Chicago Tribune – March 13, 2014
The joyous Blackhawks run to the cup, culminating in that sun-splashed Grant Park party, takes center stage Thursday night (and in repeats). But it shares that stage with the ongoing story of school closings, gangs and guns. Fenger High School Principal Liz Dozier is back (and likely to remain a fixture throughout the series), marching for peace and fighting against budget cuts.
A disturbing number of Illinois school districts are in poor to dire financial shape, with 121 getting low or dismal ratings in the state’s annual financial report card for schools. That’s more than double the number of districts in the two lowest categories just two years ago, the result of districts struggling with less state aid, higher costs and a weakened economy.
ISBE reports local districts in bad financial shape
(WREX (NBC) 13 Rockford © 03/12/2014)
A report from the Illinois State Board of Education shows the state’s school districts are in more financial trouble, including those in local counties. An overall shift from stronger to weaker financial positions was seen in the annual report, which was released Wednesday. Revenue, cash on hand, and debt were used to determine a district’s financial
Report finds Illinois school finances worsening
(Crystal Lake Northwest Herald © 03/13/2014)
An Illinois State Board of Education report shows more school districts’ are in poor financial shape. The annual profile released Wednesday places school districts into four categories ranging from high financial strength to high risk. The report shows an overall shift from stronger to weaker financial positions. The state board uses revenue, cash on hand and debt
Sherrard schools sign two-year contract with teachers
(Quad Cities Dispatch Argus Leader © 03/13/2014)
MATHERVILLE — The Sherrard School Board has approved a new two-year contract with its teachers union. More than 50 people, many in green Sherrard Education Association T-shirts, attended Wednesday’s meeting at Matherville Intermediate School. Within 15 minutes of the meeting’s start, board members voted 6-1 to approved the new contract with the union.
Sherrard teachers contract a done deal
(WHBF (CBS) 4 Quad Cities © 03/12/2014)
The battle in Sherrard is finally over. Wednesday night the school board ratified a new teachers contract after months of negotiations. There was hugging, laughing and an overwhelming sense of relief in the room to after the 7 to 1 vote; now that the new 2 year contract is a done deal. “We’re pretty happy about the fact that we were able to come to an
Property tax relief through sales tax
(Effingham Daily News © 03/13/2014)
On Tuesday, March 18, all registered voters in Effingham County will have the opportunity to vote on a proposition to implement a 1-cent sales tax for school construction purposes. This means that all school districts in Effingham County would receive funds with Unit 40’s portion being approximately $2,719,556 annually.
District hopes 1% sales tax can save schools
(Champaign WCIA (CBS) 3 © 03/12/2014)
SHELBY COUNTY — Leaky roofs, asbestos containment and cramped quarters are just some of the distractions students in this district face each day. But some education officials hope a 1% sales tax referendum could change the condition of their schools. The problems could actually be stemming from a larger education funding problem. School districts statewide are facing budget cuts as the state
Unit 5 board adopts resolution pledging tax relief
(Bloomington Pantagraph © 03/13/2014)
NORMAL — The McLean County Unit 5 Board of Education has put into the public record its pledge to provide property tax relief if voters approve a sales tax for schools. By a unanimous vote Wednesday night, the board adopted a resolution that essentially would lower property owners’ tax bills by pledging to abate its building bond taxes. The pledge is subject to McLean County voters passing
LETTER: It’s up to us on school vote
(Mattoon Journal Gazette © 03/13/2014)
The school boards of Oakland, Charleston, and Mattoon are asking for your help in providing students a safe, secure, environment in which to attend school. Let’s help our kids by voting “Yes” for the School Facilities Tax [known as 1% Sales Tax] on Tuesday, March 18. The money generated by this revenue, by law, must be used only for specific building improvements and property tax relief.
Consolidation Meeting Attempts To Answer Final Questions Before Vote
(Hillsboro Journal News © 03/13/2014)
The Morrisonville-Panhandle Consolidation Committee of Ten launched one final public salvo on Monday, March 10, as the last of three meetings to inform the public on the issue was held at Lincolnwood High School. With citizens of both communities in attendance, filling more than two-thirds of the Lincolnwood Auditorium, the committee presented their case for why the two school districts should co…
District 87 app in development
(WJBC AM 1230 Bloomington © 03/13/2014)
Soon, parents and students in District 87 will have school information at their fingertips. Superintendent Barry Reilly is working on a new app for the district with the company who designs its website.
