I would like to respond to Commissioner Mark Hosty’s letter to the Forest Park Review. In the interest of full disclosure, he is correct in his assertion that we share a set of grandparents.

Now let me address his inaccuracies: The statement regarding the pension issue being new this year is completely inaccurate. Anyone that has been paying attention knows that pension reform has been seriously discussed in Springfield since 2009. Pension reform, along with the state budget crisis and continued reduction in General State Aid have been an ongoing discussion with the school board for several years now. What people do not realize is that property tax revenue accounts for over 90% of the schools’ revenue. Unlike the Village, the schools do not receive revenue from parking, sales tax, liquor licenses, business licenses, etc.

The board indicated in its strategic plan that it will address levy strategies that do not result in a deficit once the pension issues have been clarified. In an effort to provide some tax relief, the district abated money back to the taxpayers of Forest Park and has continued to discuss levy strategies that provide more relief to taxpayers. By the way, Mr. Keefner, during the candidate forum, indicated that he agrees with this strategy. Each year we are required by law to hold a public hearing on the proposed budget. That is the time to ask questions and provide comments on the budget. To now, just before elections, criticize the budget, and disparage the district for coming in UNDER budget, is not only disingenuous, but political gamesmanship.

Your statement about low reading scores is also completely inaccurate. Go to the Illinois Interactive Report Card (http://iirc.niu.edu/) to access the scores of the district and you will see that over the past 6 years, scores, including reading, have continually risen. If you would like to discuss the finances or the scores of the district, Dr. Cavallo is very accessible. In fact, he invited Commissioner Mannix, Mr. Moritz and Mr. Keefner to meet with him at any time to discuss the district and their interest in it. None of these gentlemen accepted his verbal or written invitations.

As former superintendent, Dr. Art Jones, pointed out there is no place in the school board election for village politics.

Mary Win Connor

District 91 School Board Member

19 replies on “Disputing Forest Park commissioner’s school finance complaints”