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Archive for the ‘Transparency’ Category

220 2023

Leonard Munson, Katey Baldassano and Matt Sheriff

Yesterday we reviewed some candidates running for seats on the District 220 Board of Education (BOE) April 4, 2023 elections. To summarize, we recommended residents not vote for Leah Collister-Lazzari and Barry Altshuler so far.

Five other candidates are asking voters to consider voting for them, and they are:

Leonard Munson: Munson is a United States Air Force veteran, and served as a Survival Resistance and Escape instructor for 20 years. He brought these experiences to the private sector running small businesses including training and operational support on the Global War on Terror. Munson has served on the LEADS board educating and mentoring a drug free District 220.

Munson was often found to  be the voice of reason during public comment at  BOE meetings, advocating for choice and parental rights when it came to masking the District 220 students. In addition, Munson recently gave public comment at a BOE meeting in favor of the District funding all day kindergarten, which Collister-Lazari would presumably not support given her interest in raising the cost to parents of kindergarten enrichment.

Katey Baldassano:  Baldassano has a master’s degree in educational leadership with a bachelors in early childhood education. She’s been a teacher in Carpentersville and has provided educational support in the home setting.

Baldassano has spoken at BOE meetings during public comment urging the Board to ensure that parents retain their right to determine what books their children had access to when deciding on keeping books, such as Gender Queer, the book endorsed by Altshuler, in the school libraries. She also addressed the Board during the remote learning and masking debate, discussing the potential long term effects of denying young children the education they need, the need for human connection and relationships, and that true equity is about children getting what they need so they can learn.

Matt Sheriff: Sheriff has served many executive and c-level roles professionally with diverse business experience leading companies and negotiating contracts. Given the District’s contract with the Barrington Education Association is currently being negotiated, Sheriff’s experience negotiating with fortune 100 companies will be a great asset in the union negotiations, particularly in light of Hunt’s departure.

Sheriff volunteers with the Lake County Sheriff’s auxiliary deputy unit, assisting Lake County’s local municipalities in times of emergencies and when additional manpower resources are required.

Diana Clopton: Clopton works in marketing for AbbVie Pharmaceuticals. Clopton did face a challenge to her candidacy for failure to properly file her statement of economic interest. She prevailed in that proceeding and her name will remain on the ballot. She piloted two children programs, Born Beautiful, a workshop for young women, and Gamechangers, which teaches kids about entrepreneurship.

We have not seen Clopton speak at any Board of Education meetings, but we know that self-proclaimed activist Jim McGrath, a serial speaker before the BOE, who advocates against the rights of parents to choose whether to vaccinate, mask, or determine appropriate reading material for their children has advocated on Clopton’s behalf on Twitter, referring to her as one of  “our candidates,” along with Altshuler and Collister-Lazarri, each of whom has taken similar positions as McGrath on taking away these parental rights.

Nelda Munoz: Munoz has been outspoken during Board meetings over masking and indoctrination of students over the availability of the book Gender Queer. She was also a plaintiff in one of the pandemic related lawsuits brought against D220. Her grit and determination in the effort to raise awareness of issues to the current BOE has been commendable.

While we appreciate the passion of Munoz, in the wake of Superintendent Hunt’s departure, we think it important that the upcoming board have well-reasoned and thoughtful members to not only search for the next superintendent, but to figure out how to retain him or her for more than 18 months, and to control the madness of the current BOE President Ficke-Bradford.

Having considered all 7 candidates and weighing the pros and cons of each, we’re endorsing Leonard Munson, Katey Baldassano and Matt Sheriff for seats on the District 220 Board of Education.

In an era where the voices of the community have fallen on deaf ears, we believe they will bring a willingness to listen to all voices, integrity, common sense, fiscal responsibility, negotiating skills, and much needed balance to the District 220 Board of Education.

