EDITORIAL: SIU begs for a bold reinvention — or there will be no SIU

http://ift.tt/2AbtbrM

Southern Illinois University in Carbondale is in dire need of reinvention.

Consider two alarming facts:

♦ The school has 6,000 fewer students than it had just 10 years ago.

♦ A 9 percent enrollment drop since last year means the university might lose $9.4 million in tuition revenue.

SIU’s new chancellor, Carlo Montemagno, has served up a bold proposal to restructure the school’s academic programs, and he is on the right path. In just his first few months on the job, he is thinking big and trying to bring SIU into the 21st century.

EDITORIAL

Carlo Montemagno, Southern Illinois University chancellor | SIU website

Montemagno’s plan includes eliminating 42 academic departments, which is unheard of in higher education, and streamlining them under 18 “schools.” Montemagno also wants to reduce the number of colleges at SIU to five from eight.

People who work in higher education will tell you Montemagno’s plan is drastic. No argument here. But what’s the alternative? He’s trying to reverse a disturbing trend — college students by the thousands spurning SIU. Since 2015, the Chicago Tribune reported Thursday, SIU has suffered a nearly 40 percent drop in the number of first-time freshmen, from 2,177 to just 1,319.

“We are in a free-fall, and this is directly impacting the health of the institution,” Montemagno said at an academic forum this month, as quoted in Inside Higher Ed. “It’s occurring because we are not offering programs that are distinctive and relevant to today’s students. As we try to correct it, we face limited resources, declining faculty numbers and no help from the state.”

The university’s finances became so precarious during the state’s two-year budget crisis that it had to borrow money from its sister school in Edwardsville, the Tribune reported.

Certainly, SIU is not alone in struggling to come back from the budget impasse. Other Illinois universities have reported dramatic declines in enrollment. Even before Gov. Bruce Rauner took office in 2015, higher education in Illinois faced a budget crunch. But the governor made matters grave. Public universities took big financial hits in the state budget disaster for which he was primarily responsible, and it badly damaged their brands, with the possible exception of the University of Illinois.

The state is seeing an exodus of young residents. They are enrolling in universities in neighboring states, driven over the border by declining financial aid and rising tuition here.

SIU-Carbondale is particularly hurt because public universities in Indiana, Missouri and Kentucky are within two hours from Carbondale by car. They can more easily recruit within SIU’s traditional downstate area. And those states also haven’t cut higher education support in the ugly way Illinois has.

Public universities across the country are facing new realities. They must contend with a technological revolution, and students are looking more closely at price tags. They must change to remain relevant and competitive.

Arizona State, for instance, in recent years reduced its number of departments from 69 to 40, but did not eliminate them altogether. It also has launched successful online programs.

At SIU, professors and administrators seem to understand that substantial changes are needed. Professors have acknowledged as much to both the Tribune and Inside Higher Ed. SIU’s faculty senate passed a resolution opposing the elimination of departments by a vote of 19-11, but to us the split vote says Montemagno’s proposals have some momentum.

Faculty are concerned about the elimination of departments, the loss of department chairmen and chairwomen, and the redistribution of work. Those are valid concerns. SIU will save $2.3 million a year by doing away with department heads, Montemagno told the Tribune.

We question the speed at which Montemagno is moving. He rightly wants a new academic model in place by July 1, 2018. Or maybe we just marvel at his speed, because we understand the need to move fast. When your freshman enrollment plunges by almost 40 percent, you had better be in a hurry.

Montemagno’s wholesale, even radical, structural changes at SIU will create new difficult issues, no doubt. Here’s hoping he collaborates intensely, pulling the faculty along with him.

But SIU must act boldly. Or there will be no SIU.

Send letters to: letters@suntimes.com

Advertisements
EDITORIAL: SIU begs for a bold reinvention — or there will be no SIU

EDITORIAL: SIU begs for a bold reinvention — or there will be no SIU

http://ift.tt/2AbtbrM

Southern Illinois University in Carbondale is in dire need of reinvention.

Consider two alarming facts:

♦ The school has 6,000 fewer students than it had just 10 years ago.

♦ A 9 percent enrollment drop since last year means the university might lose $9.4 million in tuition revenue.

SIU’s new chancellor, Carlo Montemagno, has served up a bold proposal to restructure the school’s academic programs, and he is on the right path. In just his first few months on the job, he is thinking big and trying to bring SIU into the 21st century.

