Catholic Leaders Oppose Governor’s Proposed Change to Scholarship Tax Credits

23 hours ago
Capitol News Illinois file photo

The Catholic Conference of Illinois is lobbying against proposed tax changes for the 2022 fiscal year that would reduce an income tax credit gained for donations to private scholarships.

In a letter released Tuesday, Cardinal Blase Cupich of the Archdiocese of Chicago joined bishops representing the state's other five dioceses – administrative districts under the Catholic Church – asking Catholics to call their local legislators and ask them to oppose the measure put forward by Gov. JB Pritzker, which they called “an important matter of public policy and social justice.”

First Lady Biden Discusses Higher Education Investments in Illinois Visit

Apr 19, 2021

First lady Jill Biden and U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona visited Sauk Valley Community College in Dixon on Monday to discuss how the American Rescue Plan will support higher education in Illinois.

After touring the facility, Cardona and the first lady announced President Joe Biden’s investment in higher education through the American Rescue Plan, the latest federal COVID-19 pandemic relief package, which includes $40 billion for higher education infrastructure projects and programs to make education more accessible.

House Bill Would Free Up Medicaid Spending for Autism Treatment

Apr 19, 2021
Derik Holtmann of the Belleville News-Democrat

Braxton Lear is 5 years old and tall for his age. He runs – not walks – from his scooter, to the swing set, to the trampoline in his great-aunt’s backyard in Caseyville, about 12 miles east of St. Louis. 

Braxton’s mom, Shannon Lear, asks him what’s his name, how old is he, and what’s her name. He answers.

“He couldn’t do that a year ago,” Lear said.

Pritzker Announces $1.6 Billion in Federal Funding for Early Childhood Services

Apr 16, 2021

Gov. JB Pritzker announced Friday that $1.6 billion in federal funding will be allocated toward early childhood education and child care providers in Illinois.

The funds will be provided through the American Rescue Plan passed by Congress in March, Pritzker announced at a news conference in Aurora on Friday, and will include $140 million in direct grants for child care providers to be dispersed over the next three weeks.

Elected Chicago School Board Bill Passes House

Apr 16, 2021

A bill which would implement an elected Chicago school board passed the Illinois House Thursday, while opponents of the legislation continued to push for compromise amendments.

House Bill 2908 would create elections for 21 Chicago school board members in the 2023 and 2027 consolidated primary elections. Currently, the seven sitting Chicago Board of Education members are appointed by the Mayor.

Missouri colleges and universities would have free rein to increase student tuition under a bill advancing in the Legislature.

Student-Loan Debt Not Just an Issue for Younger Adults

Apr 13, 2021
Iowa News Connection

The fastest-growing age group of those carrying student loan debt might surprise you.

Amid calls for the Biden administration to cancel such debt for many Americans, emerging data show it's becoming a growing burden for those 50 and older.

Lawmaker Seeks to Bring Early Childhood Bachelor's Programs to Community Colleges

Apr 8, 2021

A bill that would allow community colleges to grant bachelor’s degrees for early childhood education is awaiting consideration before the Senate Higher Education Committee.

Senate Bill 1832, sponsored by Sen. Cristina Pacione-Zayas, D-Chicago, would give Illinois community colleges the option to apply for accreditation to offer a baccalaureate-level early education program.

Pritzker Urges Schools to Focus COVID Relief Funds

Apr 5, 2021

Gov. JB Pritzker took to the road Monday to urge local school districts in Illinois to carefully target the roughly $7 billion in federal funds they will soon receive in order to help students overcome the learning loss they may have suffered during the pandemic.

State School Board Makes Case for Funding Increase

Apr 2, 2021

State education officials made their case Thursday for a funding increase above and beyond what Gov. JB Pritzker has recommended, arguing that schools need the additional money to overcome the effects the COVID-19 pandemic has had on student learning.

WSIU Staff

WSIU’s team of reporters talk to leaders in healthcare, education, policy, and the arts about how the virus affected their operations over the past year.

The John A Logan College Board of Trustee’s has three openings and 5 candidates wanting a seat.

The League of Women’s voters and the Carbondale Public Library hosted a virtual candidate forum for the 5 candidates hoping to fill three board of trustee positions at John A Logan College.

State Releases Guide to School Reopening

Mar 31, 2021

Educators, students and families will face a host of new challenges in overcoming the learning loss that occurred over the past year of mostly remote learning as COVID-19 vaccines become more widely available and schools prepare to fully reopen for in-person learning.

State of Illinois

Governor Pritzker Wednesday announced Illinois K-12 school districts are receiving seven billion dollars in federal funding to support students as they return to the classroom after distance and hybrid learning due to COVID-19.

Tuition will rise by 4% next school year at Western Illinois University. The increase applies only to new underclassmen and new graduate students.

Illinois State University and other public higher education institutions want the Illinois Department of Public Health to require students be vaccinated for COVID-19 if they attend classes in the fall.

