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220 Sign

Interest in continuing some form of remote learning for students in Barrington Community Unit School District 220 took a nose dive after officials asked families to commit to the program for the entire 2021-22 school year.

In a March survey, about 25% of families in Barrington Community Unit School District 220 expressed interest in continuing virtual or blended learning for the 2021-22 school year, even if schools are fully reopened.

But when the district followed up last month asking those families to commit to an online program for the entire year, only 4.8% were willing to do so.

“It was not 25%. It actually went down considerably,” Assistant Superintendent for Technology and Innovation Matt Fuller said during a school board meeting last week.

The questionnaire, which was returned by nearly 60% of district families, showed that 53.4% said they would not participate in an online learning program and 41.8% did not reply to the question at all.

Broken down by school, the greatest interest is at Barrington High School, with 195 students saying they would participate. The interest waned as the students got younger, with 81 middle school families committed, but only two families of elementary students, both from the same school.

School officials say each grade level would need a minimum number of students in a virtual/blended program to justify the staffing needed. The only levels that meet that threshold, based on the survey, are grades 4, 5, 10 and 12.

Read more here.

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Traditional summer school, academic boot camps, enrichment programs, traveling sports and park district activities — suburban parents are exploring a plethora of options to help their children make up for a stressful pandemic year of schooling.

While demand for such summer programs is high, there also is tremendous fatigue. Constant switching between remote and in-person learning has taken its toll on students, who also are dealing with pandemic restrictions and social isolation from peers.

To make up for learning loss, many suburban schools are offering expanded summer opportunities.

Barrington mom Doreen Colletti Muhs wishes the school year could have been extended to give students the educational boost they need to fill learning gaps.

“The teachers are going to have to figure that out for next year,” said Muhs, who was among the parents calling for schools to reopen sooner than they did in late January.

But Muhs feels summer is a time to decompress. Her 15-year-old son, Quentin, who’ll be a sophomore this fall at Barrington High, will spend it learning to drive and playing football at a school camp and baseball with a traveling team.

“I didn’t want to overwhelm him with a class,” she said. “There is always that summer slide that the students naturally have. I want him to just grow socially and emotionally.”

Read other opinions here.

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“At the May 4 meeting, Board members listened to a presentation that shared the results of the questionnaire regarding the proposed Virtual/Blended Program for the 2021-22 school year.

About 60% of Barrington 220 families responded to the questionnaire and families were told that if they didn’t respond they would be counted as not interested in participating in the program. The results show that 4.8% of respondents said they were interested in participating in the proposed program for the entire 2021-22 school year.

The Board will be discussing the options for the proposed program at its next meeting on May 18.”

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The 220 Board of Education meets this evening at 7:00 PM at the Station Campus.  A copy of their agenda can be found here.

The meeting will be livestreamed on the district YouTube channel.

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2020 CensusIllinois will lose one member from the U.S. House of Representatives because of continued population declines.

It was expected Illinois would lose representation, based on year-over-year annual Census estimates showing the state losing an estimated 253,000 residents over the past ten years.

Official numbers from the 10-year Census were released Monday.

“Total U.S. Pop 331,449,281, an increase of 7.4 percent over the 2010 Census, lower than the previous growth rate of 9.7 percent,” Acting Director of the U.S. Census Bureau Ron Jarmin said. “That was the second slowest in U.S. History.”

Counts are based on the number of people living in each state as of April 1, 2020.

In 2010, Illinois had a resident population of nearly 12,830,632 million and 18 U.S. Representatives, down from 19 from the 2000 census. For 2020, Illinois lost another seat and will now have just 17 members of the U.S. House of Representatives, Census officials announced Monday. The total resident population was 12,812,739 for 2020.

Illinois was one of seven states that will lose one seat for the Congress that will be seated in 2023.

Illinois has lost ten seats in the U.S. House over the past 110 years, according to Census data. In 1910, Illinois had 27 members of the U.S. House. That dropped by one in 1940, another one in 1950, another in 1960 and then two in 1990 with one every ten years since then.

Read more here.

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220 Admin

As Barrington School District 220 administrators have begun circulating questionnaires to families to gauge interest in a “virtual/blended program” that would provide a remote option for students in the 2021-2022 school year, district officials hosted a special question-and-answer session Monday on the YouTube social media site.

The questionnaire, to be returned by the end of the day April 29, asks families for a firm commitment on whether they want such a virtual academic program for their students. Families intending to choose that option are being asked to commit to a full school year in that learning mode. Students and families would not have the option to switch between the virtual program and in-person instruction for the duration of the 2021-2022 school year, officials said.

School board members are expected to discuss questionnaire results at their regular meeting May 4 and may make a decision then on whether to go forward with the program this coming fall.