Committee Of Ten Answers Consolidation Questions At March 10 Public Meeting
(Hillsboro Journal News © 03/13/2014)
A public meeting was held at the Lincolnwood High School auditorium by the Morrisonville-Panhandle Consolidation Committee of Ten on Monday March 10, to address questions regarding the vote on March 18 to consolidate the two districts. Following a 30 minute presentation by the Morrisonville-Panhandle Consolidation Committee of Ten, a question and answer session was held with the audience. The fo…
Granite board spares bands from budget cuts, orders layoffs
(Belleville News-Democrat © 03/12/2014)
The Granite City School Board voted Tuesday to spare the school system’s 5th and 6th grade band programs from budget cuts. But some of the music teachers who lead those bands — as well as several other staff members in District 9 schools — will be laid off, at least temporarily. The school board voted to lay off half the band teachers, half the physical education teachers, a Spanish teacher, …
Unit 4 considers how to maximize benefits for future students
(Champaign WCIA (CBS) 3 © 03/12/2014)
CHAMPAIGN — Unit 4 leaders are looking at new options for grades K – 8 for the future. Edison Middle School is one building the board may decide to get rid of. The school first opened 100 years ago, so district leaders say students here need something new. Dr. Howard, which is also a century old, may also be redone. The school board looked at about 18 different plans Monday night; three have ri…
Danville school board finds dress code proposal needs work
(Champaign News Gazette © 03/13/2014)
DANVILLE — They’re staples in practically every kid’s wardrobe. But starting next year, Danville schools students wouldn’t be allowed to wear jeans to school under a proposed “uniform standard of dress” policy. School officials have been developing the proposal since late January, when board members opted to put a stricter dress code in place for all K-12 students — except for Northeast Elementary …
School board releases first draft of dress code
(Champaign WCIA (CBS) 3 © 03/13/2014)
DANVILLE – Danville parents got their first look at what their kids can and can’t wear to class and not everyone is happy. The new rules won’t start until the Fall. Danville schools wanted to get the conversation started on what those rules should be. Gary Brode tells us what’s on the list. The dress code will change for all students in Danville. Kids will have to wear collared shirts.
Uniform guidelines will be available soon
(Champaign WCIA (CBS) 3 © 03/12/2014)
DANVILLE — Students will soon find out what they’ll wear to school next year. Wednesday night, the school board will unveil new uniform guidelines. It will be on display for 30 days. In January, board members voted for a standard dress code district-wide. It goes into effect in the fall….
Davis tenure was a successful one
(Decatur Herald and Review © 03/13/2014)
Decatur School Superintendent Gloria Davis attended her last school board meeting Tuesday night, amid a controversy about naming the auditorium at Eisenhower High School in her honor. Judging by letters to the editor, comments on social media and those speaking at the school board meeting, it seems clear that many believe the EHS auditorium should be named in honor of Shirley Kistler
Western School District debates cutting ag program, community fires back
(KHQA (CBS) 7 Quincy © 03/13/2014)
Strong words and emotions filled the cafeteria at Western High School Wednesday night. With the state of Illinois proposing $1 billion in cuts to education funding, the school board has discussed eliminating the district’s agriculture program. But the message was loud and clear from students and parents within the district: agriculture is vital to students in Barry.
Western ag program draws public support as School Board looks at money-saving cuts for 2014-15
(Quincy Herald-Whig © 03/13/2014)
BARRY, Ill. — Agriculture teacher Mary Barnes stood in front of the Western School Board Wednesday make to make a point about preserving the program. “This is not about me. This is about your children,” Barnes said. “This is about the opportunity to become more involved in ag and develop the potential of students.” The ag and band programs, along with other district programs,
UNO Teachers Will Vote on Union Contract
(Huffpost Chicago © 03/12/2014)
Teachers at the scandal-plagued UNO charter school network are about to vote next week on their first union contract. If approved by teachers and by UNO’s own board, the contract negotiated by the Chicago Alliance of Charter Teachers and Staff would more than double in number, with between 500 and 550 teachers and other UNO staff joining about 300 ChicagoACTS members at 11 charter schools.
