Cook County Sheriff Dart ‘Not Saying No’ to Chicago Mayoral Run – NBC Chicago

NBC Chicago

Cook County Sheriff Dart ‘Not Saying No’ to Chicago Mayoral Run
NBC Chicago
Sheriff’s officers are expected to patrol a Chicago neighborhood after an alderman’s plea for help. Mary Ann Ahern reports. (Published Wednesday, March 30, 2016). Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart told reporters Wednesday that he isn’t ruling out a run for …

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Cook County Sheriff Dart ‘Not Saying No’ to Chicago Mayoral Run – NBC Chicago

Chicago teachers to strike over contract, budget

CHICAGO (AP) — Thousands of Chicago teachers plan to walk off the job for one day on Friday, shutting down schools in the nation’s third-largest district.

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Chicago teachers to strike over contract, budget

High schoolers, parents are wary of Illinois colleges as budget crisis hits schools

When Michael Houlihan narrowed his choices for college, Eastern Illinois University and Illinois State University made the short list. But as he neared the end of his senior year at De La Salle Institute in Bronzeville, Houlihan and his mother became …

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High schoolers, parents are wary of Illinois colleges as budget crisis hits schools

Illinois colleges weigh lost scholarship funding due to state budget crisis

Among the students most in peril as the state operates without a budget are those who receive state dollars to help pay for their college education.

The Monetary Assistance Program, known as MAP grants, provide up to $4,720 to the state’s neediest students who can use the funds to go to any public or private school. The money is pledged to students prior to the school year, but it’s only sent to schools if it’s appropriated by the legislature and approved by the governor.

The MAP program provided about $373 million in scholarships to low-income students last year.

No state budget means no MAP funding has been released in the 2015-16 school year. Most community colleges and four-year universities have covered the cost of the scholarships this academic year. But with no assurances from Springfield that money will be restored, public and private colleges and universities must decide if they will bankroll the scholarships if the budget impasse continues into the fall.

Some schools have pledged to continue covering the grants next year, including Governors State University, DePaul University, Monmouth College and Concordia University Chicago.

"The sad part of this entire story statewide is that the state made the promise of funding to students and these are the students that need the funding the most," said Trent Gilbert, vice president for enrollment at Monmouth College, where about 550 students get MAP grants.

For the current year, Concordia University has covered $2.3 million in MAP funding for more than 500 students, and will continue to do so next fall.

Governors State President Elaine Maimon said were it not for financial support, some of her students may not pursue higher education at all. The school put up about $2.8 million to replace lost MAP grants for 1,941 students in the fall and spring semesters.

"We’re doing that because we don’t want to lose those students to nowhere," Maimon said.

But some schools that credited student accounts for the scholarships this year, including the University of Illinois campuses and Northern Illinois University, have said students may end up owing their institution if the state does not fund MAP this fall.

U. of I. was expecting to receive $60 million in MAP dollars for the school year. Spokesman Thomas Hardy said administrators will decide after May 1 how the school will reconcile the lost MAP funds from the spring term. No decision has been made for the 2016-17 school year.

The Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago last week told students that they would have to repay MAP grants for the fall semester. The university did not foot the bill for the spring semester, instead requiring students to find another way to make up that funding. It also does not plan to cover the costs next academic year if there’s no budget.

"It is tough for any institution that has a large low-income population to accept that they will write off that money," said David Baker, IIT’s vice president of external affairs. "The state of Illinois promised this to our students, as a key policy. To have it disrupted like this is hard to imagine."

About 730 IIT students were supposed to receive MAP grants this year totaling about $3.5 million, and the university has said that students will get the money back if the grants are included whenever a budget is passed.

The Tribune’s Dawn Rhodes contributed.

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Illinois colleges weigh lost scholarship funding due to state budget crisis

Primary Legislative Races Expensive, Transparency An Issue

  Some of the primary races in early March were the most expensive in state history.  $10 million went to just two races for the legislature.  Governor Bruce Rauner or his campaign fund shoveled much of the money into those record-spending primaries. That led to calls for more transparency.  Rauner won’t say if that’s something he supports.

"I’m sure a lot of people have different ideas about campaign finance and campaign finance reform. That’s all lovely. That’s a great topic for another day. That’s not something I’m going to talk about today," he says.  

Sarah Brune is with the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform.  She says a law passed last year makes it possible to see what Super-PACs paid for primary commercials.  Brune wants quicker disclosure of candidate election spending.

"If you check out the spending for this election for the primaries, you can see that what campaigns spend on their own candidate doesn’t have to be reported until their quarterly reports. Those don’t come out until April 15 … I think that’s a huge issue because if a committee is buying ads on behalf of its own candidate, you’re not going to know how much they spent until months later,” she says.

There’s a similar delay for the general election.  That’s in early November.  Candidate reporting won’t be due until next January.

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Primary Legislative Races Expensive, Transparency An Issue

CHICAGO STATE’S bumpy ride — EMANUEL to poach business from LGBT-unfriendly NC – BLAGO resentencing set – Politico

CHICAGO STATE’S bumpy ride — EMANUEL to poach business from LGBT-unfriendly NC – BLAGO resentencing set
Democrats’ fault, Rauner says," by Chicago Tribune’s Monique Garcia and Celeste Bott: "With Chicago State University asking employees and students to turn in their keys amid a financial meltdown, Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner on Wednesday turned to a …

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CHICAGO STATE’S bumpy ride — EMANUEL to poach business from LGBT-unfriendly NC – BLAGO resentencing set – Politico

Union: Closure of Kewanee Youth Center a disservice to youth

KEWANEE — The decision to close the Illinois Youth Center-Kewanee was made simply to save money, and could deprive troubled youths of the services they need, officials of the union representing most of the facility’s employees charged Wednesday.

In a news conference before the public hearing on closing the IYC-Kewanee, Mike Newman said the closing is “just one more example of Gov. Rauner saying one thing and doing something else.” Newman is deputy director of Council 31 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.

Newman said closing IYC-Kewanee is expected to save the state $14 million a year. But he said the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice, which operates the facility, has announced no plans to invest those savings in additional programs for youth.

“This closing is about saving money, not about improving lives,” he said.

DJJ also has not said what it plans to do with the youths now housed at IYC-Kewanee, Newman said. He said other DJJ locations don’t have the facilities or trained staff needed to deal with the youths housed at Kewanee.

At IYC-Kewanee, Newman said, youths who need psychological treatment are checked daily and have regular counseling sessions. He questioned whether they would receive those services at other DJJ facilities.

The design of the IYC-Kewanee facility enables staff to monitor the youths housed there and keep them safe from each other, Newman said — which he said isn’t possible in other DJJ facilities.

Newman also said that thanks to the schooling available at IYC-Kewanee, the youths there have earned more high school diplomas than anywhere else in the DJJ system.

Since 2013, IYC-Kewanee has also housed inmates from elsewhere in the state who are awaiting trial in other jurisdictions. AFSCME members at the news conference said they doubted the staff at other DJJ facilities would be able to handle these inmates.

“Again, the DJJ has no plan for these youths,” Newman said.

Heather Nolan, juvenile justice youth and family specialist supervisor at IYC-Kewanee, said the staff there “is a family.”

She said the youths housed at the facility are “high-risk, dangerous repeat offenders,” and an experienced staff is needed to deal them.

Asked about a study that showed that closing IYC-Kewanee would mean a $55 million hit for the local economy, Newman said that study looked only at Henry County. The economic impact on the entire region would be much greater, he said.

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Union: Closure of Kewanee Youth Center a disservice to youth