EDITORIAL

Carlo Montemagno, Southern Illinois University chancellor | SIU website

Montemagno’s plan includes eliminating 42 academic departments, which is unheard of in higher education, and streamlining them under 18 “schools.” Montemagno also wants to reduce the number of colleges at SIU to five from eight.

People who work in higher education will tell you Montemagno’s plan is drastic. No argument here. But what’s the alternative? He’s trying to reverse a disturbing trend — college students by the thousands spurning SIU. Since 2015, the Chicago Tribune reported Thursday, SIU has suffered a nearly 40 percent drop in the number of first-time freshmen, from 2,177 to just 1,319.

“We are in a free-fall, and this is directly impacting the health of the institution,” Montemagno said at an academic forum this month, as quoted in Inside Higher Ed. “It’s occurring because we are not offering programs that are distinctive and relevant to today’s students. As we try to correct it, we face limited resources, declining faculty numbers and no help from the state.”

The university’s finances became so precarious during the state’s two-year budget crisis that it had to borrow money from its sister school in Edwardsville, the Tribune reported.

Certainly, SIU is not alone in struggling to come back from the budget impasse. Other Illinois universities have reported dramatic declines in enrollment. Even before Gov. Bruce Rauner took office in 2015, higher education in Illinois faced a budget crunch. But the governor made matters grave. Public universities took big financial hits in the state budget disaster for which he was primarily responsible, and it badly damaged their brands, with the possible exception of the University of Illinois.

The state is seeing an exodus of young residents. They are enrolling in universities in neighboring states, driven over the border by declining financial aid and rising tuition here.

SIU-Carbondale is particularly hurt because public universities in Indiana, Missouri and Kentucky are within two hours from Carbondale by car. They can more easily recruit within SIU’s traditional downstate area. And those states also haven’t cut higher education support in the ugly way Illinois has.

Public universities across the country are facing new realities. They must contend with a technological revolution, and students are looking more closely at price tags. They must change to remain relevant and competitive.

Arizona State, for instance, in recent years reduced its number of departments from 69 to 40, but did not eliminate them altogether. It also has launched successful online programs.

At SIU, professors and administrators seem to understand that substantial changes are needed. Professors have acknowledged as much to both the Tribune and Inside Higher Ed. SIU’s faculty senate passed a resolution opposing the elimination of departments by a vote of 19-11, but to us the split vote says Montemagno’s proposals have some momentum.

Faculty are concerned about the elimination of departments, the loss of department chairmen and chairwomen, and the redistribution of work. Those are valid concerns. SIU will save $2.3 million a year by doing away with department heads, Montemagno told the Tribune.

We question the speed at which Montemagno is moving. He rightly wants a new academic model in place by July 1, 2018. Or maybe we just marvel at his speed, because we understand the need to move fast. When your freshman enrollment plunges by almost 40 percent, you had better be in a hurry.

Montemagno’s wholesale, even radical, structural changes at SIU will create new difficult issues, no doubt. Here’s hoping he collaborates intensely, pulling the faculty along with him.

But SIU must act boldly. Or there will be no SIU.

Send letters to: letters@suntimes.com

EDITORIAL: SIU begs for a bold reinvention — or there will be no SIU

EDITORIAL: SIU begs for a bold reinvention — or there will be no SIU

http://ift.tt/2AbtbrM

Southern Illinois University in Carbondale is in dire need of reinvention.

Consider two alarming facts:

♦ The school has 6,000 fewer students than it had just 10 years ago.

♦ A 9 percent enrollment drop since last year means the university might lose $9.4 million in tuition revenue.

SIU’s new chancellor, Carlo Montemagno, has served up a bold proposal to restructure the school’s academic programs, and he is on the right path. In just his first few months on the job, he is thinking big and trying to bring SIU into the 21st century.

EDITORIAL

Carlo Montemagno, Southern Illinois University chancellor | SIU website

Montemagno’s plan includes eliminating 42 academic departments, which is unheard of in higher education, and streamlining them under 18 “schools.” Montemagno also wants to reduce the number of colleges at SIU to five from eight.

People who work in higher education will tell you Montemagno’s plan is drastic. No argument here. But what’s the alternative? He’s trying to reverse a disturbing trend — college students by the thousands spurning SIU. Since 2015, the Chicago Tribune reported Thursday, SIU has suffered a nearly 40 percent drop in the number of first-time freshmen, from 2,177 to just 1,319.

