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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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Big changes could be coming to admissions at public universities in Illinois after two expansive bills cleared the state Senate Higher Education Committee in recent days.

The two pieces of legislation aim to make a degree more accessible: The first would allow residents to apply to any of the state’s 12 public universities without submitting SAT or ACT scores, while the other would guarantee well-performing community college students a spot at the University of Illinois.

Both bills, which already passed in the House, were elevated out of committee and could next proceed to a full Senate floor vote. The governor must also sign the bills before they become law, which is far from certain.

State Sen. Christopher Belt, D-Centreville, presented the test-optional admissions bill, known as the Higher Education Fair Admissions Act, and said it was based on research showing that high school GPAs are a better predictor of college graduation than ACT or SAT scores. The bill calls for all four-year public universities to implement test-optional admissions by January.

“We know children have test anxieties and they don’t do well on these standardized tests, and so to take a snapshot of a person’s high school years and reduce it down to a test … and to put that kind of weight on that test, we just don’t think it’s fair,” Belt said.

Under the bill, students would still be able to submit test scores if they want. Admissions offices also consider GPA, difficulty of high school courses, personal essays and outside activities.

Read more 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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The Barrington Area Library will return to regular hours of operation beginning tomorrow, May 3rd.

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D300After a year of mostly hybrid and remote learning because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Algonquin-based Community Unit District 300 is looking to bring students to school in person full time this fall.

Although school officials expanded in-person learning earlier this year, allowing elementary school students to be in-person five days a week, middle and high school students remained in a hybrid model, meaning they had both remote and in-person learning days on an alternating schedule.

But for next school year, all students will have five days a week of face-to-face instruction, Superintendent Fred Heid told members of District 300 school board during a meeting Tuesday.

Families will be given the option to stay in remote learning if their child or others in the family meet certain medical criteria. Giving a remote option is something that has been clearly defined as an expectation for school districts by the Illinois State Board of Education, Heid said.

Qualifying medical conditions for unvaccinated students include asthma and diabetes, as well as genetic, neurological or metabolic conditions, among others.

Read more here.

Community Unit District 300 Superintendent Fred Heid is leaving at the end of this school year to lead a larger Florida school district.

The Polk County Public Schools board Tuesday voted to hire Heid as superintendent of the district serving nearly 106,000 students. Heid was chosen from among five finalists for the job.

Contract negotiations are underway to determine Heid’s salary and benefits. The Polk County school board is expected to approve the contract during its May 11 meeting. Heid’s start date there would be July 1.

Heid has led the Algonquin-based district — the state’s sixth-largest, educating 21,000 students and employing more than 3,400 people — for seven years.

Read more here.

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Only two of four area public library board of trustee races were contested in the election earlier this month, which also saw some incumbents edged out of holding on to their seats.

Two, six-year terms on the Barrington Area Library board were up for a vote, representing residents in parts of Cook, Lake, Kane and McHenry counties. According to vote totals posted to each county clerk’s website, Jennifer J. Lucas earned the highest vote percentage.

Newcomer Anne Ordway, a real-estate agent, earned grabbed the second highest vote totals, according to the clerks’ results.

“I’m excited to be on the library board and look forward to working with the other board members and making a difference,” Ordway told Pioneer Press in a phone interview. “I’m committed to getting the meeting rooms and study rooms open and using social distancing guidelines when the library reopens.

Without providing specifics, she said she feels the library, which serves the village of Barrington and other nearby towns, has overtaxed taxpayers and could be “smarter” with that money.

Incumbent Denise Tenyer was edged out of winning another term on the Barrington library board. Candidate Josie Croll was also unsuccessful.

Read more here.

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District 220’s Brian Harris ranks fifth on the list of the top 10 of 2020 Illinois Public School salary and pension earners according to the Teachers Retirement System of Illinois.

Illinois public employees and retirees with $100,000+ paychecks grew from 109,881 (2019) to an all-time high of 122,258 in 2020 – costing taxpayers $15.8 billion.

Congressional “bailouts” made it possible. The recent $1.9 trillion American Rescue Act provided an additional $13.5 billion to Illinois state and local governments. (Look up your hometown here — $350 billion flowed to states and 30,000 communities.)