New Report Examines Attitudes Towards Education as Pandemic Continues

Mar 24, 2021
IL Education Association

The Illinois Education Association, one of the largest teacher unions in the state, on Tuesday released its third annual state of education report examining attitudes towards public education in Illinois.

The poll, conducted by Normington Petts and Next Generation Strategies, surveyed 1,000 different Illinois adults of varying backgrounds and regions of the state by phone or online.

Carbondale District 95

Carbondale Elementary School District 95 has hired a new leader from within.

Mandatory K-12 Sex Education Bill Advances in IL House

Mar 17, 2021

An Illinois House committee advanced a bill Wednesday that would mandate all public school districts in the state provide a comprehensive, age-appropriate curriculum on sex education, sexual abuse awareness and healthy relationships for all grades, K-12.

Illinois currently has a law that leaves the option of teaching sex education up to the discretion of local school districts, but House Bill 1736, dubbed the Responsible Education for Adolescents and Children, or REACH Act, would make it mandatory.

Commission to Call for Overhaul of Early Childhood Education Funding

Mar 15, 2021

A commission that Gov. JB Pritzker appointed in 2019 will soon issue a report calling for a complete overhaul in the way the state handles its budget for early childhood education along with a massive increase in funding for early childhood programs.

Speaking Monday at a hearing for a House appropriations committee that deals with elementary and secondary education, Deputy Gov. Jesse Ruiz said the state’s system of funding early childhood development programs is fragmented across too many agencies, that services are unevenly and inequitably distributed around the state and that early childhood educators are paid far too little for many to make a living.

Pritzker Signs Education Equity Bill Into Law

Mar 9, 2021

Gov. JB Pritzker joined members of the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus on Monday to sign a measure aimed at advancing equity in education in the state.

House Bill 2170, known as the Education and Workforce Equity Act, contains over 20 provisions aimed at decreasing racial gaps in opportunity and attainment that currently persist in the state’s education system. The legislation is the second major omnibus bill backed by the Black Caucus that Pritzker has signed this year.

State School Board Requests $400 Million Funding Increase, Including K-12 Boost

Mar 8, 2021

Illinois State Board of Education officials on Monday made their case for an added $362.1 million to the state’s evidence-based funding formula and $50 million in early childhood education grants, pushing back on the governor’s proposal to keep state K-12 education funding flat next fiscal year.

In total, the board recommended a $406 million, or 4.6 percent, increase in fiscal year 2022 in state general revenue funding, increasing the state’s share of education funding to $9.3 billion for the budget year that begins July 1.

Bill Would End Restraint and Isolation of Students

Mar 4, 2021

A House committee agreed Wednesday to continue working on a bill that aims to end the use of physical restraints and isolation as a way of controlling misbehaving students in public school classrooms.

House Bill 219, sponsored by Rep. Jonathan Carroll, D-Northbrook, was introduced in response to a 2019 article by Pro Publica Illinois and the Chicago Tribune that documented the extent to which those practices are used in Illinois schools and the harmful effects they have on children.

Bill Would Allow Special Needs Students to Stay With School Program Past Age 21

Mar 4, 2021

The Illinois House Human Services Committee advanced two bills Tuesday, one allowing special needs students to stay with a school program past their 22nd birthday and another allowing the use of certain federal nutrition benefits to purchase feminine hygiene products.

House Bill 40, introduced by Rep. Frances Hurley, D-Chicago, would allow special needs students to receive special education services through the end of the school year that they turn 22 years of age.

Belleville News-Democrat

A new survey of Illinois school districts shows most are continuing to have trouble filling open teaching positions with qualified teachers and even more are having difficulty hiring substitute teachers.

It’s a problem that has existed in the state for many years and one that experts attribute to a variety of factors, such as low pay and the difficulty in attracting new teachers to work in certain parts of the state.

Indiana News Connection

New data show a big drop of just over 9% in the number of Indiana students applying for federal student aid this year, and experts say that could mean a big red flag for college enrollment.

U of I Sued Over Handling Of Sexual Misconduct Claims

Feb 25, 2021

Two former University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign students are suing the University of Illinois for failing to protect them from a professor they say was violent and exploitative. The lawsuit, filed last month in the Illinois Court of Claims, alleges the university focused on generating income from Chinese students at the cost of protecting students.

State Announces New Federal Funding to Feed Low-Income Students

Feb 23, 2021
Capitol News Illinois photo by Peter Hancock

Gov. JB Pritzker on Tuesday announced new federal funding to expand the state’s food assistance program for school-age children who would normally receive free or reduced-price meals.

Pritzker said the additional funds to the existing Pandemic Electronic Benefits Transfer Program will help feed 200,000 more children, for a total of about 1 million children who will receive assistance this school year compared to about 764,000 children who received P-EBT benefits the previous school year.

Southern Illinois University

WSIU's Jennifer Fuller talks with SIU President Dan Mahony about his reaction to Gov. JB Pritzker's budget proposal, along with plans for next year's tuition and fee rates across the SIU system.

For the second year in a row, the Illinois State Board of Education is seeking a waiver from the U.S. Department of Education for standardized tests normally given during schools’ spring semester.