Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Even though the One Barrington Hills trustee candidates are running unopposed, if you haven’t already, it’s still important to vote between now and Tuesday for School and Library Boards. These are very important elections, and turnout will determine the winners. If you can’t vote but still receive these messages, please take a moment and encourage those who can.
For School Board, I endorse Leonard Munson, Katey Baldassano, and Matt Sheriff.
For Library Board, I endorse Chase Heidner, Kristin Cunningham, and Kelly Dittman.
I also endorse J.C. Clarke, Darby Hills, and Jessica Hoffman as Barrington Hills Trustees, and Margot Dallstream and Jason Lohmeyer as Barrington Trustees.
This month I’m stepping down after eight years as a Trustee. The main reason I feel comfortable doing so is that Barrington Hills’ government is running very well. In particular, we’ve reduced the property tax levy nine years in a row, something we believe is unprecedented in Illinois. The Barrington Library, with roughly $10 million dollars in the bank, could do something similar, yet the board continues to irresponsibly increase the levy. Electing Heidner, Cunningham, and Dittman would flip the board, and along with Anne Ordway, who was elected two years ago, there would be a majority in favor of reversing this trend. And, if they follow Barrington Hills’ lead, they will also reduce the budget while maintaining a high level of services. This is the least we should be asking of our elected representatives, but the current majority has resisted every effort to implement a proper fiscal policy. Once elected, these candidates will also improve the library experience and offer more community-friendly programs and materials. It’s an easy choice, but an important one. You just have to vote to make it happen.
The District 220 Board election is another easy choice. The current board closed school doors for a full year, despite other schools remaining open (I sent two of my three children to one of those schools). By a series of decisions taken by the board, District 220 was prevented from reopening long beyond any legal obligation, which resulted in real negative consequences for both our kids and the district. The damage was both self-inflicted and unnecessary. Despite hundreds of parents pleading with the board to listen to reason, the majority of the board was obstinate, repeatedly refusing to change course and exercise leadership. Two of those board members (Barry Altshuler and Leah Collister-Lazzari) are up for re-election and should be denied another opportunity. Diana Clopton is another candidate who, in a July 2021 letter, urged the board to keep the schools closed. Had she been on the board two years ago, she would have voted with Barry and Leah, and against 70% of the community. With the ability to affect thousands of families with its decisions, this board is too important for us to ignore its manifest failures and desperate need for a new direction.
Local control is the most important feature of our school board system, and I simply don’t feel we have it with this current board. They’re moving in the wrong direction in so many ways – based on 4-3 votes. The situation is surreal and deeply concerning. With all the issues facing our schools, the board’s makeup is essential to achieving the outcomes we want. Munson, Baldassano, and Sheriff will place power in the community’s hands where it belongs, and along with Karam and Wang (elected two years ago), they will give us 5-2 votes going the right direction for a change.
I’ll share one piece of data I researched myself. Our school district is the 21st wealthiest in the state, but is ranked 88th in academic performance (ISBE Report Card). This one juxtaposition clearly illustrates the situation in District 220 today. It couldn’t be clearer that now’s the time for new people and new ideas.
Please make sure you back these candidates with your vote so we can all enjoy the positive results from a new majority. They’re all qualified, ready to start working, and committed to doing a good job. It’s time to reform the school and library boards, and these candidates will get the job done. I look forward to them bringing accountability and excellence back to these crucial parts of our local government.
Together we can do it. Please vote, and make sure your friends and family vote. Now is the time.
Village of Barrington Hills, Trustee