D91's rupture with the Y

Opinion: Editorials

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These are hard and complicated days. Trying to find safe ways to care for and educate our kids has to be near the top of the hard and complicated list.

That said, we profess surprise and confusion at the eruption of hard feelings and the serious consternation caused local families as a seeming pact between District 91 Forest Park elementary schools and the West Cook YMCA disintegrated four days into the school year.

The YMCA, along with the Forest Park Community Center, were signed on to provide daytime supervision for students unable to undertake remote learning in their homes. The supervised activities were to take place at Grant White and Field Stevenson schools.

Longtime, enthusiastic partners in various educational collaborations, D91 and the West Cook Y tell distinctly different stories about how the program came apart. There are disputes over its cost, disputes over alleged safety violations related to COVID. Officials at the Y seem indignant about being blamed for shortcomings and have provided the Review with a number of emails they say indicate clear cost expectations. They also speak up for the quality of the training their staff received.

The response of the school district feels somewhat disjointed.

Thanks to the park district for leaping in to pick up services as the community center had reached its capacity.

We understand that everyone is rushing to fill unanticipated voids as COVID continues to upend ever-shifting plans. We look forward this week to seeing the actual pacts the schools have made with the parks and the community center. And we hope the Y and D91 find their way back from this precipice. Forest Park does not have endless social service partners to team up with.

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