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Education and Family

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 Bruce Rauner says an overhaul of Illinois' outdated school funding formula can be done over time.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

Staff / 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.

Illinois State University

Illinois State University is hiring a Nursing School Director from North Carolina to head the Mennonite College of Nursing. Judy Neubrander replaces Janet Krejci who became ISU Provost. At Western Carolina University, Neubrander started a development council fundraising organization, implemented a Doctoral Program in the nursing school, and helped plan a new College of Health and Human Sciences building at Western Carolina.

ISU Trustees Mark Anniversary

Feb 19, 2016
Jim Browne / WGLT

As the Illinois State University Board of Trustees meets and marks it's 20th anniversary, members of the board were thinking of the situation in Springfield. Board Chair Rocky Donahue says during the on-going budget stalemate, when every expenditure is being questioned, ISU is doing it's part.

District 87 Schools

The District 87 school board recently passed a $10 million working cash fund bond to make up for the lack of certainty over money coming from the state. Superintendent Barry Reilly says the interest could be in the neighborhood of $200,000.

Gov Creates Children Cabinet

Feb 18, 2016
RogerW / Facebook via Creative Commons

Governor Bruce Rauner has created a special cabinet to streamline education and issues regarding young people across Illinois. Rauner signed an executive order on Thursday morning at a middle school in Riverton, outside Springfield, creating the Governor's Cabinet on Children and Youth. He says the cabinet will bring together all state entities that deal with children into a central unit. He's calling it the Children's Cabinet. The governor says he wants the cabinet to make sure state resources are used effectively and working together.

IWU Sends Team to National Ethics Competition

Feb 17, 2016
Jim Kuhn / Flickr via Creative Commons

This weekend a group of Illinois Wesleyan University Students is headed for a national ethics competition in Virginia. Wesleyan earned a slot in the competition by virtue of a 3rd place finish in the Central States Regionals. Coach Emily Kelahan says along with learning to defend their own positions on ethical issues, the students also try to understand the other view.

A change in high school athletics is coming. Following several departures from the Corn Belt Conference, remaining members are proposing a merger with Okaw Valley high school athletic programs. Members of both conferences have voted unanimously in favor of the merger. If approved by Superintendents and Boards, the merger would take effect in 2017. In the new conference would be: Bloomington Central Catholic, Illinois Valley Central, Olympia, Pontiac, and Prairie Central from the Corn Belt, and The High School of St. Thomas More in Champaign, Monticello, Rantoul, St.

Bradley University Top Cop Named

Feb 16, 2016
Bradley University / Flickr via Creative Commons

Bradley University has chosen a 24-year U.S. Army veteran to be the campus' new crime prevention officer. Nathan Hayes says he's quickly adjusting to his new job. The school named Haynes to the position earlier this month as part of an effort to strengthen relationships between students at the Peoria campus and the police. Haynes says police should let people know officers are there to help, not harass. Haynes is originally from Oneida. He was in the Army before he came to Bradley in 2014 as a patrol officer.

Marko Vombergar/Aleteia / Creative Commons

Pope Francis is in the midst of his second trip to the Americas in less than a year. After touching down Friday in Havana, he has spent the past four days in Mexico. For many, the high point of his trip will be an outdoor Mass Wednesday near the U.S.-Mexico border. In a gesture expected to have widespread implications, the Pope will greet immigrants on the fence between El Paso, Texas and Cuidad Juarez in Mexico.

NIU Marks Anniversary of Shootings

Feb 15, 2016
Abog / Facebook via Creative Commons

Bells tolled at Northern Illinois University to mark the eighth anniversary of a campus shooting that left five students dead. Family members of the victims gathered Sunday afternoon at the DeKalb campus as bells rang at 3:06 p.m., the time a gunman opened fire in a Cole Hall classroom on Feb. 14, 2008. Roses, stuffed bears and crosses were placed at granite memorials on campus that bear each victim's name. Lorel Dubowski's daughter, Gayle Dubowski, died in the shooting. Dubowski's husband, son, granddaughter and a family friend came on Sunday.

Veeresh dandur / Facebook via Creative Commons

Officials at Southern Illinois University say its Small Business Development Center will have to close next month because the state doesn't have a budget. The center uses grant money from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity to help about 600 southern Illinois small businesses a year. The grant money hasn't been available since January, and the university has been funding it. Greg Bouhl is the center's director. He says the closing will be ``a big loss to the region.'' The center has six full-time staffers and several student workers.

MAP Grant Proponents Seek State Funding

Feb 12, 2016
Jim Browne / WGLT

The state of Illinois has not spent a penny since June to fund the Monetary Award Program, or MAP grants many students rely on. Kayra Ester is a student at Heartland Community College, where she told the audience she's also an employee at Heartland.

Unit 5 Schools Waiting On Springfield Lawmakers

Feb 11, 2016
Michael Hill / WGLT

The Unit 5 Board of Education is preparing for the worst as the budget impasse in Springfield continues. The state has promised the unit at least $5 million in grants for transportation and special education, but there’s no guarantee those grants will come.


Editors note: this interview is part of a special edition of Sound Ideas celebrating WGLT's 50th anniversary.

Before there was a WGLT, there was a campus radio program at Illinois State that grew out of a short daily segment made available to the campus through a local commercial station. The man who envisioned an educational broadcast station out of those humble beginnings still lives in the twin cities. WGLT's Willis Kern has more with retired ISU Professor Ralph Smith.

Creative Commons

The Unit Five School District has been getting a lot of feedback on a survey of transportation options. Unit Five is trying to cut a million dollars from its transportation budget.

Former UAW President Ralph Timan
Charlie Schlenker / WGLT

Ralph Timan spent 27 years at Mitsubishi. Since the plant ended production a couple months ago, he says time has moved quickly. Even before the plant shut down, he started planning, doing some research on possible future plans. He wanted to go back to school and started the paperwork. He was notified January the 10th he could start the next Monday. He talks with Charlie Schlenker in one of our continuing series of interviews with ex-Mitsubishi workers.