Under the law of unintended consequences, a sincere effort by the Proviso High Schools to use actual data to try to understand the complexity of the shambles of its schools serves to remind us of just what a bad deal Forest Park is getting from its public high school system.
The district’s director of assessment and planning used district records and the 2010 census to sort out which towns the district’s 5,065 students come from and how the median household incomes in those towns correlates to academic achievement. There are 10 communities which feed students into Proviso’s three schools. But, not surprisingly, students from the three largest communities in the district – Maywood, Melrose Park and Bellwood – comprise nearly 69 percent of the student population. Melrose Park and Maywood also had the lowest household incomes.
Forest Park, with a somewhat smaller population, sent only 213 students to Proviso with 161 at East and just 52 Forest Parkers at the Math and Science Academy. That means Forest Park students make up just 4 percent of the enrollment in the district, confirming that the vast majority of Forest Park parents are paying high taxes for the not cheap Proviso schools while also coming up with private school tuition.
Yes, this has long been the rub. But at the moment the problem is made worse because Forest Park faces taxation without representation since no locals sit on the school board. That needs to change with April’s election when this misbegotten school board can be reconfigured as its destructive president, Chris Welch, gets astoundingly promoted to a state rep’s post. But first, now, Forest Parkers need to launch candidates into the mix. The deadline for filing is Dec. 24, less than a month away.