Angry parents, teachers accuse CPS of retaliating over opting out of ISAT
(Medill News Service © 03/13/2014)
Joanna Maravilla Cano said she and her husband never imagine they would be intimidated by their school’s principal for exercising their right to opt their daughter out of the Illinois Standard Achievement Test. “They put our children in an overall confusing and stressful situation, should they listen to the authority figure from their schools or should they listen to their parent who has the best…
The state’s scrapped minimum test scores for teachers (84 percent of current teachers are white). North Lawndale needs Legacy charter school. Chicagoland nails Chicago. How can unions win? “Accidental” application for Howard Ave alternative school. Plus lots of national news and other cities (and Chicago education news all day at @district299).
To boost teacher diversity, state scraps limits on basic skills test-taking Catalyst: The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) voted on Wednesday to scrap a policy established just four years ago that set a limit on the number of times prospective teachers could take the required basic skills tests. Half of students in Illinois public schools are white, but close to 84 percent of their teachers are white, according to state records.
North Lawndale should welcome Legacy charter school Chicago Tribune: Schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett and Mayor Rahm Emanuel sought to tamp down parent and neighborhood anger at losing beloved (though poorly performing) schools.
Robert Redford’s tale of two cities nails Chicago pretty well Crain’s Chicago Business: Mr. Levin has a talent for humanizing just about everyone in his pieces — excepting Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis, that is — and the hard-edged Mr. Emanuel gains from that.
Number of Illinois school districts in financial distress doubles Chicago Tribune: Those districts in trouble include Chicago Public Schools and other large districts such as Plainfield 202 and Aurora West. The new financial rating …
Another Snow Day For Many Schools, Thanks To Power Outages CBS: Several Chicago area schools were closed Wednesday due to the snow, in most cases because a winter storm knocked out power. WBBM Newsradio’s Bernie Tafoya reports more than 1,000 students from Orland Junior High ..
How Can Unions Win? The Awl: The Chicago Teachers Union (CTU)—led by Karen Lewis and the Caucus of Rank-and-File Educators (CORE), an assertive faction that had taken control of the union—chose the latter strategy.
Alternative High School on Howard Still in the Works, Just Not Anytime Soon DNA Info: Ombudsman Chicago said it accidentally applied for a permit, sparking an early revolt from some residents.
Gordon Tech Changes Name to DePaul College Prep DNAI Info: The North Center high school will switch its name this summer to DePaul College Prep.
For the Record: Gifted education Catalyst: Overall, enrollment at most of the 27 schools with comprehensive gifted programs is on the upswing. At 17 schools, enrollment increased. Nine schools experienced decreases, and one school did not have enrollment data for 2012-13.
Yes, Schools Do Discriminate Against Students Of Color HuffPost: The researchers found that black students were 1.78 times as likely to be suspended out of school as white students. Latino students’ suspension odds were 2.23 times greater than those of white students. Students with disabilities were suspended at twice the rate of their non-disabled peers, and for longer durations. Worse, 25 percent of black students with disabilities received at least one out-of-school suspension in the 2009-2010 school year.
House K-12 Leaders Work on Bipartisan Charter School Bill, Sources Say PK12: The major difference this time around, sources say, could be a greater emphasis on ensuring that federal funding goes to Charter Management Organizations (such as KIPP, or Aspire). That’s something U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has supported, and it’s a piece of a bipartisan charter school bill written by Reps. Jared Polis, D-Col., and Tom Petri, R-Wis.
Common Core protesters voice concerns MassLive.com: Two dozen protesters of Common Core spoke out on their concerns about freedom, high educational standards and local guidance during a visit to Worcester Technical High School by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.
A Study Seeks to Determine What Makes Prekindergarten Successful NYT: The study will follow 4,000 children to see if curriculum can create lasting improvement in students’ skills and a likelihood to persevere academically.
