All Comments

  • 2016-02-09 12:47:47
    Thetruth on Opinion: Vote Yes; It's A Good Plan: As Lasko's letter highlights, I say "you are making my point." The community's main concern isn't so much the dollars involved (while that is significant) it is the fact that many of us don't want a "Costco Middle school" (I've now coined that phrase). Close a few schools and give us two remodeled middle schools seems to be the common thread. Since the board and Bregy don't hear that fact, highlights how clueless they are to the wants of community and that they need to go...period. [Read More]
  • 2016-02-09 08:56:54
    Lexie on Opinion: Educator Supports D-112 Referendum: Rodriguez lists his university affiliation as U of I at Urbana-Champaign. If I'm a student I could list my address as HP if that's where family is but I could still live and work in some place entirely different. Is he there or here during the school year? Is he a parent who will be schlepping kids to and from Highwood or the Highlands to Red Oak/Sherwood during the academic year? "Linked In" lists him as a 2016 teaching assistant at U of Illinois/Champaign-Urbana. How is he teaching there but living here? Judy, please don't play fast and loose with residency facts and then charge others with being factually mistaken. If he's not currently living here during the school year because he's teaching in Champaign, I say again I do not want a distant graduate student contesting whether or not it's a challenge for me or other parents to get my kids to and from school functions. Even if he is here every day of the school year, his opinion that the schlepp is not a problem does not invalidate my opinion that it is, and he should not call people who disagree liars. [Read More]
  • 2016-02-09 06:43:56
    Arthur on Opinion: Vote Yes; It's A Good Plan: We should comment Bennett Lasko for his service to his community, and for the thoughtfulness he has put into this letter.

    Yet, his letter also reveals some of the reasons the middle school plan to build a single middle school of 1800+ students is so divisive. The community has been told this referendum of $198 million is the "only plan" that can possibly solve 112's complicated financial problems. Aside from the fact that this plan does not actually solve those problems because it underfunds maintenance of the surviving schools, Lasko makes a key point that we need to consider:

    "Mr. Kornblatt’s alternative is essentially the same model that a group of SCFFAC members, administration representatives and the District’s architects reviewed in a series of meetings in November and December 2014. I was one of the SCFFAC members in that group."

    This group Lasko refers to was the Architectural Advisory Committee. It was a post-SCFFAC body that met in coffee shops every two weeks or once per month, to informally advise the 112 Superintendent on the process. Two Board members served on the committee, Jane Mordini and Yumi Ross.

    One member of the group, Gerry Meister, has become a prominent dissenting voice against the plan. He has said many times that he think the plan does not solve 112's problems.

    So, oh, what do you do when when two people attended the same meetings and say different things? The community can look to the minutes, Board presentations, notes, etc, to return to that moment and make an informed decision. If you want to know what happened in SCFFFAC, all of that material is posted online, ad it involved dozens of community members.

    This Architectural Advisory Committee has no minutes, no notes, and made no presentations to the Board at the bi-monthly meetings. Although this is in no way Lasko's intent, the committee effectively operated in secret. We have no way of knowing what configurations they actually evaluated, how serious they did so, and what coll [Read More]

  • 2016-02-09 06:40:41
    Heidi on Opinion: Vote Yes; It's A Good Plan: As a citizen living in a democracy, I don't want a wholesale re-engineering of my entire community developed by "top quality professionals" and "elected board members" who are unwilling to listen to the electorate. That's autocracy, not democracy. Time and again, we residents have asked for an array of cost options, or at least a fully costed-out 2 middle school plan as an alternative to the single middle-school plan. Polls have showed that the vast majority of district residents want two middle schools, not one, if we have to close schools. We have asked for choice -- choices we can vote on. We have also asked board officials to listen to the community's preference for change, but not radical change. No one has listened. Instead, we have a zealous group of board and YES pac members with the financial resources and single-minded will to ram through an unpopular and foolhardy plan. Look at all the community leaders who oppose this plan--Mayor Belsky, Mayor Geraci, Mike Brenner, now Steve Mandel. Why would we ignore the trusted counsel of these community leaders and support a plan just because the teacher's union (vested interest, if there ever was one!) and the League of Women Voters (driven by YES pac members) support it? I will be voting no. This plan is bad for our financial future and bad for education. [Read More]
  • 2016-02-08 17:04:10
    hzs on Opinion: There's No Plan B: Dan,

    The problem is the school board & administration never fulfilled their responsibility to the community to fully cost out a 2 middle school option. Heck, you and Adam Kornblatt have done more work on this than they ever did. Instead they paraded out the pathetic, theater of the absurd Olson Park second middle school site option that was shot down in 20 seconds by the park district. I'd like to give the school board credit they knew this would be the case, but I'm not so sure now. Oh well - no other choice but to go with the one middle school option. Trust the school district's experts who just couldn't figure out another way forward. There's no chance other citizens, architects, construction companies transparently working together can put together a better plan. It's simply not possible. I will be voting NO. [Read More]

  • 2016-02-08 15:00:00
    Ann (Reed) Kaser on Winnetka's Three Godfathers: They both went to school (New Trier) in Winnetka. [Read More]
  • 2016-02-08 14:34:29
    Dan Jenks on Opinion: There's No Plan B: Robert, I have no political agenda, I'm not part of any conspiracy. Please show me the "much more cost effective 2 middle school solution," point me in the right direction - after your many years on SFFAC, surely an expert like you should be able to do this?. Simple answer is that it doesn't exist without sacrificing the quality of our education. I analyzed Adam Kornblatt's very thoughtful proposal - 2 middle schools, Edgewood and Northwood, with added classrooms, $125 million upfront and a $2 million increase in the operating levy. Annual savings to a $300,000 homeowner over the District's plan - $45/year - not substantially more cost effective. I didn't like the educational trade-offs his plan required versus the District's plan (Edgewood with 900 students nearly twice the size of Northwood) and thought the District's plan makes wiser long-term investments in our facilities. You can read my full analysis on Facebook in NSSD 112 Sound Board group. [Read More]
  • 2016-02-08 13:17:04
    No Way on Opinion: There's No Plan B: I want my 3 minutes back after reading this. The 'opinion' title should read, 'I'm Lost.'

    Mr. Jenks, along with all my wacky neighbors are being brainwashed by the myopic agenda spinning out of this board. What they don't seem to grasp is that this isn't a new issue, and everyone wants change. However, the current option is beyond ludicrous.

    Artie Smith boils it down to two key facts, the former the most important. While the board will tell you they've looked at 50+ different options to divert you from reality, ask them how many were value engineered, or at least vetted with the same amount of scrutiny as the current laughable option. Hint: Zero.

    This is like a realtor telling you that you have to buy this house. Even though you can't afford it, you'll get the best amenities, so who cares that you will be upside down on it? Someone will bail you out.

    Everyone likes shiny new objects, but the misinformed, misguided and uneducated voters will not get to play with this one. [Read More]

  • 2016-02-08 08:38:26
    Jphp on Opinion: There's No Plan B: Sounds like something I've heard before "we need to pass the bill, to find out what is in the bill." How did that one work out? I doubt this is rocket science...the community doesn't want a superstore for a middle school. [Read More]
  • 2016-02-08 05:55:53
    Lucki on Opinion: What Failed Referendum Should Look Like: Touche! Finally, a logical argument based on fact and not emotion. Good luck with this line of reason. The much too liberal governing machine, also known as: public education, is rarely logical. They appeal to emotion, and paint anyone with an opposing view as evil. The long and short of every public education argument is this: humans are wired to learn. Children, teens and young adults will learn best if they have supportive parents and enthusiastic educators at the helm. Unplug and engage with them. No state of the art buildings are required. [Read More]
  • 2016-02-07 22:49:07
    Robert T. Bernat, MD, JD on Opinion: There's No Plan B: I am a parent dedicated to the cause of education not only at the local School District 112 level, but also on a state-wide basis. I have served on the NSSD 112 Superintendent's Finance and Facilities Advisory Committee (SCFFAC) as well as the SCFFAC's predecessor and the parallel body for District 113. And I currently serve on the NSSD 112 Superintendent's School Safety and Security Task Force and the State of Illinois School Security and Standards Task Force. It is clear to me and should be clear to anyone else educated or becoming educated about the issues surrounding the $198,000,00.00 Referendum that Mr. Jenks is both misinformed and misguided. The debt imposed for construction of the mega middle school campus in the southwest corner of Highland Park will not save us money, but put us into a hole from which we could not recover. Perhaps even more significantly, a mega middle school will serve to damage the quality of education for our children.

    Mr. Jenks asks what message would a "no" vote send to the School Board? Let me answer him. Simply put, a no vote on the Referendum would be a vote of no confidence in the Board and the Administration. A much more cost effective solution exists incorporating two middle schools, but the Board and its supporters will not admit that it has a political agenda driving their narrative that no alternative to their plan exists. It is outrageous that the School Board threatens the people they are supposed to serve, spends our money profligately on consultants and PR firms and tells us that it is their way or the highway. The electorate should not be deluded by the scare tactics of the District. The defeat of the Referendum will bring out onto the table the more cost effective solutions. What we need is not a new $198,000,000.00 middle school; what we need is new leadership for the District. [Read More]

  • 2016-02-07 20:40:51
    Lexie on Opinion: There's No Plan B: This is the only intelligent letter I've read from YES supporters in the last few weeks. Even so, it fails to convince me because of its lack of vision. Just because Jenks says *he* is unable to understand how the Board of Education can move on after a failed referendum doesn't meant other bright people can't figure that out. See Adam Kornblatt's recent letter for one possible way forward: http://dailynorthshore.com/2016/02/07/opinion-what-failed-referendum-should-look-like/. No doubt there are other possibilities, too. Let's get people like Kornblatt on the Board of Education next year. Then we can stop seeing dead ends and impossibilities and truly "move forward." Jenks' letter helps me understand why I need to vote no to this referendum. [Read More]
  • 2016-02-07 18:57:34
    Judy H on Opinion: Educator Supports D-112 Referendum: First, Gabriel Rodriguez lives in Highland Park.

    Second, there are currently Latina/o residents who live at the north end of HP & in Highwood who get their kids to Red Oak & Sherwood for Dual Language. Not only do the kids show up for school, but the same families participate in school social events ALL THE TIME. To state otherwise is incorrect and condescending.

    Get some facts under your belt before you weigh in. [Read More]

  • 2016-02-07 18:27:02
    Leslie R on Opinion: There's No Plan B: Donald Trump would like to build a wall to keep out immigrants. Let's vote for that, instead of a plan that keeps with the values that make us a community people want to live in. [Read More]
  • 2016-02-07 17:23:58
    Kris on Opinion: There's No Plan B: No, Dan, there's no Plan B. because this particular Board of Education does not have the creative vision, financial agility, and interest in devising a lest costly, less radical plan. That's why we need to Vote No. Vote no to this lack of vision, and vote yes to a set of board members who can see beyond this board's blinders. [Read More]
  • 2016-02-07 17:11:03
    Arthur Smith on Opinion: There's No Plan B: This is a well-written letter, but it operates in stark contrast to another one on this site.

    http://dailynorthshore.com/2016/02/07/opinion-what-failed-referendum-should-look-like/

    In this, Adam Kornblatt spells out two key points: 1) we are being pressured to vote yes by cuts that do not need to be made in the short term, and 2) that there are other plans that 112 has not considered.

    On Facebook, Jenks and Kornblatt have engaged in a respectful discussion, They disagree on much, but Jenks is ignoring two key facts:

    1) No 2-middle school plan was value engineered to bring the cost down.
    2) The Sept 15, 2015 Board meeting details this. See Eric Ephraim's comments. He says the Board didn't do what it promised the community.

    Until then, we cannot know if the many arguments Jenks deploys in the letter above are actually correct.

    Let's vote no, get the Board to do its job, or, get a new Board who will. [Read More]

  • 2016-02-07 09:47:42
    Gary Devroy on Winnetka's Three Godfathers: Scott Holleran mentions Charlton Heston and Ann Margret being from Winnetka, yet they are both from Wilmette. Do you have any proof that either ever actually lived in Winnetka? [Read More]
  • 2016-02-06 10:45:18
    Lexie on Opinion: Educator Supports D-112 Referendum: I am very troubled by Rodriguez's claim that those concerned about the transportation burdens for Highwood Latino residents are liars ("There are those who say Latina/o parents are unwilling or unable to commute across town to attend school functions. These comments about our Latina/o community are a complete and utter lie.") Apart from the intellectual irresponsibility of such a sweeping charge, who is Rodriguez to make this claim, living as he apparently does in Champaign, IL? Will he be transporting kids to and from the northeast part of the district during the school year? Will he be without a car in such situations? Recently there was a letter to the editor written by a local Latina college professor who raised concerns about the transportation burden she herself would experience and that of others she knows in the Latino community if one middle school were built in the southwest corner of the district. From her letter, it's clear she actually lives in the Highlands. She says she has kids in the district. She knows first hand--not from an Ivory Tower--what problems would be created by being so distant from a big middle school. Let's listen to the people who actually live, work and have children in the district. Speaking for myself, I don't want to be told by a young graduate student what would or wouldn't be a burden for actual parents in this district, whether Latino or not. Here's a link to the college professor's letter: http://dailynorthshore.com/2016/02/02/opinion-adamantly-opposed-to-referendum/. I will be voting no. [Read More]
  • 2016-02-06 10:16:49
    Kris on Opinion: Educator Supports D-112 Referendum: Unfortunately, Gabriel, anyone who has ever been in a big ethnically, racially, and economically diverse school will know that just putting all such kids in one big building does not create solidarity or understanding. Just witness the common lunch room scenarios at such big schools where all the kids of one race, ethnicity or social class sit together and those from another sit together. If you think packing one big building with 2000 middle-school kids from the whole district will create "solidarity," you are unrealistic. Buildings do not create solidarity; good teaching does. And that doesn't require a single, mega-middle school. [Read More]
  • 2016-02-05 14:35:01
    JCA on Opinion: It's Vital To Vote Yes: Marcy - This is not SCCFAC's plan. Period.

