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The following are updates to stories previously published in The Observer:

Fresher and healthier student food on way to Barrington District 220

Barrington Area Unit District 220 students are expected to see better meals as a result of new food service companies hired for the 2019-20 academic season.

District officials said the goal was to move away from prepared food in favor of fresher, healthier and higher quality offerings for students.

Under Quest Food Management Services Inc., Barrington High School will get a coffee bar and a menu possibly including beef and chicken roasted on the premises, bubble tea and a sushi station. This food program was seen by District 220 officials who visited Quest clients New Trier High School in Winnetka and Glenbrook South High School in Glenview.

Read more here.

Barrington High stadium to get new artificial surface

After about 11 years of use, Barrington High School’s stadium will receive a replacement artificial surface in time for the next academic year.

Barrington Area Unit District 220 board members Tuesday night voted 5-0 in favor of a deal with FieldTurf USA Inc. to install the new surface for a price not to exceed $700,000, with the tab being paid from the capital projects fund. Officials have said the projected cost is about $100,000 less than originally projected.

“We’re really at the end of the useful life of the turf and replacing the turf will ensure the future safety and playability in our stadium,” said David Bein, assistant superintendent of business services.

FieldTurf was installed as part of the new Barrington Community Stadium unveiled in August 2008, but officials said it is nearing the end of its life. Similar to that used by many other suburban schools, the playing surface includes sand and rubber particles between plastic fibers in an effort to provide players better footing and shock absorption.

Read more here.

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Barrington High School’s stadium could receive a new artificial turf surface before the 2019-20 school year at a price lower than initially projected.

The high school’s current turf, installed in 2008, is nearing the end of its life, according to Barrington Area Unit District 220 officials.

The District 220 board next week is expected to vote on a proposal to install a new surface from FieldTurf USA Inc., which handled the original 11 years ago.

Board member Joseph Ruffolo, a member of the advisory facilities committee, said officials have been prepared to spend nearly $800,000 for the replacement surface. But now, with a likely credit from FieldTurf for reusing current material, the bill isn’t projected to exceed $700,000.

“We got a better deal than we thought we were going to get,” Ruffolo said during a facilities committee session this week (Editorial note: Isn’t it amazing how things work?).

Read more here.

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More variety and healthier choices for students are expected from food service operators starting in the next academic year in Barrington Area Unit District 220.

At Barrington High School, a new food provider recommended by top District 220 administrators could mean a coffee bar and menu options possibly including beef roasted on the premises, sushi and bubble tea in 2019-20.

District 220’s assistant superintendent of business services, David Bein, said getting away from prepared food in favor of higher quality and fresh offerings for school lunches will allow students to have “the right kind of fuel for learning.”

“There is research that connects students who are not hungry and who are well fed to higher academic achievement, better student growth,” Bein said at a District 220 board session this week.

Read more here.

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Barrington Area Unit District 220 Superintendent Brian Harris says school board members will decide how to proceed after voters rejected a request to borrow $185 million for building projects.

Unofficial totals from Cook, Lake, Kane and McHenry counties show voters downed the ballot measure by 4,077 votes to 3,909 on Tuesday. Cook County voters themselves barely supported the measure, with 1,696 in favor and 1,691 against the request that would have added about $100 to the annual property tax bill for an owner of a $500,000 median value home.

Harris said Wednesday the proposed upgrades for the schools are significant and costly enough that the district will need voter approval to finance them, but the soonest a ballot request can return is March 2020.

Rooted in a community process called Blueprint 220, which began in 2017, the plan called for all 12 of the district’s schools to receive basic building improvements and upgraded security. Bathroom repairs, new roofs and improved heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems were among the proposed projects.

Read more from the Daily Herald here.

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Dear Barrington 220 Community,

On Tuesday, April 2 registered voters in the Barrington 220 community narrowly opposed a $185 million bond referendum, which would have provided significant improvements to our schools, identified in our master facility plan. According to preliminary results, the question was voted down with 4,077 (51.05%) NO votes and 3,909 (48.95%) YES votes.

Thank you to the parents, students, teachers, district administrators, Board members and community members who participated in the two year community engagement process leading up to this vote.

Congratulations to Angela Wilcox on her re-election to the Board of Education. I also want to welcome newly-elected Board members Leah Collister-Lazzari and Barry Altshuler. They will replace longtime Board members Brian Battle and Joe Ruffolo. The new Board will take their seats at a special meeting planned for Tuesday, April 30 at 7PM.

It will now be up to the new Board of Education to decide how to proceed, in order to address our facility needs. 

Dr. Brian Harris

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Barrington Hills resident Angela Wilcox

An incumbent and two newcomers landed four-year terms on the Barrington Area Unit District 220 school board in Tuesday’s election.

Five candidates competed for three open seats on the board. The only incumbent, Angela Wilcox, was joined on the ballot by Leah Collister-Lazzari, Mathew Gray, Eva Cole and Barry Altshuler.

Unofficial results with two precincts remaining to be counted in Cook County show Wilcox with 4,473 votes, followed by Altshuler at 3,300 and Collister-Lazzari with 3,092. Gray had 2,657 votes and Cole had 2,065 tallies.

Wilcox said she appreciated the strong support of the District 220 voters Tuesday.

“I definitely haven’t been biased in any of my decisions,” Wilcox said. “I’ve been very taxpayer accountable.”

Read more here.

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C.U.S.D.  220 placed on the April 2nd ballot a $185 million referendum proposal

Representatives of the district have recently conducted information sessions in person or via social media, and we at The Observer have concerns as follows:

  • 220 wants to borrow $185 Million: That’s just shy of $13 million per school, not for any new construction, but just upgrades and maintenance to existing facilities.
  • $60 Million for maintenance alone: 220 proposes to spend a third of the money to be borrowed on heating, air conditioning, plumbing and window repairs or replacement, as well as new roofing. 220 admittedly deferred maintenance over the last 10 to 20 years to the extent that one must ask, “how are some of the buildings are still operating?”
  • The 220 Advisory Committee recommended a lower amount:   220 solicited advisory input from, “…more than 50 community organizations.” Apparently the Board felt such a large and diverse group (a list of the participants can be seen here) would presumably approve the desired referendum amount the Board of Education members wanted ($185 million), but went on to overrule the $158 million amount recommended by the Committee.
  • Pepper Construction provided 220 with budgetary guidance: Rather than insulting the intelligence of our readers by expounding on our obvious concerns on this point, we’ll move on….
  • Turnover on the Board of Education: Three spots are open in this election and a new Board President will be installed. With the many line items on the $185M wish list, we wonder if new members will be completely on board with the expenditures.

Speaking of 220’s wish list, a line item listing of all plans with budget amounts can be viewed here. We wonder, given that kitchen remodeling is included in their expansive list, does that include new kitchen sinks for $185 million?

The big question is, “will the tax weary voters in Barrington Hills approve 220’s proposed referendum?” Some have their doubts, but ultimately it is up to our readers to decide though their votes.

Please take the few minutes it takes to exercise your right to vote. Whichever side the referendum finally lands, at least you will have the peace of mind that comes with having voiced your opinion at the Ballot Box! 

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