Previously I wrote about possible efforts to square the problems of our schools with available solutions. Where can we turn for ideas and understanding? A quick look at our leadership may help.

It is common knowledge that the former presidents of Dist. 209, including and especially, Emanuel “Chris” Welch’s tactics were highly questionable. How is it that those in position to question policy and implementation refuse to challenge bad conduct or are thwarted in their efforts? Now Mr. Welch is our state representative. How did he gain that office if he wasn’t a wholesome steward? He was elected by the voters. We know his shenanigans were propped up by a compromised board; one that elected to pay out of public coffers for his defense in a personal matter. Some of these commissioners have come under scrutiny themselves. Mr. Welch may be under the support of a benefactor unknown to the majority of us. Who would know? What we do know is that these are dark corners but if we attempt to overhaul a bad school district we will be forced into them.

Unfortunately, waging war on entrenched allies within the district is a fool’s errand. Ask anyone who has tried. Before we could even touch our principle concern, the schools, we would have to expose the malfeasance of the opposition. That would be akin to removing the sheep’s clothing from the wolf. How close do you get before he reveals those sharp teeth! How long before reliable citizens run scared of some form of backlash.

So … who will be our fearless knight? Who has the resources, backbone, ability and desire to fight for our kids’ future as well as the destiny of this tiny community? Property values are the REAL reason this conversation has gained the air it has. Sadly, it’s always about the money. In this scenario there is merit to the argument. If our schools do not improve soon new families will not move here and we will become a senior and singles community with little to offer in amenities and anything that looks like a commons; our downtown, our streets and parks, will exist for sale to the highest bidder. Sad mediocrity for a town that at one time showed such promise. 

Connie Custardo

Forest Park