    As for your questions about involvement in SCCFAC and following the process - the answer to both of those for me is yes. I applied to be part of the SCCFAC and was not selected (maybe that's a good thing for me in hindsight). And I have followed the process very closely (watched all board meetings and attended three Community "Conversations", which is one of the reasons I am opposed to this plan - I'm not going simply off talking points issued by D112 to determining my position. I also take issue with that question in that there are people who may not have the resources or ability to do either of those things (work, health, transportation, etc)... I find that entire paragraph incredibly arrogant. Kudos to you for taking on so many things - I hope you are thankful for being able to do all of that. But please don't vilify people who weren't or couldn't be fully involved in the process because they don't like this plan. They have as much right to an opinion as you do. Thanks. [Read More]

  • 2016-02-04 20:24:37
    Marcy Turner on Opinion: It's Vital To Vote Yes: John, my letter clearly states that I live west of 41. In fact, I live on Sumac just south of Rosemary, so will be in the heart of the additional traffic should this pass. As I stated, I am willing to deal with traffic if it means better education for HP's children (and, mind you, mine will be in High School by the time changes are made should it pass). As far as the bus goes, I grew up in Sherwood Forest and was bussed to east HP (Green Bay/Indian Trail/Elm Place) every day from kindergarten through 8th grade. As my letter states, I only have good memories of the bus. For this reason, and because there are guidelines in place by the Board prohibiting more than 45 min on a bus, I don't think that the bussing issue should have a big impact on one's choice to vote yes or no. [Read More]
  • 2016-02-04 19:15:09
    Marcy Cohen Turner on Opinion: It's Vital To Vote Yes: I live west of 41 very close to West Ridge. As I stated in the letter, I'm smack in the middle of where the new campus would be and am not afraid of some extra traffic if it means kids get the best possible education. I grew up in Sherwood Forest and was bussed to east HP (Green Bay, Indian Trail and Elm Place) from K thru 8th and never once had a problem with it. [Read More]
  • 2016-02-04 14:19:20
    hzs on Opinion: It's Vital To Vote Yes: I'm voting NO. My daughter & husband who moved to the Red Oak area several years ago to raise their children are voting NO. They are not afraid of pr firm orchestrated promises from the school board & administration of what the they will "lose" should they have the audacity to Vote No. They thought they would be able recreate to some degree my daughter's experience growing up at Sherwood. With passage of the referendum, they lose Red Oak & Sherwood schools. They get a massive building the size of Highland Park High School that's totally out of scale to the area plopped into the worst possible location in Highland Park. They get massive & very dangerous traffic congestion the likes of which this city has never experienced and a carbon footprint that totally contradicts the city's carbon reduction initiative. Their daughter will be put on the bus to Braeside (and that's one of the better outcomes of the reconfiguration). Oh - an as an added bonus they lose West Ridge Park because our school district will surely reach a deal with the park district for the sale or exchange of property to the school district. The main purpose of getting West Ridge? To build 2 new roadways in order to funnel the bus traffic coming from Ridge into the new big box building site. The new "playfields & open space" at the former park will be available for public use when the school district says so. Sweet.

    If the proposed referendum is so wonderful - why the strong opposition? The school board & administration have flunked this test. We're voting absolutely no. [Read More]

  • 2016-02-04 13:32:37
    Jon Nielsen on Sunday Breakfast: North Shore's Coach K: Cooke,Schermerhorn,McHugh true JR Spartan legends! [Read More]
  • 2016-02-04 12:15:08
    Doug Cooke on Sunday Breakfast: North Shore's Coach K: Bill Mclean is a terrific writer
    Time to interview a less wealthy but highly successful Junor Spartan (Glenbrook North) coach!! ;
    [Read More]
  • 2016-02-04 09:22:16
    Jeff Hamburg on Opinion: It's Vital To Vote Yes: The writer's letter is long and filled with many factual errors. I briefly address just two. First, the SCFFAC did not offer the current plan, a self-interested, self-serving architecture firm did. Moreover, that firm possesses no expertise in education and no familiarity with Highland Park. Second, the financial effect of the referendum will not stabilize district finances, and the district says so itself. While the ensuing bond would shift certain expenses to taxpayers (this is not what I would call "savings," by the way), the district foresees the need for another referendum to cover operations. And there's the rub. The currently proposed bond, in size and duration, will financially tie the hands of the district. It maxes out their credit card. Just yesterday, we saw what school district borrowing looks like under those circumstances. CPS has to borrow at 8% interest now. Chicago is paying for their school board's irresponsible decisions. Highland Park must demand better leadership. [Read More]
  • 2016-02-04 09:04:01
    John on Opinion: It's Vital To Vote Yes: Marcy, would you not say you are a little bit biased. Also do you live on the east side of HP and obviously you know if this plan passes there will be no elementary schools, on the West side of HP, so the only kids who will be bussed are my kids who live west of 94 [Read More]
  • 2016-02-04 08:13:43
    Jonas on Opinion: It's Vital To Vote Yes: Two points:

    SCFFAC settled on two 6-8 grade middle-schools. No a single middle-school.

    Why did our schools fall into such disrepair? [Read More]

  • 2016-02-04 07:57:26
    Loren Schechter on Opinion: It's Vital To Vote Yes: Thank you for you letter Marcy-it gets to the core of the issue. The current plan is not based upon the SCCFAC recommendations. SCCFAC neither considered nor endorsed a single middle school campus-In fact, members of SCCFAC have specifically rejected the current proposal. I encourage community members to ready the SCCFAC report which calls for 2 middle schools and rejects the concept of grade centers. Additionally, the only plan subject to the "cost engineering" process was the single middle school-other plans were not vetted in a similar fashion. Join me in voting no-D112 deserves a plan which is fiscally responsible, educationally sound, and respects the neighborhood school model. Loren [Read More]
  • 2016-02-04 00:18:49
    Teri Anderson on Meaghan Collins: So sorry to hear of your loss..my thoughts and prayers are with you and your entire family [Read More]
  • 2016-02-03 21:10:58
    sam on Armed Police At Northwood School: "armed" police. As opposed to.... [Read More]
  • 2016-02-03 18:29:04
    Caroline on NT's Kalis is shiny good at D-C Tourney: This article was written brilliantly - Well done [Read More]
  • 2016-01-31 18:33:43
    M. McClure on HPHS & DFH Get New Principals: It is NOT a Nobel Prize. It is the CLAES Nobel from the National Society of High School Scholars. The Claes Nobel has nothing to do with the Nobel Prize nor NobelPrize.org. The press release is misleading as there is no "Nobel Prize for Distinguished Teaching" from the actual Nobel organization founded by Alfred Nobel.
    This award from the National Society of High School Scholars, an organization with no connection to the actual Nobel Prizes and to note the press release,is misleading and is an understatement or misrepresentation.
    [Read More]
  • 2016-01-30 15:21:03
    M. McClure on HPHS & DFH Get New Principals: What exactly is the Nobel Prize for Distinguished Teaching? I cannot find it anywhere and there's nothing at the Nobel site related to teaching. I would like to know more about it. [Read More]
  • 2016-01-30 11:44:34
    Judy Gillispie on Opinion: D-112 Declares War On K-5: This is a very well written article which clearly (without fear mongering) discusses the reasons why a "no" vote on this referendum is the best choice. As someone who has lived in Highland Park since 1953 (frightening isn't it?), attended Highland Park schools, have children AND grandchildren who have attended as well, I have seen many school referendums pass and fail. I am very concerned about the manner in which this proposition has been handled and really feel that due to the angry responses on both sides (for and against) everyone should take a "timeout" step back until calmer methods are in place and truly reevaluate this. As I understand it the financial circumstances are not so dire that this is an emergency, so perhaps we need a new school board and a less expensive way of discussing and deciding on a plan. Neighborhood schools have been an important asset to our community and should not be eliminated so rashly. [Read More]
  • 2016-01-30 11:19:37
    Peg Wolfe on Opinion: NU Scoreboard Is Over-Sized: I cut down Isabella to Ashland in Evanston a couple of days ago to check out what NU is doing to the baseball field. Holy mackerel. If I lived on the Wilmette side of Isabella in that block I would be furious. What a weird thing for the NU athletic department to be spending big money on - baseball will never be a revenue sport in this part of the country. Why not level Welsh-Ryan and build a decent men's/women's basketball facility, instead? As the kids would say, I am #SMDH. [Read More]
  • 2016-01-29 07:22:39
    JM on Opinion: Vote Yes, Highland Park: 1) Fire sprinklers, security vestibules and the like do not depend upon this $200 million dollar referendum. Feldman and others are trying to convince us that either we buy this whole deal or we get none of those other things. This is false and misleading, like the line of a car salesman who knows you only need car locks and air bags, but is convincing you that you also have to buy a surround sound system, remote door entry and a number of other non-essentials in order to get what you need.
    2)The plan is for the middle school is one building with two wings. That's still one building.
    3) Even if we accept Feldman's casuistry that the middle school is a 5-6 school and a 7-8 school, that's a grade centers model, which research argues against because the more transitions kids have to make from one school to another (k-4, 5-6, 7-8), the worse their academic and educational outcomes. SCFAAC considered a grade centers model and rejected it (the video of their hearings on grade configurations is still available online if you do your detective work). Why should we buy into a grade centers model that SCFAAC, with careful consideration, rejected?
    4) To say that she was not harmed by having 4 and 5th grade in model school proves nothing. That's one personal story. It's too great of an inductive leap to move from that single personal story to a generalization about the best educational context for all fourth or fifth graders (or to represent the outcomes of all who experienced that model when she was young).
    5)If it was educationally such a great plan to have 4 and 5th graders in middle school (Elm Place) when Feldman was young, then logically the district would have argued to keep them there. In fact, they were moved back to elementary schools when that became possible. When we buy this $200 million plan, put shovels in the ground to tear up the Red Oak neighborhood, and commit to building a gigantic middle school for 1,900 kids, THERE WILL BE NO GOING BACK from a grand, ri
    [Read More]
  • 2016-01-28 21:43:38
    Heidi on Opinion: It’s Time to Move Forward: It is laughable that Daniel refers to the District's $200 million dollar plan as "affordable" and, by contrast, caricatures those who want a more modest plan (one based on prudent use of funds and focus on needs not wants) as lost in some Aristophanic cloud-cuckooland. Talk about having things upside down. It is in fact the District that is quixotically driven by unrealistic, unaffordable ideals. But perhaps that's not surprising when one considers the people driving this decision. Take, for instance, our current district CFO who was given a 37% pay raise by D112 in September of 2013, reported for irksomely high salary compensation just last year (http://wgntv.com/2015/01/27/new-municipal-salary-numbers-may-irk-taxpayers/), and called out by his previous district for outrageous salary and increases (http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20110522/discuss/705229851/). Then, let's consider our superintendent, who drives an expensive Porsche to the district Green Bay office. And consider the personal financial resources of certain school board members (obviously not funded by the District, but relevant because wealth shapes perspective). My point is not to judge these leaders' personal wealth or expenditures one way or another. My point is that these are the people proclaiming that we are in a state of financial disaster, and these are the people recommending an extravagant expenditure as solution. Is it any surprise that district leaders who are so accustomed to high personal compensation or expenditures would be similarly inclined to big spending of other people's money--and perhaps not even see it as big spending? [Read More]
  • 2016-01-28 20:25:18
    gloria sullivan on Lake Bluff Man Says Priest Abused Him: Congrats to you Robert for your courage in fighting for the recovering people of GOD,Dave being one we are so proud of. I've been blogging along time and just lately seeing good coming from all our years of fighting the evil one . You should remember me.With mixed feeling I might ad. I hope not too bad. We do grow doing this. [Read More]
  • 2016-01-28 13:19:40
    Judy Jones on Lake Bluff Man Says Priest Abused Him: Dave Ohlmuller is to be commended for his courage in speaking up and sharing his painful story of being sexually abused. Let's hope that anyone who may have knowledge or may have been harmed by Michael “Mitch” Walters, will find the courage to come forward and contact law enforcement no matter how long ago it happened.
    Silence only hurts, and by speaking up there is a chance for healing, exposing the truth, and therefore protecting others.

    Judy Jones, 636-433-2511. snapjudy@gmail.com, SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests) [Read More]

  • 2016-01-28 09:22:15
    Steve on Ramping Up For Deerfield Road Construction: Ridiculous. [Read More]
  • 2016-01-28 08:43:25
    Andy on Opinion: It’s Time to Move Forward: Bravo! A well-written, rationale letter that accurately paints the discourse of the opponents while explaining the nuances of the plan and repercussions of doing nothing. We owe it to the kids of the community to step up and vote Yes. [Read More]
  • 2016-01-28 08:15:18
    Done on Opinion: It’s Time to Move Forward: When I read letters like this where all the author can do it vilify anyone who disagrees with him, I shake my head. The school district hired one of the most notorious public relations firms to sell this unworkable plan to the residents. Unfortunately, the public relations firm also suggested that residents write letters to the editor attaching their fellow citizens. A shame really, since we had a nice town. [Read More]
  • 2016-01-28 07:10:31
    Jocelyn Jones on Opinion: It’s Time to Move Forward: I started to respond to this, and soon realized that Jeff Hamburg has put a response much more eloquently that I can. I copy his comments here:

    "By placing its referendum on the March ballot, District 112 calls for local property owners to take on one of the largest and longest school bonds in state history, $198 million plus interest for 30 years — more than a generation. Imagine today's D112 5th graders. Now picture them growing up and moving back to Highland Park in their 30's, or even their 40's. As returning adults, they would pay taxes on the same bond presented to voters today! This scenario seems outlandish because a 30-year bond term is highly unorthodox. The bond's size is also extreme — only Oswego District 308, serving a population five times ours, borrowed more. D112's proposal is so extreme that it required an extraordinary waiver from the General Assembly to avoid the law's limits. That's right, District 112 exceeds even the State of Illinois' lax fiscal restraint.

    How does such a massive debt affect property taxes? Assuming 4 percent interest (which accrues to $140 million on top of $198 million in principle), a home valued at $300,000 would see a total tax increase of more than $16,000; a home valued at $600,000 would trigger $33,000 more in taxes; and homes worth $1,000,000 would see a $55,000 total tax increase.

    We might assume that $198 million buys "a lot" under the proposed plan, but that is not the case. For starters, the district admits this outsized burden will not ensure its solvency and will not prevent a future operating referendum. We could also assume $198 million would buy great new facilities. Instead, the district promises to close six neighborhood schools when the referendum passes. These would be replaced by one middle school the size of a high school.

    I will vote "No" to defeat the D112 referendum and win a renewed search for a less costly, less drastic plan." [Read More]

  • 2016-01-28 06:55:19
    Robert Hoatson on Lake Bluff Man Says Priest Abused Him: Congratulations to Dave Ohlmuller for his courage in facing the horrific abuse he endured as a child. By coming forward, he will help many others who are attempting to heal and recover. Recovery from sexual abuse takes a lifetime, and it is never too late to begin. Road to Recovery, Inc. is honored to work with Dave Ohlmuller and all victims who have come forward to regain their lives. [Read More]
  • 2016-01-27 09:27:44
    John on Opinion: Fearmongering Won’t Alter Vote: The first step is to get on the Caucus that will pick the candidates [Read More]
  • 2016-01-27 08:48:20
    Knl44 on County Revokes Nardo’s License, Appeal Planned: No. You do not get to come into a community and break the rules/laws. You admit to being open after hours, and the other charges filed against you. You allowed a gang element into your establishment. We as a community should not be put in danger because of choices you made. Sorry. Maybe you should open Ina community that does not have rules and you can stay open all night. [Read More]
  • 2016-01-26 20:56:39
    Andy on Opinion: No To D-112 Referendum: That's not an accurate statement. As a former real estate appraiser, the value of a home comes from a variety of factors but quantity of local schools is not one of them. Simply, the quality, typically the overall ranking of the school district, is the main metric important to new home shoppers. Aging, half-filled schools that lack configuration for team-based learning and lack the wiring and setup for modern technologies will drive down test scores, and ultimately drive down home values. District 112 is staring down the freight train of an educational infrastructure collapse, we are decades behind other local districts. We will do our home values a favor, and more importantly our community's kids a favor, if we close the outdated, decaying schools, and move toward a single, modern facility. [Read More]
  • 2016-01-26 20:45:52
    Andy on Opinion: No To D-112 Referendum: I have to disagree with Loren's opinion. First off, opponents to the referendum consistently label the school as a "big box". The use of labels like "big box" is meant to use imagery to skew your perception, create a visual representation without the use of detailed descriptions, also known as facts. That's fine when writing fiction novels, but we're talking about a school for our kids, and the facts matter.

