The subject was whether the park would cooperate with the school district in relocating and building a new school partially on park grounds. The presentation of EXPERT Judy Harris Helms detailed why our educational system has had such a hard struggle to educate our youth. In her loud and abrasive efforts to sell the Park District on the School/Park idea, she totally ignored the fact that our kids are in school mainly to learn to read, write, compute, communicate and develop a work ethic and understand discipline (which many don’t get at home).
Ms. Helms was all into zoo’s botanical gardens, aquatic study at the nearby lake, art and science (which can is taught in most schools no matter where they are located), and trips to the zoo and the African exhibit and playground. They can take all the educational field trips they want if the present school is renovated and expanded. All these advantages are only six blocks away!
An article in today’s Wall Street Journal titled “Flabby, Inefficient, Outdated” Michael Bloomberg, Mayor new York /city writes that “Only 18 out of one hundred high school freshmen will graduate on time, enroll directly into college and earn a two-year degree in three years or a four-year degree in six years. Only 18!”
Totally overlooked by expert Ms. Helms is that school is not in session in the summer when school is closed most parents that are good parents, take their kids to parks, playgrounds and lakes. She does not say where the money would come to visit the African Exhibits and the zoo. Someone tell me if you know because Superintendent Ken Hinton told me the schools could not afford to pay more than what they pay now, let alone after a $32 million dollar expansion. Was dialogue about who would pay for these excursions part of the erased tapes? The Park District is in the process of spending $32 millions dollars for zoo renovating and construction. Who is going to pay for this zoo if kids are let in free? And if Glen Oak kids will be let in free, all school k ids must be let in free. I occasionally see school buses from Havana, Elmwood; ect., parked near the zoo on what I understand is a free day for kids. I believe District #150 can transport by bus from Glen Oak School if kids are transported by bus from, say, Havana.
To think that Mss. Helms is PAID to disseminate the grandeur visions of the intellect that has put our educational system in the position it is now is a travesty of common sense.
Most school kids get Saturday and Sunday off totaling 102 days plus 90 summer days in which they can go to parks and zoos with their parents or social agencies like the Boys and Girls Club and Sun Foundation to name a few out of a hundred agencies and programs. Plus dozens of programs offered by the Peoria Park District.
My belief is that four members of the park board will nix this whole fiasco and leave the taxpayers in #150 stuck with $800,000.00 of real-estate.
Talk about financial inefficiency in government. Also talk about apathy. Despite the fact that Glen Oak School is approximately 70% black, less than 10 black people attended the meeting and two were on the park board and two on the school board or administration.
P.S. I’m corrected by a reader that the 2007 budget for the Park District is $49,700,000.00. The budget was $13 million in 1993.