Education

Flickr user Brent Hoard "ECU School of Education Class Room" (CC BY 2.0)

Local school districts would have to pay pension costs for all newly hired teachers if the General Assembly upholds Gov. Bruce Rauner's rewrite of the school funding plan known as Senate Bill One.

 

CPS To Lay Off Nearly 1,000 Staffers

Aug 7, 2017
CPS

Nearly 1,000 Chicago Public Schools employees — including 356 teachers — are getting pink slips due to projected decreases in student enrollment and program changes, the district announced on Monday.

CPS said this is the lowest number of teacher layoffs in a decade. High schools, which are seeing the greatest enrollment declines in the district, are the hardest hit. High schools will lose 466 support staff and 116 teachers. Historically, 60 percent of laid off teachers are rehired elsewhere in the district, CPS said.

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

DeKalb County Judge Bradley Waller granted a temporary restraining order on Friday that bars Northern Illinois University from taking further action regarding former President Doug Baker’s severance package after his June resignation.

The university already paid Baker more than $600,000 on July 15.

DeKalb resident Misty Haji-Sheikh sued the NIU Board of Trustees in June for allegedly violating the Open Meetings Act. Waller ruled that NIU cannot take further action regarding Baker’s severance package before the next hearing on Sept. 8.

Illinois Republicans are pushing for a new program similar to school vouchers as part of negotiations over the education funding formula.

The impasse over the school funding overhaul is jeopardizing nearly all state money for schools.

Negotiations are continuing after Gov. Bruce Rauner vetoed part of the bill.

Though Republican State Senator Jason Barickman accuses Democrats of changing their position.

Democrats Send School Funding Bill To Rauner

Jul 31, 2017

After some delay Monday, legislative Democrats sent the bill to fund K-12 public schools in Illinois to Gov. Bruce Rauner.

It came after hesitancy, since the Republican Governor vowed to use his veto power to strip some money for Chicago Public Schools. Democrats warned that would put funding for all of Illinois's roughly 850 districts at risk.

State of Illinois

Lawmakers in Springfield quickly adjourned after day two of a special session to resolve how the state funds schools.

The House and Senate met briefly but didn't take up any action.

Gov. Bruce Rauner summoned lawmakers with the task of resolving a fight over a new funding calculation; the Senate is holding off on sending it to Rauner.

He says he'll veto parts of the bill that give additional money for Chicago Public Schools.

Rauner chastised the Senate for not sending the bill already.

Jenna Dooley

After the first day of a special session on education, Democratic lawmakers and the Republican governor appear no closer to resolving the dispute that could hold up money for school districts.

    

 

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner continues to demand Democrats send him the funding plan so he can change it and remove additional money for Chicago teacher pensions. 

 

"There is no education funding available for our children, and unless we fix that our schools will not open on time," he said. 

 

State of Illinois

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner is calling lawmakers back from their summer vacation to deal with a new school funding plan in special session starting Wednesday.

The state cannot send money to schools until a funding plan gets signed into law, which could jeopardize whether schools will start on time.

Rauner wants to veto parts of Senate Bill 1 because he says it takes money from low-income children to pay Chicago teacher pensions. 

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

The Rockford Public School District is hosting a teacher job fair for those looking to move forward in their careers in sculpting young minds.

Some specific areas of teaching will be special targets, but Mercedes Brain – the Director of Talent Acquisition for Rockford Public Schools – says that shouldn’t discourage anyone from attending the fair.

Flickr user / alamosbasement "old school" (CC BY 2.0)

The state schools superintendent says in a memo to local administrators that the state will issue $5.2 billion it controls even if there's no revised financing system signed into law.

The Democratic Legislature approved a state budget that requires Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner to distribute general state aid through a new “evidence-based'' method to ensure money gets to the neediest schools. But the method is in separate legislation it hasn't sent to Rauner.

"Cap and Diploma" by Flickr User bluefieldphotos bp / (CC X 2.0)

Adults in Illinois who failed to graduate from high school still can earn a General Educational Development certificate, also known as a GED.

But legislation approved by the General Assembly would provide what some consider to be a better alternative.

