As the holiday season approaches, State Representative Barbara Wheeler (R-Crystal Lake) is once again partnering with other Illinois legislators to help provide Thanksgiving and Holiday turkeys for hungry families through the Fraternite Notre Dame Religious Order. Fraternite Notre Dame operates religious and humanitarian missions on four continents, and operates in this area from a church on Central Avenue in Chicago.

According to Wheeler, last year the mission served thousands of holiday meals and passed out over 500 turkeys. “Fraternite Notre Dame engages in charitable work which includes service at soup kitchens, hospitals, schools and orphanages, and they also provide aid to needy families,” said Wheeler. “The work they do on behalf of those facing hard times is very meaningful and donations toward the holiday turkey project are greatly appreciated.”

Those interested in providing assistance may do so either by sending a donation or by volunteering to distribute meals and meal packages before Thanksgiving. “Most of us are incredibly fortunate, in that we never have to go without a meal,” Wheeler said. “This is a wonderful opportunity for people to share their good fortune with those who know too well what it feels like to be hungry. Legislative leaders from both political parties have already made generous donations to this program, and I would urge others to help make the upcoming holidays special for struggling families right here in Illinois.”

Donation checks made out to Fraternite Notre Dame should be mailed to the church at 502 North Central Avenue, Chicago, IL 60644. Please write “Thanksgiving Turkeys” on the memo line. People who are interested in helping distribute food should contact Wheeler’s office at (815) 900-6759.
Over the last several weeks, many District 64 residents submitted their favorite photos of their loved ones who currently serve, or who previously served, in the Armed Forces. Please use the link below to view the photos, and submit your favorite photo by number to repwheeler64@gmail.com. The winning photos will be announced on November 11.



Representative Barbara Wheeler (R-Crystal Lake) today announced that $48.1 million in State funding has been earmarked for a major U.S. Route 14 improvement project in the McHenry County portion of IL House District 64.

Two separate projects managed by the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) will improve U.S. Route 14 between Woodstock and Crystal Lake. Reconstruction and widening will be done on U.S. 14 from West Lake Shore Drive to Lucas Road, and 2.3 miles of roadway reconstruction, including adding lanes, widening and resurfacing and drainage improvements, will be done from Lucas Road to Crystal Lake Road in Crystal Lake.

“These are vital transportation projects that will improve safety and travel times on one of McHenry County’s busiest roads,” Wheeler said. “Once completed, the reconstructions, widenings and additional lanes will enhance our transportation infrastructure in a way that will hopefully attract new businesses and jobs to that area.”
In recognition to her commitment to agriculture in McHenry County and across Illinois, State Representative Barbara Wheeler (R-Crystal Lake) has been named a “Friend of Agriculture” by the McHenry County Farm Bureau.

Farm Bureau President Michele Aavang and Bureau Manager Dan Volkers presented Wheeler with the award at an event on October 14 in McHenry. “Our legislative officials have a great working relationship with our organization and serve our farmers and producers well,” said Volkers.

Representatives from the Farm Bureau rank all Illinois legislators on their support of the agriculture industry through their votes in Springfield and their score on an accessibility rating scale. Those with a combined score of 60% or more receive the award.

“I recognize the far-reaching benefits of Illinois’ agricultural products and the important role farmers play in providing quality food,” said Wheeler. “It is an honor to receive this award from such an important part of our McHenry County community.”
State Representative Barbara Wheeler (R-Crystal Lake) has posted an on-line petition in opposition of Senate Bill 16, a bill that would strip millions away from hundreds of Illinois school districts and channel the money toward other schools.

The petition is available on Wheeler’s legislative web site at http://www.ilhousegop.org/sb16_petition and citizens from across the state are encouraged to sign it.

SB16 is a massive rewrite of the school funding formula that determines how General State Aid (GSA) is distributed to Illinois’ school districts. It does not add any additional funding toward education.  As written and approved in the Senate, the bill uses a weighted formula that is punitive to most suburban school districts.

“Most of my school districts will lose between 70%-86% of their State funding if Senate Bill 16 is passed and signed into law,” said Wheeler. “This bill does not solve funding inequities in Illinois. It’s just an unfair redistribution of funds with every one of my school districts losing large amounts of money.”

Wheeler is a Chief Co-Sponsor of House Resolution 1276, a measure that denounces SB16 and encourages a comprehensive and fair funding reform process that is inclusive of all stakeholder points of view. “SB16 is not the answer to education funding reform,” said Wheeler. “Funding for education is a very serious issue and the ultimate reforms should not create winners and losers, but rather create a system where all kids can be winners.”
State Representative Barbara Wheeler (R-Crystal Lake) will join Senator Pamela Althoff (R-McHenry) and other local lawmakers on October 14 for a public forum on Senate Bill 16, a proposal that rewrites Illinois’ school funding formula and strips state aid away from most suburban school districts.

The forum will take place from 6:30-8:30 PM at McHenry West High School, 4724 W. Crystal Lake Road in McHenry. Joining Wheeler and Althoff at the event will be Senator Karen McConnaughay (R-St. Charles), and Representatives Mike Tryon (R-Crystal Lake) and Jack Franks (D-Woodstock). Local school superintendents and school board members will also be on hand to discuss the specific impact SB16 would have on their districts.

