Stakeholders debate state pension reform at Palatine forum
The panelists at times struggled to find common ground, and the deep divide between stakeholders on how to fix the pension funding crisis was painfully evident. But a pension reform forum sponsored Wednesday by the Daily Herald and the nonpartisan reform website Reboot Illinois did produce civil discourse in the organizations’ attempt to further understanding of the $100 billion mess
Forum brings suburban community, experts together on state pension debate
The vast majority of people planning to attend a forum on public pensions today consider it an urgent priority for Illinois to address the pension funding crisis. But how to fix that $100 billion dollar mess is far less clear. Learning about the complicated issue from all sides is the point of tonight’s panel, sponsored by the Daily Herald and the nonpartisan reform website Reboot Illinois,
The manufactured crisis over Illinois pensions
Practically everyone knows that Illinois’ public pension systems are only about 45 percent funded. But not everyone knows that 45 percent is actually an improvement over the 40 percent funding of the past. The historical record of Illinois’ 1970 Constitutional Convention shows the state’s unfunded pension liability wasn’t considered a crisis when delegates
Unit 5 budget reflects shift in special education – Pantagraph.com
The Mackinaw Valley Special Education Association, which now has only the two districts, is being disbanded, and each district will start handling its own special education revenue and expenses directly. As a result, special education administration …
School district seeks to rebuild trust
The Springfield School Board took the first steps on Monday night toward rebuilding parents’ trust in the district, following the leak of test data from a besieged middle school. The board unanimously voted to accept the resignation of two district employees involved in the test score leak, providing a measure of closure for parents who complain of a longstanding trust deficit.
Moline Considers School Closures
Dozens of parents gathered at Ericsson Elementary School tonight in Moline to learn more about potential budget cuts. Officials are looking to close Ericsson and Garfield schools to help save the district more than 2 million dollars. Many of the families that go to those schools are made up of Mexican immigrants who dont have drivers licenses
Grayslake school district agrees to help ex-board member with some legal expenses
Grayslake Elementary District 46 board members Wednesday night agreed to a cover some legal costs that former colleague Shannon Smigielski says she might incur related to an incident that occurred while she was an elected official. Smigielski has hired veteran Lake County attorney Charles Smith to pursue a civil order of protection against a substitute teacher who is charged with harassing her
(The following are based on IEA press releases, included to indicate where the articles were picked up.)
Student honored with IEA ‘Student of the Year’
Each year, the Illinois Education Association awards a student of the year within the state of Illinois with the Bob Haisman IEA Student of the Year award. The award goes to an education major and a future teacher attending an Illinois university. The 2013 winner was announced on Saturday, April 13 at the Hilton Hotel in Chicago where the IEA Representative Assembly was held.
Teacher honored after subduing student with gun
NORMAL, Ill. (AP) — A Normal Community High School teacher has been honored for tackling and subduing a student who pulled a gun in class last year and fired shots into the ceiling. Derrick Schonauer received a Courage Award from the Illinois Education Association. The Pantagraph in Bloomington reports Tuesday (http://bit.ly/11znr3w) that Schonauer was a teacher for less than two weeks
President-endorsed pension plan sent to Gov. Quinn
President Bill Perry, along with 13 other Illinois public university leaders, sent a letter to Gov. Pat Quinn endorsing a six-step plan to fund the Illinois State University Retirement System earlier this month. Perry said the plan, published by the Institute of Government and Public Affairs of the University of Illinois, looked to him and fellow Illinois university presidents and chancellors
Bill on UI trustees hits roadblock in Illinois Senate
SPRINGFIELD — A plan to change the way that University of Illinois trustees are selected apparently is dead for this spring. Sen. Mike Frerichs, D-Champaign, the sponsor of SB 46, said Wednesday that questions about the constitutionality of the proposed law derailed it. As written, it would have shared the appointment powers of UI Board of Trustees members between the governor,
Facts about Chicago teachers pensions
As the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) continues to mobilize a political effort to takeover Chicago’s government, the Chicago Teachers Pension Fund (CTPF) continues to run dry from neglect and unrealistic expectations. According to a recent analysis by the Illinois Policy Institute, the CTPF’s five-year investment return has been exactly 0 percent. This is bad news for both Chicago teachers expect …
Editorial: Why close my school?
