Illinois public schools

NPR ILLINOIS

Recreational pot, construction projects and more — here’s what we know.

Budget

When Gov. J.B. Pritzker introduced his freshman budget this winter, he proposed a range of new or increased taxes. It was intended to let Illinois government hobble through next year’s budget on its way to a graduated income tax.

Lee V. Gaines / Illinois Newsroom

Chuck Bleyer is worried the southern Illinois school district he heads won’t be able to fill an open teacher position by the time classes start this fall.

Bleyer serves as superintendent of Pope County Community Unit District 1, a small school district with about 540 students on the edge of southeastern Illinois, right next to the Ohio River and in the middle of the Shawnee National Forest. (After four years as superintendent, Bleyer said he’s leaving his job this summer to serve as superintendent of Wabash Community Unit Schools District 348.)

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

The Illinois General Assembly has sent a bill to Gov. Bruce Rauner that would raise the minimum starting salary for public-school teachers.

Senate Bill 2892 would raise the minimum starting salary for a public school teacher in Illinois to $40,000. It does this through a sliding scale, gradually increasing the minimum until it reaches the target by 2022.

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.