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District 171 Board discusses Nathan Hale student heroes, tax funds, and perfect inspection scores

Student heroes, recaptured tax money, perfect school safety inspection, and other topics discussed at board meeting

By Quinton R. Arthur

LANSING, Ill. (February 2, 2022) – During Sunnybrook School District 171’s January 31 board meeting, Joseph Kent, Principal of Nathan Hale, shared an inspiring story of two fourth graders who helped a second grader who was locked outside of his home.

Jordan and Josiah Crawford, along with their mother, made sure the second grader was brought back safely to the school.

They will be honored with a swag bag of items for them to enjoy, a special lunch, and a certificate of appreciation from Superintendent Dr. Erika Millhouse-Pettis.

“Heroes are sitting right next to us each and every day,” said Kent.

Refund recapture discussion

During the Chief School Business Official’s report, David Shrader explained Public Act 102-0519, the Refund Recapture Bill, which was signed into law in 2021. This public act allows taxing bodies to recapture funds from the previous year’s tax refunds.

For Sunnybrook, this amount would be $190,953.86. The district has two options. If they choose to do nothing, they will receive the funds. They can also abate, or choose not to receive the funds. A decision will have to be made by April 1.

Perfect inspection scores

Later in his report, Shrader congratulated the district for receiving zero violations on their Health/Life Safety Inspections administered by the South Cook Intermediate Service Center at both schools for the third year in a row.

“A huge congratulations to our staff that helps us to follow the rules that we’re subject to,” Shrader said. “But most importantly, I just wish to thank the custodians and our cleaning staff for their involvement in making sure everything is in compliance with our school code and life safety.”

The South Cook Intermediate Service Center, also known as ISC4, is the body responsible for inspecting all public-school buildings and school-related buildings on an annual basis to assure compliance with health and safety standards of public-school students in Illinois.

Other business

During the Superintendent report, Dr. Millhouse-Pettis reminded parents to take the 5Essentials survey. The survey is intended to for the community to share their perspective on the culture for the school. Parents can take the survey on the homepage of the Sunnybrook’s school district website.

Dr. Lori Owens-Stranc, Director of Curriculum & Instruction, gave a thank you to Dr. Susan Brady for her presentation at Parent University. The program offers helpful skills for parents to empower their students. This session focused on reading strategies parents can implement at home. The recording can be viewed on Sunnybrook’s website.

Other items on the agenda included:

  • Discussion of presenters for superintendent evaluation and professional development
  • Approval of the employment of several school employees
  • Approval of cyber insurance
  • Approval of the purchase of 340 Chromebooks for students and teachers

District 171 meets on the third Monday of each month, though the January 31 meeting was delayed from January 24 due to a lack of a quorum. The meetings are held at 6:30 p.m. at Heritage Middle School, 19266 Burnham Avenue, Lansing.


Quinton R. Arthur
Quinton R. Arthur
Quinton received his Bachelor of Arts in English from Northern Illinois University and his Master of Science in Journalism from Roosevelt University. In addition to reporting for The Lansing Journal and the Homewood-Flossmoor Chronicle, he volunteers with 100 Black Men of Chicago, Metropolitan Board of the Chicago Urban League, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Burst Into Books, and various other organizations. A south suburban resident since 2004, Quinton is passionate about telling the unsung stories of the community.