Education and Family | WGLT

Education and Family

Marci Pritts

Jeff and Marci Pritts will spend the next year with their family in an RV they've named "Someday."

"There's one overwhelming response I think that we get and we have  kind of brought that into our trip a little bit," said Marci. "People often say 'I'd love to do that someday.' For that reason we named the RV 'Someday.' It's kind of a statement that that today can be someday. Just do it."

Creative Commons

As many as 5 million women in the United States are abused by an intimate partner each year with more than 1,500 murdered.


Education funding and the state budget standoff continue intertwined with public events designed to ratchet up pressure on opposing sides.

Judith Valente

It's 3:30 in the afternoon -- dismissal time at Colene Hoose Elementary School in Normal - but not for one group of fourth and fifth grade girls. These girls, though, are excited to stay after school.

"They come to school and if I see them in the hallway at 8:40 in the morning, they'll say, 'Mrs. Nelson, it's Heart & Sole Day. I can't wait!' And there's still a whole day in front of them, but they're looking forward to that time together and that means a lot," said fourth grade teacher Maggie Nelson.

Staff / WGLT

School officials are trying to make sure they aren't stung by proposed economic incentives for a $50 million downtown Bloomington hotel project.

The city is studying the feasibility of creating a tax increment financing district, or TIF, where additional property tax revenue in an area is redirected back to the development site instead of going to local taxing bodies.

While District 87 wouldn't be getting any less money than it does now, Superintendent Barry Reilly said the district doesn't want to miss out on that money for the maximum length of a TIF.

Alan Levine / Creative Commons

Illinois’ school funding formula relies heavily on property taxes. That leaves districts with low land values to make do with about six thousand dollars per student each year, while districts with thriving businesses can spend up to five times that amount.

Mike Miletich / WGLT

Illinois State University's Board of Trustees formally approved a 3 percent increase in tuition, fees, and room and board at a Trustee's meeting Friday.

For students who are Illinois residents, the increase amounts to an additional $10.78 per credit hour. ISU President Larry Dietz said the increase is necessary because of a $60 million short fall in the university's budget despite an expected infusion of stop gap funds by the state.

Illinois State University

ISU Trustees will consider a three percent tuition hike for incoming students. Fees would also rise by three percent. Room and board would go up one percent.

Autism McLean

It’s hard to get a job when you are autistic. It’s hard to socialize. It’s hard to do many things. Area advocates hope to create more autism friendly places in Bloomington Normal.

Mike Miletich / WGLT

High school students from all across McLean County are taking part in the Youth Global Citizens program. The program allows students to work on goals and events for local organizations such as the Promise Project and Home Sweet Home Ministries. District 87 Superintendent Barry Reilly said bringing the program to McLean County this academic year let students open their eyes to the endless possibilities of leadership. Reilly said he is proud young people are volunteering their time to service and philanthropy.

Staff / WGLT

Illinois lawmakers have approved a $600 million short-term funding infusion for higher education institutions that have been struggling financially due to not receiving state money during the state budget impasse.

Illinois State University

Illinois State University has named its new Vice President for Student Affairs. He is Levester Johnson who comes from a similar job at smaller Butler University in Indianapolis.

Staff / WGLT

As part of the general budget planning process Illinois State University goes through every year, the administration offers guidance to Deans and Department Chairs to come up with spending plans.

Autism McLean

Autism Advocacy groups are mounting a challenge to Bloomington Normal businesses to make the twin cities an autism friendly community. MarcFirst and Autism McLean are urging businesses to explore employing people on the spectrum.

Ralph Weisheit / WGLT

Heartland Community College in Normal is marking a quarter century of existence this week. Heartland is one of those entities which proves the public is not always right.

Gov: School Funding Reform Can Wait

Mar 25, 2016
Ralph Weisheit / WGLT

Gov. Bruce Rauner says an overhaul of Illinois' outdated school funding formula can be done over time.