“Senate Bill 16 has already been approved in the Illinois Senate and now it is pending in the House,” said Wheeler. “As written, SB16 diverts millions in General State Aid away from local schools and channels it toward Chicago and many downstate schools. It’s an unfair redistribution of funds with every one of my school districts losing large amounts of funding.”

According to Wheeler, the school districts located within the boundaries of the 64th legislative House district would lose the following amounts of GSA if SB16 is passed:

· Nippersink District 2: 79.5%
· Johnsburg District 12: 32.6%
· McHenry District 15: 85.5%
· McHenry District 156: 38.4%
· Richmond Burton District 157: 58.1%
· Crystal Lake District 47: 72.6%
· Crystal Lake District 155: 17.2%
· Grass Lake District 36: 77.5%
· Lake Villa District 41: 1.8%
· Fox Lake District 114: 86.5%
· Antioch District 117: 25.0%
· Grant District 124: 13.0%
· Wauconda District 118: 79.7%

“School funding reform is an important issue that should be addressed, but SB16 does not solve the problem,” said Wheeler. “It merely creates new funding winners and losers by taking funding away from school districts whose taxpayers already shoulder a disproportionate share of the cost of educating kids in this state.”

Those who attend the forum will be given the opportunity to submit questions or concerns to panel participants.

According to Wheeler, several Representatives have joined together to sponsor a House Resolution that denounces SB16 in favor of comprehensive and fair school funding reform. Wheeler is a Chief Co-Sponsor of HR1276. You can read the text of the resolution here.
State Representative Barbara Wheeler (R-Crystal Lake) will join Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan for a Consumer Fraud and Identity Theft Roundtable in Crystal Lake on Wednesday, October 8.

The event, which is free and open to the public, will take place from 10:30AM until noon at Park Place Banquets, 406 W. Woodstock Street in Crystal Lake. At the forum, Madigan will update community leaders on security breaches, identity theft and common financial scams directed at consumers in Crystal Lake and the surrounding area.
“Consumer fraud is a growing problem that can have devastating consequences for people,” said Wheeler. “I’m pleased to be participating in this roundtable event and encourage people from this area to attend so they can learn how to best protect themselves from these scams.”

Additional information for the prevention of consumer fraud and identity theft, and a form to report incidences can be found at http://www.illinoisattorneygeneral.gov/consumers/.
State Representative Barbara Wheeler (R-Crystal Lake) has asked the Chairwoman of the Illinois House’ Elementary & Secondary Education Committee to reschedule an ill-timed hearing into the feasibility of the State Board of Education taking over the functions of the Illinois High School Athletics Association (IHSA).

The Elementary & Secondary Education Committee, chaired by Representative Linda Chapa LaVia (D-Aurora) has scheduled a meeting for 4:00 PM Friday, October 3 at a Chicago south-side high school to gather testimony on the issue.

“This is a blatant example of political shenanigans at its finest,” said Wheeler, a member of the committee. “This is a late Friday afternoon on a football Friday during Homecoming season. All schools are going to be ‘all hands on deck’ with their local sporting events and will be unable to send representation to the hearing.”

House Resolution 895, approved on April 7 in a 55-51 vote, directs the Elementary & Secondary Education Committee to hold hearings on the administration and funding of high school sports, the safety of athletes, the systems and protocols of the IHSA, the costs associated with the administration of high school sports and the feasibility of transferring the duties and functions of the IHSA to the State Board of Education. Chapa LaVia was the Chief Sponsor of the resolution.

“They could not possibly have made this hearing more inconvenient for the major stakeholders who stand to lose the most,” said Wheeler. “Families, coaches, volunteers and players will be busy that night with local sporting events, but I believe it’s by design. I must wonder if they want to shut the major stakeholders out of the discussion.”

At the time of this posting, Chapa LaVia had not responded to Wheeler’s request for a meeting date and time change.
State Representative Barbara Wheeler is helping lead the fight against a devastating rewrite of the school funding formula that would strip away most general state aid from McHenry and Lake County school districts.

Wheeler, along with State Representatives Ron Sandack (R-Downers Grove), David McSweeney (R-Barrington Hills) and Mike Tryon (R-Crystal Lake), are sponsoring House Resolution 1276, which denounces SB16 and the damaging consequences it would have on most suburban school districts. The resolution also expresses support for comprehensive education funding reform that is fair to all parties.

“SB 16 is a quick-fix attempt to channel hard-earned tax dollars away from suburban schools and channel it to the Chicago Public Schools and to other struggling districts,” said Wheeler. “I recognize and support the need for comprehensive and fair education funding reform, but SB16 would fund struggling districts through an undue burden on the property taxpayers in the suburbs. It’s unfair and unacceptable.”

SB16 passed in the Illinois Senate during the final days of the Spring legislative session but was not called for a vote in the House of Representatives. House Democrats have been meeting with education advocacy groups over the summer to discuss SB16 and it is likely that a revised version of the bill will surface during the General Assembly’s November veto session.

“I am hopeful that legislators are interested in taking the necessary time and effort to properly address education funding shortfalls in a way that is fair and equitable,” said Wheeler. “SB16, as it currently is written, would have a devastating impact on our local schools and lead to widespread teacher layoffs and/or costly referendums to raise taxes locally. I know we can do better.”

You may read the full text of the resolution here.