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Helen Plum Library board operates ‘in a veil of secrecy'

The Helen Plum Library board passed an ordinance on July 11 to begin the process to issue not to exceed $25 million in bonds for their new facility. They also discussed in detail the next steps to take as soon as their August meetings.
The public has not been updated on their latest building plans. All indications are there have been no new discussions and no agreement is in place with the Lombard Park District. An apparent lack of transparency has sadly been their mantra for the past year or more as they sold voters on a $22 million building plan that simply could not be built as promised in their referendum hype.
Air rights agreements, as part of the park district giving the library needed land for their addition, were signed in the mid-1970s that restricted building height to protect Lilacia Park from future encroachment. Those legally-binding agreements were seemingly dismissed in Plum’s early planning and months long “show and tell of look at what we can do” tour to patrons, downtown business owners, taxpayers, and more.
The library board and staff seem determined to bulldoze their existing building and build new on Maple Street. They continue to spend our tax dollars on architectural renderings, engineering fees, legal fees, and more, and yet operate in a veil of secrecy. In their long overdue “Our Next Chapter” update they urge the public to attend board meetings but note two of their last four meetings had to be canceled due to potential Open Meetings Act violations.
The library has now collected the first of our property tax dollars for their promised project and yet they are not even close to being shovel ready. Instead they seem ready to bully the park district into relinquishing the air rights agreements and granting access easements rather than looking at new sites (whether that be offered park land at the Common, village owned property at 101 S. Main, or even long vacant commercial property at Main and Hickory).
If a project with missteps of this magnitude was in the private sector, heads would have rolled by now. Is that what it will take to move this project forward once and for all?

Robert Biddle

New board president: ‘Library has been transparent with its process since the beginning’

As the newly elected Helen Plum Library Board president, I wanted to address two concerns that we have heard from the community.
The first is the Ordinance 2017-2018-002 that our board approved at the July 11 board meeting. This ordinance is a Resolution of Intent which is a procedural requirement in order for us to eventually issue bonds. We have no intent to issue bonds until we have a building plan in place and the public is informed.
This ordinance allows for issuance of up to $25 million in bonds. Our plan is to keep within the $22.3 million cost discussed during the referendum, but this amount allows for contingencies due to delays.
Regardless of the eventual bond amount, the library’s budget would be adjusted to make the payments on the bonds and will not cause any additional taxpayer increase.
Our board has asked Director Kruser to reach out to the Park District to request a meeting with our new board presidents and directors from both the Library and Park Districts to discuss how we can collaborate to move the project forward.
As always, the library is keenly interested in working with the park district to build a library that best serves the community, while at the same time respecting and protecting Lilacia Park.
The library has been transparent with its process since the beginning, with updates at our board meetings and Speak Out responses to concerns and inaccurate information.
We encourage community members to contact the Library with any questions or concerns on this process, and to attend upcoming Board meetings for more information.

Jason Brandt
Helen Plum Library


Good to see summer learning becoming the norm

Superintendent, Glenbard Township High School District 87

Given that students who attend summer school are poised for greater academic success during the regular school year, it is encouraging to see a growing culture of students taking summer school classes.
In Glenbard District 87, nearly 40 percent of our students enrolled in summer school this year. They took classes in math, English, social studies, science, Mandarin, consumer management and more. They also explored areas of interest through enrichment courses and prepared for the next level of rigor through Bridge classes. These classes align with our priorities related to students:
• Enrolling in Algebra 2 with Trigonometry or higher and Physics or higher;
• Pursuing an area that they’re passionate about;
• Earning a college-ready score on the ACT or SAT exam;
• Passing at least one Advanced Placement exam during their time in Glenbard.

Impact of summer slide
Students who do not take advantage of summer school lag behind their classmates when the regular school year begins. Research shows that students who take a 12-week break from learning need several weeks to get up to speed. For example, in the area of math, students lose about 2. months in their grade-level equivalency in computational ability over the summer, according to a Duke University study. In addition, the achievement gap between students from low-income families and those from middle- or upper-class families widens, according to the study.

Global differences in school calendar
Compared to students in other developed countries, students in America have the most time off from school. While it’s healthy for children to enjoy free time, taking a class during the summer is critical to keeping students in the learning mode.

Simple step to boost reading skills
Something as simple as encouraging students to read 20 minutes each day will make a difference when the regular school year resumes. A great choice is the Glenbard Parent Series’ community read selection, “Enrique’s Journey: The Story of a Boy’s Dangerous Odyssey to Reunite with His Mother.” After reading the book, come hear the book’s author, Sonia Nazario, discuss the book at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 23, at Glenbard East High School.

Activities can prevent learning loss
In addition to taking a summer school class, the following activities can prevent the summer slide:
• Journaling about summer experiences;
• Visiting your local library;
• Exploring an aquarium, arboretum, zoo, museum and/or forest preserve;
• Cooking—enhances math and reading skills
Summer school is a valuable opportunity for students who are doing well and want to go further academically, as well as for students who are struggling and need to catch up. It also provides structure and purpose to students’ summer. It’s encouraging to see summer school becoming the norm, rather than the exception.