3:41 pm
Thu January 22, 2015

School Funding Fight Set To Resume In Senate

Credit Dusty Rhodes

When it comes to funding public schools, Illinois ranks near the bottom for equity. Legislation designed to change that stalled last session. Lawmakers are revising it to try again.

To understand the differences in school funding across Illinois, consider this partial list of art classes available at New Trier Township High School, in the Chicago suburb of Winnetka.

There’s ceramics, drawing and painting, glass art, photography, sculpture, video art, and even animation.

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Illinois Pensions
3:04 pm
Thu January 22, 2015

Fate Of Illinois' Pension Law To Stay On Fast Track

Credit Illinois Supreme Court

The court case over Illinois' attempt to reduce public employee pensions will continue on an expedited basis.

Lawyers who say the law is unconstitutional asked on Tuesday that it be slowed by a month. On Thursday, justices on the state's high court said no.

They also said they will not consider briefs in favor of the law submitted by groups ranging from the City of Chicago to a conservative think tank -- leaving it to the Attorney General to argue for it.

The schedule requires all briefs on the pension case be submitted by late February.

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12:05 pm
Thu January 22, 2015

Judge Orders Seizure Of Retirement Funds Owed By Crundwell

file photo
Credit Susan Stephens / WNIJ

U.S. District Judge Philip Reinhard this week ordered about $90,000 in retirement fund reimbursements be given over to the government.

According to Sauk Valley Media, Crundwell's attorney contested inclusion of those funds with the total restitution Crundwell was ordered to pay after pleading guilty to wire fraud in 2012.

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Enterprise Zones
6:19 am
Thu January 22, 2015

State Weighs 67 Applications For New Enterprise Zones

Credit state of Illinois

Illinois officials are reviewing dozens of new applications for enterprise zones. 

State law allows a limited number of zones each year aimed at improving conditions in economically depressed areas. Businesses receive tax breaks, such as an exemption for utility taxes.

The proposals are evaluated on several criteria, including a high vacancy rate in industrial or commercial buildings, or being able to offer career programs at high schools.

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6:15 am
Thu January 22, 2015

State Board Seeks $730M Budget Hike To Fund Per-Pupil Spending

Christopher Koch
Credit ISBE

The Illinois Board of Education is asking for a $730 million increase in its budget next year.

The state superintendent of schools is well aware of the state's financial strain. 

Christopher Koch has been in charge as the state has failed to come through with all the money it's supposed to give to meet local district's  basic needs. But, Koch says, "education is the smartest investment we can make in the economic future of our state."

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11:49 pm
Wed January 21, 2015

'My Brother's Keeper' Begins Education, Community Safety Initiative

Rockford is taking on a challenge from the White House to address “opportunity gaps” faced by young black men. The “My Brother’s Keeper“ initiative kicks off this afternoon with a community forum. 

Last year, President Obama challenged communities to develop stronger paths to success for all young people. Some of Rockford’s leader have signed up for the My Brother’s Keeper challenge, focusing on education and violence prevention.

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3:23 pm
Wed January 21, 2015

New State Board Of Ed Leader Has Familiar Face

Credit ilga.gov

When the Illinois State Board of Education met this week in Springfield, a new chairman was running the agenda. 

One of the first appointments made by new Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner was James Meeks -- a former Democratic state senator from Chicago and long-time pastor of the city’s Salem Baptist Church. Meeks had led the Senate Education Committee and sponsored legislation to try to change how the state funds schools.

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Union must still vote on deal
3:07 pm
Wed January 21, 2015

Strike Suspended At Kishwaukee College: Faculty Contract Still Not Approved

Credit Jenna Dooley / WNIJ

Update: The Kishwaukee College Education Association plans to hold its contract ratification vote starting Jan. 27th over a 24 hour period per the Union bylaws.

The Kishwaukee College Board of Trustees' Special Meeting that had been scheduled for Friday, Jan. 23 has been canceled.  That's according to a news release issued Wednesday morning.


There won’t be a strike at Kishwaukee College Wednesday, but the union representing 81 teachers at the school still has not ratified a contract agreement worked out this week with the administration. 

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6:28 am
Wed January 21, 2015

Former WILL General Manager, NPR Board Chair Don Mullally Dies

Credit University of Illinois / illinois.edu

The man who steered NPR through its worst financial crisis has died.

Former WILL General Manager and NPR board chair Donald Mullally led a restructuring of the public radio system and helped build the modern NPR.

Mullally came to the University of Illinois to teach. He taught communications courses on and off throughout his three decades at U of I.

But, because of his background in commercial television, Mullally was recruited to head WILL.

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State of the Union
6:15 am
Wed January 21, 2015

Both Parties In Illinois React To Obama's State Of The Union

Credit Pablo Martinez Monsivais

Reactions came quickly from both sides of the aisle after last night’s State of the Union speech. 

Illinois Senator Dick Durbin applauded President Obama’s challenge to Congress to pass specific economic proposals. Durbin says ideas like two free years of community college are hard to vote against. 

Durbin also raised questions about GOP priorities in the new Congress, such as the Keystone XL pipeline. Instead, he says Congress should address shortfalls in the Highway Trust Fund.

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