Your vote has
never been
more important.

Thank you, voters!

On April 4, 2023, you made your voices heard at the ballot box, and we’re happy to report that the four District 158 Candidates for Common Sense, Michael Thompson, Laura Murray, Andrew Bittman, and Gina Galligar, swept the election and flipped the Huntley D158 school board.

The following is a statement from all four school board members-elect:

“The four of us ran as the Common Sense Candidates for D158. We knew that the issues we were bringing to the table were ones that the majority of the people in our community were concerned about. Throughout this campaign we have held numerous public events where anyone could come and talk with us, raise issues, and ask questions. We knew that our message resonated with the majority of voters.

Going into such a heavily-contested race, we were aware that things could get uncomfortable with political mudslinging, and there was certainly some of that. However, it’s wonderful to see that so many people felt that our campaign platform’s message resonated with their own beliefs of how this board should operate.

The parents and taxpayers of District 158 sent a clear message to the board that change is needed. They are not happy with the way that this board has operated, both financially and academically. With this election, turnout was up, and almost 80% of the votes were cast to candidates who were challengers.

The community has spoken, and we need to take an honest look at our district and start working on improvements — together.”

– Michael Thompson, Laura Murray, Andrew Bittman, and Gina Galligar

Fiscally irresponsible

In December 2022, the Huntley Community School District 158 school board voted in favor of the highest property tax levy increase in the entire history of the district. The current board continues to vote in near unanimity in favor of every financial request that crosses their desk.

At the January 2023 board meeting, the D158 board proposed a referendum to raise property taxes again to cover the costs of a new building expansion — just one month after voting for the highest-ever tax levy that is expected to bring the district an additional $75 million!

This avalanche of spending is out of control. Four D158 school board seats are up for election on April 4th. We need new representation that will serve both the community’s interests and rein in the current board’s reckless spending spree.

D158 Board adds
a “Yes Man”

In December 2022, the D158 board appointed a new member, Jonathan Dailey, who immediately voted in favor of the highest tax levy in district history — just two days after telling the Northwest Herald that he did not feel taxes needed to be higher.

Multiple residents expressed on social media that they felt the board chose someone who had never attended a single board meeting to be a “yes man” to the current board. Members claimed they did not know Dailey before appointing him, but his company has existing financial contracts with the district.

Read this exposé regarding Dailey’s conflicts of interest.

Voting against
public interest

The current D158 school board often rubber-stamps nearly every financial request the district makes, many of which are not for essential expenditures.

This board also votes unanimously nearly every month — often in complete opposition to the public opinions being expressed at the meetings.

In December, one resident warned the board during public comment:

“If you vote yes, you are going to be called out for it by many, many people,” suggesting that raising taxes could hurt their chances at reelection.

Green Agenda

District 158 continues to prioritize a “Green Agenda” including large solar panel farms and adding electric buses and charging stations to its campuses.

The district is spending $3 Million on four electric buses, while 12 diesel buses would cost less than $1 Million. These buses also require costly charging stations and parking lot upgrades. Are these buses truly needed, especially with enrollment declining?

D158 continues to to spend wildly and uncontrollably on things which do not affect the core mission of the district: To educate children.

Read one candidate’s detailed breakdown of the wasteful spending related to these buses.

In November 2022, the current board stated that they didn’t want to “leave money on the table” by not taking the maximum property tax levy possible.

District 158 School Board Meeting, November 3, 2022

Where will the wasteful
spending end?

You’ll likely be surprised at the nonessential items D158 spends your tax dollars on.

In the last two years, the district has spent more than $269,000 on Orange Frog happiness training for staff — the majority of those funds being spent on plush frog toys, comic books, and other materials — for adults.

Wouldn’t it have been better to add additional teachers, aides, or academic material with these funds, especially since only 44% of the district’s students are reading at grade level?

Read one candidate’s breakdown of the wasteful Orange Frog spending.

Unnecessary Grounds

D158 closed their previous, student-run coffeehouse at Huntley High School that taught valuable business skills to students and financially benefited the student-run nonprofit newsmagazine, The Voice.

Instead, D158 spent $145,000 to an outside firm for consultation on a new, more luxurious coffeehouse.

This wasteful spending sparked an appropriate nickname for the new HHS coffeehouse on Huntley social media: “Unnecessary Grounds.

This expense was in no way related to improving students’ test scores or educations.

It’s time to flip the board.

With four District 158 school board seats up for re-election, it’s never been more important to put new representation on this board.

In the last election, just 8% of registered voters in McHenry County voted for District 158 school board candidates. Every single vote counts in this election.

In looking at the voting history of the incumbent candidates, and their likelihood to continue voting nearly unanimously for excessive spending, tax increases, and referendums, we have also evaluated the platforms of the new candidates running this Spring.

Here are the candidates we are endorsing for the April 4, 2023 election:

Candidates running for four-year seats on Huntley Community School District 158’s School Board:
Andy Bittman
Laura Murray
Gina Galligar

Candidate running for the two-year seat on Huntley Community School District 158’s School Board:

We strongly encourage you to take a look at each candidate’s website and platform, as well as ask them any questions you may have about their beliefs and campaigns.

We continue to be impressed by the common-sense approaches Andy Bittman, Laura Murray, Gina Galligar, and Michael Thompson bring to the many issues that District 158 faces, as well as each candidate’s commitment to fiscal responsibility.

We believe that when you learn more about them, you’ll feel that they will each bring much-needed, sensible representation for our community’s interests to this school board too.

How much of your taxes go to D158?

District 158 receives more than 60% of your property taxes. The above graph shows a sample home in Huntley and how much of your tax dollars go to each taxing body.

You can look up your own home’s property taxes at this link by searching by the first and last name of the homeowner.

How do I register to vote?

Your vote matters! Look up your polling place for election day. Early voting began February 23rd at the McHenry County Administration building and begins March 20th at eleven additional locations. Election Day is April 4, 2023.