Susan Stephens / WNIJ

DeKalb-area education leaders, students, and service providers held a rally Thursday at Northern Illinois University to send a

   message to state lawmakers: end the budget impasse.

There were no organized chants, no waving signs -- but there IS a social media hashtag: #RallyForIL

Students from NIU and Kishwaukee College were among the community members who spoke up about how the lack of a state budget hurts them, especially the hold on MAP grants, which help pay for their schooling.

Guy Stephens / WNIJ

The Illinois State Board of Education has authorized twenty-nine school districts to sell their local bonds with a federal interest subsidy for construction projects through the U.S. Department of Education's Qualified School Construction Bond program.  The program was created under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, commonly referred to as "The Stimulus" or "The Recovery Act," passed at the beginning of President Barack Obama's first term. 

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

The Illinois State Board of Education is analyzing a proposal to transform the state’s school funding formula.

At the board’s meeting yesterday, Superintendent Tony Smith called the current formula “fundamentally flawed,” but acknowledged that changing it would be difficult.

"I mean, there’s some significant issues in the state about what you can touch and what you can’t, and so I think it will be interesting to see how that bill does get considered, because it’s also very political, as we know,” Smith said.

The state’s formula now relies heavily on property taxes.

Flickr user Pictures of Money / "Money" (CC BY 2.0)

A Chicago-based research group says cleaning up Illinois' budget mess will require difficult decisions such as raising the income tax, slashing spending and imposing taxes on food, services and some retirement income.

In an analysis released Thursday, the Civic Federation's Institute for Illinois' Fiscal Sustainability says the state budget stalemate has only exacerbated Illinois' enormous financial problems.

Civic Federation President Laurence Msall says “there are no more politically popular solutions left.''

A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed by a former investigator for Chicago's Independent Police Review Authority, which investigates police shootings.

Lorenzo Davis alleged he lost his job because he determined several police shootings were unjustified. He argued his free speech rights were violated.

The lawsuit gained attention after the release of a video showing a white police officer fatally shooting Laquan McDonald, a black 17-year-old.

Brian Mackey/WUIS

President Barack Obama arrived at the Illinois State Capitol in Springfield where he is addressing lawmakers about how elected officials can work better together.

"We have to find a better way of doing business," he said, " to build a better politics."

He told the lawmakers -- now mired in a budget impasse for more than seven months -- that a refusal to compromise is not a trait to be admired.

Obama told lawmakers that the Illinois statehouse was where he learned how to work together with others there and forge compromises.

"Blogging?" by Flickr User Anonymous Account / (CC BY 2.0)

An Illinois lawmaker wants to criminalize recording fights in order to post them online.

Rep. Terri Bryant says she was disturbed by a video of an altercation between two boys from her hometown of Murphysboro that was posted to Facebook. The Republican lawmaker says she wants to show that staging fights or being a willing bystander is unacceptable.

Chicago Public Schools have slashed millions of dollars from school budgets, forcing principals to refigure their plans with the second semester just underway.

The principals received news of the $85 million cut on Tuesday as the school district faces a $1.1 billion budget deficit, no income from the state of Illinois and no contract with the Chicago Teachers Union.

In a written statement, schools CEO Forest Claypool the steps taken were necessary because the district's cash position "becomes tighter every day."

Sue Stephens

When you hold a poetry contest involving themes of love or attraction, expect lots of poems using food as a metaphor.

It's as if our attraction to a potential mate and our appetite for food occupy the same place in our brains.

Small wonder, then, that two of the six winners in our "Relationship Poems" contest involved food. Yesterday, we featured a poem about corned beef. Today's winner is called "A Cheesy Love Poem."

portraits from

Members of the Illinois General Assembly will hear from President Barack Obama today.

Obama is returning to Springfield nine years to the day after he was in Springfield to announce he was running for the nation's highest office.

It will be the first time a sitting President has addressed a joint session of the Illinois legislature since 1978.

Then-President Jimmy Carter said that, as a former Georgia state senator, he realized the "extreme importance" of state government.