Bill Gates Isn’t Worried Because Progress ‘Doesn’t Depend On Washington’ HuffPo: The bling of science, technology, efficiency and “market signals” was bright. The talk was about how we would basically end infant mortality, cure polio once and for all, devise better ways to educate our children, and enjoy material, biological and digital advances so mind-boggling that most people on Earth, even the poor, would “be able to access better lifestyles than everyone has today.” Science-based technology and commerce would do it all, and soon. Yes, Bill Gates was back in town.
The edtech startup that’s shucking the playbook by acting like a consumer company Pando Daily: ClassDojo is one of those startups that which have avoided Silicon Valley buzz while apparently catching fire in the real world. Here’s how it works: Teachers input their class roster, and students are turned into avatars: one eyed green monsters or pink furry creatures, that kind of thing.
Choosing a Preschool: Order Amid Chaos, or Structure Above All? NYT: My husband and I sometimes found ourselves on opposite sides of questions around structure and child-rearing, and our emotional legacies accompanied us on every preschool visit. Would our daughter thrive amid chaos, or order — or either?
Opinion: Charter School Battles Leave Parents Used and Confused WNYC: No, the latest fight is not about children or choice. It’s part of a shrewd political battle that had spilled over from the Bloomberg era. Bloomberg closed almost 140 district schools while opening more than 100 charter schools during his tenure. Mayor Bill de Blasio inherited the former mayor’s approval of dozens of schools planning to open or expand this fall. After a review, he chose to put the brakes on six new schools — three district schools and three charter schools — at least partly due to concerns about co-locations.
L.A. school board approves amended contract for Supt. John Deasy LA Times: Los Angeles Unified schools Supt. John Deasy has a newly modified contract that includes an annual buyout of unused vacation days and new performance measures that require him to bring in revenue and enroll more students. He will also pay his own pension deduction for the first time, a cost offset by an increase of $20,000 to his annual salary.
Volatility of D.C. Mayoral Campaign Raises Stakes for City Schools’ Future District Dossier: If voters decide to toss Mayor Vincent Gray from office in the wake of a mounting campaign finance scandal, it’s not clear what would happen to Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson, who has been at the helm of the school system since 2010.
Elementary School Pilot Program Helps Family Escape Homelessness Seattle Times: Across the country more than one million kids may not know where they’re going to sleep tonight.
GOP gov hopefuls ready for final televised debate
(WICS ABC 20 (Springfield) © 03/13/2014)
The four Republicans running for Illinois governor are set to face off in the final televised debate ahead of next week’s primary election. Thursday’s forum is hosted by Chicago’s WTTW-TV. Those expected to attend are Treasurer Dan Rutherford (ROOTH’-ur-furd), businessman Bruce Rauner (ROW’-nur) and state Sens. Bill Brady and Kirk Dillard. GOP candidates have …
Local Leaders Say they Stand Behind Sen. Dillard for Governor
(WTVO ABC 17 Rockford © 03/13/2014)
It’s not over yet. That’s the message republican candidate for governor Kirk Dillard brought to the Stateline, Wednesday. Well, this is like an NBA basketball game. I wanna be in it in the last 2 minutes and clearly it’s between myself and the Chicago billionare friend of Rahm Emanuel’s, said Sen. Kirk Dillard, a republican candidate for Illinois governor. Senator Kirk Dillard …
Not all GOP governor hopefuls oppose Illinois income tax hike
(Crains Chicago Business © 03/12/2014)
The four Republicans running for governor don’t completely agree on perhaps the biggest financial decision looming over Illinois residents’ pocketbooks whether to extend the state’s temporary income tax hike. While none of the contenders are advocating increasing the income tax, two candidates state Sen. Kirk Dillard and state Treasurer Dan Rutherford have left the door open to the possi…
Brady confident of win ahead of Tuesday’s Primary
(WJBC AM 1230 Bloomington © 03/13/2014)
State Sen. Bill Brady is one of four Republican candidates for governor in next Tuesday’s Primary. (Photo courtesy of Illinois Senate Republicans) By Dave Dahl SPRINGFIELD – State Sen. Bill Brady (R-Bloomington) said he can win his second consecutive surprise Republican primary for governor if the people who are already his supporters just get out and vote Tuesday.
