a crucial position in village hall and whoever holds the title helps set the tone for how government will work.

In both of these instances there will be challenges to finding success, but the opportunities are exciting. There are achievements to build on in our classrooms and in our local government, and there are areas in which they can improve. If nothing else, 2009 could be a period of adjustment for Forest Park.