Our auditors at OpenTheBooks.com compiled the list of six-figure earners from Freedom of Information Act requests.

Barbers at State Corrections trimmed off $115,000; janitors at the State Toll Highway Authority cleaned up $123,000; bus drivers in Chicago made $174,000; line workers on the Chicago Transit Authority earned $222,278; community college presidents made $418,677; university doctors earned up to $2 million; and 171 small town managers out-earned the Illinois governor ($181,670).

Our interactive mapping tool allows users to quickly review the 122,258 public employees and retirees across Illinois making more than $100,000 (by ZIP code). Just click a pin and scroll down to see the results in your neighborhood rendered in the chart beneath the map.

Read more from Forbes here.

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Editorial note: Monday’s monthly Village Board of Trustees meeting will be the last regular one for President Pro-Tem Colleen Konicek Hannigan and President Martin McLaughlin.  Here’s what the Daily Herald wrote when the two first won office eight years ago:


Barrington Hills Village President-elect Martin McLaughlin looks over results Tuesday at his election night party with Trustee-elect Colleen Konicek Hannigan. Both won election and will be sworn into office next month. (John Starks | Staff Photographer)

McLaughlin looks ahead to Barrington Hills presidency

Posted 4/10/2013 5:15 PM

A day after his upset victory over two-term Barrington Hills Village President Robert Abboud, president-elect Martin McLaughlin said his intentions remain the same as during his campaign — to return the village to the normal business of providing services cost-effectively.

McLaughlin said he’d considered divisive debates over outdoor lighting regulations and commercial horse boarding to be manufactured and unnecessary, and believes voters ultimately agreed.

“There were a lot of exhausted, weary residents who were just looking for someone to represent them,” McLaughlin said. “We need someone to actively heal the divisions. I don’t think we need to do anything great here. We just need a deep breath.”

McLaughlin said he never considered the race to be personal and hopes he can turn to Abboud as a resource in the future.

Given the perceived strength of Abboud’s campaign, McLaughlin said he never counted on more than being a messenger.

“I thought I would define issues,” McLaughlin said. “The outcome was a pleasant surprise.”

While McLaughlin would like to give the village a fresh start, he realizes there’s few times when that’s entirely possible. The village remains in the midst of addressing important issues such as the proposed Insurance Auto Auction site in neighboring East Dundee, the long lingering lawsuit over covenants governing the Sears property in Hoffman Estates and mediated negotiations toward a police contract.

McLaughlin believes the fact East Dundee voters also elected a new village president — Lael Miller — provides opportunity for a fresh start for talks about the auto auction proposal, which he considers a threat to the aquifer Barrington Hills residents use.

McLaughlin disagreed with his predecessor’s aggressive approach to East Dundee.

“Shaking hands isn’t a bad way to start, instead of shaking fists,” McLaughlin said.

He also hopes to reach a settlement on the Sears lawsuit and examine the police department’s pension system, which broke away from the state’s several years ago.

Senior Village Trustee Fritz Gohl, who won re-election Tuesday, said he’s keeping an open mind on working with the new president, whom he’s not yet met.

McLaughlin will be joined on the board by two new trustees, Gohl’s running mate, Michael Harrington, and McLaughlin’s running mate, Colleen Konicek Hannigan. Though he’s unfamiliar with McLaughlin, Gohl knows Konicek Hannigan very well.

“I know where she’s coming from because she’s a Barrington Hills lifer like me,” he said.

Having worked with both Abboud and the late Jim Kempe, Gohl said he knows the approach to the village president job has a lot to do with each president’s personality. He agrees with McLaughlin’s assessment that new leadership in East Dundee offers new opportunities for negotiation over Insurance Auto Auction.

Gohl is less certain McLaughlin will find any obvious places to cut the village budget short of laying off workers, and said he welcomes professional insight of the new president and Harrington on managing the village’s police pension fund.

More challenging will be the village’s change of leadership in the midst of police contract talks, Gohl said. The new contract will be one of many areas in which the new president will likely experience a baptism by fire.

“It’ll be interesting to see what happens,” he added. “He’ll be learning as he goes.”

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The District 220 Board of Education meets tonight at 7 PM. The meeting will be held in person at the District Administrative Center. A copy of their 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 found here.

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