Thumbs-down: To state Rep. Steve Reick, R-Woodstock. Reick has filed a bill in Springfield that would make it harder for residents to decide the size and scope of their local government. Reick’s proposal, House Bill 4190, would require township trustees to pay an independent contractor for a cost study before they could ask voters about whether to eliminate township road districts. Reick apparently thinks that an independent contractor needs to give the OK before residents can have a voice in shaping their government. That’s nonsense. This proposal is a transparent attempt to make it more difficult to pare down township government, likely at the behest of officials who work in township government and their political allies. Here’s the truth: Those Illinoisans who haven’t already fled this state are tired of paying high property taxes to support the most units of local government of any state in the nation. We need officials to remove the roadblocks and allow us to decide how many people govern us, and what they are paid to do it. Voters will not approve a ballot initiative that they do not believe will benefit them.
Thumbs-up: To the DeKalb police and Target for the Heroes and Helpers program. With the help of 13 DeKalb police officers, 38 students from DeKalb School District 428 had the opportunity to choose and take home more than $100 in Christmas presents for themselves and their families. The program is a partnership between Target and the DeKalb Police Department’s Benevolent and Protective Association that helps underprivileged children and their families at the holidays. Programs such as these make DeKalb a great community. Thanks to all who contribute.
Thumbs-up: To a plan to add air conditioning at DeKalb’s Lincoln Elementary School. By the start of the 2018 fall semester, every District 428 classroom will have air conditioning after the district board on Tuesday approved a
$1.1 million bid to install a new boiler and chiller at Lincoln. Students have missed several days of class early in the year because of extreme heat at the school, and the lack of climate control left them on unequal footing with their fellow students. The school year starts earlier than it did in the past, and most people expect to have air conditioning indoors. We’re pleased to see the problem will be resolved and Lincoln students will be able to learn without disruption in a comfortable environment next year.
Thumbs-down: To the continuing brain drain affecting Illinois. Out-of-state schools employ recruiters in Illinois to draw students elsewhere, and the state’s reputation for financial distress has made it a top exporter of students. Since 2015, enrollment at Illinois public universities has fallen by 5 percent, with Northern Illinois University enrollment right in line with that trend, and other universities faring much worse. This bodes ill for Illinois as it seeks to retain an educated workforce.