“We are in a free-fall, and this is directly impacting the health of the institution,” Montemagno said at an academic forum this month, as quoted in Inside Higher Ed. “It’s occurring because we are not offering programs that are distinctive and relevant to today’s students. As we try to correct it, we face limited resources, declining faculty numbers and no help from the state.”

The university’s finances became so precarious during the state’s two-year budget crisis that it had to borrow money from its sister school in Edwardsville, the Tribune reported.

Certainly, SIU is not alone in struggling to come back from the budget impasse. Other Illinois universities have reported dramatic declines in enrollment. Even before Gov. Bruce Rauner took office in 2015, higher education in Illinois faced a budget crunch. But the governor made matters grave. Public universities took big financial hits in the state budget disaster for which he was primarily responsible, and it badly damaged their brands, with the possible exception of the University of Illinois.

The state is seeing an exodus of young residents. They are enrolling in universities in neighboring states, driven over the border by declining financial aid and rising tuition here.

SIU-Carbondale is particularly hurt because public universities in Indiana, Missouri and Kentucky are within two hours from Carbondale by car. They can more easily recruit within SIU’s traditional downstate area. And those states also haven’t cut higher education support in the ugly way Illinois has.

Public universities across the country are facing new realities. They must contend with a technological revolution, and students are looking more closely at price tags. They must change to remain relevant and competitive.

Arizona State, for instance, in recent years reduced its number of departments from 69 to 40, but did not eliminate them altogether. It also has launched successful online programs.

At SIU, professors and administrators seem to understand that substantial changes are needed. Professors have acknowledged as much to both the Tribune and Inside Higher Ed. SIU’s faculty senate passed a resolution opposing the elimination of departments by a vote of 19-11, but to us the split vote says Montemagno’s proposals have some momentum.

Faculty are concerned about the elimination of departments, the loss of department chairmen and chairwomen, and the redistribution of work. Those are valid concerns. SIU will save $2.3 million a year by doing away with department heads, Montemagno told the Tribune.

We question the speed at which Montemagno is moving. He rightly wants a new academic model in place by July 1, 2018. Or maybe we just marvel at his speed, because we understand the need to move fast. When your freshman enrollment plunges by almost 40 percent, you had better be in a hurry.

Montemagno’s wholesale, even radical, structural changes at SIU will create new difficult issues, no doubt. Here’s hoping he collaborates intensely, pulling the faculty along with him.

But SIU must act boldly. Or there will be no SIU.

Send letters to: letters@suntimes.com

EDITORIAL: SIU begs for a bold reinvention — or there will be no SIU

With enrollment plunging, SIU Carbondale chancellor pushes a radical overhaul

http://ift.tt/2jSaNjs

Faced with plummeting enrollment and deteriorating finances, the chancellor at Southern Illinois University is proposing a radical reorganization that has spurred fierce backlash from many faculty members and stoked broad confusion about how it would be implemented.

SIU Carbondale Chancellor Carlo Montemagno is pushing to eliminate academic departments and department heads, a highly unorthodox move that eschews the customary structures of higher education. In its place, he wants to introduce a hierarchy of colleges, schools and programs that would move related areas of study under the same roofs and foster easier collaboration.

Part of the aim, Montemagno acknowledged, is to to save money. The Carbondale campus’ finances are so shaky that it borrowed from its sister school in Edwardsville during the state’s two-year budget gridlock that starved it of cash.

Montemagno said eliminating department heads would save $2.3 million a year.

But he also sees the reorganization as an opportunity to make the university’s academic offerings more attractive to students in an increasingly competitive college landscape and to chart a more self-sufficient course for SIU that is less dependent on money from Springfield.

The responses from faculty have been divided. SIU’s faculty senate recently approved a resolution opposing the move, but that vote was split 19 to 11.

Many faculty members said they agree that some revamping is long overdue, and some have said they support the plan. Others say they have not had sufficient input or time to evaluate the chancellor’s strategy and feel eliminating departments will unleash complications.

Montemagno said he wanted a final draft of the plan in place by February and the reorganization to launch by summer 2018 — an ambitious timetable in the often sclerotic world of academia.

By any comparison, the plan is as bold as it is unorthodox.

