Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

Getting students back into schools for full-time instruction is an ambitious goal school administrators have been struggling with since the start of the pandemic.

Several suburban superintendents weighed in this week on President Joe Biden’s pledge to reopen a majority of K-8 schools for in-person learning five days a week by the end of his first 100 days in office, which is April 30. They say that while it’s a good idea in theory, there are practical and logistical challenges.

Among the hurdles are parents’ hesitancy with sending children to school amid a pandemic, space constraints, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines requiring 6-foot social distancing in classrooms and monitoring of transmission rates.

“If we were to adhere to all the guidelines, could we offer five-day, in-person instruction for every student? The answer is, no. We don’t have the space,” said Fred Heid, superintendent of Algonquin-based Community Unit District 300. “The president and his team are very well-intended, but the reality of what they are trying to accomplish and what it actually means in terms of the logistics, it’s almost impossible.”

Roughly 70% of District 300 families have opted for in-person instruction for the second semester. Students in prekindergarten through fifth grade now attend school in person four days a week, while students in sixth through 12th grades attend two days in person and three days remotely.

Starting March 1, middle and high school students will be split into two groups rotating between attending three days in person one week and two days in person the following week. Elementary students will begin attending five days a week beginning March 22.

Read more here.

Read Full Post »

Former Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan

Following is a statement from Michael J. Madigan:

“Today I am announcing that I will resign as state representative of the 22nd district at the end of the month. It has been my great honor to serve the people of Illinois as speaker of the House and state representative of the 22nd District. This journey would not have been possible without my wonderful wife, Shirley, and children, Lisa, Tiffany, Nicole and Andrew, who have stood by my side year after year, providing their love and support despite the pressure of growing up in the public spotlight. I am fortunate to have them in my life.

“Fifty years ago, I decided to dedicate my life to public service. Simply put, I knew I wanted to make a difference in people’s lives. I believed then and still do today that it is our duty as public servants to improve the lives of the most vulnerable and help hardworking people build a good life. These ideals have been the cornerstone of my work on behalf of the people of Illinois and the driving force throughout my time in the Illinois House.

“As speaker, legislator and member of the Illinois Constitutional Convention, I worked to make the General Assembly a co-equal branch of government, ensuring it acted as a check on the power of the governor and the executive branch, especially around a governor’s abuse of the amendatory veto. Many heated battles were fought to keep governors from rewriting legislation sent to them by the General Assembly.

“I am particularly proud of our work to increase the diversity of voices in the House Democratic Caucus to include more women, people of color and members of the LGBTQ community. In my tenure as Illinois House speaker, we worked to elect representatives across all backgrounds and beliefs to truly represent the interests of the people of our state.

“With the partnership of this diverse and talented group of Illinois Democrats and with our colleagues across the aisle, we were able to level the playing field and strengthen the middle class while workers in other states saw their wages diminished.

“We achieved school funding reform to increase investment for schools in need and address inequalities in our state’s education system. We made Illinois a welcoming state by passing the Illinois Dream Act and providing drivers’ licenses for undocumented residents.

“We strengthened the rights of workers, increased the minimum wage, expanded access to health care for Illinois’ most vulnerable residents, and protected a woman’s right to make her own health care decisions.

“We upheld the rights of all Illinois residents by passing marriage equality, finally recognizing the rights of men and women to marry the people they love. We enacted criminal justice reforms to break down laws that too often target people of color and led the country in expanding voting rights as other states weakened them.

“Collaborating with leaders in the retail, hospitality, manufacturing, health care and other industries, we built a partnership with job creators to encourage economic development and address crises in our unemployment insurance and workers’ compensation systems. We also expanded opportunities in the tourism and film industry, created the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority that reinvented McCormick Place and Navy Pier, and established the Illinois Sports Facility Authority that kept the White Sox in Chicago.

“When were confronted with the Rauner administration and the interests of the wealthy, who sought to weaken unions and the labor movement in Illinois, we stood up for working people.

Rauner went on to plunge our state into a budget crisis, nearly bankrupting social service agencies, eliminating funding for higher education, and racking up billions of dollars in state debt in the process. House Democrats stood as the last line of defense to protect our state from collapse.

“Under my leadership, we increased transparency of state and local government by creating the Freedom of Information Act and protecting it from attempts to water it down, impeached Rod Blagojevich and repeatedly strengthened the state’s ethics and campaign finance laws.”

“It’s no secret that I have been the target of vicious attacks by people who sought to diminish my many achievements lifting up the working people of Illinois. The fact is, my motivation for holding elected office has never wavered. I have been resolute in my dedication to public service and integrity, always acting in the interest of the people of Illinois.”