The 9-year-old in the dashing red tie and navy suit could barely see over the podium at the Board of Education meeting on Wednesday, but no one missed his message about his beloved school, which is on the chopping block: “Why are you closing Garvey when it has everything you say you want a school to have?” Asean Johnson said with poise and confidence beyond his years. He held up a recent …
CTU chief asks school board to slow down, guarantees ‘we can work together’
But Ald. Mary O’Connor and principals from overcrowded schools in her Northwest Side ward begged CPS to consider not just the schools set for closure that are under capacity, but the ones that are bursting with almost double the children they were built to hold. Wildwood Elementary is at 175 percent capacity by the calculations CPS used to close schools. Oriole Park Elementary School is at 167 …
CPS protests: Students reject tests, charter school backers want equal funding
Two different groups of protesters gathered Wednesday outside the Chicago Public Schools headquarters to make their voices heard. One group, Chicago Students Organizing to Save Our Schools, included juniors who boycotted school on the day they should have been taking a standardized test that determines whether they will go on to 12th grade. They object to standardized testing, which they said was…
School closings occupy CPS board meeting
As Chicago Public Schools embarks on closing dozens of schools, a third-grader from Garvey Elementary School on Wednesday summed up how many parents, educators and other students feel about the shutdowns. Speaking at the monthly Board of Education meeting, Asean Johnson, 9, pointed out that schools chief Barbara Byrd-Bennett and board President David Vitale both visited the school last week and
Chicago high school students skip PSAE, protest CPS closures
Chicago high school students protested outside the Board of Education Wednesday meeting, foregoing PSAE testing to rally against the city plan to close 54 CPS elementary schools. More than 300 students were expected at school board headquarters – 100 students were present at Clark and Adams on Wednesday. They said they want to send a message that “enough is …
CPS Students Skip Required Exam To Protest School Closings
Dozens of Chicago Public Schools students skipped school Wednesday on the second day of state-required PSAE exams for high school juniors to boycott the tests. …
CPS hosts public hearing on proposed closure of Garvey Elementary
CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) – Four bus loads carried unlikely passengers of parents and teachers to Chicago Public Schools central office to attend a two-hour public hearing on the proposed closure of Marcus Garvey Elementary School. SEE: Chicago high school students skip PSAE protest, CPS closures One teacher says her main concern about the school closings and students relocating is the gangs. …
Protests held at Chicago school headquarters
The school closing debate led to dueling protests this morning outside Chicago Public Schools headquarters. Students from various area high schools announced they planned to boycott the second day of standardized testing today to protest the roll of testing as a factor in schools landing on the school closure list. Holding signs like “Don’t test me bro” and “Support our schools.
Bill Daley To Decide On Governor Run In 60 Days
MCHENRY, Ill. (AP) — Former White House chief of staff Bill Daley says he’ll decide in the next two months if he will run for Illinois governor
Bruce Rauner clouted kid into Payton high school, sources say
I’ve heard of people doing almost anything to get their kid into Walter Payton College Prep High School. Whatever might work, I’m sure someone would try. Payton, a Near North Side school that’s a short walk west of the Magnificent Mile, has become one of the best schools around — not only in the state but the country, where it’s respectively ranked second and 45th-best,
No need for lite governor
Illinois has more government than it either needs or can afford, and it’s probably going to stay that way. The Illinois House recently voted to allow the public to vote on a state constitutional amendment that would abolish the office of lieutenant governor. The idea makes a lot of sense. The office has only a few minor duties, and the person in the office only has as much influence
Illinois DOC says more money is needed to finish fiscal year
SPRINGFIELD – State prison officials are predicting more problems at the embattled Illinois Department of Corrections if lawmakers don’t give them more money to operate in the coming weeks. In a Senate hearing Wednesday, Corrections budget chief Brian Gleckler said the department is requesting about $41.8 million to finish out the fiscal year, which ends June 30.
State prison system is not doing the job
The Illinois Department of Corrections is becoming a very dysfunctional and costly state agency for the taxpayers. Facts in support of this statement include a 75 percent recidivism rate of prisoners in 2012; the number of lawsuits pending against the IDOC, filed by both prisoners and employees, and an employee union contract that has not been signed
Florida governor wants Illinois businesses
Another governor is trying to lure away Illinois companies. Florida Gov. Rick Scott sent a letter to Illinois’ top 100 companies this week asking them to buy a “one way” ticket to Florida. The Republican says Florida is undergoing “an incredible economic turnaround” and touts the state’s credit ratings.
Now Florida governor wants Illinois businesses
Another governor is trying to lure away Illinois companies. Florida Gov. Rick Scott sent a letter to Illinois’ top 100 companies this week asking them to buy a ‘one way’ ticket to Florida. The Republican says Florida is undergoing ‘an incredible economic turnaround’ and touts the state’s credit ratings. Scott also scrutinizes Illinois’ high taxes, including a 2011 income tax increase.
