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Barrington Area Unit District 220 will seek voter approval next month to borrow $147 million for building projects, including safety and security upgrades at all its schools.

Regardless of the outcome of the March 17 referendum vote, district residents will see a reduction in their property tax bills. How much depends on voters.

Former school board President Brian Battle said the decision to pare the proposed borrowing by $38 million shows officials listened to voters.

Battle, now part of a residents’ group called Yes for Barrington 220’s Future, said the timing is right to support the request. That’s in part because of historically low interest rates.

However, some like Barrington resident Willard “Bill” Bishop are questioning the district’s request, saying that after extensive study, he’s concluded too little annual spending on building maintenance has led to the $147 million proposal.

Over the years, Bishop contends, the school board elected to “fully support spending on personnel in each year’s budget” while not devoting enough to facility maintenance.

Read more here.

Pritzker’s plan would replace Illinois’ flat tax with a graduated income tax projected to increase revenue by $3.6 billion a year, chiefly by hiking tax rates on the top 3% of all earners.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s speech Wednesday was billed as his annual budget address. But it was much more than that.

The budget part of the speech held few surprises and was far less ambitious than last year’s agenda. After a first year in which Pritzker passed gambling and cannabis legislation and a $45 billion infrastructure plan, the governor is taking a breather this year, relatively speaking.

The key part of Pritzker’s address was the governor’s pitch for a constitutional amendment that would enable him to change the state’s tax structure and make wealthy people pay more.

“This budget is a bridge to the future,” Pritzker said. And from there, he went on to lay out the benefits, as he sees them, from the graduated income tax.

Read more of Friday’s Tribune op-ed here if you missed it.

Twenty years ago, a Sun-Times reporter joined a dozen families who traveled to China. ‘I can’t picture my life without her,’ one mom says of her adopted daughter.

Before it became the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak, Chicagoans were unlikely to have heard of Wuhan, a sprawling city of 11 million in central China sometimes referred to as the Chicago of China.

But for some Chicago-area families, the city was where they welcomed abandoned or orphaned children into their families, forever changing the lives of parents and children.

Twenty years ago, a Chicago Sun-Times reporter joined the dozen families as they traveled to Wuhan to complete the adoptions. They were among nearly 1,000 adoptions in China arranged by Chicago-area clinics from 1995 to 1999.

China was the most popular destination for Illinois families seeking to adopt internationally then. With 4,100 adoptions in 1999, China was second to Russia nationwide. It’s now surpassed Russia, though the number of adoptions dropped to 1,475 in 2018.

To learn what the Barrington Hills connection to this story is, read more here.

The Illinois State Board of Education upheld Barrington School District 220’s May 2018 decision to fire a math teacher after pornographic images were A Barrington High School teacher is now officially — and finally — fired from the district after he had been let go two years ago but unsuccessfully appealed to the state board of education to get his job back.

A Barrington High School teacher is now officially — and finally — fired from the district after he had been let go two years ago but unsuccessfully appealed to the state board of education to get his job back.

The Barrington School District 220 Board of Education voted at a recent meeting to terminate former math teacher Matthew Mizanin. He was found to have pornographic photos on his school district laptop while he was under investigation for “grossly unprofessional” classroom conduct, according to official state documents.

The official termination comes nearly two years after the SD220 board initially fired Mizanin in May 2018, based on charges that he “engaged in grossly unprofessional behavior and exercised extremely poor judgment,” according to the documents.

Being a tenured teacher, Mizanin filed an appeal of his termination with the Illinois State Board of Education.

Read the full story here.

A civil lawsuit seeking $25 million, filed Feb. 3, 2020 in Cook County Circuit Court, alleges that a former special education teacher at Barrington Middle School – Prairie Campus sexually abused her student on school premises between 2002 and 2004.

A $25 million lawsuit was filed this month against Barrington School District 220 by a former student who alleges that he was sexually abused by one of his middle school teachers more than 30 times from 2002 to 2004.

The plaintiff in the lawsuit, which was filed Feb. 3 in Cook County Circuit Court, is now 29 or 30 years old and is identified only as John Doe. According to the civil complaint, he was between the age of 12 and 14 at the time of the alleged abuse.

According to the complaint, the student has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, regularly attends therapy and “continues to suffer from emotional and psychological injuries” as a result of the alleged abuse.

The lawsuit names as defendants the school district and the estate of former teacher Susan Maylahn, who the Cook County medical examiner’s office indicates died April 21, 2014.

Read what updates the Chicago Tribune has uncovered to this previously reported story here.

Related: Lawsuit alleges abuse by former District 220 teacher – Daily Herald, 2/4/2020

Wishing Remembering Charlotte’s well at their new location in Barrington

Officials from the Barrington Area Chamber of Commerce and village recently celebrated the new location of Remember Charlotte’s pizzeria at 301 W. Northwest Highway.

“This was certainly worth the wait and we are thrilled to be in our new location,” said co-owner Brian McManus Jr. McManus and his wife, Dena, launched their eatery in rented space at 205 Park Ave. in 2017 and named it for long-closed Charlotte’s Pizza, which was a Barrington institution.

The couple went on to purchase the Northwest Highway building in 2019 where Kooker’s operated for 28 years before moving in 2018. McManus, a lifelong Barrington resident, went to the original Charlotte’s every week with his family while he was growing up.

A Barrington High School student addresses the 220 Board of Education February 18, 2020

The Barrington District 220 Board of Education met earlier this week, and as is the custom, the board opened their meeting to public comment. They received only one, but it was a good one:

Well, hi, my name is (student), and I am a junior at Barrington High School, and why I’m up here right now is because I’m aware that the staff members with Barrington two two-twenty are not drug tested and there has been a lot of rumors going around about teachers that have been doing illegal drugs, not like marijuana, like cocaine and meth and stuff like that.

I mean, I been hearing it going around, and there’s been a lot of rumors and most districts drug test their staff members, and I think that’s very important because these/they’re the ones supervising the children, especially in the elementary school. That’s all I have to say.”

Dr. Brian Harris, Superintendent of District 220, was asked if he had any comment before moving on. After rather long (and perhaps uncomfortable) pause, Harris stated:

Um…, Quickly…, you know there is no statutory retirement, um requirements of drug test staff, uh, except for buss drivers, AND we do drug tests on certain employees in the district that do drive our district vehicles. So, um, and it’s random, and it’s administered, so just so you’re aware.”

To view recording of the public comment portion of Tuesday’s meeting, click here.

We don’t know if District 220 is prohibited from conducting drug testing due to the current teacher’s union contract(s). We don’t know if such testing is cost prohibitive (though it’s unlikely).

Whatever the reason, it’s inexcusable. We believe anyone employed by District 220 be subject to some form of drug testing, and the sooner this occurs, the better for all concerned.

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