A search firm hired by district 186 to help in the hunt for a new Springfield public schools superintendent recently shared its findings after turning to parents, teachers, and the community at large for feedback. Board member Scott McFarland joins us to discuss some of the findings, and talk about the profile of qualities being sought after in a superintendent candidate:
On a clear fall day in central Iowa, Aaron Lehman climbed into the cab of his green combine with a screwdriver to do some maintenance. He was hoping his corn had a couple more weeks to grow before harvesting because the price per bushel this fall is much lower than it has been for the past three years.
Corn farmers have been riding high prices for the last few years. But an expected bumper crop has prices falling this harvest season, and many economists expect the price of corn to drop to its lowest level in recent years.
Data shows only 40% of 3rd grade students in Macon County are reading at grade level. That same percentage applies to those in 11th grade. 1 of every 4 students also fails to graduate high school.
The alarming statistics are similar to what many areas are facing. The Education Coalition of Macon County is an initiative reviewing the problem and tying to find solutions. That includes taking different approaches to what has become the standard for education.
Rep. David Harris, R-Arlington Heights, says "the chief executive has attacked the legislature, which shows how dysfunctional we are. If they haven't done their job, then they shouldn't get the full appropriation that we did, and I suggest that that appropriation be cut."
Several months after Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn vetoed legislators' salaries from the state budget -- one lawmaker wants to turn the tables on him.
Gov. Quinn says lawmakers shouldn't be paid until they overhaul the state's pensions. A judge rejected that move and the governor's appeal is still pending before the state Supreme Court, so lawmakers are getting their paychecks.
Nevertheless, legislators are still offended by Quinn's "attack," as Rep. David Harris, R - Arlington Heights, describes it.
Illinois lawmakers returned to Springfield Tuesday for their fall veto session. Guns, gay marriage and corporate tax breaks are on the agenda. But nothing is moving yet.
Supporters and opponents of same-sex marriage are rallying in the Capitol this week, but the sponsor of marriage legislation won't say when or if he'll call it for a vote.
Meanwhile, OfficeMax and Archer Daniels Midland are among the companies seeking millions of dollars in tax breaks to keep their corporate headquarters in Illinois, but those proposals are still being negotiated.
Springfield Catholic Bishop Thomas Paprocki sent this memo out earlier in the day Tuesday, prior to the march and rally in support of same sex marriage at the statehouse:
The Rainbow Sash Movement has encouraged Roman Catholics to come to Springfield to “have a loud Catholic presence for marriage equality.” They have announced plans to gather at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception at 4:30 p.m. just before the 5:15 p.m. Mass to stand in the Cathedral and indicate that they are there to pray the rosary for “marriage equality.”
Rain didn't stop advocates for same-sex marriage, who rallied under umbrellas by the hundreds in front of the Illinois Capitol Tuesday, Oct. 22. A measure to legalize same-sex marriage passed the state Senate earlier this year, but has stalled in the Illinois House.
There were two types of headliners:
-musicians, like Marcus Terrell, of "America's Got Talent" fame, who sang a "song about true love" ("and as we all know here today true love in any form is just natural," he said).
A group of parents who have students in Springfield public schools took their push for a property tax increase before the District 186 board last night. They’re pursuing the issue - despite the fact the school board vice president recently proposed the idea of a 1% county-wide sales tax increase. Supporters of the property tax idea say it would benefit the general education fund while the sales tax hike, by law, would be used for building needs.
Illinois is continuing to deal with the effects of the federal government shutdown. The state agency that handles unemployment says hundreds of laid-off federal workers have to pay back their benefits.
During the shutdown, the Illinois Department of Employment Security had a significant spike in calls from laid off federal workers. A few thousand applied for benefits, and 577 ultimately collected money.
Opponents and supporters of same-sex marriage are gearing up for another push in the Illinois Legislature.
Supporters are planning a march and rally in Springfield on Tuesday, the first day of the Legislature's fall session. Gov. Pat Quinn and other lawmakers who support legislation legalizing same-sex marriage are expected to participate.
Advocates pass out fliers promoting it during the Pride Parade in Chicago over the summer; despite an intense campaign to legalize same sex marriage in Illinois, the legislation's sponsor remains tight-lipped about whether he has the 60 votes needed for it to pass in the House.
For the first time since a brief special session in July,legislators will begin making their way en masse to Springfield this week, for the fall veto session. The agenda before them is relatively light. The General Assembly will likely debate some budget matters. And there's a hearing on a new type of health care coverage for retired state employees. Amanda Vinicky previews what else is ahead.
Riverton Elementary School is going without art classes for students this year due to cuts in it the district's budget. But there's still hope students may have another option for a creative outlet. Chanell Bradbury's daughter is a student at the Elementary, when she found out that the art classes were being cut to save money, she was disappointed: "I was really, really mad at first. How can an elementary school - of all schools ... how could they drop an art class? These children, their brains, they're just so like sponges."
Mike Lawrence spent years as a journalist covering state government and politics before eventually working as the Director of the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute. In between, he served as press secretary and senior policy advisor to former Governor Jim Edgar.
The Illinois Supreme Court on Friday struck down the so-called "Amazon tax." The decision could pave the way for businesses to make more money online.
The law was intended to force Internet retailers to collect Illinois sales tax.
Even if such companies didn't have an office or physical store here, they might have had Illinois "affiliates." That would be a website that linked to a product on, say, Amazon.com, and got a small kickback for every sale.
On this edition of State Week in Review, our panel previews the upcoming fall session of the Illinois General Assembly. From pensions to same sex marriage to gun crime sentencing, we discuss what may or may not occur.
Also, the impact of the federal shutdown on state government. Our guest this week is Gatehouse Media's Doug Finke.
With the federal shutdown over and a government default averted, investors are breathing a sigh of relief Thursday. That includes the people responsible for investing billions of dollars on behalf of Illinois state government.
The state of Illinois has about $10 billion in investments. That money is the responsibility of Treasurer Dan Rutherford, who says about $1.2 billion of Illinois' portfolio is in the form of U.S. Treasury Bills.
Friday (10/18) the WUIS Bedrock 66 Live concert series presents Robbie Fulks with local guests The Old Fashioneds. Illinois Times Tom Irwin previewed the show in the latest issue. Don't miss what is always a highlight of the Bedrock season, a Robbie performance. BUY TICKETS NOW at 217-523-2787.
The latest piece of provocative songwriting and innovative instrumentation from Chicago-based musician and artist Robbie Fulks, Gone Away Backward, received critical and fan acclaim for the folk-bluegrass playing and the honest portrayal of characters that has supported and populated many of his best works.