Archive for the ‘Harper College’ Category


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Harper College announced Tuesday the largest gift in the Palatine community college’s history: $18 million from philanthropist MacKenzie Scott.

Harper College officials Tuesday announced receipt of an $18 million donation from billionaire philanthropist MacKenzie Scott, in what is the largest gift in the Palatine community college’s 54-year history.

“It’s hard to wrap your mind around it, still,” said college President Avis Proctor. “I still get chills thinking about this.”

The unrestricted gift is among more than $2.7 billion awarded to 286 “high-impact organizations in categories and communities that have been historically underfunded and overlooked,” Scott announced in a blog post Tuesday.

Scott, the ex-wife of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, gave a combined $6 billion to other groups in two similar surprise disbursements last July and December.

Harper was among more than 30 colleges and universities selected for funding in the latest round, which also included the University of Illinois-Chicago ($40 million) and City Colleges of Chicago’s Kennedy-King College ($5 million).

“Higher education is a proven pathway to opportunity, so we looked for 2- and 4-year institutions successfully educating students who come from communities that have been chronically underserved,” Scott wrote.

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.

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North Barrington resident Kelly Dittmann has our endorsement for Harper College Board

Late last month, the Daily Herald wrote the following of candidate Kelly Dittmann in their summary of candidates running for Harper College board:

“Newcomer Kelly Dittmann, of North Barrington, does, however, complicate the decision for voters. For, she, too, exhibits a passion for the school and an appealing record of service, ranging from board memberships on the Make-A-Wish Foundation and Central Homeless Shelter to leadership roles with the United Way and more. She would fit well into the composition of the Harper board”

Maybe the Herald didn’t endorse Dittmann, but they clearly wanted to. They all but wrote, “Vote for her,” and not to say that influenced our decision, it did reinforce our resolve that Kelly Dittmann deserves to be on the Harper College board.

Our (very) short list of reasons for our endorsement of her include:

  • Dittmann has earned degrees from Purdue University in Organizational Leadership and Management, an MBA in Executive Leaderships and Management from Drake University and studied Advanced Strategy & Economics: Building and Implementing Growth Strategies at The University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business
  • Her extensive community involvement also speaks to her qualifications including Community Leader, Board Member Make-A-Wish Foundation, Strategic Advisor, Mentor AgriTech Accelerator and iEmergent Technologies Mentored leaders, Cabinet Co-Chair, Board Member United Way Education Leadership Initiative (ELI) National Chapters and Board of Directors Central Iowa Shelter Services (CISS) to name a few.

Kelly’s full profile of qualifications and experience can be explored here, and she can be found with other qualified candidates at Action PAC.

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The following is from the, “ACTION PAC,” website:

“Action PAC is an acronym for Advancing Change Together In Our Neighborhood. The “PAC” is a registered committee with the Illinois State Board of Elections. The PAC was created to provide support for candidates who are interested in running for local offices such as School District Boards, Library Boards, Park District Boards, Community College Boards, and many more local offices.

These offices have been traditionally low-key positions and part of the prolific list of taxing bodies that exist throughout the State of Illinois. Illinois has more taxing bodies than California and many of these taxing bodies have minimal attention focused on them but they are all listed on your tax bill and they have significant budgets and assets. Harper College’s 2019 budget was $106 Million.

The year 2020 has proven to be a catalyst for political engagement on every level and locally the actions and policies of schools, libraries, and park districts are getting much more attention. This newfound attention has resulted in record numbers of candidates for these local offices.

Action PAC exists to support like-minded people who support positive change in local government that focuses on the concerns of taxpayers, citizens, and parents.


To support and elect people to local elective offices that have been traditionally underserved.”

To learn more about these candidates, visit their website here.

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With more and more students signing up for Harper College’s Promise Scholarship, the program that guarantees free tuition for good grades, attendance and community service is slowly becoming financially unsustainable, college officials say.

It’s a reality that has led them to consider tweaks to the program now, and perhaps an overhaul later.

In the short term, the college’s board next month will vote on an advisory committee’s recommendation to include Advanced Placement and dual credit courses taken in high school in the amount of credit hours the college will pay for. The change would apply to high schoolers at three Harper sender districts beginning with the graduating classes of 2025 — current eighth-graders whom Harper officials already plan to start recruiting in January.