Poll Shows Rauner Lead Widening
(WJOL-1340 Joliet © 03/13/2014)
Bruce Rauner/courtesy Chicago Tribune Bruce Rauner is widening his lead in the race to become the Republican nominee for governor. He’s polling at 46-percent. The other three candidates will split the other 54-percent of voters, which almost guarantees a win for Rauner. Some critics are wondering why Bill Brady and Dan Rutherford won’t drop out of the race and pledge their support to Dillard, …
New Polls:Rauner Leads, Obama Approval Hits New Low
(WMBD CBS 31 Peoria © 03/13/2014)
Two new polls have been released, one giving Illinois gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner a sizable lead heading into next week’s election while another poll spells bad news for President Obama. A new We Ask America poll indicates businessman Bruce Rauner leads the GOP field of gubernatorial candidates with 46.46 percent with State Senator Mark Dillard a distance second place with 25.76 percent, …
Gov candidate Dillard’s last hurrah and last Hail Mary, calling Bruce Rauner, “The King of Pay to Play.”
(Chicago Now © 03/13/2014)
Kirk Dillard: Bruce Rauner is an ultimate insider and literally the [biggest] King of Pay to Play politics that I have ever seen in Illinois. He is the worst kind of insider.
Closer Look at Kirk Dillard
(CLTV-Chicago © 03/13/2014)
He unsuccessfully ran for governor four years ago. Now, Kirk Dillard is hoping this time he will succeed….
Why are Illinois unions spending so much on a GOP race?
(Chicago Tribune © 03/13/2014)
If you haven’t heard: One of the Republicans running for governor of Illinois wants to shake up Springfield. His campaign is peddling “Shake Up Springfield” T-shirts, visors, fleece jackets, iPhone covers and coffee cups. He promises that, if elected, he’ll challenge public employee unions and other interests that he says have shaped the status quo — the sorry state of this state.
Letter: why is union support seen as a negative?
(Arlington Heights Daily Herald © 03/13/2014)
State Sen. Kirk Dillard, a candidate for the Illinois Republican gubernatorial nomination, has received the endorsement of AFSME, a large public employee union. Dillard was grilled at a recent debate about his allegiance to unions. As if listening to union members were a bad thing. Union members might ask those critical of Dillard’s union supporters if they were “beholden” to …
Could Illinois’ next governor undo same-sex marriage?
(WBEZ 91.5 (Chicago) © 03/13/2014)
Chicagoan Christie Pettitt-Schieber has spent a lot of time thinking about the future of same-sex marriage in Illinois. Apparently, so has her girlfriend of two years. As Pettitt-Scheiber tells it: “She goes on Etsy all the time, and she will, pull up, like, hundreds and hundreds of engagement rings, and then force me to look at the website and go, ‘Do you like this one?
State in deepest financial hole ever March 13, 2014
(Crains Chicago Business © 03/13/2014)
Despite the national economic recovery and a hike in state income taxes, Illinois is in a deeper financial hole than ever, a state financial disclosure released yesterday reveals. Illinois is far and away in worse shape than any state in the country, although the red ink is flowing more slowly.
Illinois deficit at $45 billion
(Crystal Lake Northwest Herald © 03/13/2014)
An annual state report puts the Illinois deficit at nearly $45 billion. Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka released the report Wednesday. She says the shortfall grew by less than 1 percent from the previous year. She says the growth in liabilities was mostly because of obligations to state pension systems and other post-employment benefits. The state has a $100 billion shortfall …
Opposite sides of the ticket: The race for lieutenant governor
(Medill News Service © 03/13/2014)
In a world of partisan politics, Evelyn Sanguinetti and Brunell Donald couldn’t seem more different by appearances. Sanguinetti sits on the Wheaton City Council and is running for lieutenant governor with millionaire businessman Bruce Rauner. She’s a Latina and a staunch Republican who believes in small government. Donald, a Democrat, is a criminal defense attorney who’s partnered with community…
Iowa high school coaches say parents bullied them into resigning
(Moline WQAD (ABC) 8 © 03/12/2014)
Some girls basketball coaches in Independence, Iowa say they endured physical threats and challenges to fight from parents of some players. They finally had enough, and told their teams about their resignations Friday, March 7. Criticism comes with the territory when you’re a coach, but assistant varsity coach Rob Ratchford said overzealous parents got out of hand and he felt they had no
Despite the national economic recovery and a hike in state income taxes, Illinois is in worse financial shape — and far and away, worse than any state in the country, writes Crain’s Greg Hinz.
