We all know the real start to a year comes in the fall. Back to school. Back to work. Back to making things crack in the hometown.
Here are some things we’re looking to see happen this autumn in Forest Park.
A plan for sewers: We’ve long known of the decrepit shape of Forest Park’s sewers and the accompanying flooding woes. Now we’ve had the preview of options to begin an extended and expensive replacement and repair project.
What’s next is the plan to fund the multiple phases of this giant infrastructure problem. What’s the right combination of bonding, tax hikes and reprioritization of existing resources? Are there really any hopes of grants or loans from the seemingly cash-strapped state and federal governments?
Then where to start and what’s the timeline?
After decades of dithering on this crucial problem, we finally have the village in a place where it seems poised to act. And we’ve heard not a single whine or screech from a citizenry fully capable of absorbing the bad news that this project is going to hurt before it helps. Let’s not let this new year pass without actionable steps taken.
Proviso rising: It took 40 years for the Proviso high schools to hit bottom. But we are confident that a combination of patience and urgency with the new reform school board majority will gradually bring focus and hope to this troubled system.
As the Class of 2019 enters the district, this new board, and the administrative team they are gradually shaping, begins its first full school year. It is time for both substantive change and a host of simple signals that the emphasis has shifted to student success, higher expectations and an end to the politicization of this sorry district
A linchpin of such efforts is transparency in all things and the Review continues to assess the board’s recent decision to bar its reporter from a planning session involving the full board. Not a positive choice by this board.
Our elementary schools: With a further investment of some $125,000, the District 91 elementary schools have now accomplished its goal of providing each student and teacher a laptop or tablet device for classroom use. This district has been a leader in actively incorporating technology, including whiteboards in every classroom, into its curriculum.
Rightly, there has been a focus on training a veteran faculty on best practices in incorporating technology into old-fashioned good teaching. And it strikes us that the right balance — seeing tech as a tool and not a panacea to solve every problem in public education — is in place.
How far on the back burner? We’re still waiting for movement on two key issues from the spring campaign for mayor. When is Mayor Anthony Calderone going to appoint the diversity committee he has promised for a year? Either this is a worthy idea or it is not. Given the right charge and the right appointments, we see this committee as essential. … And what about the Altenheim? Won’t be long until Forest Park has actually paid off the borrowing that funded this land acquisition. Would be nice to have a plan.