    Secondly, a large middle school is not unprecedented. That statement is baloney. There are plenty of examples of large middle school campuses. Look no further than Winnetka with grades 5-8 on a single campus with 2 buildings (the 112 plan is a single building but clear divide between 5/6 and 7/8). Yes, the single campus approach has really failed Winnetka, and their consistent ranking as one of the top school districts in the state (that's sarcasm). Feel free to check out the building design on the Moving 112 Forward site, it's actually quite impressive.

    Additionally, Loren stated literature does not support a school of this size: The size of the school is less significant than the configuration and teaching model within the school. Large schools perform equal to small schools on testing if configured for team-based teaching. The new campus would have the modern configuration to support teaming. Ignore the rhetoric, and read the facts on Moving 112 Forward's website where they have actual studies posted about school size.

    My last point, the current 12 small schools dotted throughout District 112 average 74 years in age...AVERAGE. Many of them are completely outdated, decaying, and lack the modernization to prepare our kids for the challenges of the 21st century. The strength of our community is not based on the quantity of local schools, it's based on our ability to educate and prepare our kids for the future. Closing old schools makes financial sense, building a new and modern facility makes educational sense. Let go of the nostalgia and focus on the [Read More]

  • 2016-01-26 15:55:21
    JCA on Opinion: CARE Rejects D-112 Strategy: I think 4 are up for re-election in 2017. [Read More]
  • 2016-01-26 12:13:45
    hzs on Opinion: Fearmongering Won’t Alter Vote: Plan A. Defeat the referendum. Plan B. Hopefully, work with a more realistic school board to gradually implement sensible reductions in staff, programs, closing of some schools, building improvements etc. in 2016/2017 - without being on the hook for 350 million. Yes. Difficult compromises will be required of all parties.

    Plan C. Elect 4 new board members in 2017. People that will run on the pledge to provide a full costing out of the 2 middle school option. Preferably they will have financial & construction expertise - so they are capable of making informed decisions instead of being totally reliant on architects & construction managers and the District's Chief Financial Officer (who just got a nice raise last week while the school board and administration speak of cutting teachers and programs).

    The most glaring failure of this school board & administration is that they have divided our community instead of uniting it - a very sad & disgraceful state of affairs we can all agree on. They have demonstrated no ability to provide constructive or collegial leadership. They have young families reeling on a daily basis upon learning of the latest draconian "alternatives" from this board & administration should the referendum fail. For just these reasons alone, I'm voting NO and urge young parents in particular to so as well. [Read More]

  • 2016-01-26 11:28:49
    Gary Savine on Opinion: Fearmongering Won’t Alter Vote: Hi Dan. I've heard several people ask a question similar to yours, which is, "If the opponents to the referendum can't identify a better plan, then why shouldn't we vote for D112's plan?"

    It's a great question, but let's not lose sight of our narrow role as voters -- to judge the current plan on its merits, and send the Board back to the drawing board to come up with a new plan if it fails our scrutiny.

    The current plan fails scrutiny because it reflects severe mission creep. My fellow SCFFAC members and I initially were told that the goal was to address crumbling infrastructure and dwindling reserves. But then somehow the conversation turned to talk of reconfiguring the entire educational model. That, in turn, emboldened the administration and Board to seek more money than is truly needed.

    If the Board could narrow its priorities to address only the immediate fiscal/infrastructure problems, it would come up with a much better, more fiscally prudent plan than one that costs a third of a billion dollars (!) for a district of only 4,000 students. [Read More]

  • 2016-01-26 10:13:33
    Arthur H. Miller on Brenda Dick To Retire From Gorton: Brenda Dick's five years of leadership at Gorton are remarkable for her positive energy and creativity. Gorton is home, among other organizations, to the Lake Forest Preservation Foundation and her work has embodied that organization's ideals. She has protected the historic visual character of this venerable local building and program while infusing it with new vitality and usefulness to Lake Forest. [Read More]
  • 2016-01-25 22:52:48
    Dave on Northbrook Man Charged With Sex Offense: This is why Illinois law is such a crapshoot.

    This is either a 19 year old abusing a younger kid, say a 14 year old. Or it's a 19 year old and a 16 year old doing what is entirely natural which has been criminalized because the state has no (worthwhile) Romeo/Juliet provision, and now the older teen is a sex offender and may very well never get off that damned registry.

    It's worth noting that these cases can be pursued against the kids themselves, mutually, and have been, and will be, if people don't demand a revist of the sex crime laws *now*.

    If that applies here depends on context-but the police, the sex offender registry, and the prosecutors don't care a whit for that. To them, they need to prove nothing. They are either endangering the public or harming it, and no one can tell the difference. It's sick. [Read More]

  • 2016-01-25 22:09:39
    Ralph M on Opinion: Fearmongering Won’t Alter Vote: I am very upset with how this is playing out. The district refuses to offer a more modest plan, and now threatens these cuts to try to force nervous voters to just go along with it. I can't get behind "just trust us" with this board.

    We need a new plan if this fails, or we need resignations. We have to reboot this very broken process. [Read More]

  • 2016-01-25 17:46:00
    Eric R. on State May Cut $3.7M From North Shore Schools: We feel your pain in Highland Park as well. District 112 likes to cry wolf, but it continues to spike its pensions and reward its administrators with more generous raises, skimps on school repairs, and frivolously fritters away our tax dollars on PR firms, consulting firms, and architects upwards of $2 million. Then they have the gall to ask us to fork over another $350 million for their folly of a new building. They live in a fantasyland while we get stuck paying for their gross incompetence. [Read More]
  • 2016-01-25 17:25:27
    Dan Jenks on Opinion: Fearmongering Won’t Alter Vote: You’re confusing the expression “Plan B” in this context. People have asked the Board “what is Plan B if this Referendum fails – i.e., what other, cheaper plan will you have to present to the community if this Referendum fails?” The Board has said “there is no Plan B that will allow District 112 to maintain current levels of programming, class size, enable us to offer full-day Kindergarten, bring our buildings up to state requirements and not require us to raise the operating levy.” And to this day, there still is no “Plan B” as most of us understand the meaning of this term.

    Now, people like me and many others have asked the Board “what are you going to do to manage the $4 million/year hole that we’re in if the Referendum fails?” and the Board has responded over the past several months with an emerging course of action that potentially involves closing Lincoln, Ravinia and Elm Place in 2 years (fall of 2017) – what you call Plan B and what you claim the Board is threatening us all with. I agree that closing all of these schools at once, particularly in the absence of a long-term plan, would be a disaster and I believe the Board is still evaluating this idea and will come to a decision in early February. That said, we have a substantial deficit and the Board has already cut our budget by $6 million in the past few years – the easy cuts are over. People should understand the alternative to voting “Yes” for this Referendum – whether this happens in 2 years or 5 years – and what it will mean to the quality of education here and to our property values.

    I’ve repeatedly asked opponents of the Referendum, “What’s the alternative here? What I could reasonably hope for in an alternative plan if I vote "No"?" The answer I’ve heard from CARE and other opponents is that the Board, - after 2+ years of due diligence looking at literally hundreds of possible permutations - hasn’t thoroughly examined every last option – the implication being that there is some educ [Read More]

  • 2016-01-25 16:04:04
    Jonas Denose on Opinion: CARE Rejects D-112 Strategy: When do the school board members get re-elected? [Read More]
  • 2016-01-25 09:05:26
    Andy on League Endorses D-112 Referendum: Well said, Jerry! [Read More]
  • 2016-01-24 22:06:27
    Mike on Demo OK'd For Winnetka Founder's Home: As the article says, no historical value. Tear it down already. The lady could have bought it herself instead of living in Lake Forest if she cared that much. I'm sure the new owners will build a nice house. [Read More]
  • 2016-01-23 13:36:55
    LJ Gibbs on State May Cut $3.7M From North Shore Schools: Lake Forest High School District 115 will lose $166,420 and District 67 $182,484, for a total of $348,904. So why the hell is LFHS spending $69,000 to an architectural firm to design changes to the school that are estimated to cost $313,000 to $1.18 million? [Read More]
  • 2016-01-23 13:06:26
    Julie on League Endorses D-112 Referendum: JD is exactly right -- and so is Len Tenner: there's no Plan B. But contrary to what Tenner claims, there's no Plan B not because one isn't possible. There's no Plan B because our current school board is rigidly committed to a single vision of 112's future and cannot see beyond the blinders of this particular plan. It's not that there are no possible alternative plans, and it borders on absurd for school board members to claim that they have examined ALL possibilities. The bottom line is that there will be no Plan B or C or D until we get a new school board -- one not driven by the rigid vision and group think of the current board. I personally know at least 4 people who are eager to run for school board -- people who bring financial literacy (sorely missing on the current board), balanced judgment, and a willingness to listen to the community. I will be voting NO to this referendum . . . and calling for a new Board of Education. [Read More]
  • 2016-01-23 11:50:30
    Joan Cordeniz on Anti-Gun Demonstration At Sunset Foods: Signs won't deter those with horrible intentions, but all those gun owners who claim to be the "good guys," the law abiding citizens, do an awful lot of damage through accidental discharges. Follow this link to read about guns accidentally discharging while shopping (https://www.pinterest.com/david6212/shooting-while-shopping/).

    If you don't want to read the link, I can tell you that it describes accidental discharges in the following grocery venues: Meijer Grocery, Sam's Club, Winn-Dixie, Kroger, Walmart, Target, and several independent grocery stores. Restaurants such as Chili's, Waffle House, McDonald's, Cracker Barrel, Burger King, Dunkin Donuts, Starbucks, Chick Fil A, Applebee's, Round Table, In-N-Out, Pei Wei, Taco Bell and many others have hosted accidental shootings. Retail establishments such as CVS, Ashley Furniture, Lowes, Goodwill, Home Depot, 7-11, Burlington Coat Factory,GNC, Dollar General, Staples, Auto Zone and Cost Plus have all had accidental shootings on their premises. Additional places open to the public and the "good guys with guns" that have been sites for accidental shootings include churches, movie theaters, storage centers, a public library, hotels (including the venerated Waldorf-Astoria), bars, barbershops, medical centers, hospitals, doctor offices, a blood donation center, gas stations (I wonder what happens when an accidental discharge enters an underground storage tank?), an Navy recruiting office, outlet malls, municipal transit, airports, the Megabus, pawn shops, car dealerships, a car wash, a swap meet, city hall, strip clubs, a bowling alley, a casino and a funeral home (thus eliminating the middle man). These shootings would not have happened had the establishment posted a sign, and the law-abiding citizen observed it. If they had signs, and the law-abiding good guy chose to ignore them, he would at least be subject to additional penalties - and no longer considered "law-abiding."

    While the bad guys with guns are a scary [Read More]

  • 2016-01-23 09:58:31
    Jerry on League Endorses D-112 Referendum: Are you even reading the same article? No amount of "spin" can change what this article is about - which is a highly respected, non-biased group that did their extensive due diligence and decided to endorse a plan that you disagree with. This is not a Letter to the Editor like so many of the other pieces that have been in the media. If the League had decided to vote in favor I am sure you would have loved that article and it would have been about the League's responsible choice......whatever.....people in town have the CARE group figured out - at least I do. They have every right to ask questions - but at this point their rhetoric is really getting ridiculous and this post is the most ridiculous one I have seen. I'm sorry - there is no Plan B because there is not a Plan B, C, D etc. that will allow the district to save the $4 million per year that is needed - period. The rhetoric around town that there has to be another way is ridiculous after the many years of analysis and due diligence, responsibly postponing last year, etc. As for Len Tenner - I do not know him personally however I do know that he has been one of the most involved - if not the most involved citizen over many years and he is highly respected. He has clearly spent many hours of his own time studying the issue with all of the knowledge of his time leading SCFFAC - and he and many, many others in town - including the highly respected League of Women Voters - feel this plan is clearly what is best for Highland Park going forward. The rhetoric from the opposition is really getting old - but the comment above has to be the most comical I have read so far.......as for a new school Board - who is their right mind would run for School Board when they will be treated the way many in our community have chosen to treat these volunteer citizens who are boldly trying so hard to do the right thing for our community? I supposed we will see...... [Read More]
  • 2016-01-23 06:46:42
    JD McFall on League Endorses D-112 Referendum: This is perhaps the most misleading headline I've read in a while. I expected the story to be about the League, but it's about the pro-referendum group. Asking CARE or a short quotation and then extensively featuring the YES group is not even close to a balance article. Whatever.

    Anyway, Len Tenner, co-chair of SCFFAC, not Chair, has reversed himself with all of the speed and grace of a politician. When he led SCFFAC, that body can to a series of reasonable recommendations for reconfiguration. Tenner told the Tribune that the community wants change, but not radical change.

    Since then, he's changed his mind. He's allowed to do so, but he no longer represents SCFFAC. His support of the Big Box school is personal, and SCFFAC has never endorsed this giant school or this expensive referendum.

    In fact, here's what Dan Littman, another prominent SCFFAC member, has to say:

    "Leadership is about making choices and trade-offs. Leadership is about finding creative solutions to difficult problems. The current solution fails to make the cost trade-offs that would qualify it as a responsible solution. With a bit more creativity and open mindedness, we have a unique opportunity to bring the community together while addressing our district’s facilities and financial needs. In the spectrum of difficult problems, this one is utterly solvable. Highwood and Highland Park can do better. We will do better."

    Anyone following this will know there is not one way forward or only one possible plan. There's no plan B because our leaders don't want to give us one.