Related:What 220 voters need to know

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2023 Seats Up For Reelection

Angela Wilcox, Leah Collister-Lazzari and Barry Altshuler

Angela Wilcox, current and second longest serving 220 Board of Education member, recently withdrew from the race for another term on the board.  This week, the district’s superintendent, Dr. Robert Hunt, announced his departure only eighteen (18) after his installment (as an aside, the BOE under former President Kazmier and then VP Ficke-Bradford spent nearly a year and Lord knows how much in taxpayer dollars searching for Hunt in 2020).

In light of these two recent events, we think it’s time to take a good look at the candidates running for 220 Board of Education in the upcoming April election.

Incumbent Barry Altshuler, a pediatrician who espouses on his professional website to believing in ‘holistic’ care, routinely advocated for vaccination of students, to keep students remote and masked. Altshuler voted to keep Gender Queer in the District’s libraries, saying, “kids need the book,” and he “wished that book was around when (he) was in middle school.”  For reference, the book is recommended for ages 16 and up.

Altshuler was also heard violating the doctor/patient HIPPA confidentiality when he discussed his patient, Alex Strobl, publicly during BOE meetings surrounding the controversy of Strobl dropping from the 2021 BOE election.

Incumbent Leah Collister-Lazzari voted to keep students remote and masked.  Collister-Lazzari also wrote emails micro-managing Dr. Hunt, such as asking him to tell BHS basketball coaches to make sure the kids were properly masked while playing sports.

In December, Collister-Lazzari voted remotely for an increase in the levy while on a purported ‘business meeting’ in New Zealand, yet also advocated in favor of the District increasing the parental cost of kindergarten enrichment and voted against keeping the fees at their current rate in favor of raising them.

During the D220 strategic planning meetings she brought a 3×5 card with Ficke-Bradford’s equity statement written on it and advocated to have the equity statement put into the D220 mission statement.

Most egregiously, in the opinion of the Observer, in 2021 when three new members of the current Board were sworn in for their first BOE meeting, Altshuler and Collister-Lazzari colluded with Sandra Ficke-Bradford and Erin Chan Ding to oust Member Wilcox from any position as a Board Officer. Wilcox was 6 years into the position, to Altshuler’s and Collister-Lazzari’s 2, and had an exemplary record as the Treasurer of the Board in preceding years.

In addition, the public had made it clear to the BOE Board that Wilcox was preferred to succeed to the position of President surrounding controversial actions of Ficke-Bradford and Kazmierz and their treatment of Alex Strobl who withdrew as a candidate in the 2021 election following their strong-arm tactics.

For these reasons, and more to come, we urge voters NOT to vote for Barry Altshuler and Leah Collister-Lazzari.  They do not deserve to continue on our 220 school board.

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VBH Village HallOur Village Board of Trustees will be conducting their regular monthly meeting beginning this evening at 6:30 PM. A copy of the agenda can be viewed and downloaded here.

This month’s agenda now has two options for residents to attempt to listen in to tonight’s meeting:

Audio OptionsWould those with the time and inclination try listening to both options and report back which one sucks less in terms of sound clarity?  It would be ever so much appreciated!

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Horizon Farm Master Plan: Your Feedback is Appreciated

The Park District will host a meeting with the Cook County Forest Preserve District to discuss a Master Plan for the Horizon Farm property. The public is encouraged to attend in person or via Zoom (check back here for a link to the meeting.) Meeting Date: Feb. 8th, at 7:00 p.m.  Meeting Location:  361 Bateman Rd. Barriington [sic] Hills, IL, at the Park District’s Riding Center Meeting Room.”

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VB Police Contract

Barrington has reached agreement on a new, three-year contract with its police officers. The deal gives officers annual 3% raises and allows the department to make lateral hires. (Daily Herald File Photo)

Barrington officials signed off this week on a new contract with the village’s police officers.

The agreement with Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #177 began Jan. 1 and includes 3% salary hikes for each of the three years of the contract. It was approved by the village board Monday.

Under the new contract, the new officers will start with a $76,620 salary. After six years, an officer could achieve the top pay of $109,977.

Police Chief Dave Dorn said Barrington’s recently acquired home-rule status enabled the contract to allow the hiring of “lateral” transfers — officers currently employed by another agency. Bringing in lateral transfers has advantages, he said.