It wouldn’t mean students need to arrive at Harper’s Palatine campus with college credits, nor would there be any changes to the existing list of requirements to get the tuition-free scholarship.

Established in 2015 under then-President Ken Ender, the program awards two years of tuition to students from Northwest Suburban High School District 214, Palatine-Schaumburg High School District 211 and Barrington Area Unit District 220 who maintain solid grades, have good attendance, don’t repeat classes, graduate on time and provide service in their communities.

The proposed credit hour change, plus a one-time board contribution of $1.4 million, would make the Promise program whole for the next decade, officials said. There’s about $20 million in the fund now, and it costs at least $1 million in tuition for each year’s class — a number that’s expected to grow with the increase in demand.

Read on here.

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Determined to keep their students, faculty and staff safe from the COVID-19 virus, officials at Harper College have announced that classes for the fall 2020 semester will be offered “primarily online.”

In a statement recently posted on the Palatine-based community college’s website, officials said the decision to keep the campus “mostly” closed was made “to protect our students, faculty and staff,” with most courses to be taught online for fall, and some featuring live class meetings.

“Some classes will require students to attend live, online class meetings at a set time,” officials said. “These courses will be fully online but will require you to be online and connected by webcam and microphone at set times.”

Administrators at other area colleges and universities have said they’re anticipating a combination of in-person and online classes in the fall, though many schools are still sorting out those details.

Read more here.

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BACC-HiRes-cropSeveral officials representing schools, libraries, park districts and other local governments in the Barrington area will address the issues facing their constituents during an upcoming public forum.

Hosted by the Barrington Area Chamber of Commerce, the second annual “Public Town Hall Forum” lets Barrington area residents hear from their local officials directly and under one roof, said Suzanne Corr, president and CEO of the Barrington Area Chamber of Commerce.

“This public town hall forum offers residents and business leaders in the Barrington area a chance to hear firsthand vital information about how their tax dollars are being used in our communities,” Corr said in a news release.

Attendees also can submit questions to the speakers during the event, which starts at 8 a.m. April 25 at Makray Memorial Golf Club, 1010 S. Northwest Highway, Barrington.

To register for the event, interested residents can call 847-381-2525 or visit the chamber’s web site at www.barringtonchamber.com.

The speakers for this year’s forum include Jesse Henning, the new executive director of the Barrington Area Library; Brian Harris, superintendent of Barrington School District 220; Jim Kreher, fire chief of the Barrington Countryside Fire Protection District; Dennis Kelly, treasurer of the Barrington Hills Park District; Teresa Jennings, executive director of the Barrington Park District; Jay Morgan, executive director of the South Barrington Park District; and Kenneth Ender, president of Harper College, the chamber said.

To read the full article in the Chicago Tribune, click here.

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 PlumFarmAerialThe public hearing scheduled for Monday, April 3, on a controversial tax-increment financing (TIF) district for a proposed 184-acre development at routes 59 and 72 in western Hoffman Estates will be continued at that time to the village board meeting of Monday, May 1.

The next meeting of the joint review board of the taxing bodies potentially affected by such a TIF district is already scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 18, at Hoffman Estates village hall, 1900 Hassell Road.

A public hearing on the village’s potential annexation of the land is scheduled for 7 p.m. Monday, April 17, but also may be continued to a later date.

To read the report in the Daily Herald, click here.

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The vast majority of taxing bodies potentially affected by a proposed $21 million tax refund for a development in western Hoffman Estates dislike the idea so much they rejected it twice Tuesday.  Members of the joint review board for the tax increment financing district requested by the developer for a 184-acre site at routes 59 and 72 first voted 7-1 against approving the eligibility for such an incentive, then voted 7-1 to actively reject its eligibility.

But even with two such votes against it, the proposal legally receives a 30-day period for the developer to adapt the request before the joint review board meets again at 1:30 p.m. April 18 at Hoffman Estates village hall.  And if the ultimate vote is still against the TIF district, the Hoffman Estates village board can still approve it with a supermajority.

The full text of the Daily Herald can be read here.

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