Staff / WGLT

Part-time classes for older Unit 5 students could be coming to the district's schools.

Unit 5 parents and children begin this week knowing school will start at different times in the fall and buses will run different schedules. But, there are more cost-cutting measures coming, according to Unit 5 Superintendent Mark Daniel, including perhaps three-day-a-week school and charging more for activities and sports.

Nia Gilbert

A sizeable percentage of students at University High School in Normal recently dressed all in black for a day to mark the Black Lives Matter movement. There was some contention as other students dressed all in white as part of an All Lives Matter response. GLT's Charlie Schlenker talks with two organizers of the Black Lives Matter effort, Juniors Seba Nassar and Nia Gilbert about why they thought it was a necessary thing to do at U-High.

Heartland Community College / WGLT

Heartland Community College is planning to cut 23 positions over three years in an attempt to address the state budget situation and more. College President Rob Widmer says the proposal goes beyond the uncertainty in Springfield, but does include a lack of confidence in funding from the state.

Mike Miletich / WGLT

The McLean County Unit 5 Board of Education has approved changes to start and end times for the 2016-17 school year.

This change from a three-tier to a two-tier system means elementary students will be starting the school day at 7:45. High schools will start at 8:30 and middle schools start latest at 8:45.


The District 87 School Board has approved issuing annual Reduction In Force notices to eight people. It's part of what has become an annual exercise for many school districts who are legally required to issue layoff notices if they are to avoid guaranteeing a job for the fall.

State School Super: Funding Changes Unlikely

Mar 14, 2016
Nyttend / Flickr via Creative Commons

Illinois state superintendent of schools says some districts will lose money, even with Governor Bruce Rauner’s proposed increase for school funding.

Paper Tigers; The Movie

Children learn poorly when stressed or traumatized. And that traumatic response can last lifelong unless something happens to turn around the damage. Later this month, the Unit Five Education Association is screening the movie "Paper Tigers" during American Education Week.

Veeresh dandur / Facebook via Creative Commons

SIU President Randy Dunn says cuts in state funding could be the end of the institution as it currently exists. In testimony before a Senate Committee Thursday morning, Dunn says people in the region know SIU is in trouble, and area residents want stability.

Fibonacci Blue / Flickr via Creative Commons

The Assistant Principal at Normals U-high says it's nice to see students interested in issues outside the classroom. That's why Steve Evans says he saw no problem when some asked him if they could wear black today.

Evans says it also gives other students the chance to broach a sometimes sensitive topic in a safe environment. He says it also helps create an atmosphere of natural respect for other views.

Michael Hill / WGLT

Students, parents and teachers are voicing their concerns about possible changes to school bus routes and start times. More than fifteen people spoke during a regular board meeting. Unit 5 Superintendent Mark Daniel says the budget situation is forcing them to make changes.

Education Focus Of Income Inequality Discussion

Feb 29, 2016
Michael Hill / WGLT

Income inequality is affecting education in K-12 schools. Dr. Frank Beck, who is a Professor of Sociology at Illinois State University says students who worry about issues at home can lose focus in the classroom.

Governor Bruce Rauner has promoted his school-funding plan across the state. He says Democratic attempts to change the school funding formula are a Chicago school bailout. Some Democrats level the same charge against's Rauner’s proposed takeover of Chicago Public Schools.

Bill Kemp

A Civil War veteran with a central Illinois connection is on The Legacy Wall, on display at ISU's Milner Library through February 27. Albert D.J. Cashier was born Jennie Hodgers in Ireland. While a lot is known about his life, it's still not as much as others of the era because Cashier was illiterate.

Rauner Defends Higher Ed Funding Strategy

Feb 23, 2016
Cass Herrington / IPR

Governor Bruce Rauner visited a vocational school in Peoria Tuesday to tout his plans to improve Illinois schools.

Rauner’s ideas include funneling more state money to public schools and eliminating unfunded state mandates. Rauner was speaking in a school district where the majority of students are low income.