Montemagno and others say they are not aware of any other public research university in the country that has successfully dissolved whole departments. The chancellor, an engineer who arrived at SIU in July after working in teaching and administrative roles at the University of Alberta, said that he understood his proposal was sweeping and the time frame abrupt, but that SIU’s recent struggles have left him little option.

SIU’s first-time freshman classes declined from 2,177 in fall 2015 to 1,319, a drop of nearly 40 percent, data show.

“I needed to do something drastic, otherwise I wasn’t going to be able to support the programs that we had, and I was going to put myself into a crisis mode,” Montemagno said in a recent interview.”

The prospect of eliminating departments is a sticky one and many details have yet to be clarified.

Questions remain over issues like how academic tenure will work and whether faculty members will retain ultimate control over curricular decisions. Some faculty members also said they were pondering who would assume the administrative duties that usually fall to the department heads.

“I think if things can be done in a productive manner, it can be good,” said James MacLean, an associate professor of physiology in the school of medicine. “But if this is done inappropriately and it causes faculty to be disgruntled and look elsewhere, that’s not good for us.”

Plenty of dissatisfaction has emerged.

“We in the (faculty association) will have no objection if faculty in any given area determine that the chancellor’s school model works for them,” Dave Johnson, faculty association president, wrote in a blog post this month. “What we object to is a unilateral decision to eliminate all academic departments, a decision that was made without consultation with faculty and is apparently being maintained in the face of objections from faculty.”

“Synergy” is the word Montemagno returns to often when detailing his vision for Carbondale’s academic operations.

Montemagno first announced his plans to do away with departments during his state of the university address in September. He said he reviewed SIU’s offerings and found similar courses were scattered across different departments and academic majors were incongruous with their departments.

SIU’s undergraduate major in hospitality and tourism administration, for instance, is housed under the college of agricultural sciences. It would be a better fit under the college of business, he said.

“It became obvious that we were doing the right things but it wasn’t being packaged so that people on the outside could see it; and we weren’t taking advantage of the synergy that you would get from people in these adjacent areas working together,” Montemagno said.

Currently there are 42 academic departments within eight colleges at Southern Illinois. The schools of law and medicine are separate. Montemagno’s most recent draft of the plan would reduce the number of colleges to five.

Instead of academic departments, there would be 18 schools, each of which would contain several programs with an array of degrees.

As an example: The business college would include schools of accountancy and finance, and of management and marketing. There would be four divisions in the accountancy school offering 15 major, graduate, certification and minor degrees.

The schools of medicine, law and education would be their own entities not under the purview of a college, according to the draft.

The divisions are most akin to what constitutes a department, while the work of a school director would be most similar to the responsibilities of a department head, Montemagno said.

The leadership structure would look similar. Colleges would be led by deans; schools and divisions all would have their own directors. But Montemagno said SIU could realize the $2.3 million in savings by reducing the number of deans, eliminating some associate dean positions and funneling the main duties of a department chair to fewer people. School directors would receive additional compensation for taking on more work.

Montemagno said nothing short of deconstructing and rebuilding SIU’s academics will fix the disorganization.

“Reorganizing without addressing our current structural and financial inefficiencies is tantamount to rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic,” he said in a university address on Nov. 17.

In his first detailed presentation of the reorganization plan in October, he described SIU enrollment as being in “free-fall.” Total enrollment dropped nearly 16 percent in the past three years. He also pointed to the state budget impasse, which compelled borrowing from the Edwardsville campus and continues to disrupt school finances.

“Why is this occurring? It’s occurring because we are not offering programs that are distinctive and relevant to today’s students,” Montemagno said at the time. “As we try to correct it, we face limited resources, declining faculty numbers and no help from the state.”

Some professors support the idea.

Kathleen Chwalisz, president of the faculty senate, said yearslong losses in faculty and staff hit SIU’s departments unevenly, often leaving too few people to teach courses and tackle administrative tasks.

“We’re still trying to offer the same curriculum we offered back when we had 24,000 students,” said Chwalisz a psychology professor. SIU’s fall enrollment sits at 14,554.

More broadly, Chwalisz said the chancellor’s plans offer a chance to reinvent SIU after years of decline.

“It feels like we’re renovating a really old house that has lots of little rooms in it,” Chwalisz said. “The chancellor’s trying to make it more open-concept. Ultimately it’s going to be a little chaotic, and dirty and uncomfortable for a while as we do that; but the kids have left home and we don’t need 20 bedrooms.”

