Archive for the ‘District 220 referendum’ Category

Anticipating a drop in revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Barrington School District 220 school board members agreed to trim the district’s budget for next fiscal year by $1 million.

The move, approved at the June 2 board meeting, would put a hold on filling vacant positions and cuts about $300,000 from budgets for supplies for the district’s schools. District officials said the cuts were necessary to prepare for a likely decline in property tax revenue as a result of the stay-at-home order and business shutdown due to the pandemic. 

Specifically, the budget cut puts a hold on six flexible teaching positions the district relies on to deal with larger class sizes. SD220 has also put a hold on filling 12 vacant support staff positions, including teacher’s aides and non-teaching positions, said Superintendent Brian Harris.

Read more here.

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Barrington Community Unit School District 220 will issue approximately $43.7 million in tax-exempt bonds to fund projects approved by voters in March as part of a $147 million referendum, and local investors have an opportunity to purchase them on Tuesday, June 23.

“We are excited to give the Barrington 220 community the opportunity to invest in our district,” Superintendent Brian Harris said in an announcement of the upcoming bond sale. “The bonds will start the first phase of projects, which will enhance the tools and safety measures to better serve our students, teachers and staff for the future.”

Issued through the Illinois Finance Authority, Barrington 220’s bonds carry a “AAA” rating by S&P Global, will have maturities from 2021 to 2039, and will be sold in increments of $5,000.

Multiple firms are serving as underwriters for the offering and will have access to the bonds. Individuals who are interested in purchasing bonds can contact a financial advisor at Baird, (847) 551-8151 or (847) 501-2000; Mesirow Financial, (312) 595-4261; Piper Sandler & Co, (800) 552-0614; Raymond James, (847) 610-5077; Stifel, Nicolaus & Company, Incorporated, (800) 659-2168; or UBS Financial Services Inc. (847) 277-2124.

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Barrington Area Unit District 220 Superintendent Brian Harris has racked up several achievements in his six years at the job, including a change in student start times and a successful ballot measure to fund $147 million in building improvements.

However, Harris’ time as District 220’s boss is ending. He’s retiring after the 2020-21 academic season.

District 220 board members Tuesday night will begin to discuss how they want to approach finding Harris’ replacement.

Read more here.

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Barrington Area Unit District 220 received good news about its financial strength this week.

District 220 officials received word the district has maintained its AAA bond rating status from S&P Global Ratings, making it one of just 85 school systems across the country with the designation.

In addition, District 220 is one of only 22 school systems in Illinois with an AAA bond rating.

As an AAA bond-rated school district, Barrington 220 will receive the lowest competitive interest rates when seeking to borrow money through bond financing.

District 220 has achieved an AAA rating for the past 12 years. Superintendent Brian Harris said the rating “is a direct result of the fiscal responsibility and conservative approach used by staff and the board of education.”

Editorial note: Many have a different opinion than that of Dr. Harris.  Much different.

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Dr. Brian Harris

District 220 issued the following release this morning:

At its June 2 meeting, the Board of Education shared that after more than 30 years in public education, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian Harris will retire at the end of his contract on June 30, 2021. Dr. Harris has served as the Barrington 220 Superintendent of Schools for the past six years. “Barrington 220 is an exemplary, student-focused district that ‘inspires all learners to achieve excellence’. It has been exciting to lead and live that vision every day,” Dr. Harris said.

The Board plans to discuss the search process for Barrington 220’s new superintendent at its next regularly scheduled meeting on June 16. Dr. Harris said he looks forward to working with the Board during the 2020-21 school year to incorporate a smooth transition. “Dr. Harris will leave big shoes to fill,” said Board President Penny Kazmier. “His leadership and contributions to Barrington 220 are too many to count.”

We’ll have much more on this oh so predictable move when time allows.

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“Due to the uncertainty of the pandemic, the district is currently preparing three plans for the start of the 2020-21 school year in the fall:

  • Plan A: re-open school in the fall as normal with new public health guidelines and protocols
  • Plan B: develop a hybrid which would combine Distance Learning instruction with in person instruction, while following strict guidelines as outlined by the CDC (Center for Disease Control), IDPH (Illinois Department of Public Health), and ISBE (Illinois State Board of Education)
  • Plan C: start the year with all Distance Learning instruction

The district expects the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) and the Illinois Department of Health (IDPH) to release guidelines over the next couple of weeks for the reopening of schools in the fall. Barrington 220 will continue to keep our community updated. In the meantime, we hope everyone stays safe and healthy this summer.”

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Barrington School District 220 officials reviewed graduation options for seniors and discussed plans related to millions of dollars in planned construction and renovations, among other topics, during a recent virtual board meeting.

