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Elections, Heritage, and More | Dec 1 2023 Weekly News

Meta Report written by Reed Sutman on . Updated .

Decatur, IL - Local election races are underway. St. Teresa strongly opposes Heritage moving nearby their school. State Police have an online form to report corruption. Read on for other Decatur political news from the last week.

Local Elections (H&R) - Light detail on some local candidate filings for Coroner, County Board, Auditor, and Circuit Clerk. Decatur Vote's election coverage should be available mid-to-late January. Primaries are March 19th, 2024. The general election is November 5th.

Public Corruption (WAND) - Illinois State Police has an online form to report corruption, which includes "a breach of the public’s trust by government officials who use their office to obtain personal gain."

Boat Ramps (H&R) - "The city is seeking feedback on proposed improvements to the Nelson Park boat ramps." See the City's One Question Survey, where you can also leave additional comments.

Food Insecurity (WAND) - Northeast Community Fund says around 1 in 10 Decaturites struggle with food insecurity. Congresswoman Nikki Budzinski helped pack thanksgiving boxes & serves on the House Agriculture Committee.

$200k Park Funding (WAND) - "State Senator Doris Turner announced the Decatur Park District is receiving a $200,000 grant from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources to resurface former golf cart paths at Scovill Park West." See the link for quotes and additional details about the funding process.

CO2 Pipeline (H&R/Chicago Tribune) - Wolf Carbon Solutions U.S. proposed a 260-mile pipeline to store carbon dioxide underground. They pulled their application, intending to re-file next year. If approved, CO2 may be stored by ADM in Decatur, as WAND Previously reported. H&R/Chicago Tribune provides better coverage of opposition voices than WAND.

New Maroa-Forsyth Superintendent (H&R) - "Adam Ibbotson has been named superintendent of the Maroa-Forsyth School District." He starts July 1.

Magnet Schools (WAND) - "Decatur Public Schools’ three magnet programs will start accepting applications online on December 1 for students interested in enrolling in a magnet program for the 2024-25 school year."

Note: We've only covered news from Herald & Review and WAND. We plan to expand this in the future, with the help of free software we are developing.

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Heritage Move

Heritage may be moving to Northgate Mall nearby St. Teresa High School, though it's not yet certain. Herald & Review covers council member statements, statements from St. Teresa & Heritage officials, and from members of the community.

See detailed, somewhat critical coverage of St. Teresa's position at 'What would Jesus say?' Possible Heritage move prompts outcry from St. Teresa High School (H&R). St. Teresa says they will sue if they have to.

Heritage, Letters To The Editor (H&R) - 11 Letters to the Editor have been submitted regarding Heritage potentially moving nearby St. Teresa. 3 letters appear to support the move, and 8 appear to oppose it.

Council Member David Horn published a letter to the editor opposing stigmatization around mental health, writing "Sadly, in our city, many entities are stigmatizing those needing and receiving mental health and substance use services and using false innuendo to suggest that the places where our youth receive care are unsafe." Horn's partner is Mary Garrison, the Heritage president and CEO.

Herald & Review published an editorial, where they appear to argue in favor of the move, primarily discussing stigma.

Reports show that the City Council is unlikely to play a role in the approval or denial of any Heritage move.

Dennis Updates

I was previously following the Dennis Lab Schools story, but stopped in September. News since then is summarized below.

Garfield Learning Academy was also impacted by the Dennis Closures, as GLA students were relocated to a wing of Stephen Decatur. Dennis has received much more media attention than Garfield, both from myself & from mainstream sources.

3-Year Modular Lease (H&R) - On November 14th 2023, DPS61 School Board approved a 3-year lease of the modular units for Dennis Students. Klingner and Associates will provide district-wide building analysis. A firm will need to be hired as a facilitator.

Late Start, Late Finish (H&R) - Sue Scherer proposed Illinois House Bill 4136 to allow Dennis students to end the school year on time. The bill is unlikely to pass, so Dennis will attend until June 14, 2024. The rest of DPS attends through May 23rd.

Board Discusses Dennis Future (H&R) - At the September 12th, 2023 Board Meeting, DPS61 Board Members discussed the potential future of the two Dennis Lab School Buildings. Includes statements from Al Scheider, Alana Banks, Mark Reynolds, and Bill Clevenger. Also see earlier discussions.

Dennis Back in Class (H&R) - A feel-good piece about the move into former Garfield going well. Dennis Students were back in class on September 5th, 2023. Also read about the Dennis Open House.

Garfield moves into Stephen Decatur (H&R) - About 65 students were moved from former Garfield Learning Academy (an alternate ed program) to a wing at Stephen Decatur, their 2nd move in two years. "Garfield teachers and parents have spoken at recent board meetings to say they feel forgotten and pushed aside while all the attention is on Dennis families."

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