Illinois

The number of Illinois residents who have voted ahead of Election Day has broken state records and is still growing.

The State Board of Elections released totals Monday showing the number of voters who cast in-person ballots through Sunday was approaching 1.3 million.

That surpasses the roughly 1 million who did so in 2008 and the nearly 1.2 million in 2012.

The figure is even higher when all ballots, including those by mail, are counted. The total number of Illinois residents who've already voted is more than 1.6 million.

Rockford Public Schools

Illinois data shows almost one in four public school teachers in the state miss 10-plus days of the school year.

The Chicago Tribune reports the annual Illinois Report Card, a compilation of data that paints a broad picture of schools, shows that 23.5 percent of public school teachers are absent more than 10 days in the school year.

The teacher absence rates ranged widely at some 3,600 public schools, with nearly 1,600 schools, mostly in the Chicago area, faring worse than the state average.

Jessie Schlacks / WNIJ

Chants broke out several times during a rally at the MLK Commons of Northern Illinois University's campus.

Illinois college students and DeKalb community members gathered Thursday to press lawmakers to make sure MAP grants are fully funded.

Students raised signs with messages like “End our dread – fund Higher Ed.”

Different speakers shared their experiences and urged people to reach out to their local lawmakers.

Students from Governors State University traveled to NIU to join the conversation. 

Next week brings the anniversary of legal medical marijuana sales in Illinois and the program is growing steadily. Patients with state approval to buy marijuana now number about 12,000.

The state released new monthly figures Wednesday. Retailers sold $4.1 million in marijuana products during October, marking another month of increasing sales.

Last month's figures bring the total retail sales in Illinois to $28 million since purchasing began Nov. 9, 2015.

The number of dispensaries continues to grow, too, with 46 now licensed to sell medical marijuana.

Rockford School Bus Drivers Approve Strike

Nov 2, 2016
"SCHOOL BUSES" BY FLICKR USER JOHNPICKENPHOTO / (CC X 2.0)

Bus drivers are giving a greenlight for AFSCME Local 1275 to call a strike if a contract agreement isn’t reached.

The previous contract with the workers and the Rockford School District expired in June.

Main points of contention are wages and health insurance costs.

Ed Sadlowski, with the union, says the bus drivers are struggling to make ends meet.

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