Students leave high school for a variety of reasons. Some drop out because of family obligations, financial pressures, or lack of motivation. Some are pushed out due to disciplinary problems. Once they reach age 21, their only option is to get a GED.

Flickr user Brent Hoard "ECU School of Education Class Room" (CC BY 2.0)

A northern Illinois community college is taking steps to make textbooks more affordable for students.

McHenry County College said the school could save the student body an estimated $400,000 on textbooks per school year.

This follows a week-long Textbook Cost Reduction Camp held for faculty members in all areas of study.

The camp set out to educate faculty members on textbook alternatives and prepare them to introduce new technology into the classroom.

The faculty-led initiative analyzed 13 courses to find high-quality resources for students at a lower cost.

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

Lawmakers approved a state budget more than a week ago, but that legislation requires enactment of a new school-funding plan.

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner held news conferences Monday to “demand, not request” that the bill be sent to his desk so he can change it as he sees fit. Democrats have delayed sending it along.  

Democrats have passed such a plan through both chambers, but Rauner says he’ll veto parts of it because it gives too much money to Chicago Public Schools.

"Teachers Pet" by Flickr User Matthew / (CC X 2.0)

The shakeup in Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner’s office could signal a tougher stance on school funding.

The state spending plan requires adoption of a new funding formula, but Rauner has promised to veto the plan that got legislative approval; that’s because it includes money for Chicago teacher pensions.

This standoff might make the lawsuit filed by 20 school superintendents more relevant.  

Flickr user / alamosbasement "old school" (CC BY 2.0)

In a maneuver some state lawmakers call a "booby trap," the spending plan approved last week says Illinois can't appropriate money for schools unless a new funding formula also wins approval. It ties K-12 dollars to something known as the "evidence-based model."

Both political parties endorse this model, which is based on each district's demographics. The Democrats' version has passed the House and the Senate; they haven't sent it to Gov. Bruce Rauner, however, because he has promised to veto it.

Flickr user Brent Hoard "ECU School of Education Class Room" (CC BY 2.0)

More than a dozen school superintendents gathered in the statehouse today to thank lawmakers who went out on a limb to raise taxes and send more money to schools.

That gratitude was also their way of nudging lawmakers not to change their votes Thursday, when the House of Representatives will try to override Governor Bruce Rauner’s budget veto.

Jeff Craig, superintendent of Aurora West schools, admonished lawmakers with something a teacher might tell students about their classroom or playground.

Flickr user Brent Hoard "ECU School of Education Class Room" (CC BY 2.0)

Lawmakers of both parties -- and even Gov. Bruce Rauner -- agree that Illinois doesn't fund schools in an equitable manner.

 

But a bill that would overhaul the way Illinois funds public schools passed a procedural hurdle Wednesday with bipartisan support.

 

Flickr user / alamosbasement "old school" (CC BY 2.0)

Democratic State Sen. Andy Manar of Bunker Hill is accusing Gov. Bruce Rauner of trying to kill his school-funding legislation.

  

He says the administration fed erroneous information to a Republican operative's website.

 

The story appears in the Kankakee Times, one of a dozen community news organs created by Dan Proft, who runs a political action committee supported by Rauner.

Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner's chief education adviser says the governor won't support an overhaul of the Illinois school-funding formula if it benefits Chicago Public Schools "at the expense" of others.

The Illinois Senate approved legislation Wednesday aimed at eliminating the disparity in spending between affluent school districts and those serving poorer communities. Similar legislation has been introduced in the House.

Both Democratic proposals would establish a funding target for each school district that reflects the needs of its students.

Carl Nelson/WNIJ

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner hosts a statewide school visit Thursday … but maybe not in the way you think.

Gov. Rauner invited school classrooms across Illinois to join him during his visit. This time around, though, his visit will be through a Facebook Live stream.

Flickr user / alamosbasement "old school" (CC BY 2.0)

New information about Illinois senate Republicans’ school funding plan were revealed Wednesday.

One week after State Sen. Jason Barickman held a press conference to announce his own school funding plan, he filed two amendments totaling 500 pages. Barickman’s plan echoes many of the themes contained in a measure filed by his Democratic colleague Andy Manar but eliminates the block grant for Chicago Public Schools​.