MacLean said he was wary of the plan at first. The chancellor’s first version involved moving science programs out of the medical school, which MacLean said would have affected accreditation and made it harder to obtain National Institute of Health grants. That idea has since been scrapped.

Now, he said, some of his concerns center upon academic leadership.

“There’s a disconnect between what the chancellor thinks department chairs or program directors should do and what they actually do, based on my experience,” MacLean said. “If his goal is to replace administrative assistants who do that work so that the chairman is free to not have to do that, then that’s another part of the story. But that takes additional resources, and the point of these reorganizations is to save resources for something else.”

Montemagno said the plan was aimed at jump-starting recruitment efforts for the 2019 incoming class, as well as beginning a longer-term effort to reach an ideal enrollment of 18,300 students.

But to get there, he will have to win over skeptics, including Johnson, the faculty association president.

“The chancellor’s plan is already producing at least as much concern and confusion as excitement or interest,” Johnson wrote. “What the chancellor is asking us to do is to bet that this confusion and disruption will pay off in the long run. But in the absence of models or other forms of evidence this seems a very risky bet indeed.”

drhodes@chicagotribune.com

Twitter @rhodes_dawn

Related: University students detail pain of budget stalemate »

Related: Standard & Poor’s downgrades NEIU, SIU and University of Illinois »

Related: With Illinois budget deal secured, public universities still face challenges »

With enrollment plunging, SIU Carbondale chancellor pushes a radical overhaul

Morning Spin: Emanuel calls New York vs. Chicago transit ‘a tale of two cities’

http://ift.tt/2AkU6UI

Welcome to Clout Street: Morning Spin, our weekday feature to catch you up with what’s going on in government and politics from Chicago to Springfield. Subscribe here.

Topspin

Mayor Rahm Emanuel continued his feud with New York City’s beleaguered subway system Tuesday, a day before the Chicago Transit Authority is expected to announce its budget.

In remarks to the City Council following the 47-3 vote in favor of his 2018 city budget, the mayor noted there had been some aldermanic grumbling about his plan to send $16 million from the city’s hike in ride-share fees to the CTA. The agency plans to use the recurring money to pay off bonds for train repairs and upgrades. The alternative, Emanuel said, was the rough conditions riders face in New York, as detailed in a recent New York Times series.

“There was a story Sunday in the paper about all the decisions New York had made over the years of stealing money from investments in the future to send money somewhere else,” he said. “Today there’s a story in that same paper the next day about the fact that it’s so bad in New York, they think it’s going to strangle their economic opportunity.

“Our goal is to take about 4 to 6 minutes off people’s rides, make our mass transit something people can rely on so they can spend more time with their kids, and not follow the path, and I would tell you it’s a tale of two cities, two mass transit systems,” he added.

Emanuel has not ruled out a CTA fare hike in recent weeks, saying only that there would be no service cuts for 2018. The agency hasn’t raised fares since 2009.

The mayor first unloaded on the underfunded, delay-plagued Metropolitan Transportation Authority in a July New York Times op-ed titled “In Chicago, The Trains Actually Run on Time.”

He used the state of emergency New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo had just declared over the state of the subway lines to tout his own work to keep Chicago’s “L” running relatively smoothly.

Emanuel’s piece prompted a red-faced response from the New York Daily News, titled “Dumb Track Mind.”

It noted New York, with three times the population of Chicago, had fewer than half as many homicides by that point in the year. A subhead declared: “Rahm touts Chicago trains, but AT LEAST our riders don’t get SHOT on the way home.” (John Byrne)

 

What’s on tap

*Mayor Emanuel will cut a ribbon on a new maintenance facility at O’Hare Airport.

*Gov. Bruce Rauner has no events scheduled.

*Programming note: “Morning Spin” will take a break over the long Thanksgiving holiday weekend, returning Tuesday.

 

From the notebook

*Emanuel ducks on graduated income tax: All five of the Democratic candidates for governor favor adopting a graduated income tax that could charge Illinois’ wealthiest residents a higher rate, a move that would require an amendment to the state’s constitution.

So is Mayor Emanuel, one of the state’s leading Democrats, on board too? Well, not exactly.

Emanuel has tried to beef up his progressive bona fides in recent years by adopting a higher minimum wage and mandatory paid sick leave for Chicago workers, as well as backing sanctuary protections for people in this country illegally.

