Thumbs-up: To Huntley School District 158, for posting a new three-year contract for Assistant Superintendent for Learning and Innovation Erika Schlichter along with the agenda two days before the contract was voted on by the District 158 school board. While most schools choose not to be transparent before agreeing to long-term contracts with administrators or teachers' unions, District 158 showed again that it is the right move to make. While posting the contract details does lead to increased scrutiny before final action is taken, that is exactly how the process should work as school board members accept feedback from the community before making decisions. We applaud District 158 for the contract transparency, something that other school districts should use as a model.
Thumbs-down: To Riley District 18, which released its new five-year contract for Superintendent Christine Conkling on Thursday, nearly a month after the deal was approved by the District 18 school board on March 20. Five-year deals right before elections are always a bad idea, meaning that newly elected school board members will never get an opportunity to vote on a superintendent contract during their four-year terms. The trend toward those long-term deals, and keeping the details of these large and long-term public contracts private until well after they are approved, is bad policy and it lacks transparency on the part of school districts and their boards. The public should demand more.
Thumbs-down: To the Lake in the Hills AMC for asking a Lake in the Hills mother and her disabled son to leave a movie. Jennifer Daly said she was asked on April 12 to leave a screening of “Dumbo” when a manager told her there was a noise complaint about her child crying. Daly’s 3 1/2-year old son, Jonathan, struggles with a rare form of dwarfism and cervical spine issues, his mother said. His mother said he was laughing, not crying, during the movie. AMC said it refunded Daly, and offered to relocate her or give her family a private showing, which she declined. It also informed her of the theater’s Sensory Friendly Films program, which waives rules on disruptive behavior. While we understand that everyone wants to be able to hear the movie, we hope movie patrons and the theater will have some lenience when it comes to children films. Jennifer and Jonathan should be able to enjoy the movie just like everyone else, and it’s unfortunate their night was ruined.