Governor J.B. Pritzker announced April 17 that, statewide, public and private school buildings will remain closed for the rest of the year in Illinois. Because of this, SD220 administrators are working on planning a safe way for students and staff to return to the buildings to pick up personal belongings.

The last school day is still scheduled for May 28, Superintendent Brian Harris said. Classes will continue online, and administrators plan to send out a survey in the coming weeks for feedback on how remote learning is going throughout the district.

Barrington High School planned to hold its class of 2020 commencement May 29 at Willow Creek Community Church in South Barrington. But that is not an option anymore, according to Harris. 

Read more here.

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“Dear Barrington 220 Community,

First and foremost, I want to say thank you. On Tuesday, March 17 registered voters in the Barrington 220 community overwhelmingly passed a $147 million bond referendum, which will greatly impact the future of our schools.

According to preliminary results, the question was approved by voters with 63% yes votes and 37% no votes.

Especially at a time like this, when our nation and our community are facing unprecedented challenges, it is amazing to see the Barrington area stand behind our schools. Together we will get through this pandemic challenge and our community will be stronger than ever before.

This vote is the culmination of a three year community engagement process, which involved collaboration and feedback from parents, students, teachers, administrators, Board of Education members, community members, and architects, about the future of our schools. Thanks to their hard work and dedication, along with your community support at the polls, Barrington 220 will be able to:

  • Significantly enhance safety and security at every school
  • Better prepare our students for a successful future
  • Protect the community’s investment in our school buildings by repairing things like roofs, windows, electrical systems, plumbing systems, heating and air conditioning

We will soon begin working with our architects and engineers to develop detailed project plans and drawings. Construction will likely begin in Spring 2021 and will happen in phases over several years.

Thank you again for your support in making sure Barrington 220 remains a destination school district in the years to come.”

The 220 email can be viewed here.

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Barrington Area Unit District 220 received approval for its request to borrow $147 million for building projects, including safety and security upgrades at all its schools.

Unofficial results with nearly all votes counted from Tuesday’s election show 6,045 were in favor and 3,781 were opposed in Cook, Lake, Kane and McHenry counties.

Officials said the $147 million will pay for basic projects, including upgrades to school safety and security, plumbing, electrical, roofing and heating, ventilation and air conditioning.

District 220 Superintendent Brian Harris said the next move will be to hire a construction manager, architect and bond counsel to assisting in financing the work.

Read more here.

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We have several concerns with the referendum that the Barrington School Board chose to place on the March 17 ballot, but for the sake of time, we’ll forego listing them all and get down to our primary objection, which happens to be our most timely one.

A few short months ago, District 220 issued the following press release:

“Barrington 220 is proud to announce it has been named one of the 2019 Top Workplaces in the Chicago area by the Chicago Tribune. The list is based solely on employee feedback gathered through a third-party survey administered by research partner, Energage, LLC. The anonymous survey measures several aspects of workplace culture, including alignment, execution, and connection. Click here to see the full list.”

Dr. Brian Harris, Superintendent of Schools, wrote the following of 220’s top workplace distinction:

“I am very proud of our staff for making Barrington 220 a great place to work. Their dedication and passion are reflected each day in the outstanding education we provide to our students.”

In fact, District 220 is the only school district listed on the Chicago Tribune’s list of Top 150 Workplaces in the Chicago area. We think that’s admirable, but the reality sets in all too quickly for parents, students, teachers, staff and, above all, taxpayers when considering another list.

In the most recent ranking of best high schools in Illinois by U.S. News and World Report, Barrington High School ranked 35th.

Those high schools ahead of Barrington in the Chicago area were: Adlai E Stevenson HS (6), Libertyville HS (10), Hinsdale Central HS (12), John Hersey HS (13), Deerfield HS (14), New Trier Township HS Winnetka 15), Glenbrook North HS (16), Lincoln Park HS (17), Prospect HS (18), Neuqua Valley HS (19), Buffalo Grove HS (20), Glenbard West HS (21), William Fremd HS (22), Vernon Hills HS (23), Glenbrook South HS (24), Lake Forest HS (25), Highland Park HS (26), Evanston Township HS (27), Westinghouse HS (28), Metea Valley HS (29), York Community HS (30), Naperville Central HS (31), Naperville North HS (32) and St. Charles North HS (34).

When considering the two lists we’ve shared, we must ask why District 220’s board and, more specifically, Dr. Brian Harris, can be so pleased with Barrington’s lackluster rank among other high schools.

There was a time when New Trier and Barrington High Schools were the gold standards to be considered when families were relocating to the Chicago area. As one can see, New Trier is still well respected, and we challenge our Board of Education to commit to trying to improve the Barrington High School that we once enjoyed and was so widely envied.

Passing the proposed referendum will not accomplish this. Perhaps when the Board begins such initiatives, we’ll look forward to endorsing them.

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