His plan also offers school districts a choice about certain unfunded mandates. The two senators had tried previously to craft a bipartisan plan.

uis.edu

Back when it was called Sangamon State University, the Springfield campus had a faculty union.

But since joining the University of Illinois system, professors have been without a bargaining unit. For more than a year, they’ve been trying to get an agreement that would retain the rights they had before.

Now, frustrated by the slow pace of talks, they’ve voted to authorize a strike.

Kristi Barnwell, a history professor, says negotiations have thus far been more about grievance procedures and tenure, than dollars and cents.

"Controller gaming" by Flickr User Anton Porsche / (CC X 2.0)

Illinois College will become one of a small group of higher-education institutions offering scholarships for playing video games.

The Herald & Review reports that the growth of esports, or competitive video games, has colleges and universities developing teams to compete as prizes are growing and sponsors are taking notice. The program begins in the fall.

Flickr user Brent Hoard "ECU School of Education Class Room" (CC BY 2.0)

10 school districts across the state are participating in a pilot project with the Illinois Board of Education.

Chicago is participating, along with areas such as Round Lake, Kankakee, and Peoria.  State Superintendent Tony Smith says the pilot initiative could have implications for districts across Illinois

“We think that there’s a lot of folks out there that have been doing work like this for a while and we want to build more of a community of practice for it. And we do think that it will have a big impact on the direction the state goes in understanding this.”

Flickr user JayMase / "Physical Education" (CC V 2.0)

Yet another plan to address the state’s lopsided school funding structure has been filed. This measure would freeze funding at current levels for all districts, including Chicago Public Schools.

When new revenue becomes available, it would be handed out based on each district’s demographics and needs, giving more to districts struggling financially. Republicans proposed the first draft of this plan, and now Senator Andy Manar, a Democrat from Bunker Hill, is sponsoring a compromise version.

"A Teacher's Library" by Flickr User Angie Garrett / (CC X 2.0)

Illinois House members are picking up education funding reform where they say a commission convened by the governor left off.

Lawmakers gathered Tuesday to discuss proposals to revise the way Illinois finances its public schools. They plan this spring to write legislation to overhaul what many say is an outdated education funding model.

"Handwriting Tag Game" by Flickr User RomitaGirl67 / (CC X 2.0)

Parents alarmed by the realization that their teenagers cannot decipher cursive handwriting have inspired one Illinois lawmaker to propose requiring schools to offer a course on the art of the flowing font.

Kids use computer keyboards for most communication these days, but what if they need to sign a legal document or read a letter from grandma?

State Representative Chris Welch, a Democrat from Hillside, says they’re going to need cursive for that. He’s sponsoring a measure that would ensure students receive at least one class in old-school slanted script. 

Recent data shows more Illinois students are taking Advanced Placement tests.  

The classes and accompanying exams can help them earn college credit.  The State Board of Education is working to ensure more low-income and minority students take the tests, and spokeswoman Jackie Matthews says the effort is going well.  

"The State Board is moving some unused federal funds directly into the AP test fee program to keep the fee for low-income students at $15 per tests, to make sure these tests remain accessible to all students."  

Normally, it cost $93 for each exam.   

"A Teacher's Library" by Flickr User Angie Garrett / (CC X 2.0)

An Illinois House committee has cleared a proposal that would require public universities to admit first-time freshman applicants who finish with a GPA in the top 10 percent of their high school's graduating class.

The News-Gazette reports that the House Higher Education Committee passed the bill Wednesday despite opposition from the University of Illinois and the Illinois Board of Higher Education.

WVIK

An Illinois legislator is calling for free tuition at state universities.

With the pile of unpaid Illinois bills topping $10 billion, Rep. Will Guzzardi, D-Chicago, acknowledges it’s not a short-term goal.

“But, I want that to be the guide star. I want that to be the objective that we work toward,” he said. “And this year, I want us to pass something that’s going to make college a little more affordable and reduce the burden of debt on working families.”

He declined to give any specifics on what that “something” might be.

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