    Four Board seats are up in Spring 2017. Let's vote NO in 2016, and then let's get a new Board of Ed. [Read More]

  • 2016-01-22 19:14:25
    Lido lady on Stride Named Circuit Judge in Lake County: Congratulations Christopher. Great work! [Read More]
  • 2016-01-22 17:35:50
    Carl on Opinion: No To D-112 Referendum: This is a micro school district with too much administration. One of the savings the administration calms is reduced administration with the big box school. They can do it know. Have one principal for two school buildings. Stop all PR expenses. Focus on the classroom to modivate the students for excellence. The superintendent had over 20,000 students in his last school district. Now he has about 4,000 students. [Read More]
  • 2016-01-22 12:45:41
    PAL on Opinion: No To D-112 Referendum: CLOSING 6 OF 12 NEIGHBORHOOD SCHOOLS---DECREASE PROPERTY VALUES--ONE BIG CAMPUS WITH 1900 PLUS STUDENTS WHICH WILL HAVE A NEGATIVE ACADEMIC AND SOCIAL CONSEQUENCES FOR OUR CHILDREN ---DISTRICT WIDE BUSING CREATES LONG BUS RIDES AND GRIDLOCK--WE NEED A BETTER PLAN . [Read More]
  • 2016-01-22 08:08:59
    Eric R. on Opinion: No To D-112 Referendum: Mr. Schechter is being way too kind. This plan is actually reckless in that it saddles us with long-term debt that does not actually fix our long-term problems like escalating and bloated administration salaries, forces the zig-zagging of students across two sets of train tracks and a highway from K-8 grade, does not even address long-term maintenance costs. If the district cared about finances, it would not have given our CFO Dada a 37% raise, spent hundreds of thousands on a PR firm, and a cool million+ on an architecture firm - all without the vote of approval from the voters. I will be voting NO because we can do better. [Read More]
  • 2016-01-22 07:55:52
    Seth on State May Cut $3.7M From North Shore Schools: Bregy says it is reckless but the state needs to make tough decisions regarding its budget. Their gas tank has been riding on empty for too long, and we continue to fund program after program with no funding. Look at our bond rating, which might be the envy of Greece, but is otherwise the worst in the country. Of course Bregy, Dada and the rest of the top-heavy bloated and expensive school administrations on the North Shore continue to rapidly increase their salaries and pensions on the backs of its taxpaying residents, and propose to spend hundreds of millions on facilities, rather than directly funding these programs. We need to find ways to do more with less. Our financial troubles as a state and as local districts continue to rely on the model that we have unlimited financial resources at our disposal and that we can spend our way out of debt, but that is not the case for the vast majority of folks who must live within their means every day. [Read More]
  • 2016-01-22 07:38:57
    John on Opinion: No To D-112 Referendum: Could not have said it better, the board has been super sneaky in setting up their own committee's and PR firm [Read More]
  • 2016-01-22 06:43:34
    Franklin Kiting on Anti-Gun Demonstration At Sunset Foods: Whereas I am staunchly anti-gun, I continue to question the ability of a sign to deter an emotionally unbalanced gun owner. [Read More]
  • 2016-01-22 06:42:27
    Just Observing on Anti-Gun Demonstration At Sunset Foods: These protests are absolutely ridiculous. As if anyone with a gun with bad intentions will be deterred by a silly sign. Goodman and his group should leave these businesses alone. [Read More]
  • 2016-01-21 22:28:05
    Jonas on Opinion: No To D-112 Referendum: Thank you for illuminating the issues so well. My wife and I will not be supporting this. [Read More]
  • 2016-01-21 16:43:15
    DanJenks on Opinion: Vote Yes, Highland Park: Yes, agree to disagree. I, too, am willing to admit when I'm wrong and I think a vigorous debate here is a good thing - let each side bring their best arguments and let people collectively decide what they think the right/wise/prudent/self-interested thing to do here is. And should the Referendum fail, I'm certainly willingly to sit down with you and others, although I think its a very remote possibility that there is an educationally equivalent plan that costs much less - it's just a question of what you are willing to give up to save money. [Read More]
  • 2016-01-21 16:12:23
    hzs on Opinion: Vote Yes, Highland Park: Of course, myself & those opposed to the one middle school 5-8 configuration with it's horrible location, wasteful site plan and 200 million price tag will vote no. However, I've spoken with many voters who like myself would be willing to consider the 2 middle school plan for 200 million (probably much less) that is a better fit on so many levels for the overwhelming majority of the community. We'll accept the 2 million savings from staff reduction (operating savings are minimal) instead of the projected 4 million. The bottom line is we're still saving $2 million annually - we're not spending more. This is called compromise. Let's see how it works and go from there a year or two down the line. A mindful, moderate approach to this voter.

    Many citizens went before the school board repeatedly pleading for this opportunity. They sat there staring out into space for the allotted 3 minute time limit for comments without the courtesy of a reply. And this is why I lost any respect for them.

    Myself & many others want a full cost analysis on the 2 middle school model to see what's absolutely needed and what's bells & whistles. We might discover what's absolutely needed costs a lot less. The shame of this is that our school board never did this important work. I'm voting no until this happens. [Read More]

  • 2016-01-21 15:05:18
    JCA on Opinion: Vote Yes, Highland Park: Dan,

    I don't question the intentions of most board members - I simply think they have it wrong. I've also felt - from what I've seen - that there has been very little questioning or pushback on the architects, financials presentations from the administration, etc (I think you'll agree that some board members clearly struggle with data/numbers?). I was actually encouraged to see Eric Ephraim at this week's meeting push back on some of the numbers presented and question and disagree with some of the decisions made (e.g. the BDR presentation showed "staff savings" of $390k from closing a single elementary school. Upon further questioning by Ephraim, we found out that benefits were not included in that figure - probably a significant sum. But that slide will only show $390k...unfortunate. He also made some valid points re proposed format essentially keeping some 2 section schools, which contradicts one of the Boards supposed priorities). Unfortunately, near the end of the meeting, Mordini and Ross felt it appropriate to unfairly reprimand him in public for apparently not being a team player and for speaking too long...I thought their response was an embarrassment and, quite frankly, did not particularly raise my level of confidence in the board. Watch it - it was kind of bizarre...

    Re: state funding levels...I think "guarantees" is the key word. "Helps them manage" and "guarantees" I don't think mean the same thing... I have no trouble acknowledging when I'm wrong, so maybe I'm off the mark a little bit with that comment, but not sure "way off the mark" - as you state - is accurate.

    I will say, Dan, that I do appreciate that you clearly have put time and thought into your decision to back this plan (it's exhausting to respond to your posts!). You have clear reasons for your position (whether I agree with them or not) and you take the time and effort to explain those in your posts - vs. the mostly "learn the facts, don't be misled, if you vote [Read More]

  • 2016-01-21 13:21:20
    DanJenks on Opinion: Vote Yes, Highland Park: Jorge, I don’t think the Board members are spendthrifts or gullible or naive educational idealists and I do think they are open-minded – in fact, I think most – if not all of them - wanted the 2 6-8 middle schools and 6 building K-5 elementary school idea that SFFAC came up with thru the community feedback process. Then, of course, reality hit with the first Nagle Hartray presentation as all of the estimates for this model were well above the District’s borrowing limit.

    I’d like to believe there is a partial solution that costs less than $100 million that addresses our immediate financial issues and allows us to consolidate into fewer buildings without the need for mobile classrooms while keeping the essence of a D112 education the same – I just don’t think that option exists and I’m unwilling to take a chance on what I believe to be a very low probability outcome – particularly given the very high cost – educationally and from a property value perspective - we (particularly those of us who live in Lincoln) will have to pay if the Referendum fails.

    Your comment that “absent certainty from state funding levels, no plan guarantees anything” is, respectfully, way off the mark. As I understand it, the District decided to increase the size of the Referendum from $150 million to $198 million specifically to give it the flexibility to successfully manage both the withdrawal of low income student aid and transfer of pension liabilities to the District. Under the status quo, under any plan you or I could design, the issue of removal of state aid will exist – I’m not sure what a better solution is here?

    It’s unfortunate that some members of our community have lost trust in the Board – over the past 2 years, I’ve said down with many Board members individually and I’ve pressed them on all of the issues and questions you’ve raised. This is a talented group of community members who have a lot of integrity and who put in ridiculous amounts of time trying to find [Read More]

  • 2016-01-21 12:43:32
    DanJenks on Opinion: Vote Yes, Highland Park: Hsz,

    Respectfully, the District went very far down the road in costing out the 2 middle school building option. You can look at the May 19, 2015 Nagle Hartray powerpoint on the District’s website (page 30) to see the various costs – as I said in my original comment, you could do 2 middle schools (Edgewood plus a new one) for $200 million. Additionally, you can look on the District’s “Reconfiguration Facts” for a one-page summary of why they didn’t chose a 2 middle school model – part of the reason was that it would cost $2 million/year more to operate versus just 1 middle school. It seems obvious to me that one gets economies of scale (for better or for worse) when you’re operating 1 middle school campus versus 2 separate buildings.

    It’s important to note that even this Edgewood + a new middle school model is a K-4 model – the cost of keeping two 6-8 middle school and six K-5 elementary school would be much higher than $200 million upfront. So, while I’d like to believe your statement that voters would overwhelmingly support a 2 middle school model if it were on the ballot, I’m guessing those opposed to the 5 to 8 middle school or opposed to the $200 million cost would also vote no. [Read More]

  • 2016-01-21 10:03:23
    Lucki on Opinion: Rotering for Congress: Your well-intended article is ironic - like a "politician" it has no teeth. First, your reader (this reader) knows nothing about you, yet you endorse Nancy. Why should I listen to you? Show me who Nancy is with a compelling story. At last, your article will be more than words. What is clear in your article is that Nancy has a wonderful friend. [Read More]
  • 2016-01-21 07:41:50
    John on D-112 Borders Try Keeping Kids Together: Not one elementary school on the West side, doesn't sound like a good plan to me. Interesting that Samantha and Mordini were both on the committee seeing that both are on the board [Read More]
  • 2016-01-21 02:41:12
    Emily on Thumbs Up ... For Two Paws Up: Aw, that photo of the pup with the little girl is just precious! It is really important to choose the proper breed of dog for the family and get the pup trained. It will help a lot to get into a harmonious groove within the household! [Read More]
  • 2016-01-20 18:45:20
    JCA on Opinion: Vote Yes, Highland Park: Dan,
    Do you really think that D112 would look at an alternate plan with an open mind? Or do you think they would simply find reasons to shoot it down? I’ve watched, read, and asked questions – and every time something does not jibe, the story or the numbers magically change or “evolve.” It’s a moving target – and I have zero confidence that they would really consider an alternate plan. All there is to do at this point, unfortunately, is to oppose and vote down the current plan. As others have stated, this plan leads us on the same dangerous financial path as “doing nothing” - which, by the way, I don’t think many are proposing. It also significantly and adversely impacts our community.

    But ok – back to an alternative. What we are hearing is that the only way to address our problems is to either spend $200M+ or $0, right? (that’s hard for me to wrap my head around…). I don’t think anyone has illusions that there is a perfect $100M plan out there – but there is some sort of a solution. My point is, if $200M is not getting us to perfect (far from it), why not look at more “moderate” other alternatives? This group has never done that -they started from $320M and worked their way down until something was “affordable.” Then grabbed onto that idea and convinced themselves that they now have an educationally superior plan, despite a lack of evidence to that end. Never did they run thru an exercise like they are currently doing with the BDR (budget deficit reduction) and also look at smart, targeted investment in current buildings. I’m still confused by the fact that they claim that $81M under the current proposal will get them ADA compliance, A/C, sprinklers, security, rehab in 5 existing buildings, expansion at 2 of those buildings, but that there is nothing that can be done for $100M+/- (and don’t even get me started with knocking down 2 of our newest buildings when supposedly one of the major issues is…you guessed it…the age of our buildings…). I’m [Read More]

  • 2016-01-20 15:27:46
    hzs on Opinion: Vote Yes, Highland Park: Dan Jenks,

    On the contrary, many voters believe passing the referendum will put the community on a very dangerous financial path in addition to being stuck with a massive single middle school whose educational & socialization benefits are debatable at best. You and other "what's your plan" people can say 2 middle schools won't work, but until at least one fully costed out 2 middle school alternative is presented - it's just opinion - not fact. Furthermore, it's extremely unfortunate and irresponsible on the part of the school board that they didn't go the distance to fulfill their duty to the community to do this. (And I don't tell me the Olson Park fiasco was a well thought out option).

    So now we are left with the very polarizing, take this one middle school plan or feel the pain referendum which has left community members on both sides of the issue petrified and scared of what will happen when the referendum passes or fails. Instead of uniting the community behind a plan that will generate overwhelming support - they have polarized the community.
    This is not the kind of leadership many of us respect or will follow.

    And it all boils down to a difference of one school site. The 2 middle school plan (8 total sites) that would pass a referendum with overwhelming community support vs. the highly divisive one middle school plan (7 sites) on the table that may pass by the slimmest of margins at best.

    For all of the above reasons I will vote no and urge my friends & neighbors to vote no as well. [Read More]

  • 2016-01-19 23:18:37
    DanJenks on Opinion: Vote Yes, Highland Park: Jorge, as you and I have discussed, if this Referendum fails we are heading down a very bad path. You and some of the other commenters here think that a sub-$100 million solution exists that will provide for 2 modernized middle schools, 6 feeder elementary schools, no increases in class size limits, maintains programming and offers full day Kindergarten - I don’t. I can assume a certain amount of incompetence among Board members, architects, administrators – but having personally watched many meetings and reviewed many documents over the past 2+ years, there isn’t some obviously overlooked better choice out there. No one opposed to this Referendum has even sketched out the outline of a better plan – the “No” argument basically is “trust us, there will be an educationally better, cheaper plan if we demand one, even though we can’t tell you what it would look like.” And believe me, I wanted to see a financially workable 2 middle school model with an elementary school west of 41 – it’s just not in the cards. As I see it, the best case for a 2 middle school model is $200 million upfront (same cost as middle school campus), $2 million more per year in operating expense, 5th graders walking the halls with 8th graders at an expanded Edgewood and a brand new middle school elsewhere. My guess is most of the “No” vote isn’t going to want to support this alternative plan either. So, into the policy abyss we go - fortunately I don’t have kids in D112 anymore and am not planning on selling my house in the next few years.……. [Read More]
  • 2016-01-18 21:33:08
    Eric R. on Opinion: Vote Yes, Highland Park: Thank you for encouraging me to vote how I wish Monica. Because I, and most of my neighbors and friends in the district will be voting NO on this travesty of a plan that will saddle our district with an unmanageable debt load that forces massive busing and contradicts SFAC recommendations. NO BIG BOX SCHOOL IN HP AND NO TO THE $198 million referendum. [Read More]
  • 2016-01-18 10:39:02
    Barb Tubekis on How To Build An African School? Sing: The Volunteer Center of N.E. Metro Chicago and The Kindness Connection will also be hosting and doing a service project for Fred Outa's Foundation at the MLK Day of Service, Monday, Jan 18 from 1 to 4pm at The Winnetka Community House, 620 Lincoln Ave. Winnetka, Il. Come and meet Fred and stay and participate in 11 different projects that help 20 nonprofit's clients in metro Chicago. [Read More]
  • 2016-01-18 07:58:21
    Drew Reed on Why Movies & Chinese Food On Christmas?: I like how you said that the Jewish immigration and the Chinese settlement are related. A friend of mine works at a Chinese restaurant that was founded in the 1880s, right at the time you're talking about. I never made that connection before. Thanks for sharing! [Read More]
  • 2016-01-18 07:13:53
    Lucki on North Shorts: The High Road: Your article made me smile too. Keep writing! [Read More]
  • 2016-01-17 18:52:05
    JD McFall on Opinion: Vote Yes, Highland Park: Why do you assume that people with questions are repeating what they have heard and not doing their own diligence?