“My achievements would not have been possible without the hard work and commitment of many members of my staff through the years. I thank them for their efforts on behalf of the House Democratic Caucus and the people of Illinois. I also want to thank the many volunteers and supporters who worked on behalf of the residents of the 22nd District. It is with the collective support of many that we have made Illinois a bastion of Democratic values.

“I leave office at peace with my decision and proud of the many contributions I’ve made to the state of Illinois, and I do so knowing I’ve made a difference.”

Read Full Post »

Four candidates are running for two six-year terms on the Barrington Area Library board.  Johanna “Josie” Croll and Anne S. Ordway are challenging incumbents Denise Tenyer and Jennifer Lucas.

To watch the Daily Herald’s Zoom interview of the candidates, click here.

Read Full Post »

At the Feb. 16 Board of Education meeting, Brian Harris shared several updates regarding the 2020-21 school year.

All Barrington 220 staff are now Phase 1B eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Appointments for the first dose started a couple weeks ago and will continue during February and March. All school nurses were vaccinated during Phase 1A.

Late last week the CDC released its updated guidelines for K-12 schools. All of the protocols Barrington 220 has been following are in accordance with these guidelines, including our health metrics on the district’s coronavirus webpage. For the second week in a row all metrics, except for Health Metric #1, have reached Step 4 (Reopen). This metric will need to improve in order to implement any further changes to our Hybrid model.

As of this week all Barrington High School freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors who wish to attend school in-person are now able to do so five days a week for a full day. This is possible due to low in-person student attendance at BHS. The district is currently developing plans for five day/week attendance at Prairie and Station, as well as full five day/week for the entire school day at the elementary level, however due to current higher in-person attendance at these grade levels, key mitigation issues still restrict this change. The district will implement these plans as soon as the opportunity exists.

A video of Harris’ updates can be viewed here.

Read Full Post »

Gov. J.B. Pritzker is proposing tax increases on businesses just months after they led the charge against his progressive income tax initiative.

Pritzker wants lawmakers’ help in passing a budget that he said “removes corporate loopholes” by clawing nearly $1 billion from Illinois businesses a year after thousands were closed by his pandemic-induced executive orders.

Pritzker gave his budget address Wednesday afternoon. Due to COVID-19 concerns, the governor presented virtually from the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield.

“I had bolder plans for our state budget than what I am going to present to you today. It would be a lie to suggest otherwise,” he said. “But as all our families have had to make hard choices over the last year, so too does state government. And right now, we need to pass a balanced budget that finds the right equilibrium between tightening our belts and preventing more hardships for Illinoisans already carrying a heavy load.”

His $41.6 billion budget proposal includes no new income tax hikes, something he warned would happen if the state didn’t scrap its flat tax protection in the Illinois Constitution.

In revising the revenue forecast up and erasing the budget gap with extended borrowing, Pritzker now estimates the state will have a budget surplus.

The state was facing a $3.9 billion budget shortfall in November. Pritzker said he has closed that gap. They borrowed from the federal Municipal Liquidity Facility fund, Illinois’ treasury funds, and other accounts controlled by the state comptroller. He said a November estimate was conservative and the state plans to pay what’s due in federal loan repayments early. Pritzker expects to end the current fiscal year with a $77 million surplus and increase that to $120 million if lawmakers follow his lead.

Illinois’ Constitution requires lawmakers to enact a balanced budget, but that requirement is often sidestepped with overly-optimistic revenue estimates.

Read more here.

Related:Illinois GOP launches FirePritzker.org while Democrats say Republicans don’t have pandemic recovery plan

Read Full Post »

The League of Women Voters of the Palatine Area and the Barrington Area Library are hosting a series of virtual forums for candidates in several Barrington-area races in the April 6 election.

The first three are set for Saturday, March 6. Barrington Hills village president candidates Brian D. Cecola and Dennis Kelly, are scheduled for 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. Cate Williams will moderate. To register, visit https://tinyurl.com/6s4f1dkh.

From 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., Kim Inman will moderate a discussion with Barrington Hills village trustee candidates Laura S. Ekstrom, David Riff, Thomas W. Strauss, Brent Joseph Burval, Paula Jacobsen and Robert M. Zubak. To register, visit https://tinyurl.com/12bj0f4g.

A forum for Barrington Area Unit School District 220 candidates is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. Saturday, March 13. The field includes William Betz, Erin Chan Ding, Sandra Ficke-Bradford, Katie Karam, Lauren Berkowitz Klauer, Jonathan Matta, Malgorzata McGonigal, Thomas J. Mitoraj, Michael Shackleton, Alex Strobl, Steve Wang and Robert Windon.

