Parent Union pushes for program and motive changes

Public comments from the Nov. 3 Board of Education meeting clarifies disappointment.


Courtesy of District 158

While members of the Parent Union argue the district is straying away from education as a priority, the board claims the opposite.

By Chase Keller

The Huntley Community School District 158 held its monthly Board of Education meeting on Thursday, Nov. 3. This meeting is November’s only meeting after two meetings held last month.

The public session opened at 7:06 p.m, starting with a board roll call followed by five Chesak Elementary School students leading everyone in the Pledge of Allegiance. Shortly after, six students from Heineman Middle School and Marlowe Middle School were recognized for their District 9 Illinois Music Education Association honors for musical talents in orchestra, band, and chorus, respectively. 

After the recognition, the board opened to public comments. These comments were predominantly negative, with four speakers referring to the unfulfilled promises of future preparation for students in the Life Instruction Guiding Huntley Transition program. 

The LIGHT Program is designed to aid students with disabilities that opt to delay their high school graduation for assistance during the transition from schooling to post-secondary life. While the alleged focus is to help students prepare for independent living, parents add that their children are instead going through calming recreational activities.

“Tell me how picking up leaves or cleaning the church for two years now is preparing my daughter for the future,” said Maria Schuring, mother of a LIGHT program student.

The Parent Union also emphasized that no permanent home is present for the LIGHT program. Previously, a parent had shared that the district is looking at a 5-10 year timeline for the new school, but superintendent Scott Rowe downplayed the statement’s reliability.

“If [the statement] was made, it was made in error,” Rowe said. “We expect something to happen faster than that.”

The public comments from the Parent Union also shed light on the district’s alleged ignorance of not focusing on education over things like sustainable development and political agendas. Parents believe the district’s primary focus should be education; instead, the district is pushing towards lesser priorities.

“With critical race theory, SEL, pronouns, and other leftist political agendas being pushed in our schools, we are again asking the board and the school district to focus on education and abandon politics,” said Corine Burns, a member of the Parent Union.

The Parent Union is also concerned about what the district’s budget is primarily used for, with one parent questioning why the district’s money is going towards eco-efficient additions more than educational programs. This parent, Jill Cataldo, cited that despite being renowned as a destination district, District 158 has zero schools in the exemplary category of the state compared to District 300’s three.

When the agenda came to the President Report, Board of Education President Anthony Quagliano strongly disagreed with Cataldo’s comment.

“[Two individuals] are tasked with finding ways to make the district more efficient and save us money with our resources back in the classroom,” Quagliano said. “When somebody says our focus isn’t on education, I would point to the rest of the room, who are building administrators who are highly focused on education, and strongly disagree with that generalization.”

Later on, ForeFront Power’s Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing Rachel McLaughlin proposed a new community solar project to be placed on the Reed Road Campus. The conceptual layout shows that these panels would be placed on the open land north of the campus schools, right next to Durham Drive, the northeast corner of Covington Lakes. ForeFront Power previously partnered with District 158 to place the solar panels on the Harmony Road Campus.

Despite the negative responses towards the district’s actions or lack of action, the board is continuing to make strides towards improving on the Parent Union’s concerns. The board will be meeting next on Dec. 1.