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CPS

Chicago school officials say they're ready to cut $100 million from school budgets and force teachers to pay more pension costs after the teachers' union rejected the latest offer in contentious contract negotiations that have lasted over a year.

Chicago Public Schools CEO Forrest Claypool said yesterday the union's rejection was “disheartening'' and cost-cutting efforts were necessary without a deal.

He says bargaining continues.

The district faces a $1 billion shortfall and recently laid off hundreds of central office employees.

Jenna Dooley / WNIJ

There is increased attention on water quality across the nation as a result of elevated levels of lead in Flint, Michigan.

For the past several years, the unincorporated community of Wedron, in LaSalle County, has been dealing with its own water woes.

EPA: Wedron Groundwater Contamination Site

The Real Solution To Gun Violence

1 hour ago

Already in Chicago, the third-largest city in America, more than 225 people have been shot -- 50 fatally -- in January. One hundred of them were shot in the first ten days of the month. The majority of the shootings happened on the West and South sides of the city.

I don’t relieve anyone of their personal responsibility to respect and honor life -- nor do I dismiss a person’s consequence for taking someone else’s life. But, until the root of the problem is addressed, little will change.

An Egyptian activist is touring the U.S., reminding people that the struggle in her country continues five years after the uprising.

Tuesday night, she spoke in Rockford. Salma Hussein is a human rights advocate and journalist from Cairo, Egypt. She says "it's hard to see people talking about it like it's history because the movement is still there. Even if it's not necessarily with the same momentum anymore, the movement is still alive and present."

NIU athletics

Last semester, Northern Illinois University offered one lucky student the chance to win free tuition for a semester if they attended all six home football games.

86 students recorded their attendance at all of those games, but the student body as a whole failed to deliver.

ilga.gov

Governor Bruce Rauner says he wants to change the way the state buys goods and services.  Republicans say it would save taxpayers a half billion dollars a year. 

Representative Dan Brady of Bloomington has introduced a proposal that he says would simplify the purchasing process for colleges and universities in the state. 

"In our opinion, our state universities are at a crisis point. This type of procurement legislation that will be outlined here today is a type of significant lifeline that could help those universities and community colleges," Brady says.

Phil Masterton / WNIJ

Illinois’ budget deficit is a billion dollars more than initially predicted.

Illinois Comptroller Leslie Munger, who signs checks for the state government, announced Tuesday that Illinois will be more than $6.2 billion dollars in debt by June 30th.

That is, if the state continues its current rate of spending without a budget. 

"E-Cig Mod: iTaste 134" by Flickr User Lindsay Fox

Anyone under 18 who's caught with electronic cigarettes or other tobacco-free nicotine products would face a fine or community service under a new Illinois law.

Gov. Bruce Rauner signed legislation last week that imposes penalties for minors who possess e-cigarettes.

State Sen. Julie Morrison sponsored the measure. The Deerfield Democrat says it will protect young people “from the dangers of this increasingly popular product.''

Illinois law already prohibits selling e-cigarettes to anyone under 18.

League of Women Voters

A Democratic presidential candidate and two Republicans will stay on the Illinois ballot.

    

The State Board of Elections dismissed an objection to the candidacy of Democrat Hillary Clinton.

The board ruled Republican U.S. Senators Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz can also stay on the ballot.

Two Illinois residents raised questions about the legality of Cruz and Rubio running for president. 

One of the objectors is William Graham of Glen Ellyn. He says the senators are U.S. citizens, but they are not natural-born citizens under the law.

CTU.NET

The Chicago Teachers Union says it has rejected a contract proposal because it does not address school conditions, lack of services to some students and the long-term fiscal crisis that the nation's third-largest school district faces.

CTU said in a news release yesterday that it rejected what it called last week a “serious offer.''

According to the union, the offer would have required teachers to pick up their pension costs and increase contributions to their health care coverage.

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