    If that were the case, voters would be likely to be convinced by the massive PR campaign waged by the District to sway voters. The fact is the the questions raised by the opposition haven't been addresses. If the plan is a good one, it will survive these questions.

    You are not making an argument at all when you tell people their questions are somehow not legitimate. I don't believe Yes people like yourselves are trying to mislead others at all. Rather, this process has so many problems that it has not answered the questions that thoughtful residents have raised about its negatives.

    You can disagree--and it's clear that you do--but your claim that opponents are parrots of "what they have heard" is not at all an argument. Why not address the questions rather than tell people they shouldn't be asking them? [Read More]

  • 2016-01-17 17:53:21
    Jim Moss on Karl Nagel: Grandpa Nagel was a significant contributor to teaching about work ethic, doing a job right and having a little fun along the way. He also taught me a puddy knife makes an excellent coffee cake knife...a little silicon never hurt anyone. He was a home brewer long before it was hip or trendy. Thank you Grandpa Nagel for all you did for the community and those within it. [Read More]
  • 2016-01-16 21:50:36
    JCA on Opinion: Vote Yes, Highland Park: Monica,

    While I appreciate that you are passionate about this subject, it is unfair (and disingenuous) to characterize the opposition as light on facts. I think if you took the time to listen, you'd better understand the concerns about this plan.

    The fact is this plan is based more on questionable assumptions than facts. The facts do say that this plan is expensive and unproven from an educational standpoint - i.e. it's a huge gamble. The facts say that this plan does nothing to ensure long term financial sustainability - as there are other undetermined factors at play. The facts say that this plan ignores the community's desire for 2 middle schools and no grade centers, even if at greater cost (per SCFFAC). The facts say there is no definitive traffic plan for the single school as currently sited (facts also say its a really bad location for a 2000 student school). The facts say there will be no elementary school west of 41. The facts say that D112 refused to fully cost out a 2 middle school option and, perhaps more importantly, a "middle of the road" option. The facts say that the $150m you quoted is a projected spend over 30 years for maintenance of the existing 12 buildings - not something many, if any, are proposing and an apples to oranges comparison to the $198m.

    I'm certainly not going to try to convince you to change your mind at this point, as it seems you have fully bought in (though perhaps you should be asking more questions...). I encourage other to vote NO and demand a realistic and passable plan for our schools. [Read More]

  • 2016-01-15 14:27:20
    truth on Opinion: Move HP Forward: Both the Wilmette and Barrington examples feed into high schools that are bigger, joining other middle schools graduating classes. They have communities where kids start out in smaller elementary schools, go to larger "big box" middle schools (if you want to call them that), but then still get to go to larger high schools that are fed by multiple middle schools-with new blood at each step. They do not go to school with the exact same class of kids from the time they're 10 years old until they go to college. Simple common sense, critical thought, and putting yourself in the mindset of the kids who will be the ones conducting this experiment can heed examples of all the problems and difficulties that would arise from such a plan socially. Putting money aside- many opponents of the plan have NO problem with change- they just think the current plan is majorly flawed. I'm sure there might be some great educational benefits to the plan, but the negative long term social ramifications cancel them out- and to many people, those factors are every bit as important as any educational benefits. Its not as simple as saying people who vote no are selfish, afraid of change, or relying on bad information- there's a lot more at play, and a lot of it comes down to opinion and personal priorities. The vitriol and demagoguery in refuting these myths and in politics (that feels like what this has become) in general is dishearteningly unproductive. [Read More]
  • 2016-01-15 13:50:55
    truth on Opinion: Say Yes to HP Referendum: One MASSIVE difference that was conveniently glossed over in Mr. Schwartz's letter- after Washburne, those students go to New Trier High School, and are exposed to students from 7+ other middle schools. This current plan calls for HP's kids to go to school with the exact same class from the time they're 10 years old until they go to college. Let's say everything is great at Washburne- those kids get the benefit of gradually going from smaller to bigger schools throughout their adolescence- a proven positive social map to success for many different reasons . In this plan, that is totally not the case. That idea should be a starting point, and whatever plan comes after that should be the best one possible keeping that flow intact. [Read More]
  • 2016-01-15 12:35:41
    maddy kayz on Here's the inside story on Fleisher: GO ZACK! LOVE U!! U ROCK IT EVERY TIME! [Read More]
  • 2016-01-15 11:18:53
    Jonathan F on Opinion: Say Yes to HP Referendum: The Board never fully costed out the plan for any two middle school configuration. The September 15 Board meeting, with video, details this. Watch Eric Ephraim's comments.

    There was no value engineering completed on anything other than the middle school campus. We owe our residents a full accounting of all options before telling everyone "there is no other way."

    If this plan is the best one, it will hold up to full scrutiny. What do those who want it have to fear, really? Let me know all the facts and details. and give us an apples-to-apples comparison of costs.

    Vote NO, and let's get our Board to do it's job and respect the SCFFAC recommendations (no grade centers, etc). [Read More]

  • 2016-01-14 22:13:02
    JD McFall on Opinion: Move HP Forward: I think people call it a Big Box school because of it's size and the way that size impacts the community. A Wal-Mart, for instance, may sell products more efficiently than a local store, and that's why it's a Big Box.

    The stuff there may be less expensive, and there may even be more selection, but the scale is what fundamentally changes the shopping experience. We make choices about the scale we want for our communities, and I don't want larger.

    Former Mayor Belsky said the same thing a few months ago when he indicated that we need to respect our community values. SCFFAC said the same thing: the most-favored option is not necessarily the one that delivers the maximum savings. It's not even clear if we can protect the purported savings of this middle-school model against compensation increases, and there's no good evidence to say our children will benefit.

    There's no obvious good to this above other possibilities, and there is substantial risk. I know the letter writer would say it's Orwellian logic or something that makes people think this way, but really, it's common sense.

    My reading of 1984--a long time ago now--is that we need to be suspicious of bureaucratic language and centralization. Newspeak is a way for the controlling government to force people to go along with their plans and to stop asking questions. So, ok, I am asking questions and don't want to go along with 112's plan.

    Are they Big Brother then? I don't think so, but the metaphor gets muddled for me. [Read More]

  • 2016-01-14 22:01:20
    Albert Smalls on Opinion: Say Yes to HP Referendum: Judy--

    I've followed the comments here, and you are being unfair.

    One good question is whether our most economically vulnerable residents have been represented in this process. I question any plan that tells us what's best for others without any evidence to back it up. Show me the research, and I'll change my mind.

    As for the two-middle school option: it was never value engineered. Watch the September 15th Board meeting, and particularly Eric Ephraim's comments. This isn't pulled out of the air; it all on tape.

    SCFFAC proposed it's direction, and it's all be ignored: the configuration, the rejection of grade centers, the values of the community. You can say forever and ever amen that there is no other way, but that doesn't make it true.

    What we have here is groupthink, and $12,000 per month worth of PR. I don't want to change your mind. I don't care how you vote, but please stop with the unfair characterization of those who don't want it.

    You are entitled to your opinion, but not to your own facts.

    And really, "hot mess"? [Read More]

  • 2016-01-14 19:14:46
    JCA on Opinion: Move HP Forward: Well said. [Read More]
  • 2016-01-14 16:30:45
    JCA on Opinion: Move HP Forward: I would encourage people to think with their brains and not with their hearts...there is too much at stake. I think most people understand the need to invest in and reconfigure our school district - but for many reasons, this is not the right plan.

    Re: Pt #1, I fail to understand how simply the fact that we paid off another obligation 5 years ago means that we can now afford the $198M referendum. We already have among the highest tax burdens in the area and by making radical changes to our district's structure and increasing our taxes, we risk adversely affecting the saleability and values of our homes. (I'd encourage the author to check his numbers, btw - taxes will increase either $748 or $932 on a $600k home depending on how they would structure the debt repayment - so either way more than $100 per $100k). The comparison between the $200M and $150M is also inaccurate as the $150M is a projected 30 year spend on ongoing maintenance if nothing were to change (i.e. we continued to operate 12 buildings). It's an apples to oranges comparison. (For the record, $117M of the $198M goes to the new middle school - with 2000 students - that will replace 2 of our newer buildings...the remaining $81M is slated for rehab and expansion of the remaining existing buildings. What exactly are we getting for our money in the existing schools?)

    What about a more modest and proactive investment in buildings along with some level of consolidation? We don't know what that looks like because the board refused to explore that option. Until I know what that looks like, this plan will not be getting my vote.

    I also find it ironic that the author accuses the opposition of using fear as a tactic. That is exactly the path the district has taken with their false option strategy. [Read More]

  • 2016-01-14 15:23:27
    Judy H. on Opinion: Say Yes to HP Referendum: Let's get a better plan.

    Who's the "us" in "let's?" Is it you, Commenter? Is it Care? Because your Board of Ed, NSSD 112's cabinet, teachers, support staff, community volunteers and (horror's!) other paid professionals have arrived at this plan. A two - middle school option is not doable. Not enough land and too much money. Many of the 24% low income families manage to get their kids all the way to the far southwest from the north as it is, just fine. Thank you for your concern. We're good.

    Voting no will not produce a better plan. There isn't another option, just painful cuts. It'll be a hot mess.
    And you get to thank yourself for that. [Read More]

  • 2016-01-14 14:10:16
    Albert Smalls on Opinion: Move HP Forward: The Orson Welles' War of the Worlds broadcast was 1938, not 1953. That is the level of fact-checking at work in this letter.

    It's fine to support the referendum, but the author makes many opinion statements that are presented as facts.

    The people who oppose this referendum--and I'm one--absolutely support reconfiguration and consolidation. We simply want to back a plan that will solve our problems. We don't believe this is the right plan, and it is problematic in terms of education, finances, and process.

    The CARE position does _not_ say any of statements Miller lays out.

    There are no "minions" who want to "kick the can down the road." The opposition has not argued for two middle schools, but only that SCFFAC asked for two, and the District failed to fully cost out those options. The community also unequivocally rejected grade centers in the SCFFAC process.

    There are so many other falsehoods here, I frankly don't have the energy to detail all of them. The educational research on the CARE website is not 20-30 years old. This is simply not true. Rather, there is ample evidence that says large school, and small schools (pods, and teams, etc) injure educational outcomes, particularly for lower incomes families.

    Why would we want to further put those families at risk? Our district is 24% low income. We are not Wilmette, with 4% low income.

    Anyone can Google "George Orwell" or "Orson Welles" and too quickly type the wrong fact, but a nuanced problem requires nuanced arguments. We deserve a real discussion on these issues rather than opinion statements telling us

    There is no Orwellian philosophy at work in a reasoned opposition to this $198 million referendum. I tire of being told that opposition is equated to selfishness. We teach our children to ask questions, and adults need to as well.

    "Miller and his cronies" might wish to extend to the opposition that same courtesies that they wish for themselves. We are are concerned with what's best [Read More]

  • 2016-01-14 13:29:27
    Greg D. on Opinion: Move HP Forward: " CARE and its minions"

    "if you investigate your concerns with these district, you will find your FEARS to be unfounded."

    "Think of your children"

    "Do not let Orwellian Philosophy make you FEAR change."

    I'm confused. Why would fear make me not think logically about this issue? [Read More]

  • 2016-01-14 06:20:17
    Commenter on Opinion: Say Yes to HP Referendum: One key difference is size. The 112 school would be 1900+ students.

    A second key difference is demographics. Our district is 24% lower income, compared with 4% in Winnetka.

    The research shows that large schools will not well serve these populations.

    A third key difference is geography. Our school is in the far southwest corner of the district, miles from the students in the north.

    A fourth key difference is motivation. This is a financial plan disguised as an educational one. We could implement middle school philosophy in many different configurations, including the two middle schools that our community actually wants.

    When you look closely at this author's arguments, you'll see there is little that makes the proposed configuration a good idea.

    Let's vote no and get to a better plan. [Read More]

  • 2016-01-13 22:23:07
    Find something else to do on Opinion: Questioning D-115 Data Contract: Again, you all need to find something else to do. [Read More]
  • 2016-01-13 17:52:20
    Monica on Opinion: Vote Yes, Highland Park: Dear hsz,

    To address your response to my initial comments:

    First, if the referendum fails, the capital expenditures required to implement DO NOT include ADA compliance, asbestos removal, fire sprinklers, climate control, and site/traffic improvements. I'm thinking you didn't not know this as I'm sure you want our children in a safe environment.

    Two middle schools will cost more than one middle school because the inefficiencies of duplicating shared services (kitchens, cafeterias, auditoriums, gymnasiums, etc) will be lost. We cannot build, legally, as we did in 1867 & 1920 or even 1961. In a single middle school campus, shared facilities will see constant use, rather than being empty for most of the school day.

    Vote as you wish, but please make sure you have the facts. I have yet to hear a solid reason why this is a bad plan other than people saying "this is a bad plan." I get it, some people don't like it. Please tell us what works for you that is affordable, child-centric and an excellent educational model.

    I'm all ears [Read More]

  • 2016-01-13 09:27:16
    Lisa on Opinion: Questioning D-115 Data Contract: Mr. Troxel, could you please provide information regarding high school students needing dogs to calm them? I am aware of a recent Croya event that had therapy dogs during finals week for students to visit with. Is this what you are referring to?
    Also, Dr Holland was and is a popular choice for principal in my circle.
    [Read More]
  • 2016-01-13 08:03:07
    Angie Bacon-Sanson on The Pet Rescuer of Wilmette ...: Appi is an amazing person. She works tirelessly to find the animals a forever home. She counts her own adoptees as her "fur kids". The dogs go just about everywhere with her and her kids are very accepting of their moms rotating animals. Keep up the great work Appi. Love ya. [Read More]
  • 2016-01-12 16:41:48
    Jennifer Neubauer on Opinion: Questioning D-115 Data Contract: From Politico at http://www.politico.com/story/2014/06/internet-data-mining-children-107461
    BIG BROTHER: MEET THE PARENTS

    ".....Promoted by the Obama administration, the databases are being built in nearly every state at a total cost of well over $1 billion. They are intended to store intimate details on tens of millions of children and young adults — identified by name, birth date, address and even, in some cases, Social Security number — to help officials pinpoint the education system’s strengths and weaknesses and craft public policy accordingly.

    ( Also on POLITICO: The big biz of spying on little kids)
    The Education Department lists hundreds of questions that it urges states to answer about each child in the public school system: Did she make friends easily as a toddler? Was he disciplined for fighting as a teen? Did he take geometry? Does she suffer from mental illness? Did he go to college? Did he graduate? How much does he earn?
    “Every parent I’ve talked to has been horrified,” said Leonie Haimson, a New York mother who is organizing a national Parent Coalition for Student Privacy. “We just don’t want our kids tracked from cradle to grave.”

    Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2014/06/internet-data-mining-children-107461#ixzz3x4Z7C8TC [Read More]

  • 2016-01-12 16:12:39
    Jennifer Neubauer on Opinion: Questioning D-115 Data Contract: Did D67 already enter a nearly identical contract with ECRA at its December 15, 2015 Board Meeting?

    See: http://www.lakeforestschools.org/data/files/gallery/ContentGallery/Agenda.pdf [Read More]

  • 2016-01-12 16:06:49
    hzs on Opinion: Vote Yes, Highland Park: In response to Monica’s recent comments.

    First - to suggest fire safety in our schools isn’t a priority for those who are against the referendum is ridiculous and untrue. What information do you base your statement on?

    Second - who says 2 middle schools will cost more than one middle school? It’s the current architectural & construction team. The ones that came up with the single middle school concept . Why? Because they were unable to develop cost effective solutions to meet the 150 million budget for the recommended action plan which called for the construction of 2 middle schools (the original SCFFAC recommended action plan) when requested by the school board and administration.

    As a salesman whose income is derived solely from commissions on sales - my success is derived from listening to my clients and recommending product solutions that will meet their needs while staying within their budget constraints. If their budget is $1000.00 – it would be unproductive to recommend a product that costs $2000.00. The client will simply thank me for my time and effort & contact another vendor that will meet their needs. Standard business practice. The current architectural & construction team has failed to find solutions that will effectively remediate our schools within the budget given to them. It may be hard to believe for some – but they’re not the only firms in the school design & construction business. Time to thank them for their richly compensated efforts and start the process of looking at new vendors. Standard business practice.

    Finally – I couldn’t disagree more with the assertion that this proposed referendum is for the greater good of the community and characterizes those opposed to be selfish or unconcerned for what is in the best interest of our community. This proposal is disrespectful & harmful to our community on so many levels - whether you’re rich, poor, middle class, white, Hispanic, black, a young family, an empty nes [Read More]

  • 2016-01-12 13:17:48
    Rob Troxel on Opinion: Questioning D-115 Data Contract: This superintendent continues to try our patience by offering solutions to questions that no one is asking. Now his unpopular choice for High School principal thinks we need dogs to calm our students down. That combined with a rubber stamp school board (with the exception of Ted) confirms the taxpayers need to take back control. You have to love the five dollar words being used to describe 10 cent terms so prevalent in the literal dog and pony shows we are treated to when these folks get up to speak. [Read More]
  • 2016-01-12 12:48:11
    LF Mom on Opinion: Questioning D-115 Data Contract: Thank you, Jennifer for bringing this to light. Yet another privacy concern for our children's data. I would encourage all parents to follow this issue. I further encourage D115 Administration and Board of Ed to fully disclose what data is being collected and disseminated about our children. [Read More]
  • 2016-01-12 11:57:54
    Hilary F. Till on Opinion: Questioning D-115 Data Contract: Regarding the newly proposed (and totally discretionary) large-scale data collection on our children, one of two things could be true: (a) it is harmful, or (b) it is innocuous. I would propose two adjustments to this process, which would encompass both possibilities, given that it is difficult to understand in advance which possibility is true. Let’s say this is harmful and an invasion-of-privacy, then parents should be able to opt-out of this invasive, non-educational data-gathering exercise. On the other hand, let’s say this exercise is completely innocuous, then Board of Education members and the district’s senior administrative staff should also be subjects in this “granular” data-exercise experiment whereby records are kept at the “personal identifier” level.

    Sincerely yours, Hilary F. Till, B.A. with General Honors (in Statistics), University of Chicago; and M.Sc. (in Statistics), London School of Economics [Read More]

  • 2016-01-12 10:49:27
    Clara Tomaz on The Pet Rescuer of Wilmette ...: Great job, App!!! What you do is so amazing!! And big kudos to your exceptional mom, too :) [Read More]
  • 2016-01-12 03:13:39
    Palatine grain on LA bests Palatine in state semifinal: he is so cute [Read More]
  • 2016-01-11 15:32:15
    Monica on Opinion: Vote Yes, Highland Park: NSSD 112 is living outside of its means NOW, and has been for a long time, well before anyone was hired to dig us out of this. It sounds like you're repeating what you've heard and not doing your own due diligence. If you have no fear, I apologize. Perhaps 'mislead' is a better way to put it. [Read More]
  • 2016-01-11 15:22:43
    Monica on Opinion: Vote Yes, Highland Park: And your plan is........?

    Propose a solution. And enough with the distrust. You are refusing to look at the big picture beyond your own preferences. If this is unacceptable and bloated, whatever, find a plan and enlighten us.

    • Statues quo is 150mm with no improvements, no money for savings. (BTW, why is a lack of fire safety in our kids' schools okay with you guys?)
    • 2 middle schools cost MORE than 1 middle school campus.

    THESE are the facts. Vote YES. [Read More]

  • 2016-01-11 15:05:51
    Jack on Drury Wants Answers on Fantasy Sports: typical democratic scare tactic. "But who will protect the poor children!" with tears running down his face. Reality check -- there is an age verification process and you need a credit card/checking account to play. Can a few kids slip through? Of course. But That is true of buying booze. Playing the ponies etc. stop using this tired cliche when 99.9% of legal adults who play do so freely and willingly. It is there money. Stop with the democratic tag line that people need to be saved by the government from themselves. You are so damn vocal that woman have the right to abortions with no limits yet something as benign as fantasy sports will end society. Maddening the hypocrisy. [Read More]
  • 2016-01-11 12:52:27
    hzs on Do's and Don'ts for D-112 Referendum: This referendum is way beyond whether we think it's an embarrassment or not. This proposed reconfiguration/financing scheme is about changing the nature of our community forever. This is about whether the citizens of HP can trust this school board to manage/steward the massive changes that those on both sides of the issue agree need to be done. I've been watching this school board in action for a long time. Nothing in the way they have conducted themselves or their work product has given me any reason to trust them. They have little or no financial expertise. Little or no real estate expertise. They have shown no respect for our parks & open space. They have no respect for how the increased tax burden will surely put more financial strain on financially struggling middle class families. Unwilling to admit to a lousy site plan for a questionable at best single middle school concept that's at the root of all of this. Unwilling to engage the community members speaking before them at board meetings in discussion. Unwilling to compromise at all. Scorched earth back-up "plan". Btw - how is the reconfiguration plan coming along? It's 64 days before we vote on the referendum. Who will be selecting the blue ribbon panel? What is the process for selecting members to the panel? What qualifications will they need to be on the panel? This panel will meet for a total of 20 hours over 2 days to "hash out" the new school boundries. 20 total hours devoted to the process for a massive reconfiguration that will affect families for years to come. Disgraceful. [Read More]
  • 2016-01-11 08:44:57
    Seth Cohen on Opinion: Vote Yes, Highland Park: Fear has nothing to do with the opposition to the largest proposed tax increase in the history of the state, which saddles us with a $200 million tax bill, plus more than $140 million in interest payments on top of it. This is about living within our means, and developing a plan that actually meets the needs of district residents and does not just line the pockets of architects and PR firms. Vote NO on this mess. [Read More]
  • 2016-01-11 06:49:17
    Sara S on Opinion: Vote Yes, Highland Park: The high opposition is coming from the fact that this plan doesn't do what it's proponents so desperately claim it will.

    The largest tax increase ever in Highlabd Park doesn't fix our financial problems and has nothing to do with education.

    These are the facts, and we nee to vote no on this bloated referendum. [Read More]

  • 2016-01-10 16:50:24
    Monica on Do's and Don'ts for D-112 Referendum: The process is an embarrassment? How about a bankrupt school district that the State has to take over? Or random school closings without a plan to prevent the State from taking over? That's what's embarrassing to me.

    "Complaining about a problem without proposing a solution is called whining." [Read More]

  • 2016-01-10 16:32:59
    Monica on Opinion: Vote Yes, Highland Park: Marcia's view is the conclusion of the reasonable, well-informed citizens of 112 who value the greater good above personal preferences. Taxes will go up whether this passes or not. Please, get the facts. The high volume of the opposition you hear is coming from fear. [Read More]
  • 2016-01-10 11:39:00
    Judy on Bent Fork Bakery A Sweet Delight: Regarding the Bent Fork Bakery's Morning Bread recipe, the baking soda is omitted in the list of ingredients. [Read More]
  • 2016-01-10 10:34:23
    Michael C. Craven on What Readers Think About Divorce: Nice article. You bring up alot of good pointers. Communication is key. [Read More]
  • 2016-01-10 09:21:04
    Molly Flynn on Lake Forest Book Store To Move: The Lake Forest Bookstore is my favorite place to shop for myself and others! It's a true gem, and I am looking forward to seeing the expanded space. [Read More]
  • 2016-01-08 23:37:04
    Andre Ruiz on Recap — Baseball Sectional: Stevenson 6, GBS 0: Such a nice recap. Got the full picture from the article. And adding reaction at the end has made this article awesome. Glenbrook South played a great season, but had an unfortunate end to things in the sectional semifinals. The Patriots just managed to move another step closer to a championship, scoring five runs in the first four innings to pull out a 6-0 win over Glenbrook South in a Stevenson Sectional semifinal. [Read More]
  • 2016-01-08 06:58:10
    Max on Do's and Don'ts for D-112 Referendum: The lawyer told 112 to not use "adjective" and to make sure all communications are fair and not biased.

    And here are phrases that appear in a press release from D112 this week:

    "a plan that, if approved, with address ONCE AND FOR ALL, the district's long-term...needs"

    "However, these challenges also present a ONCE-IN-A-LIFETIME opportunity to REIMAGINE the BEST EDUCATIONAL AND LEARNING ENVIRONMENT..."

    "...putting forth a plan that WILL BEST SERVE OUR DISTRICT FOR DECADES TO COME..."

    "[we] have been LASER-FOCUSED ON OUR ULTIMATE GOAL"

    "The CULMINATING reconfiguration plan the board voted to put on the ballot in December is BY FAR THE BEST OPTION FOR OUR STUDENTS, DISTRICT, AND COMMUNITY."

    ****
    This is an unbelievable farce. AMAZING JOB 112! [Read More]

  • 2016-01-07 11:42:01
    Harlon Katz on Stray Bullet Hit Christmas Shooting Victim: I hope the State of Illinois pulls his FOID card because I am sure he and the person he exchanged shots with were both legal gun owners. [Read More]
  • 2016-01-07 09:48:07
    Emily on Demo OK'd For Winnetka Founder's Home: This is a loss for Winnetka, too bad. [Read More]
  • 2016-01-07 07:36:59
    Carl Castrogiovanni on Suspect Charged In Lake Bluff Shooting: No need to beat around the bush, Jim. The "changes in practice" are easy to identify: Any establishment that wants to hold such a private college (over 21) party (which invariably would attract gang bangers as was the case here) should be required to get permission from the local authorities. Or, at least be required to notify local authorities so that a police presence can be nearby. This isn't about guns or gun control; it's about stupidly attracting the wrong element and not proactively mitigating threats from such... [Read More]
  • 2016-01-06 22:16:22
    Rick Lesser on Stray Bullet Hit Christmas Shooting Victim: The Lake County Liquor Commission will be holding a hearing on Nardo's Liquor License on Monday, January 25, 9:00 am at the County Building, 18 N. County Street, Waukegan. The Complaint against Nardo's alleges 6 violations. This is a public hearing; everyone is welcome to attend and hear the details. [Read More]
  • 2016-01-06 14:48:55
    Jim Moss on Suspect Charged In Lake Bluff Shooting: Nice to see progress on identifying those potentially responsible. Arrests and eventual justice are necessary parts of the process. However, such only deal with symptoms of the problem. Hopefully the community (citizens, business members and government officials) can give consideration to any changes in current practices that will help limit the opportunity for this to happen again. [Read More]
  • 2016-01-06 08:40:00
    Christian Erzinger on Kluchkas Make Fire & Ice a Family Business: What a great article about one of Lake Bluff's greatest assets - the entire Kluchka family. [Read More]
  • 2016-01-06 06:56:24
    David Barkhausen on Kluchkas Make Fire & Ice a Family Business: Wonderful article. Thank you for your long and dedicated service, Jerry. You've obviously inspired your boys, and thank you, guys, for what you're doing. [Read More]
  • 2016-01-05 12:47:12
    hzs on Opinion: Support D-112 Referendum: Good points made in all of the above comments.

    Interesting information about the Chief Financial Officer for the school district. Did the 112 school board know about Moshin Dada's situation before they hired him? Either way, what does that say about the judgment of the school board in hiring him? Will he receive a second pension when he retires from this school district?

    Anyone who wants to display yards signs can go to the CARE website to sign up. Please encourage neighbors & friends to do so as well.

    Vote No to the Referendum [Read More]

  • 2016-01-05 09:10:32
    Seth Cohen on Opinion: Support D-112 Referendum: The District 112 school board and administration deserve an F grade for this debacle of a plan. I will be joining my friends and neighbors in voting NO and opposing the $198 million referendum and the $140 in interest payments, and demanding that they come up with a plan that better preserves our community schools, does not force massive busing, traffic and safety concerns, and does not waste our precious dollars on nonsensical grandiose schemes. [Read More]
  • 2016-01-05 07:19:26
    Max on Opinion: Support D-112 Referendum: I don't know where to even start on the problems here. This is a bad idea from soup to nuts.

    Here's just one thing: I attended a meeting at a school with the administration. Where were the interest payments on the financial sheet?

    If you took out a loan for a house and the lender did not tell you how much you would pay in interest, wouldn't this be a major red flag? They withheld the number--$140 million--until the last few meetings because they know it doesn't look good.

