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220 Green

We received file last night that appears to be a continuation of a recent post (seeSo you wanna run for Barrington CUSD 220 Board?”).  The PDF file can be viewed and downloaded here.

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With so many candidates running for various offices, we’d like to remind readers of the candidates The Barrington Hills Observer wholeheartedly endorses:

Pres VBHTrustee VBH220 VBH 1HC VBHBAL VBHBHPD VBH

If you haven’t already, Please Vote tomorrow! 

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Penny

Penny Kazmier – President CUSD 220 Board of Education (And winner of the 2011 Daily Herald Cook of the Week Challenge)

From a friend of The Observer…

“Dear Friends,

As most of you know, I have served on the Barrington 220 School Board for the past 16 years and am not seeking re-election on Tuesday.  My friend, and former board colleague, Brian Battle and I are concerned about the tone of the election and put together the letter below to express our thoughts.  if you have already voted, great, but if you haven’t, please be sure to vote this coming Tuesday, April 6.

Hope you had a wonderful Easter!

Penny”

# # #

“Friends,

We are both writing to share our thoughts on the current election for 4 seats to our Barrington 220 School Board this Tuesday, April 6.  After each having served 16 years on the Board, we remain committed to the success of 220, and have been closely following the candidates in this year’s election.  We know you still care about 220 also, but may not have had the time to invest in watching all 3 candidate forums.

COVID has certainly created an interesting backdrop for this election.  The constantly changing guidance has stressed School Boards, teachers, parents and students.  Districts across the suburbs have taken different approaches, however there is no single approach that has proven to make all stakeholders satisfied. One result of this universal frustration is the large numbers of candidates for School Boards across suburban Chicago.  Barrington 220 has 11 candidates that will appear on our ballots, confirmation of the vital role of our schools in our community.

Another result of the COVID response, is the increased presence of partisan support for candidates.  Again, this is a statewide trend, and Barrington 220 is no exception with PACs, partisan political organizations, and employee unions supporting different candidates.  We do not support partisan politics injected into School Board elections.  However, it is not in violation of any election laws.  We suggest you simply ignore this issue as unwanted noise, and focus on selecting the best candidates that will serve our community for the next 4 years.

Regarding the issue of COVID and schools, we have been listening for candidates that appear knowledgeable, take into account all stakeholders, and demonstrate a willingness to be flexible while recognizing the diverse needs of our community’s families and students.  However, we want to emphasize that in choosing which candidates to vote for, our experience has taught us that single issue candidates don’t make the most effective Board Members over the entire 4-year term.

We believe that the next Board will need to address significant issues in addition to re-opening.  These issues include working with a new superintendent, planning and executing the facility improvements approved in last year’s referendum, developing a new long-term strategic plan, negotiating both employee union contracts, addressing equity issues, and maintain our existing strong curriculum and strong financial position.  To accomplish these objectives, we need Board members committed to effective community communications.

After watching the 3 recorded forums involving all of the candidates, as well as discussions with many of the candidates, we believe there are 5 strong individuals worthy of your consideration.  Those five are Sandra Ficke-Bradford, Erin Chan Ding, Tom Mitoraj, Lauren Berkowitz Klauer, and Robert Windon.

We strongly recommend a vote for Sandra, Erin and Tom.

Sandra’s experience will be valuable on the Board with all the challenges we described during the next term.  Sandra is completing her third term on the board and has served on numerous Board committees including finance, policy, labor management. Sandra considers the impact of a decision from all sides and listens to other board members when they speak.

Erin demonstrates a depth of knowledge, enthusiasm, and a commitment to engaging our community. During conversations, she has shown the desire to understand “why” something is the way it is, while thinking creatively about how it might be improved.  Erin is a good listener which comes from her background as a journalist. We believe she will bring thought-provoking ideas to the board, while also respecting the opinions of others.

Tom impressed us during the candidate forums.  Tom is thoughtful, creative, and thoroughly assesses a problem before trying to solve it.  He will be a strong school board member who takes his role seriously, and has financial management experience that will benefit the Board in budgeting and negotiations.  He has also demonstrated his commitment to serving his community through his many years of service to the U.S. Navy.  Tom is forthright and honest, and will do the hard work needed to become an active and involved board member.

For your fourth vote, we suggest you look closely at both Lauren and Robert.  Lauren appears to be genuinely interested in serving our community, and Robert has great community service experience as a trustee for the Village of Barrington.

If you are interested in learning more about these five candidates, here are links to their campaign websites:

Highly Recommended

Sandra Ficke-Bradford:           www.sandrafor220.com
Erin Chan Ding:                       www.erinfor220.com
Tom Mitoraj:                           www.tomfor220.com

Recommended

Lauren Berkowitz Klauer:       www.facebook.com/lbkfor220
Robert Windon:                      https://www.windon220.com

We hope this helps you in deciding how to cast your votes. Please feel free to forward this email to your friends in our community and as always, contact us if you have any questions.