To register, visit https://tinyurl.com/2kp6j4pc.

The forum will be followed from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. that day by one for Barrington Area Library board candidates Josie Croll, Jennifer J. Lucas, Anne Ordway and Denise Tenyer. To register, visit https://tinyurl.com/3ngvn4ad.

“Candidate forums are an ideal way to see and hear your community leaders and their opponents explain their views, defend their voting record, and answer questions posed by our fellow citizens,” Vicki Martin, co-president of the League of Women Voters of the Palatine Area, said in an announcement of the events Tuesday.

All candidate forums are run by trained, nonpartisan moderators. Equal time is given to all candidates to answer each question. The candidates will have two minutes to present an opening statement, in turn, by number drawn.

Questions solicited from community members and nonpartisan groups will be vetted in advance by the league for appropriateness and relevance. Candidates who are unable to participate will be allowed to submit a three-minute statement that will be read by the moderator.

Read Full Post »

The next regularly scheduled Board of Education meeting is Tuesday, Feb. 16 at 7pm. The meeting will be held in person at Station Middle School. Click here to view the agenda.

The number of people in the room will be limited to 50, as suburban Cook County and Lake County have moved from Tier 1 mitigations to Phase 4 under the State’s Restore Illinois Plan. The livestream of all meetings is viewable via the Board’s YouTube channel.

Read Full Post »

170 Old Sutton Road

The Zoning Board of Appeals meets this evening at 6:30 PM. Items on their agenda include,

  • Setback Variation Application: 170 Old Sutton Road
  • Text Amendment to Section 5-5-3 Special Uses to include, in the list of Special Uses, “Non-Commercial Event Facility.
  • Zoning Map – 2021

A copy of the agenda, including instructions on remotely accessing the meeting, can be viewed and downloaded here.

Related: “ZBA Application for Variance public hearing February 16th

Read Full Post »

Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s team announced last week it will enlist federal Disaster Survivor Assistance teams to help at COVID-19 vaccination sites in Cook and St. Clair counties. And the Federal Emergency Management Agency will give Cook County $49 million to help with vaccine distribution.

That’s entirely appropriate because so far, Illinois’ rollout of vaccinations has been flat-out disastrous.

It’s as if seniors across the region have had to come out of retirement to take on a new full-time job — tracking down the ever-elusive vaccine injection. They’re spending hours — and days — cold-calling potential vaccination sites and scrolling through the internet for injection appointments. Refresh. Refresh.

And how about these optics? At the same time elderly Illinoisans maddeningly scour their communities for a shot at a shot, Pritzker put state lawmakers at the front of the line. On Wednesday, members of the General Assembly were offered their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at a state police facility in Springfield. One Tribune reader, Phillip Tutor of Schaumburg, wrote to us, “How about we have a law that no Illinois politician gets his or her COVID-19 vaccination until all Illinois residents get theirs? I then would bet that this vaccine rollout fiasco gets fixed in record time.”

The vaccine rollout in Illinois has been, well, as Tutor says, a “fiasco.” As of late last week, Illinois ranked 37th among states and D.C. in terms of rate of shots injected and that was actually an improvement. Of the vaccines it has received from the federal government, Illinois has injected 66.2% of those doses, which puts the state under the national average of 68%. As of late, distribution has been improving in Illinois, but the question remains: Why has Pritzker’s vaccine distribution management been so subpar, compared to other states? And why does he keep pretending it hasn’t been?

Read the full Chicago Tribune editorial here.

Read Full Post »

Voters to weigh in on only two contested races among the township’s key roles, supervisor and highway commissioner

Candidates for Supervisor at Algonquin Township include (from left:) Kirk Cole, Randy Funk, and Elaine Ramesh.

In the Republican primary set for Feb. 23, voters will decide who will serve as Algonquin Township’s next supervisor, one of only two races for the township – the second being highway commissioner – that are actually contested out of the five races on the ballot this spring.

Primary voters will be asked to chose between three Republican candidates for supervisor: Elaine Ramesh, Randolph “Randy” Funk and Kirk Cole. The winner will appear on the April ballot where they are set to run uncontested.

“These days, a lot of people are discouraged with the national political situation and everything else,” Ramesh said. “I think good people have to stand up and try and say, ‘OK, I’ll run for office, I think I could do a good job so let it be me.’”

Ramesh is a current Algonquin Township trustee and secretary of the McHenry County Republican Women’s Club. She also previously served on the Barrington Hills Village Board. She said she is running for supervisor as a continuation of this service and to bring more female representation to township leadership.

Read more here.

Read Full Post »

« Newer Posts - Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: