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The 220 Board of Education meets tomorrow evening at 7:00 PM at the BMS-Station Campus. A copy of their agenda can be viewed here.

220 issued the following release late this afternoon in advance of the meeting:

“Due to the most recent public health guidelines, capacity will be limited to 25 people in the room, however anyone who wishes to sign up for public comment may do so. If capacity is reached, you will be asked to wait in an overflow room and then be called in for public comment. Following district protocol, all visitors must wear masks and will be required to complete an on site COVID-19 symptom screening prior to entering the building.

As a reminder, you can view the live stream of all Board of Education meetings by visiting the Board’s YouTube channel.”

With the number of staff Dr. Brain Harris brings in tow with him to these meetings, chances are there will be seating for ten or less people people for public comment at any given time, so you’re advised to arrive early if you wish to speak.

The District’s YouTube channel can be found here.

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Effective Tuesday, all driver’s license offices in the state will be closed through December 6th.

Illinois’ drivers services facilities will close for in-person business for three weeks starting Tuesday because of the statewide surge in COVID-19 cases.

Secretary of State Jesse White’s office announced the statewide closures of the state’s Driver Services facilities on Friday and urged the public to take advantage of online services.

The closures for in-person business will begin Tuesday, with the locations set to reopen December 7th in an effort to help protect staff amid the ongoing increase in coronavirus cases.

For more info visit CyberDriveIllinois.

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That brought the total cost to build and run the short-lived facility to about $81.1 million, including construction costs. The emergency facility will not reopen, state officials say.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot (from left), Gov. J.B. Pritzker and U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Illinois, touring the $65.9 million emergency coronavirus hospital at McCormick Place on April 17 — the day Pritzker announced the first five patients had been transferred there. Only 33 more would follow, as a feared COVID-19 crush at hospitals eased.
(Tyler LaRiviere / Sun-Times)

As the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers raced to build a $66 million emergency COVID-19 field hospital inside McCormick Place last spring, state and city officials scrambled to find the staff, equipment and supplies to run it.

The tab for all of that was another $20.3 million, records obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times show, though state officials say two vendors returned a total of $5.2 million of “unspent funds.”

That brought the total cost of building and staffing the short-lived, makeshift coronavirus hospital to about $81.1 million.

State and city officials say they expect most of the costs for the McCormick Place hospital to be covered by the federal government.

The Illinois Emergency Management Agency spent $19 million to staff and operate the hospital. City Hall put in another $1.3 million for materials and supplies.

The McCormick Place field hospital, built by Walsh Construction, one of Chicago’s most politically well-connected contractors, opened in mid-April. It was shut down only weeks later, on May 8, as the demand for hospital beds for coronavirus patients eased, and it was deemed by state and city officials to no longer be needed.

Read more of the Sun*Times Watchdog report here.

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Barrington Area Unit District 220 said Thursday it will continue to follow its five-metric plan for reopening schools during COVID-19, a move endorsed by its teacher union. That means the district will not return to hybrid learning next week, as some parents and school board members hoped.

Barrington Area Unit District 220 will not modify its reopening plan but instead continue will all-virtual learning for the foreseeable future, a move endorsed by its teachers union despite a push to reopen from some parents and some school board members.

Three school board members said last week they wanted to move away from the metrics and reopen schools as soon as possible. The topic was discussed at a meeting Monday that included school administrators, two school board members, the Barrington Education Association, which represents teachers, and the Barrington School District Employee Organization, which represents educational support professionals.

The school board met in closed session Wednesday evening to discuss the topic. School Board President Penny Kazmier didn’t respond to a request for comment Thursday.

Melissa Atteberry, president of the Barrington Education Association teachers union, said the vast majority of its 715 or so members don’t want to eliminate any of the five reopening metrics, particularly given the current surge of COVID-19 cases across the region.

“We understand this is difficult for parents and for students. It’s difficult for staff and the whole community,” Atteberry said earlier this week.

Charles Parkinson, president of the Barrington School District Employee Organization, declined to comment.

Read (little) more here, but expect no comments.

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McHenry County Board Chair Jack Franks

McHenry County Board Chairman Jack Franks, an incumbent Democrat, conceded his bid for re-election to his Republican opponent, Mike Buehler, at a meeting of the County Board Thursday morning.

Franks – who trails Buehler by over 9,000 votes, nearly six percentage points – said he thought it was time to acknowledge that McHenry County voters have spoken in choosing Buehler to lead the County Board through the next four years.

Read on here.