Please vote next Tuesday, April 6!

Penny Kazmier & Brian Battle”

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BOE

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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220 Green

Did you know you need to be approved by a school board’s candidate steering committee?  You didn’t?  Neither did former Marine, Masters Degree educated teaching  professional Alex Strobl. He learned this very quickly when he decided to run for Barrington District 220 School Board last December.  To be fair, there isn’t an actual steering committee, just a bunch of local partisan, woke “agendists”, pulling strings behind the scenes, making sure that anyone who runs for the Board shares their leftist ideals and philosophies.  Alex Strobl surely wasn’t aware of this when he accepted an invitation from what he thought was a group of interested parents who might get behind his candidacy.  He thought the Zoom call he was invited to would be informal, cordial, informative and helpful in assessing his chances to win election to the school board.

He was surprised that there were about 30 people on the call, including:

  • Penny Kazmier – current D220 Board President
  • Sandra Bradford-Fike – incumbent Board Member running for re-election
  • Maria Peterson – former Democratic candidate for Lake County Board
  • Members of the Illinois Education Association, local Barrington teachers’ union and other official and non-official local organizations

(It should be noted that the two D220 Board members, Kazmier and Fike-Bradford, never notified the other five D220 school board members about this meeting, and thus, they possibly broke several Open Meetings Act laws, not to mention violated ethics policies and standards of practice for any public board member.)

As you will read from Mr. Strobl himself, this was not a “get to know you …how can we help you” call.  This was a full interview and a formal vetting.  And it was evident from the start, if the candidate didn’t share the “woke” agenda of the panel, he was not welcome.  By the end of the interview, Alex was confused and disappointed in the questions and responses from the unofficial tribunal. He decided that this was NOT for him and this whole vetting process did not make sense.  Who were these people? Who gave them authority? How could his candidacy succeed after this inquisition.  He withdrew from the ballot shortly thereafter.

He decided to chalk it up to experience, and put the whole incident behind him until an article showed up on March 27th https://www.dailyherald.com/news/20210326/league-of-women-voters-decries-party-politics-in-barrington-local-elections in the Daily Herald from Elena Ferrarin and then another https://www.dailyherald.com/news/20210330/party-support-appearing-in-district-211-other-local-races?cid=search by Eric Petersen on March 30th.

In the articles, co-President of the League of Women Voters (LWV) of the Palatine Area, Vicki Martin and others criticized a group of local Barrington moms who had assembled to run for the D220 school board and other offices, accusing them of infusing party politics into non-partisan local elections. The LWV claims of partisan organization were unfounded and frankly stung Alex as quite ironic, based on his experience.

This is what prompted him to submit his letter attached:

It is with heavy heart that I write this but I could not remain silent. My name is Alex Strobl. I am a resident of Lake Barrington, a parent of three elementary aged students, and a former teacher and coach at Barrington High School (2005-2015). Recently I was a candidate running for the Barrington Area Unit School District 220. I am writing to share my experience in running for the school board and why I ultimately dropped my candidacy due to the partisan nature of some of the members on the school board.

I write now in response to (and to further expand on) a Daily Herald article titled “League of Women Voters decries party politics in Barrington local elections.” This article struck a chord with me as I agree that transparency is key. My purpose is to inform my community members and to shed additional light on the process as I experienced it. Specifically to inform you that currently two members of the school board are working hand in hand with partisan groups to select, vet, and sponsor candidates of their choosing. While I believe in robust political engagement of citizens across the spectrum, I believe it is a conflict of interest for school board members – who are in non-partisan positions – to actively be working with groups who select and vet candidates along partisan/ideological lines.

In December I was contacted by a current board member to run. I had previously expressed interest in running for a school board position to that board member and appreciated them reaching out. I am passionate about education, well versed on how things operate within the district, and I thought I could make a positive impact. Like many others, I want what is best for the children of Barrington.

I was told that I would be put in touch with a group that was initially described to me as a “group of community parents that could help get out the vote” and one that has helped to “elect other candidates.” Days later, someone else reached out to me to set up a meeting. The next day I signed into a Zoom call with about thirty members of the community. On the call were two current school board members: Penny Kazmier (current president) and Sandra Ficke-Bradford. I was told at the time that the group was a sort of steering committee and that the group was looking to diversify the school board in Barrington. The discussion we had and the questions that were asked seemed to be at one end of the spectrum. I mentioned to the group that I was not only a social studies teacher but was also an executive coach and a former Marine. In each instance, when I responded, my answers were analyzed and a member of the committee would “encourage” me to fine-tune it or at times to reframe it in another way. It was not at all what I expected. I had expected more of a dialogue in my first interaction. More importantly, I was taken aback that I was speaking to a group which I felt represented the school board and was left feeling that I did not fit their desired mold. Again, citizen groups can align to whomever they choose. The difficulty comes with the addition of school board members and the feeling that I needed to change to be welcomed on the board. I felt this interaction represented the board at large because I had been put in touch with the group by a current member coupled with the visible presence and participation of another two board members on the call. In short, in the weeks after the call I was disheartened by what I perceived to be the partisan nature of the group and a directive around what could and could not be said. It is ultimately why I withdrew from the race.

