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Archive for November, 2011|Monthly archive page

In Uncategorized on November 30, 2011 at 10:10 am

D300 deal with Sears, Hoffman Estates remains ‘resolved’ (Sun-Times Media)

In Uncategorized on November 30, 2011 at 12:52 am

…And with that, the Illinois House adjourns. #SearsEDA

In Uncategorized on November 29, 2011 at 12:21 pm

Healthier menu salute (Sun-Times Media)

Community Unit School District 300 Superintendent Michael Bregy said Monday he is “reluctantly satisfied” with yet another amendment, filed the day before, to state legislation that would affect funding for the Carpentersville-area school district. That came after changes were made to the amendment to Senate Bill 397, which Bregy had characterized as a “money grab for Hoffman Estates,” this afternoon in an Illinois House Revenue & Finance Committee meeting.” The school district has opposed amendments to several bills that would extend those incentives for Sears, saying they would send about $14 million in property tax dollars meant for the district instead to the EDA each year. Meantime, Sears has said without those incentives, it would consider moving out of Illinois. “While we have achieved huge progress over the past few months, make no mistake that the end result was a huge compromise,” Bregy said in a written statement released Monday. “We are reluctantly satisfied with the compromise plan. It is a very bittersweet victory for our community,” he said. House Revenue and Finance Committee Chairman John Bradley, D-Marion, filed the amendment to Senate Bill 397 Sunday, ahead of Monday’s committee meeting. The amendment passed that committee and now will go to a vote during the Illinois General Assembly’s special session scheduled to begin Tuesday. The deadline for a vote on the bill is Wednesday, according to the General Assembly website. Bradley’s amendment is a $250 million-a-year tax-break package — scaled back from previous amendments — designed to keep businesses from moving out of state. It would provide about $100 million in combined tax relief annually for CME Group Inc., which owns the Board of Trade and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, and Sears. It also would create new tax credits for Chicago’s theater scene. “We are pleased to hear that it seems the Sears provisions are being made part of the package that will be considered by legislators this week,” Sears spokesman Chris Brathwaite said Monday. “We appreciate the efforts of Chairman Bradley and Rep. (David) Harris, as well as our local legislators, Senators (Dan) Kotowski and (Matt) Murphy and Representative (Fred) Crespo, throughout this process. This package will have an impact on not just our 6,100 employees in Hoffman Estates, but also the 9,000 vendors with whom we work with across the state of Illinois.” ‘Dangerous’ plan But District 300 said in a written statement released Sunday the original amendment had violated “several key provisions of the tentative agreement that was reached last week.” The district, Sears and Hoffman Estates all had been mum on details of that agreement, but District 300 said in the Sunday statement the parties had agreed verbally the village should not be allowed to use any tax money from the EDA to operate or make bond payments on the Sears Centre Arena. Hoffman Estates acquired the arena December 2009, according to the village website. That prohibition was not included in the new amendment to Senate Bill 397 when it was filed Sunday. “How can any public servant allow school property taxes to be used to make payments on a facility that hosts half-naked women for lingerie football?” Bregy said in that statement. “If this legislation is passed, it will set a dangerous precedent for school districts all across the state who will be forced to subsidize entertainment facilities.” Hoffman Estates Village President William McLeod said during the House Revenue and Finance Committee meeting Monday that the village would not use EDA money to pay for the Sears Centre. The superintendent expressed support, after speaking with Sears and Hoffman Estates representatives during the committee meeting, for a change to the amendment that will add language that Sears would not receive money from the EDA if it leaves the state within five years. If that happens, Hoffman Estates would receive money for one more year to “wrap things up,” Bradley said. Other agreed-upon changes to the amendment mean Sears would not be able to claim more from the EDA than the $125 million it already has invested in the area, and an audit of the company’s investments in the EDA must meet federal standards, according to District 300. Protests noted Also during Monday’s committee meeting, legislators mentioned the “consternation” caused by District 300’s protests against various legislation to extend the EDA at the Illinois State Capitol in Springfield and the flood of phone calls and emails from district residents. After that meeting, District 300 asked residents to discontinue those calls, emails and protests it had requested Sunday during rush hour Monday and Tuesday both at Sears headquarters in Hoffman Estates and the Sears store at Spring Hill Mall in West Dundee. No protesters were visible outside either site around 5 p.m. Monday. McLeod today said in the talks with District 300 and Sears, “We discussed everything that was in the Bradley bill. I’m not sure everybody agreed to everything, but everything was discussed.” “We’ll just see what happens. Both houses have to pass it, and then the governor has to pass it. I have no clue what will happen. I hope we can keep the jobs in Illinois,” the Hoffman Estates mayor said. Copyright 2011, Sun-Times Media, LLC. All rights reserved. For the original story, visit The Courier-News. Photo credit: Emily McFarlan for Sun-Times Media.

In Uncategorized on November 29, 2011 at 10:41 am

D300 satisfied with Sears incentive bill change (Sun-Times Media)

In Uncategorized on November 28, 2011 at 3:35 pm

Salvation Army in need of volunteers (Sun-Times Media)

In Uncategorized on November 28, 2011 at 12:20 pm

Turkeys fly through Fox Valley (Sun-Times Media)

CARPENTERSVILLE — Clarissa Johnson admits she “kind of screwed” up her sophomore and junior year of high school. Johnson now is a senior at Dundee-Crown High School in Carpentersville. She is 18 years old, and she is about to have a baby — “the slap in the face I needed to grow up,” she said. Thanks to Community Unit School District 300’s i-Learn Night Education Program, she also is only seven classes away from her high school diploma, which she still hopes to earn at the end of the school year. “This was a good opportunity,” Johnson said. “It was time I grew up. This was the opportunity I needed to graduate on time. As long as I keep on track, I will.” I-Learn, a combination of two former programs launched completely online this year in District 300, is a good opportunity for “kids from all walks of life,” according to Joe Bruzzino, i-Learn coordinator. It mixes “single parents with honor students,” students who need to make up classes they’ve failed with students who want to take advanced placement classes, he said. And already it has increased attendance and brought up students’ grades in the district’s night programs over last school year and quadrupled in size since the start of this year, Bruzzino said. “I think it’s wonderful. We’re in the business of education. Not every student can learn in that traditional way. And sometimes life gets in the way,” said District 300 Board of Education President Anne Miller. “The more students we can educate and help get their high school diploma, I think the community benefits.” For the rest of the story, visit The Courier-News. Photo: Dave Shields for Sun-Times Media.

In Uncategorized on November 28, 2011 at 9:53 am

Modern twist on an old school program (Sun-Times Media)

In Uncategorized on November 27, 2011 at 10:14 am

Classing up Thanksgiving weekend with #BorisGodunov. (@ Civic Opera House w/ @joelemiller) http://t.co/IPM0kNjX

In Uncategorized on November 26, 2011 at 8:02 am

Here it is, in real life: S’mores pumpkin pie in Mason jars! CC: @felska @cheekychicago @emilymonacelli @iamk_lee http://t.co/Ospywf3v

In Uncategorized on November 25, 2011 at 9:52 am

Minorities’ ISAT scores on rise in D300 (Sun-Times Media)