    Yet, I believe adults can make judgements based upon the facts, not a sales pitch. This is all bad form. I'm voting no. [Read More]

  • 2016-01-05 07:17:45
    Jim Moss on Nardo’s Owner: Shooting ‘My Worst Nightmare’: We would like to believe our community is immune to the reality of increased gun violence in our society. However, this shows us the bubble can be penetrated. As indicated in the article, I am sure the owners of Nardo's do not want this to happen again, but words and promises are an insufficient response. The police will hopefully be able to identify the shooter(s) and the court system can bring them to justice. As a community we need to assess what we can do to ensure this becomes as isolated of an event as possible. [Read More]
  • 2016-01-03 19:55:33
    Peg Wolfe on HP Furs Closing After 37 Years: Dropped in Saturday, and picked up a very cozy pair of shearling earmuffs. Really nice, friendly people - I'll be back before they close, for sure. Thanks for calling the impending closure to my attention! [Read More]
  • 2016-01-03 09:52:59
    Therese Pepelnjak on HP Furs Closing After 37 Years: A story of a well-lived life and a legacy of faith, hard work and family, mazel tov Mr. Saffrrin! [Read More]
  • 2015-12-31 05:25:29
    Linda Kroll on 2nd Calling: Glencoe Rabbi As Uber Driver: Loved the article about "Rabbi Uber Driver." His sermon to go forward (out of your comfort zone and normal experiences) and find your SELF is inspirational. Thank you, Rabbi, for the gifts of your wisdom, your humor and your heart! Happy New Year to all! [Read More]
  • 2015-12-30 22:14:42
    Bill Graham on Roundup: Boys Basketball: Justin McMahon for LFHS also had 8 points to go with six assists 4 rebounds and da and three steals in win over Minooka
    Thanks
    [Read More]
  • 2015-12-27 20:56:55
    Laurie on Sunday Breakfast: A Story of Survival: Great article! [Read More]
  • 2015-12-27 15:00:00
    Ann Tarjan on Radio Funny Man Bill Leff: Nice Guy In Life and On the Air: Bluestone is on Central St. just west of Green Bay Rd. in Evanston...it isn't in downtown Evanston. [Read More]
  • 2015-12-23 10:24:51
    Steve Handwerker on Hour of Code Awakens Interest in Programming: Nice article, Steve! [Read More]
  • 2015-12-22 07:10:39
    Orville on Ben Carson Plans Lake Forest Stop: Honestly, I don't know if this is a good idea from the Republican presidential candidate. Well, each of us has his own opinion. [Read More]
  • 2015-12-21 20:41:36
    The Church of the Holy Spirit on A 'Quiet Christmas' Respite ...: Please note that we do not have a 7p.m. service on Christmas Eve, we do have an 11 p.m. service.
    Dec. 24 at 11 a.m., 2 p.m., 5p.m., 11 p.m.
    Dec. 25 at 10 a.m.
    [Read More]
  • 2015-12-18 21:35:24
    Chris & Karen Dekker on Opinion: Affordable Housing In Wilmette: We are grateful for Paul Traynor's voice in a discussion that has felt largely one-sided. Thank you for clarifying information about the proposed development. [Read More]
  • 2015-12-18 09:28:43
    Sara on HP Weighs In On D-112 Referendum: There is a great statement from the opposition group also on Daily North Shore, here:

    http://dailynorthshore.com/2015/12/17/opinion-care-opposes-d-112-referendum/

    Here's one part that resonated with me:

    "D112’s plan hinges on a Big Box school of 1,800+ students in the south-west corner of the district — far from many of the families it claims to benefit. 112 has provided no educational research to support positive student outcomes for a school of this size. We don’t want our children to be test subjects for an unproven configuration that is contrary to the community’s recommendations." [Read More]

  • 2015-12-18 09:26:42
    Sara on Opinion: CARE Opposes D-112 Referendum: We need a new Board of Ed. They are subject to so much groupthink at this point, it's astounding.

    I am glad there are people who will not be bullied into the worst idea to hit Highland Park in a long time.

    Vote NO on this plan, and let's get to something people can actually support. [Read More]

  • 2015-12-16 19:01:13
    Barbara Kanter on Opinion: Affordable Housing In Wilmette: I wish I could so eloquently expres what Mr. Traynor said. I live within two blocks of the HODC owned site. When it isn't snowing or raining I walk to the plaza and would feel comfortable after this much needed rental building is open. [Read More]
  • 2015-12-16 17:38:34
    Peter Overholt on Opinion: Affordable Housing In Wilmette: The above opinion piece, and the thoughtful comments that follow, also summarize my feelings about the project. Many of the objections I've read seem to be aimed, in code, at trying to make Wilmette more homogeneous, rather than more diverse. I think this is wrong from a philosophical as well as practical point of view. Though a very small number of people can qualify for inclusion in this project, they will add a demographic lacking, largely, to our community. [Read More]
  • 2015-12-16 17:11:57
    Jes Scheinpflug on Opinion: Affordable Housing In Wilmette: Thank you for eloquently and respectfully encapsulating exactly what I was thinking. Very well written. [Read More]
  • 2015-12-16 16:57:43
    Lorelei McClure on Opinion: Affordable Housing In Wilmette: This is so encouraging and wisely written . Thank you, Mr. Traynor

    Loving regards,

    Lorelei McClure
    President, Wilmette Cares [Read More]

  • 2015-12-16 16:46:57
    Julie Campbell on Opinion: Affordable Housing In Wilmette: I agree with Mr. Traynor. I was at the first meeting and it was very contentious. Lots of quite angry people who even yelled when a pastor spoke in support of it. [Read More]
  • 2015-12-16 16:08:27
    RR on D-112 Puts $198M Referendum On Ballot: More tacit threats, untruths and arrogance from NSSD 112. Nothing short of a 200 million dollar stick-up----a complete refusal to address substantial and reasonable concerns including the abandonment of neighborhood schools, intense traffic problems, busing 7 year olds across town, the impact on young students of a mega-school, the immense cost and opportunity costs, the disproportionate impact on a single neighborhood along with a stubborn and tone deaf refusal to offer voters any other option, this entire plan materializing out of thin air on the advice of an architectural firm with no experience building large suburban school projects or familiarity with Highland Park. All of this in complete contrast to the 3 options the city was asked to consider based on the painstakingly detailed evaluation by the SCCFCC . When hundreds of million dollars, power and career influence are at stake it becomes clear why we have been offered this boondoggle. It should be soundly defeated and followed by resignation of the entire school board and superintendent. [Read More]
  • 2015-12-16 10:58:47
    Gail Hodges, Development Director, Family Service of Lake County on Feliz día de Posada: Thank you so much for this enlightening and nicely-research article on Sunday's very successful Posada, which was attended by over 300 community members. Thanks also to Highland Park High School and the scores of volunteers and gourmet cooks who made the event such a success. [Read More]
  • 2015-12-16 07:07:46
    John on D-112 Puts $198M Referendum On Ballot: Not surprising the School Board refuses to listen to the tone of the people and put this referendum up that will be soundly defeated and then what happens to the old schools, nothing, because there is no back up plan [Read More]
  • 2015-12-16 06:21:51
    Sara S on D-112 Puts $198M Referendum On Ballot: I am saddened by the Board's groupthink. I watched the labored explanations last night on how there is no way to give the community a less disruptive plan that spends responsibly.

    This tax increase will be four times the 113 referendum, and will pack 2000 students into a single middle school.

    The plan won't solve 112s financial problems, because it underfunds maintenance over 30 years [Read More]

  • 2015-12-15 17:40:37
    Barbara Kanter on Full Crowd at Affordable Housing Meeting: This is reference to an organization to which the author of this article posted a link.

    This fall the local Wilmette Residents United for Transparency and Informed Decisions on American Legion Post 46 Redevelopment (WRUTIDALP46R) with an anonymous membership and unknown mailing address formed.

    WRUTIDALP46R has "spent countless hours informing the community through our communications, this website and a Facebook page. " Readers should decide for themselves whether sites such as these can stoke controversy.

    The group is self described as "a grass root movement of and for Wilmette " being composed of "twenty or so core people.......".
    The URL for website is www.stop1925redevelopment.com. Each page of the site is titled "STOP HODC SUBSIDIZED HOUSING AT WILMETTE AMERICAN LEGION SITE.". Meta tags for the subject site include inflammatory keywords such as "319 Dempster, crimes, sex offenders" .

    We are the 80% of the community committed to keeping an open mind and working with the Village and local affordable housing advocacy groups to bring the best possible use of the vacant lot for our seniors, needy families, local workers and residents.

    How credible is it that a group devoted to stopping HODC activities in Wilmette, claiming that HODC management is incompetent and corrupt, can be committed to constructively working with HODC (which is actually the leading community housing group) in north suburbs ? [Read More]

  • 2015-12-15 12:19:18
    Betsy Rogers friedman on Geoffrey A. Parson: Please send my condolences to Geoff Parsons family. We had been keeping in touch and I am so sorry about his passing. [Read More]
  • 2015-12-14 11:59:23
    Adrienne Fawcett on Reboot: Wilmette's Elmwood Dunes: Yes for sure -- and thank you for pointing out the correct name! [Read More]
  • 2015-12-14 10:58:20
    Walter Reed on Reboot: Wilmette's Elmwood Dunes: Nice article and worth repeating. Please correct one word, however. There is no "Village" Harbor Rotary Club. It's the "Wilmette" Harbor Rotary Club and for $33,000 we probably deserve to get credit under the correct name. Agree? [Read More]
  • 2015-12-11 10:59:02
    Dave Wisel on Opinion: More Questions About Affordable Housing: The December 8th meeting was more of the same. It was another forum for HODC to promote itself and avoid addressing the factual concerns of the residents. Right off the bat, an alderman from Evanston took up a significant amount of time explaining how all the problems at the Evanston projects were in the past. No hard data is ever offered to prove that things have improved. Most concerning was the fuzzy explanation of tenant screening standards. The discussion of which types of criminal offenses would be acceptable to HODC was ridiculous. Why would Wilmette invite a development with such a high risk of criminal activity of any type? I expect the village to be more concerned with the safety of its tax paying residents and not a politically correct housing project. [Read More]
  • 2015-12-10 13:59:12
    Becky Gusich on Neapolitan Pizza Opens in Wilmette: I really enjoyed the article on Napolita! [Read More]
  • 2015-12-08 18:36:07
    Interested Observer on Opinion: Does LFHS Need New Schedule?: As a retired educator and school psychologist, I have observed that high school kids rarely get enough sleep. Sleep is important for top school performance, so how could this be a bad thing? I would strongly encourage a later start date on behalf of the students. Sure it is nice to get out early and I'm sure the sports departments will not like a later ending day, but there is NO substitute for a good night's sleep! [Read More]
  • 2015-12-08 18:29:36
    Jennifer on Jones is the X factor in GBS's lineup: That's my nephew Derrick Rose better move over and make some room for my baby. I'm super proud of you. [Read More]
  • 2015-12-08 16:50:33
    Jennifer Neubauer on Opinion: Does LFHS Need New Schedule?: Ms. Cordeniz may not be aware that there are other studies suggesting 16 year olds score best on tests with merely 7 hours of sleep a night and that sleepiness in class may not be so much a function of how much sleep the student had as it is of when the student awoke.
    See, e.g. http://www.palgrave-journals.com/eej/journal/v38/n4/full/eej201133a.html
    [Read More]
  • 2015-12-08 16:48:45
    Donald E. Russ on LFHS Plans Later Start for School Day: I just attended the Committee's presentation and have a better understanding now.

    Currently we have eight periods, each meeting five times per week, of 50 minutes each, one period dedicated to lunch. So, the current schedule allows seven academic periods of 250 minutes per week each, a potential total of 1750 minutes per week.

    Proposed are eight periods, each meeting four times per week in durations as follows: 45, 45, 85 and 45 minutes – except that variously one of mid-day periods each day will be shortened by 30 minutes to accommodate lunch.

    So the proposed schedule allows eight academic periods of 220 minutes per week each, except that a half-hour for lunch is carved out of each day which claims 150 minutes per week, for a net of 1610 minutes per week – an eight percent reduction of potential instruction.

    (On Wednesday and Thursday, the half-hour lunch makes one of the 85-minute classes into a 55-minute class. On Monday, Tuesday and Friday the half-hour is provided in one of two ways: Either a 45-minute class becomes a 15-minute class (not a problem if it is a study hall) or the lunch is scheduled to claim half from each of two 45-minute classes making them both into 30-minute classes.)

    Of course, we should have had all this two years ago. I still resent the teacher's union for using block scheduling as a bargaining chip. The school board has done well to give us both block scheduling and labor peace, at least until 2019. [Read More]

  • 2015-12-08 11:33:10
    Joan Cordeniz on Opinion: Does LFHS Need New Schedule?: Just because Ms Newbauer is apparently unfamiliar with sleep science doesn't mean that this move by the high school is experimental. This is hardly an experiment; it is a response to ample, well- documented scientific research findings. A move to later start times for both high school and middle school students has been recommended by sleep specialists for at least the last 15 years. The American Academy of Pediatrics and the Center for Disease Control have also both recommended shifting high school start times back. The links Greg posted provide a wealth of information on teens and sleep needs.

    The University of Minnesota Center for Applied Research and Educational Improvement has found that later start times correlate with improved academic performance. From their findings: "Researchers analyzed data from more than 9,000 students at eight high schools in Minnesota, Colorado, and Wyoming and found that shifting the school day later in the morning resulted in a boost in attendance, test scores, and grades in math, English, science, and social studies. Schools also saw a decrease in tardiness, substance abuse, and symptoms of depression. Some even had a dramatic drop in teen car crashes."

    Shifting the start time to later in the morning is hardly experimental; a later start time should more accurately be referred to as a "best practice." I applaud Dr. Holland and the administration for making this improvement to our high school. [Read More]

  • 2015-12-08 11:14:25
    Jennifer Neubauer on Opinion: Does LFHS Need New Schedule?: Assume for the sake of argument those articles are correct:
    1. Does the data suggest that teens who know they have "late start" days ("late" meaning 25 minutes or one hour later, depending on the day per the new schedule) will prudently take advantage of the late start to catch up on sleep OR will they stay up even later, rationalizing that they have a "late start."

    2. If the only issue were sleep cycles for teens, why the block schedule? Where is the data (not anecdotes) that rearranging class time and decreasing instructional time in this fashion materially contributes to positive student outcomes?
    Folks always want to compare LFHS to New Trier. Click on their "Daily Schedule" at this website:

    http://www.newtrier.k12.il.us/Calendars/School_Year_Calendars_and_Schedules/
    Query: did anyone look at New Trier's (0r other schools' ) success with student outcomes and find any correlation with their Daily Schedule?

    There is no evidence to suggest, nor has any been presented to parents, that a "new" hybrid schedule will materially enhance positive student outcomes. There has been a lot of anecdotal sharing about how boring longer classes will be, or how "cool" it would be to have longer science labs, or how difficult it will be to schedule field trips, etc.

    And the reported "twenty" meetings to discover parents/teachers/students "hopes and dreams" for a "new school day" were only that--inquiries (whether undertaken in good faith or not, given the tight December deadline to come up with a "new" schedule the teachers' union/Administration will accept).

    There has never been a presentation on whether any part of this change will actually help any LFHS students. Conclusion: another experiment on our children with no articulated, substantiated and expected benefit to them. Is that what you want for your children? [Read More]

  • 2015-12-08 11:07:25
    Al Boese on Local Professor Calls on Muslims to Reject ISIS: It is refreshing to hear an informed person of Middle East origin speak the truth about Islamic Terrorism and its sources. It is even more so when that person's perspective places responsibility for the elimination of such terrorism squarely on Muslims who profess peace and harmony with other faiths and nationalities. Finally we can agree, radical Islam has become a political movement, not a faith.