I have genuine desire to help unite this community and serve the students in another capacity. Perhaps I was a little naïve in believing that a non-partisan position such as the school board could ultimately be non-partisan. That said, I feel compelled to surface the hypocrisy of groups and articles pointing to “party politics” while other groups are quietly doing it themselves. I want to ensure that my friends, neighbors, and fellow community members know the machinery behind the scenes of the school board election.

Alex Strobl

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summer school logo hor

“Summer school in Barrington 220 begins on Monday, June 7 and we are excited to offer a comprehensive array of course offerings for students in grades K-12. Courses range from skill enhancement and credit recovery, to learning acceleration and the exploration of new and unique interests. In addition, a wide range of activities and athletic camps supplement the academic course offerings during both summer sessions.

In-person classes will be offered at all levels. Elementary students will also have the option to learn from anywhere by enrolling in virtual classes through the 220BOSS programMiddle and high school courses will be offered in person, with select courses being offered virtually through Illinois Virtual School.”

Visit District 220’s Summer School website here.

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BEA 1

The Barrington Education Association (BEA), the teachers union for D220, has been very vocal publishing social media posts, emails, and flyers supporting their four endorsed candidates for school board election. Beyond being vocal in support they have been extremely vocal in criticizing the three candidates (Katie Karam, Steve Wang and Malgorzata McGonigal) who chose not to meet with them to seek a union endorsement, nor to meet with an organization called Be the Change Barrington (BTC).

Who is BTC? They have a website that lists various positions and recommendations for the administration and education of students in D220. However, nothing on these pages identifies who exactly they are, who they are accountable to, where they live, or even if they are residents of D220.

Their list of recommendations (more accurately demands) is a platitude of critical race theory, alleging widespread racism and social injustice within D220. However, from police sources, there is little evidence of hate crime within our district. So what are these recommendations based on?

Apparently, a survey of around 600 alumni and active students. The survey does not break down the percentage of alumni to current students, nor does it identify whether any of these alumni are currently living within D220, parents of students, or taxpaying members of our community. Yet, the BEA has crowned them as an important representative voice of D220 and has lambasted and shamed the three candidates who chose not to meet with these unidentified individuals.

Why should you care? To follow are some of the recommendations of BTC for your children:

“BTCB calls on Barrington 220 to critically examine and make changes to its staff training, curriculum requirements, and administrative policies in the pursuit of anti-racism and dismantling white supremacy.”

“All educators and students must undergo a mandatory anti-racism training and unconscious bias training. Anti-racist and unconscious bias training is necessary for supporting the multiracial, multilingual, and multicultural student body within Barrington 220.”

“Barrington 220 must play an active role in challenging the myths of colorblindness and meritocracy within the education system, and instead commit to practicing anti-racism, anti-bias, and equity. In order for training sessions to be sustainable and meaningful, they must go beyond the intellectual work of fighting oppression and challenge staff and students to do the deeply personal, emotional, and communal work of dismantling racism and white supremacy culture.”

The list is much broader and can be found at this ink: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1N9DdAepfjRtjNjhA0UMddGkrXMFfNHU-/view

These recommendations have been cited by the BEA and its four endorsed candidates as important lesson plans and discussions that your children should be given in their D220 education.

The BEA has a lobbyist group (iPACE) that sends out mail pieces, i.e. “in-kind” donations, on behalf of the four candidates endorsed by the BEA and also provides monetary donations to those candidates. Recently, the Palatine League of Women Voters (LWV) hosted several Candidate forums, including forums for school board candidates and library board.

For a group that claims to be “non-partisan“, the BEA through its lobbyists, iPACE, has donated significantly to Democratic candidates, including $52,800 in 2019 to former Speaker Michael Madigan.

Also, LWV was outspoken in a recent Herald article surrounding Karam, Wang & McGonigal, for school board and Croll, Ordway & Stenberg for library board: “A partisan political group in Barrington has expressed support for candidates in school and library board races, a move criticized by the League of Women Voters, which says party politics has no place in local elections…”

Wow! Pot? Kettle?  Sounds like the BEA and LWV need to take a long look in the mirror.

