Schools' safety bonds are abused

From the Chicago Sun Times, Dec. 2, 2008

By NTUI activist Les Golden, Oak Park

The 50th anniversary of the Our Lady of the Angels school fire reminds one of the life safety legislation that was quickly passed by the General Assembly following the fire. This allowed school districts to issue bonds, without going to voters for tax-increase referendums, to purchase fire extinguishers and overhead sprinkler systems, among other things.

Through the years, however, state legislators, greased with campaign donations from the Chicago law firm that has a near-monopoly on issuing school bonds in Illinois, have made a mockery of the law. Extensions of the law now allow life safety bonds to pay for such items as playground asphalt, landscaping, parking lot resurfacing, tuck-pointing, new roofs and boilers, appliances for teacher lounges, and, most recently, cafeteria tables. School administrators welcome the opportunity to increase spending without referendums on what should be building fund items.

The friends and families of survivors, and all moral-minded individuals, should cringe at how for 50 years both self-serving members of the General Assembly and spendthrift school administrators have dishonored the memory of the children and teachers who perished on Dec. 1, 1958.

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