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District 220 issued the following release this morning:

“November 12, 2020

Dear Barrington 220 Community: 

In our COVID-19 update earlier this week, we shared that we would provide further communication today about the Hybrid status moving forward. 

We wanted to inform you that Barrington 220 will continue to follow our established five metrics. This means the district will remain in the adaptive pause until the data shows it is safe to return to the Hybrid mode.

Please understand that while we had hoped to return to Hybrid on Monday, Nov. 16, the safety of our students and staff must remain our top priority as the virus continues to spread within our community and surrounding communities.

In order to keep everyone informed, we will continue sending out weekly COVID-19 updates on Monday afternoons.”

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District 220 included the following in an email sent Monday to the community:

“A special Board meeting will take place on Wednesday, Nov. 11, which is being held for the purpose of having a closed session to discuss employment matters, collective negotiating matters and litigation matters. This is a closed session meeting, which is not open to the public.”

According to the agenda, the category of the meeting (seen here) reads:

“6:00 P.M. – CLOSED SESSION – Notice is hereby given that the Board of Education of Barrington Community Unit School District 220, Lake, Cook, McHenry and Kane Counties, Illinois, will hold a closed session meeting at the Administrative Center, 515 W. Main Street, Barrington, Illinois, for the purpose of discussing: Employment matters, the performance of a specific employee, collective negotiating matters, litigation matters, security procedures, student disciplinary matters, and the purchase, lease or sale price of real property.”

So why did they announce a closed meeting so publicly?  Suffice it to say they’ve certainly piqued our curiosity.

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Tom Wilbeck

County Clerk Joe Tirio said 6,023 ballots were added to the latest countywide count Tuesday evening, and no more counting would be reported until Nov. 17, the last day the clerk can receive mail-in ballots that had been postmarked by Nov. 3, when polls closed.

There were still 642 mail-in ballots that had been returned countywide and not yet counted after Tuesday’s update, with 14,967 mail-in ballots requested but not yet received by election officials.

As long as ballots were postmarked by Election Day and received by Nov. 17, they will be counted. There also remained 1,211 provisional ballots from across the county that could be added to totals on Nov. 17.

That means the leaders in some of McHenry County’s closer races could change once again.

In the race for the McHenry County chairman job, Republican newcomer Mike Buehler, of Crystal Lake, still was leading with 52.9% of the vote over Marengo Democrat’s Jack D. Franks’ 47.1%. Before the ballots were updated, Buehler had 53% of the vote. 

As of Tuesday, Buehler had 83,691 votes while Franks trailed behind at 74,596.

In the three-way race for a seat representing southeastern District 1 on the McHenry County Board, Democrat Theresa Meshes, retained her slim lead over Republican Yvonne Barnes. Meshes, on Tuesday, had 32.59% of the vote, while Barnes had 32.16%.

However, the updated ballots strengthened newcomer Meshes’ lead over Barnes slightly, putting her 168 votes above Barnes.

Incumbent Tom Wilbeck, R-Barrington Hills, is leading over both of them. His 13,872 votes gives him 35.26% of the vote.

Read more here.

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“Earlier this year, Illinois lawmakers enacted emergency changes in the state’s election law that applied only to the Nov. 3, 2020 election. Designed to promote safe voting during the COVID-19 pandemic, these changes included expanded vote by mail, more early voting hours, and secure drop boxes for mail ballots.

As of Nov. 2, nearly 1.8 million mail ballots had been received by election authorities and more than 1.8 million people had participated in early in-person voting—meaning nearly 3.6 million votes were cast before Election Day. In 2016, early voting and mail ballots totaled about 1.9 million.

How did those changes work for you? What can Illinois learn from this election? With voting behind us, it’s time to consider whether any or all of the changes should be made permanent. 

The Better Government Association would like your input to help shape recommendations for future elections. Please help us by taking our brief survey: 

TAKE SURVEY

If you do not wish to use the survey form, you can still share your experiences; just send an email to policyteam@bettergov.org with the subject My 2020 Voting Experience.

Thank you!”

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From District 220:

“There will be four school board seats up for election on the April 6, 2021 consolidated election ballot. School Board members serve a four year term.

If you’re interested in running for a Board seat, former Barrington 220 Board members will be holding a Q&A session on Wednesday, Nov. 18 from 6:30pm to 8:00pm at the Pavilion at Citizen’s Park. Masks and social distancing will be enforced.

Interested community members can also check out the Cook County “Info for Candidates” webpage, as well as the Illinois Association of School Boards website.”

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