So, in what conceivable way can the LWV forum have been considered non-partisan under these circumstances? Particularly where the BEA, which pays dues to IEA and iPACE, started a full court press on endorsements and social media posts supporting Ding, Klauer, Ficke-Bradford, and Mitoraj by February 6th, a month prior to the LWV forum, and iPACE had already made donations to Ding which she stated she used for signs and mailers (mailers that coincidentally didn’t include campaign disclosure information as required by SBOE).

There is a lot of ugly going on around the D220 community.

The BEA is flexing its union muscle and it wants to con you into voting Ding, Klauer, Ficke-Bradford, and Mitoraj. They even went so far as condescending to come back to full time school the week before the April 6th election. Why? Because they want their handpicked four to be elected and vote the BEA union byline.

Make no mistake, D220 families; if Ding, Klauer, Ficke-Bradford, and Mitoraj are elected to the school board on April 6th your kids will be back to e-learning and remote school on April 7th.

If you want a board that will advocate on behalf of your children, tax dollars and community, it is imperative that you VOTE KARAM, WANG, & McGONIGAL for school board.

    – Guest essay

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There are a number of exceptionally qualified candidates running for office in the upcoming Consolidated Elections April 6th.    

Following is a summary of candidates running for various offices in the order they appear on the ballots for those offices. The Observer has noted those candidates we endorse with a check mark.

Early voting is available to registered voters now through Election Day.

Pres VBH

Trustee VBH

220 VBH 1

HC VBH

BAL VBH

BHPD VBH

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BTRO

A partisan political group in Barrington has expressed support for candidates in school and library board races, a move criticized by the League of Women Voters, which says party politics has no place in local elections.

In an email and on Facebook this month, the Barrington Township Republican Organization backed candidates running for the Barrington Area Library, Barrington Area Unit School District 220 and Harper College boards. The candidates also are backed by a political action committee called ACTION, or “Advancing Change Together In Our Neighborhood.”

Vicki Martin, co-president of the League of Women Voters of the Palatine Area, which includes Barrington, called it “a bad precedent.” The nonpartisan group has received several calls from people concerned about this, she said.

The ACTION PAC backs Katie Karam, Malgorzata “Maggie” McGonigal and Steve Wang for the Barrington Area Unit District 220 school board, Josie Croll and Ann Ordway for Barrington Area Library board, and Kelly Dittman for Harper College trustee.

The eight other candidates for the four seats on the District 220 board are incumbents Sandra Ficke-Bradford and Mike Schakleton, and newcomers Erin Chan Ding, Tom Mitoraj, Lauren Berkowitz Klauer, William Betz, Jonathan Matta and Robert Windon. Also running for three open seats on the Harper College board are incumbents Diane G. Hill, William F. Kelley and Nancy N. Robb. And incumbents Denise Tenyer and Jennifer Lucas are also running for two open seats on the library board.

When contacted by the Daily Herald, Republican organization President Peter Kopsaftis said the support for the ACTION PAC came from him as an individual, not the organization as a whole.

“Don’t make things out of nothing,” he told a reporter. “It’s not an endorsement. It’s simply information.”

Read more here.

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Editorial note: The Barrington Hills Observer supports the candidacies of Katie Karan, Steven Wang and Malgorzata McGonigal.  To learn more about them, please visit Action PAC.

BEA

The race for four open seats on the Barrington School District 220 Board of Education in the April 6 election has drawn 11 candidates – and teachers union endorsement of four of those hopefuls.

The long list of candidates running in the election next month includes incumbents Sandra Ficke-Bradford and Michael Shackleton, and candidates Katie Karam, Lauren Berkowitz Klauer, William Betz, Jonathan Matta, Thomas Mitoraj, Steve Wang, and Robert Windon, all from Barrington. Erin Chan Ding, of South Barrington, and Malgorzata McGonigal, of North Barrington round out the field.

The four candidates picking up Barrington Education Association endorsements are Chan Ding, Ficke-Bradford, Klauer and Mitoraj. Of the four, only Chan Ding acknowledged receiving a campaign contribution from a political action committee affiliated with the BEA.

BEA President Melissa Atteberry confirmed that her association reached out multiple times to all 11 candidates. Seven of the 11 returned written questionnaires, she said. Those candidates were invited to an interview and from that group, the four endorsed candidates were chosen.

Union officials said the four candidates BEA endorsed “exemplified” key characteristics, including an eagerness to dive deeply into a wide range of topics within education; a willingness to listen to a broad range of views and work collaboratively with all stakeholders; an understanding of the many accomplishments of the school district, but also of the great challenges ahead; and a proactive approach to campaigning and the ability to mobilize support from the community.

In separate phone interviews with Pioneer Press, all four candidates defended accepting the endorsement, while acknowledging that they could, if elected, find themselves voting on contracts and other matters concerning teachers.

Read more here.

Related: “’Barrington Teacher Union President Communicates with Members’ – Posted by McHenry County Blog,” “Right to Choose for Barrington School District 220

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