Godard Abel, the Highland Park entrepreneur who built pricing-software maker BigMachines into a $400 million giant, is the primary backer and CEO of Palo Alto, Calif.-based SteelBrick, also a maker of pricing software. Crain’s John Pletz has more.
Despite a recent downgrade in its credit rating, the city of Chicago saw surging demand yesterday for a big sale of bonds. Originally planning to sell $405 million, the city ended up selling $884 million, according to Crain’s.
With a keen ability to operate hospitals on a shoestring, Sinai Health System CEO Alan Channing’s efforts earned the system’s flagship Mount Sinai Hospital a national reputation as an organization on a mission to serve the Southwest Side’s poorest residents. Chicago Health Care Daily reports.
Right Profile is using the strategies of professional sports organizations to help law firms make the right hires. The Chicago-based startup tries to predict who might help teams the most — or disrupt them the least. Read Crain’s piece here.
U.S. investigators suspect that Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 stayed in the air for about four hours past the time it reached its last confirmed location, raising the possibility that the Boeing 777 could have flown on for hundreds of additional miles under conditions that remain murky, sources tell the Wall Street Journal.
— But Malaysian authorities say there’s no evidence of that, Reuters reports.
The Sun-Times parses Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle’s responses to questions about whether she will challenge Mayor Rahm Emanuel when he faces re-election in 2015, and whether she would commit to a full second term as head of the County Board.
Gov. Pat Quinn is facing a challenger in next week’s Democratic primary election, but the state’s chief executive is not running much of a campaign. He hasn’t aired a single TV or radio ad, he hasn’t sent out mail pieces to potential voters and he’s barely acknowledged his opponent, writes the Chicago Tribune.
Mayor Emanuel is counting on speed cameras installed around Chicago schools and parks to bankroll $70 million worth of children’s programs this year. But the cameras have generated just $3.7 million in fines, and only $1.5 million of that has been collected. More from the Sun-Times.
Headed on a long road trip this spring or summer? A good book can make the miles fly by. Check out Crain’s review of apps that work in tandem so you can switch from reading yourself to having a professional narrator do so for you while you drive
The Washington Post
Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. on Thursday will urge reduced sentences for defendants in most of the nation’s drug cases, part of his effort to cut the burgeoning U.S. prison population and reserve stiff penalties for the most violent traffickers.
Public feud between CIA, Senate panel follows years of tension over interrogation report
For years, a small group of Senate staffers made regular commutes to a Virginia office used by the CIA, took the elevators down to the basement and tapped the keypad combination to an unmarked door.
U.S. suspects missing flight flew for hours after last confirmed location, report says
KUALA LUMPUR — As the search for a missing Malaysian passenger jet stretched into a sixth day, evidence continued to mount that the plane remained in the air well after it disappeared from civilian radar and lost contact with air traffic control.
Judge dismisses indictment against Indian diplomat
A federal judge dismissed an indictment Wednesday against an Indian diplomat whose arrest in December on visa fraud charges led to a major diplomatic crisis between the United States and India.
Devyani Khobragade, an Indian consular official in New York, did not have full diplomatic immunity when she was arrested in December for submitting false forms to obtain a U.S. visa for a household worker.
Crimea’s Tatars brace for Russian annexation
Across this ancient Crimean town of 25,000, surrounded by apple orchards and shadowed by graceful minarets, there are few signs of the tension that grips its Muslim Tatar inhabitants. But inside their rebuilt houses, cafes and mosques, every Tatar has a chilling story to share as they face likely annexation to the country whose rulers once drove them into exile.
Word of the Day Thursday, March 13, 2014
1.Informal. a gadget or other thing for which the speaker does not know or has forgotten the name.