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Education and Family

Chicago Public Schools officials say they're sending layoff notices to 227 administrative employees and closing up nearly 200 positions that were already vacant. The nation's third-largest school district says 57 employees would be able to reapply for 35 positions. The district has been scaling back on administrative positions for months. Mayor Rahm Emanuel has said that his goal has been to ``protect the classroom'' from cuts as the district grapples with a more than $1 billion budget deficit.

File / WGLT

The University of Illinois has now used 671 million dollars from its reserves to make up for a lack of state funding, due to the budget impasse in Springfield. That the word from U of I Chief Financial Officer Walter Knorr. He told U of I Trustees at their meeting in Chicago Thursday that the reserve funds spend include about 60-million dollars for the Monetary Awards Program, or MAP grants. For now, the university has taken care those grants for low-income students, but they could be asked to pay them back later. Knorr’s comments came on the same day Trustees voted to freeze tuition rates at current levels for the 2016-17 academic year. He says if there’s no state budget by May… the U of I needs to decides the future of those grants for the next fiscal year.

Illinois' nine public university presidents say in a letter to Gov. Bruce Rauner and legislative leaders that a failure to approve a budget soon could leave higher education damaged beyond repair. The letter says funds that have allowed several universities and community colleges to remain open through seven months of Fiscal year 2016 will soon run out and may result in closings. Officials of Chicago State University have said the school will run out of money in March.  

Taking the Bite out of Arthritis

Jan 19, 2016

Lack of Budget Worries Unit 5 Schools

Jan 19, 2016


Big changes will be coming in the way thousands of Bloomington Normal School children get to school. The Unit Five School district in McLean and neighboring Counties needs to cut a million dollars from its transportation line item to make next year's budget survivable. Charlie Schlenker talks with Superintendent Mark Daniel about the impossibility of making everyone happy no matter how the schedule gets rearranged.

Jody Christensen / Creative Commons

University of Illinois President Timothy Killeen says he agrees with some of the concerns about excessive spending at public universities raised by an aide to Governor Bruce Rauner. He was among those to respond last week to the memo from Deputy Chief of Staff Richard Goldberg. Killeen says the university has taken steps to enhance the experience for the student… including an administrative hiring freeze on the administration, and other measure to make sure the U of I is ‘fiscally prudent.’


District 87 Schools in Bloomington are seeking candidates for two school board vacancies. The recruitment of quality volunteer leaders is a significant issue for boards and commissions throughout the county. And there is an age problem.

Bloomington School Board Seeks To Fill Vacancies

Jan 13, 2016
Michael Hill / WGLT

The Disctrict 87 School Board is looking for two new school board members. John Dirks resigned last month. Judith Webster announced her resignation Wednesday. Speaking of Webster, School Board President Jennifer Sedbrook said she has a passion for the arts. "Getting students involved in art and dance and drama and band, she was very committed to that. And that was a voice that was very helpful to have on the board."


Hundreds of middle class jobs exited the Bloomington Normal community with the end of production at the Mitsubishi plant in Normal and in announced Caterpillar layoffs.

ISU President Dietz Talks Successes and MAP Grants

Jan 13, 2016

U-S Senator Dick Durbin visited the Southern Illinois University’s School of Medicine in Springfield  on Friday.  He announced an increase in federal funding for medical research for this year.


Durbin says the government will pay $2 billion more to study and treat diseases. The Democrat held up a 3-D model of an infant heart with a birth defect as an example of how advances in medical research can help families. His late daughter, Christine, had the same heart defect as the 3D model when she was born.

Illinois AP Exam Results Mixed

Jan 8, 2016

Data released by the state show participation in Advanced Placement classes has surged in Illinois in the past five years, while passing rates on AP exams have slipped. The AP results for public high schools obtained through the public records law, show about 95,000 students took some 176,000 AP exams in May, with nearly 40 percent of exams scoring below a 3. A 3 or above is considered passing on the exams' 5-point scale.  

ISU School of Communication

Illinois State University figures to be at ground zero when President Obama delivers his final State of the Union address next week. ISU's American Democracy Project will serve as the national collegiate hub for social media and other activity during the annual speech next Tuesday. WGLT's Willis Kern speaks with event coordinator Steve Hunt, Director of Illinois State's School of Communication.

Woodlywonderworks / Creative Commons

Officials studying safety in Illinois schools say local authorities should adopt sound existing guidelines for securing the schoolhouse, build trust in students to come forward with their suspicions, and consult regularly with local police.

Children will be able to bring canine companions with them to court, starting in the new year. A law taking effect in 20-16 allows dogs to accompany kids, as well as developmentally disabled adults, during trials. The measure's sponsored by Senator Scott Bennett, a Champaign Democrat and former prosecutor.

Illinois will stop giving the ACT college entrance exam and instead start giving high school juniors the rival SAT. The Chicago Tribune reports the company that offers the ACT has filed a protest with the state seeking to cancel Illinois' contract with the College Board, which offers the SAT.

David Bentlin

The Prairie Pride Coalition is working with the results of a Multi-Cultural Leadership Program survey to address the needs and priorities of  lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgendered people in McLean County.  The survey was completed about a year ago and since then the PPC, using the results of the survey, has been working to develop programming and increase communication with the LGBT community.

More Trouble For College of DuPage

Dec 17, 2015
James C. Svehla / College of DuPage

An accreditation agency has put the troubled College of DuPage in suburban Chicago on probation for two years. The school made the Higher Learning Commission's decision public on Wednesday. The school remains accredited, but being on probation means it has two years to address concerns from the commission. If the school doesn't address those concerns, the commission could withdraw accreditation. The school will be evaluated again in 2017. The commission says it found concerns with the college's integrity in its financial, academic, personnel and other functions.

$203,000 Raised For The Baby Fold

Dec 16, 2015
Michael Hill / WGLT

The Baby Fold in Normal is closing the gap in a budget deficit created by reductions in funding from the state. The organization provides adoption and placement services for infants and has an annual operating deficit of $1.9 million this year.

A large University of Illinois employee union has approved a three-year contract with the Urbana-Champaign campus.  Local 3700 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees OK'd the pact tentatively agreed to last month.  The deal affects about 1,000 clerical, child-care, library support staff and other university employees, along with about 300 in University of Illinois Extension offices across the state.

Chicago Teachers Authorize Strike

Dec 14, 2015

Chicago Teachers Union members overwhelmingly have voted to authorize their leaders to call a strike, although a final decision on a walkout would be months away. The union says 88% of eligible members who voted marked yes to authorize leaders to call a strike. State law says 75 percent of membership must approve strike authorization. Union officials say March is likely the earliest teachers could walk off the job.  

PARCC Test Results On Par With Naitonal Assessments

Dec 14, 2015

Illinois students took a new kind of standardized test last year --the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers — and the results were released Friday.  IPR's Dusty Rhodes has more.

A northern Illinois school district is banning "team prayers" at high school sporting events after a Wisconsin-based organization complained about the practice. Naperville Community Unit School District 203 Superintendent Dan Bridges says he will enact a ban on coach-led prayer at all Naperville Central High School and Naperville North High School student athletic events.