The YouTube program – Virtual/Blended Program Q&A – YouTube – was moderated by Ty Gorman, SD220 director of instructional technology, and included Becky Gill, director of elementary education, assistant superintendents John Bruesch and Matt Fuller, and Ben Rodriguez, assistant principal of Barrington High School.

Administrators hope the April 29 return date for the questionnaire will allow results to be fully reviewed with school board members at the May 4 meeting.

“That way we can effectively plan the program and have a good discussion with our school board,” Fuller said at the board meeting held Monday. “We’ll have a discussion with the school board on whether or not we’ll be able to have this program.”

Read more here.

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Barrington Community Unit District 220 officials are discussing whether to continue offering a remote learning option to students beyond the current school year. According to a recent survey, about a quarter of district students would be interested in continuing virtual classes.

A quarter of Barrington Community Unit School District 220 students are interested in continuing remote learning beyond this school year, according to a recent survey.

Now the district is following up with a questionnaire asking families with students in kindergarten through 12th grade if they would commit to the program for the entire school year.

The survey was intended to “gauge interest” in a virtual program that could be offered during the 2021-22 school year, Superintendent Brian Harris said.

Virtual learning would be a choice-based program, such as the current Chinese Immersion or Dual Language programs, said John Bruesch, assistant superintendent of teaching and learning. Administrators are asking for a yearlong commitment from families in order to plan staffing and sectioning for the potential program.

Without knowing the number of participating students and the schools they would otherwise attend in-person, the district can’t determine if additional teachers are needed or if the program could be run by reassigning existing teachers.

“It really depends on where they’re coming from, what building, and we don’t know that until people actually choose to opt in,” Harris said. “Then we can really solidify the numbers.”

School board member Gavin Newman expressed concerns the program could lead to “rampant cheating.” “I’ve heard in a lot of (Advanced Placement) classes at the high school, (for) the kids that are there, it’s just not a level playing field,” he said.

Read more here.

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The next regularly scheduled Board of Education meeting is tomorrow night, April 6th right after the polls close at 7 PM. The meeting will be held in person at the District Administrative Center.  A copy of the agenda can be viewed here.

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

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Increasing the estate tax would hurt family farms and businesses, drive wealth and investment out of Illinois. Most states are ending their ‘death taxes.’

Many states have moved away from taxing assets after people die because of the harm to family businesses and farms, but a new proposal before state lawmakers would double Illinois’ estate tax.

House Bill 3920 would hike the existing state tax on estates of over $4 million to 9.95% from 4.95%. Unlike neighboring Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana and Missouri, Illinois is one of just a dozen states that still have an estate or inheritance tax. Tax Foundation analyst Katherine Loughead noted, “The top marginal estate tax rate under this proposal would become the highest in the country at 21%.”

While the bill’s sponsors intend the extra revenues to be used to support Illinoisans with disabilities, hiking the estate tax would squeeze family farmers, reduce the accumulation of productive assets, encourage spendthrift behavior, fuel tax avoidance and evasion, and drive wealth to other states.

When someone dies, the federal government taxes the estate by up to 40%. Then Illinois piles onto that with more taxes of up to 16%.

The Tax Foundation notes the harm of estate taxes: “They disincentivize business investment and can drive high-net-worth individuals out of state. They also yield estate planning and tax avoidance strategies that are inefficient, not only for affected taxpayers, but for the economy at large. The handful of states that still impose them should consider eliminating them or at least conforming to federal exemption levels.”

Research shows higher estate tax rates increase efforts to avoid those taxes and reduce wealth accumulation. People employ more complex estate planning techniques that carry economic costs.

Read more from Illinois Policy here.

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Barrington School District 220 Superintendent Brian Harris told the school board Tuesday that the district plans to return to in-person instruction five days a week for the entire school day,” – the same message he delivered in a recent notification to SD220 families.

The shift from a combination of in-person and remote learning was made possible, Harris said, because of new guidance from the Illinois State Board of Education, which included a reduction in social distancing requirements from 6 feet to 3 feet. The new guidance applies to students and fully vaccinated staff.

Students at the district’s two middle schools attended classes under the new schedule starting Tuesday. Elementary school students, in kindergarten through fifth grade, will return to full day in-person learning March 29 – the first school day following spring break which runs March 22 to March 26, the superintendent explained.

All Barrington High School students who are participating in the hybrid model already have the option to attend school in the building five days a week for an entire school day, Harris said. That has been possible due to lower in-person student attendance at the high school.

“At the high school, we still are significantly under capacity,” Harris told board members at the meeting.

He said about 900 students out of an enrollment of about 3,000 were physically in attendance as of March 16.

Read more here.

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