    Al Boese [Read More]

  • 2015-12-08 08:57:17
    Greg on Opinion: Does LFHS Need New Schedule?: Not sure if a change is needed but I think you are incorrect to say there is no evidence for making this type of change - just a quick search came up with hundreds of articles and studies... here are just a couple

    www.startschoollater.net/wake-up-calls-fast-facts.htm
    https://sleepfoundation.org/sleep-news/backgrounder-later-school-start-times
    http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/sleepy-teens-high-school-should-start-later-in-the-morning/
    http://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2015/08/why-school-should-start-later/401489/
    http://www.wsj.com/articles/teens-need-later-start-to-school-day-doctors-group-says-1408939263 [Read More]

  • 2015-12-08 08:35:43
    Mark Pasquesi on LFHS Plans Later Start for School Day: According to Newsweek's 2015 rankings of America's Top High Schools, Lake Forest High School is #34 in the country, New Trier is #14. In Illinois, LFHS is ranked the #2 public high school behind only New Trier. Pretty impressive numbers. [Read More]
  • 2015-12-07 15:43:05
    AJG on Supreme Court Rejects Highland Park Case: Thanks to Highland Park for taking the lead on banning mass murder weapons. Thanks for the Supreme Court for taking a pass on the NRA-sponsored appeal. Now, the rest of our North Shore communities need to ban weapons of mass murder. ajg [Read More]
  • 2015-12-07 08:24:28
    Donald E. Russ on LFHS Plans Later Start for School Day: That is not what the article says. Even the headline is about the “later start” and it says that lunch will still be scheduled. There is even additional time allowed for “teacher collaboration.”

    I attended the October 18th presentation and asked about this. The presenters Wilcox and Meagher could not respond so I followed-up with an email to Paul Goldstein about union featherbedding that same day. He has not responded.

    How can instruction be preserved if the students can sleep later, the teachers get more “collaboration” time and everyone still gets lunch? Why can't Goldstein respond? How can Chala Holland present to the board if they don't know when the day ends, or how long the periods are, or where the lunch is scheduled?

    And why do you criticize from anonymity, using a snarky label “find something else to do”? [Read More]

  • 2015-12-06 17:44:20
    Lynn on LFHS Plans Later Start for School Day: What a mess. As someone who supported moving to a block schedule 2 years ago, and still wants to see a block schedule, I couldn't be more disappointed. This is NOT a block, but instead LFHS's "hybrid" model. Who does this benefit? Certainly not the students for many reasons. This model benefits the teachers, which is no surprise since the committee is made up of teachers.

    Two years ago, under the strong leadership of Barry Rodgers, 4 different proposed models were studied. The final recommendation was made, and it was titled 90 Minute Block with 8 period Late Start Wednesday. The teachers' union blocked it from a vote. They weren't going to allow any change to the school day go through without having it built into their contract. Our BOE renegotiated the teachers' contract a year early, at the start of this school year, and it was agreed that some sort of new school day would be approved by a date in December. So, here we are. As a parent who has had another child attend a different high school with a REAL block schedule, I can't say enough good things about block. Never, did I think LFHS would actually come up with a plan that is worse than what we already have!

    The beauty of a block is that it naturally allows 8 classes per semester, plus a lunch. That is accomplished by holding 4 longer class periods per day. Most students will tell you their current 50 minute class is really only about 45 minutes because there is transition time at the start of class. Now, LFHS wants to shorten classes to 45 minutes (subtract 5 min at start of class, and you're at 40 min). The current "shortened class schedule" has 38 minute classes, so we will be 2 minutes shy of that. I would assume most teachers would tell you it is difficult to cover the material, answer questions, or build in lab time for science classes in that amount of time. The committee thinks this short class time is adequate 3 days a week?! Let me assure you that shorter classes equal MORE homework! More h [Read More]

  • 2015-12-06 10:58:48
    Susan Marshall on Saving Dogs From Abuse: Thanks, Simon for this wonderful article about the great work Safe Humane Chicago is doing, with Cynthia Bathurst at its helm, and its new book, "A Ruff Road Home: The Court Case Dogs of Chicago,", written by Susan Russell. I think your readers would find it interesting to know that for a tax deductible contribution of $40 (plus shipping) they can purchase their own copies of this gorgeous coffee table book (with photos by Josh Feeney) so that Safe Humane Chicago can continue its incredible programs which create safer and more humane communities for animals and people. http://www.safehumanechicago.org/a-ruff-road-home [Read More]
  • 2015-12-06 09:31:20
    Judy Gillen on Deer Path Inn Reopens: Did you keep the bells above the registration desk? They are so nostalgic. [Read More]
  • 2015-12-06 09:26:53
    Find something else to do on LFHS Plans Later Start for School Day: Currently, one of the eight periods is lunch. 5 days times 50 minutes is 250 minutes. 2000 minutes per week less 250 minutes is 1750 minutes. Thus under the proposed plan there is more instruction time, as 1760 is greater than 1750. [Read More]
  • 2015-12-05 23:00:05
    LJ Gibbs on LFHS Plans Later Start for School Day: And where does LFHS rank in the current niche.com analysis? Oh wait, never mind. LFHS isn't even on the list for best HS in Illinois. (New Trier is No. 4 in the NATION!) No wonder our property values stink but our taxes keep rising. [Read More]
  • 2015-12-05 13:40:11
    Taylor Cottam on LFHS Plans Later Start for School Day: Would someone please explain how setting inconsistent start time is beneficial to the student? I predict increased tardiness, absences and concentration problems on Wednesday and Thursday.

    I wish I could see the graphic because it shows something taking place during that time. Hopefully it is time which is spent improving the instruction, but color me skeptical. [Read More]

  • 2015-12-05 11:30:30
    Harlon Katz on LFHS Plans Later Start for School Day: Have teachers accepted a drop in pay to reflect the lower teaching times. [Read More]
  • 2015-12-04 17:40:54
    Donald E. Russ on LFHS Plans Later Start for School Day: The current schedule of instruction is 2000 minutes per week. The proposed schedule is 1760 minutes per week, a reduction of instruction by 12 percent.

    I understand that varied class duration can benefit both teachers and students. And I understand how the teacher-dominated committee might favor 12 percent less teaching for the same pay. But how does the reduction of instruction benefit the students? [Read More]

  • 2015-12-04 16:18:34
    shannon duffy on LFHS Plans Later Start for School Day: A consistent morning start time is essential. Kids thrive on routine, real-world work days start at the same time. Ask the school how many tardies they have in regular vs. Late start --- the #s are higher on late start? The kids get in trouble those days esp. Since parents are at work already.

    The varied start time isn't real world- go to bed early and sleep in on the weekend.

    The shorter lunch time is a good idea as is the block schedule, but start at the same time every day ---- and eliminate the late start...that indroduces trouble. With all the kids getting into trouble with drugs, let's keep the structure and hold them accountable to get to bed and get up to face each day. [Read More]

  • 2015-12-04 10:06:00
    Sara on D-112 Mulls Reconfiguration Funding: Anyone who saw this meeting would have also watched most of the Board struggle to understand basic aspects of the financing plan. They spent ten minutes trying to figure out how much this would cost the average homeowner. I'm worried that they don't have basic financial competency.

    Why? Their $ figures don't include interest payments and also don't include all of the maintenance on the remaining schools required as part of their master plan. The comparison is not fair, and voters are being misled as to the cost of the referendum. The cost of the plan is way more than what they are letting on.

    Also, they now want $198 million on the ballot. Yup. That's the largest tax increase in HP history.

    Our superintendent also makes more than the chief of CPS. Guess which system has more students?

    Vote no, and let's reboot this very broken processs. [Read More]

  • 2015-12-03 20:17:51
    Knl44 on Lake Bluff Woman Indicted for Felony DUI: So are we waiting for this woman to kill someone? If you want to destroy your life, fine, go ahead and do so, but once you start to involve innocent people into your sick world, you lose all sympathy of being sick. Why isn't her family doing everything they can to stop her from driving? Why aren't the courts? Seriously, SHE HIT A SCHOOL BUS in one accident. The Lake County judges should be held responsible if she kills someone (as should she). [Read More]
  • 2015-12-03 10:01:43
    sally daniels on Affordable Housing Developer Meets Residents: I attended this meeting and am grateful for this accurate report of the proceedings. It gave HODC an opportunity to address and correct much of the misinformation that has been circulated by opponents of the original plan for affordable housing at the 1925 Wilmette Ave. site. Using the Claridge Apartments history as a comparison to potential problems foreseen in Wilmette is inappropriate because Claridge is made up of 48 SRO units. It would be more pertinent to look into their reputation at other complexes on the North Shore, which house a population closer to that anticipated at the Wilmette site. [Read More]
  • 2015-11-30 20:19:22
    Scott Kolbe on Opinion: 10% Solution No Cure For D-112: Considering approximately 500,000 people died in the Iraq War I'd say your point is rather weak, Harlon. [Read More]
  • 2015-11-30 09:09:58
    Jeff A. on North Shorts: Procrastination: I've been meaning to comment on North Shorts since they started. They're all fun and have deeper meaning than you expect they're going to have. But I've been procrastinating! Then I saw today's column, and figured procrastination is okay, but enough is enough. So, just wanted to say thanks for the fun stories. [Read More]
  • 2015-11-30 09:00:11
    Jim Moss on Former LFHS Teacher Pens Award Winning Novel: Congratulations Mr. Ferry. I thoroughly enjoyed Travel Writings and all the local references throughout the book. I now look forward to picking up your latest work. You and Ms. Pese instilled in me a love for the written word during my years at LFHS. Keep up the good work. [Read More]
  • 2015-11-28 17:09:35
    Lamberty on A Family of WWII Heroes: November 01-11, I've visited several friend in San Diego, Oklahoma City. And I spent three days in Washington DC/Arlington to attend Veterans Day ceremonies!
    I ask my WWII Veteran friend to visit several graves of friends who are buried in Arlington.
    One of them is Lt. James J. Meyers, D Co, 505th PIR, who kept in Touch with me till his passing in december 2002 and who had explained to me some stories of the D Co!
    It was important to visit him who was a close friend despite we had never met!
    Eddy
    [Read More]
  • 2015-11-28 17:01:41
    Lamberty on A Family of WWII Heroes: I cannot find the words to express my feeling by reading your tribute to Lt. Marshall HUGHES!
    It's my distinguished honor as I was given the privilege to adopt several graves of soldiers who did the ultimate sacrifices of their lives for our freedom!

    Those Men gave all to give us the opportunity to born free, to build a family!
    Thank you to all the people who has helped me to get more information as I wanted to know more Lt. Hughes!
    May He Rest In Peace!
    I'll continue to visit his final resting place as long as my health Will allow me to do so!
    God Bless all those who have served, are serving and Will serve! God Bless the United State of America!
    Eddy Lamberty, native of Grand-Halleux, Belgium [Read More]

  • 2015-11-27 15:19:05
    Harlon Katz on Opinion: 10% Solution No Cure For D-112: Well, the Nobel committee gave Obama the Peace Prize - THAT really turned out well. [Read More]
  • 2015-11-27 10:55:43
    Elizabeth Everly on Opinion: 10% Solution No Cure For D-112: I wondered if Aaron Brooks was a member of this SCFFAC, since that would perhaps explain why he claims the middle-school idea was part of that process. I looked him up.

    It doesn't seem to be the case, unless the roster at the District website is wrong.

    Yet, a web search does turn up Aaron is an employee of Baker Tilly, the firm that does the auditing for 112.

    That may not be a conflict of interest, but he should freely disclose that. Otherwise, how can we trust what we read on the internet? [Read More]

  • 2015-11-27 10:33:55
    William Miller on Opinion: 10% Solution No Cure For D-112: George Bush and Dick Cheney thought invading Iraq was the best option available.

    "Our community has analyzed this long enough and it is time to act on the best option available."

    That turned out well! [Read More]

  • 2015-11-27 10:32:05
    Sara on Opinion: 10% Solution No Cure For D-112: Aaron: are you serious that just because someone can search the web and find and article supporting either side that one should suspicious of what is on the web? It's hard to follow most of your logic, but I think you are trying to say that just because it's online, doesn't mean it is true.

    I think most people would agree, but responses on these issues should deal with content, and not the above.

    You then say you will not debate Bob, but that you will. You can't have a cat roll over and play dead at the same time. You are either engaging or not.

    I don't agree with all of Bob's letter, but I think he is saying that our administration is spending too much of their time and our resources on advocating for the referendum rather than working on educational issues. How much money has been spent on this in the last year or two--consultants, staff time, etc? Those are real issues.

    Just because you have 3 children getting a good education doesn't mean that the "administration is doing an incredible job educating our children." Teachers teach your children, not the Superintendent. You are really twisting Bob's points, and worse, using anecdote to counter.

    I think you are right: let us not believe everything on the internet. [Read More]

  • 2015-11-27 10:30:36
    Robert Bernat on Opinion: 10% Solution No Cure For D-112: Mr. Brooks’ reply is designed to obscure the facts. Having been a member of both the SCFFAC and its predecessor, the SCFAC, I can represent and warrant that the only options endorsed by the SCFFAC in its report to David Behlow, PhD, the former NSSD112 Superintendent, included two middle schools. (See, Making Informed Choices To Ensure A Sustainable Future – Your Voice Our Future, Report Prepared by the Superintendent’s Citizen Finance and Facilities Advisory Committee, North Shore School District 112, February 2014, p. 13.) Furthermore, in the community survey conducted by the SCFFAC community sentiment was made clear. Such survey stated, “As shown in Figure 5, the highest ranked option for all survey participants was to reduce the number of schools to six K-5 elementary schools and two 6-8 middle schools.” (See, Superintendent’s Citizen Finance and Facilities Advisory Committee, Report to the Superintendent, May 6, 2014, p. 12.)

    However, Mr. Brooks asserts that during SCFFAC deliberations certain unnamed members of the SCFFAC favored a single middle school. Of course he is unable to backup such assertion with any SCFFAC report. He then states, “Given this public assertion by many members of the SCFFAC, I feel it is irresponsible for any SCFFAC member to state that this model goes against the recommendations of the committee overall.” This statement makes no sense whatsoever. Mr. Brooks clearly has failed to read the SCFFAC reports.

    Furthermore, Mr. Brooks takes issue with the characterization of Jasculca Terman as a PR firm. However, a review of the Jasculca Terman website is instructive. Under its recitation of services are the following four headings: Public Affairs, Crisis Communications, Event Management and Digital Strategies and Engagement. Under the appropriate heading, Public Affairs, it is stated, “JT Public Affairs takes a campaign-style approach to issues and crises. This means moving quickly to seize the initiative: crafting the ri [Read More]

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  • Opinion: Vote Yes; It's A Good... (3)
    By ThetruthAs Lasko's letter highlights, I say "you are making my point." The community's main concern isn't so much the dollars involved (while that is significant) it is the fact that many of us don't want a "Costco Middle school" (I've now coined that phrase). Close a few schools and give us two remodeled middle schools...
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  • Opinion: Educator Supports D-112 Referendum (4)
    By LexieRodriguez lists his university affiliation as U of I at Urbana-Champaign. If I'm a student I could list my address as HP if that's where family is but I could still live and work in some place entirely different. Is he there or here during the school year? Is he a parent who will be...
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