Homeless men sleeping in the school's basement. A water fountain that shoots out sparks. Boarded up windows preventing preschoolers from looking outside.
And that's just the tip of a mountain of issues facing parents of children in Highland Park schools, many of which attended an emergency school board meeting Wednesday night only to be greeted with uncertainty and indifference from board members.
Highland Park Public Schools is operating on a $20 million budget, but has an $11 million deficit. Enrollment dropped from more than 3,000 to just over 1,000 over the last six years.