Another View: Deadbeat ways inspire Texas to raid Illinois
Texas Gov. Rick Perry probably wouldn’t bother getting his cowboy boots dirty in Illinois if our state had its financial house in order. Instead, Perry is putting on a Texas-sized campaign to lure business from the Land of Lincoln to the Lone Star State. “Get out while there’s still time” reads the ad that has been published in Chicago-area media.
Meet the latest class of TechStars Chicago (formerly known as Excelerate Labs). After completing a three-month startup boot camp, participants get a chance to pitch their business to several hundred venture capitalists. More than 900 threw their name in for one of 10 spots. Crain’s John Pletz has the details on the new class.
As many newspaper executives are turning to digital products and mulling how to reduce the cost of their print products, Fred Eychaner’s Chicago-based Newsweb Corp. is building a new 60,000-square-foot facility in the northwest corner of the city that will include a faster press. Will the gamble pay off’ Crain’s takes a look.
Word of the Koch brothers’ interest in buying Tribune newspapers has fueled worry in some quarters, but one journalist asks why. After all, he says, Chicago survived the Rupert Murdoch era. Read the op-ed from Marcel Pacatte, who teaches at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism.
If you wish to feel like a late bloomer today, read this interview with Oak Park high school junior Tavi Gevinson, who has a new film to add to her list of accomplishments. Ms. Gevinson became the darling of the fashion world with the Style Rookie blog she launched as an 11-year-old. Oh, and she also edits an online magazine. Read her Q & A with Crain’s.
The company that bought the Twinkie, HoHo and Ding Dong brands out of bankruptcy is gearing up to hire workers and reopen plants, including one in Schiller Park. But it won’t be using union labor, writes the Wall Street Journal.
While deemed “business-friendly,” a proposal in the state Legislature to raise the posted highway speed limit to 70 mph is fueling debate over safety. Read the Tribune’s take on the matter.
A federal judge dismissed a discrimination lawsuit filed by black pilots against United Continental Holdings Inc. The pilots alleged that the airline offers minority employees fewer promotions to upper management than whites, Bloomberg reports.
A Republican congressman who chairs a key appropriations panel lashed out Wednesday over the federal government’s purchase of the vacant Illinois state prison in Thomson, stoking concerns about future approval of money necessary to upgrade and open the prison. The Tribune has more.
A day after fast-food and retail workers walked out in protest over their wages, Chicago magazine looks at their arguments, and politicians’ answers. Find more here.
DeKalb is gearing up for a big premiere in town May 10, when the movie “At Any Price” with Zac Efron and Dennis Quaid opens at the local theater. The setting should be familiar: The film was shot all around DeKalb County. Crain’s has more on the town’s brush with Hollywood.
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The Washington Post
CIA pushed to add Boston bomber to terror watch list
The CIA pushed to have one of the suspected Boston Marathon bombers placed on a U.S. counterterrorism watch list more than a year before the attacks, U.S. officials said Wednesday.
In model Afghan city, kidnappings surge
HERAT, Afghanistan — Nine-year-old Ali Sena Nowruzee’s disappearance was disturbingly predictable, even in a city largely untouched by the Taliban and often held up as an example of what a peaceful Afghanistan might look like.
Federal agents search Mississippi site in ricin investigation
Federal authorities descended Wednesday on a shuttered martial arts studio in Mississippi as the FBI sought to reinvigorate its investigation into ricin-laced letters sent this month to the White House, a U.S. senator and a county judge.
Feds spend at least $890,000 on fees for empty accounts
If you are a federal worker on furlough this week — or an airline passenger delayed by federal furloughs — you might want to save your blood pressure and go read another story.
Editorial Board: Is the FBI focused enough on the real bad guys’
LAW ENFORCEMENT agencies can’t be expected to stop every terrorist attack, any more than they can prevent every mass shooting. If, as most investigators now appear to believe, brothers Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev acted on their own with a bomb design downloaded from the Internet, their plot posed a steep challenge to those agencies, including the FBI and Department of Homeland Security (DHS), responsible for detecting threats.
Word of the Day for Thursday, April 25, 2013
flounder \FLOUN-der\, verb:
1. to struggle clumsily or helplessly: He floundered helplessly on the first day of his new job.
2. to struggle with stumbling or plunging movements (usually followed by about, along, on, through, etc.): He saw the child floundering about in the water.