“You can look at a broader applicant pool. You can speed up your testing process as well,” Dorn said.

Dorn said the agreement would have been negotiated quicker if wages had been the only focus. But contract talks also involved incorporating 12-hour shifts for patrol officers from a separate memorandum of understanding into the main contract.

More here.

Editorial note: Makes one wonder where we stand with our own Village Police agreement(s)?

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220 BOE Photo copy

The District 220 Board of Education meets this evening at 7:00 PM at the District Administration Center, 515 W. Main Street. The Board will discuss and perhaps approve the, “Second Reading of Board Policy,” including:

A copy of the agenda can be viewed here. The meeting will be live streamed on the district YouTube channel.

Related:Two candidates in District 220 face ballot challenges

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Leah Collister-Lazzari

Leah Collister-Lazzari

A Cook County electoral board opened hearings Thursday on challenges to the nominating paperwork of two candidates for the Barrington Area Unit District 220 board.

Barrington resident Timothy O’Donnell filed the challenges to the candidacies of incumbent board member Leah Collister-Lazzari and newcomer Diana L. Clopton.

O’Donnell, who described himself as a concerned citizen, said both candidates’ statements of economic interests were faulty.

The electoral board assigned all matters, including the District 220 case and other challenges, to hearing officers, who will conduct evidentiary hearings before making recommendations to the electoral board.

The board will meet again on Jan. 12 to assign additional cases for status updates and then on Jan. 18, when rulings will begin to be issued.

Collister-Lazzari declined to comment Thursday. Clopton could not be reached for comment.

Read more here.

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2022

Following are the eleven (11) most viewed posts published in The Barrington Hills Observer in 2022:

  1. Controversial ‘Gender Queer’ will remain on the shelf at Barrington High, school board decides
  2. Woman bit her daughter’s finger off during altercation in Barrington Hills, prosecutors say
  3. Our predominantly pusillanimous Village Board (Part 1)
  4. Learn from your (big) mistake, Laura, Bryan, Dave and Tom
  5. Special Village Board meeting this afternoon
  6. Resident tells 220 Board of Education what they needed to hear (but did they listen?)
  7. Barrington Hills man severely injured in crash
  8. Some observations on tonight’s Appropriations public hearing
  9. Our predominantly pusillanimous Village Board (Part 4)
  10. District 220 goes too far (again)
  11. Petition started to “Filter Adult Obscene/Porn Content & SB818 Opt Out,” in D220 Schools

For those wondering why eleven and not an even number, we simply couldn’t end the year without reminding readers where we’ve been in 2022 by omitting #11.

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BCFPD Hummer

The Barrington Countryside Fire Protection District (BCFPD) Board of Trustees meets tonight at 6:30 PM at 22222 N. Pepper Road in Lake Barrington. Topics for discussion and possible approval include:

  • Consideration and possible approval of 2022 Tax Levy Ordinance, and
  • Discussion and possible approval of 2023 Compensation

We do know the 2021 levy was $7,008,000, however we cannot report what the 2020 levy was for comparison since the District website does not provide that information.

As far as compensation is concerned, minutes from the November 2021 District meeting state, “Trustee Long moved to increase the salary of 3 acting officers from $75,000 to $85,000 and 6 preceptors from $65,000 to $70,000.”  

A copy of their agenda can be viewed here.

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SECURITY

The Barrington Hills Park District Advisory Committee meets this evening at 7PM.  Some of the topics on their agenda include:

  • Explore request fo motion activated flood lights around exterior of RC – suggestion for solar powered
  • Explore Request for security camera outside: parking lot, tractor shed, stall aisles, outdoor arenas. mounted as high as possible. *Signs* that call out video surveillance could be a deterrent.
  • Explore request for Panic alarm suggested: at either end of barn aisle, two in the arena. A phone with direct line to 911 would be an alternative, and
  • Explore possibility of a better time for Riding Club on weekend

A copy of their agenda can be viewed here.  Instructions for attending the meeting via Zoom can be found here

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