In voicing opposition to the mayor’s budget Tuesday, Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa took Emanuel to task for not doing enough to back a graduated income tax at the state level.

Asked by reporters twice after the meeting about whether he backed the so-called progressive income tax, Emanuel ducked the question.

“The state constitution answers that question,” Emanuel replied the first time. The constitution calls for a flat income tax that charges everyone the same rate, no matter how much money they make.

Asked again, the mayor responded, “I’ve supported an earned income tax credit that has made the tax code much more progressive. I’ve worked for two presidents and as a member of Congress in forcing more progressivity in the tax code. I don’t support what the Republicans are doing, I do not support an income tax in the city of Chicago, and the constitution as it relates to the state of Illinois requires a constitutional change. So, I’ve been pretty clear about that.”

Emanuel’s answer, however, was not clear about whether he supported a graduated income tax. (Bill Ruthhart)

*Republicans warn of higher taxes with Pritzker: Speaking of the graduated income tax, the Gov. Rauner-backed state Republican Party is warning that taxes would go up on more people than just those with large incomes if Democratic governor candidate J.B. Pritzker is elected.

But Pritzker aides said he’s focused on getting a graduated income tax to replace the state’s current flat rate and also will look for other revenue-raising concepts that wouldn’t hike taxes on the middle class.

The back and forth was the result of Pritzker’s appearance earlier in the week before the Crain’s Chicago Business Editorial Board. The billionaire entrepreneur and investor said he was unsure if new revenue from a graduated income tax that couldn’t be implemented until 2020 at the earliest would be sufficient for the state’s budget needs, including for education.

The state GOP said: “Pritzker continues to mirror his patron (Democratic House Speaker) Mike Madigan when it comes to taxes, promoting even higher taxes despite Madigan’s 32 percent tax hike on Illinois families earlier this year.”

But Pritzker’s camp said, “J.B. does not believe we should raise taxes on middle-class families, period.” Along with a graduated income tax, the campaign said Pritzker was “committed to finding budget solutions, like legalizing and taxing marijuana.” (Rick Pearson)

*Pritzker unveils plan to combat opioid addiction: Pritzker on Tuesday unveiled plans to curb opioid addiction, including efforts to reduce risks from prescribing opioids, greater availability for mental health and substance abuse education and treatment and ensuring health insurers cover addiction treatment fairly.

“I know that by working together and investing in prevention and treatment, we can combat the opioid epidemic in Illinois and create real, lasting change. We can and we will break the cycle of addiction today and for future generations,” Pritzker said in a statement. (Rick Pearson)

*State’s senior GOP congressman not backing Rauner: U.S. Rep. John Shimkus of Collinsville, the senior Republican member of Illinois’ congressional delegation, says he’s staying neutral in a primary for governor and not backing Gov. Rauner.

Speaking to St. Louis Public Radio, Shimkus noted Rauner’s signing of legislation that would expand taxpayer-subsidized abortions for women under Medicaid and through state employee health insurance.

“We thought that he would stay out of some of the socially divisive issues,” Shimkus said. “He did not.”

Rauner faces a challenge from three-term state Rep. Jeanne Ives of Wheaton in the March GOP primary.

Of note: Rauner has made term limits a major campaign theme. Shimkus had pledged in his winning first campaign for congress in 1996 that he would not serve more than 12 years(Rick Pearson)

*Quinn for Fioretti: Former Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn apparently is a supporter of former Chicago Ald. Bob Fioretti’s nascent bid for the Democratic nomination for Cook County Board president.

Fioretti went on Twitter to post a picture of the former governor signing his nominating petition.

Quinn is seeking the Democratic nomination for attorney general in a crowded field to replace Lisa Madigan, who is not seeking re-election. (Rick Pearson)

*Crosscheck vote spurs potential legislation: Two Chicago state senators have vowed to sponsor future legislation to remove Illinois from a controversial multistate voter registration program.

State Sens. Kwame Raoul and Bill Cunningham of Chicago criticized Monday’s State Board of Elections tie vote along partisan lines that kept Illinois in the Interstate Voter Registration Crosscheck Program.  The system is aimed at flagging duplicate voter registrations over state lines. 

“If the Board of Elections will not act to protect Illinois voters, then it is our duty as legislators to do so,” Raoul, a Democratic candidate for attorney general, said in a statement.

Privacy concerns have been raised over the security of voter registration data used in the Crosscheck system, including dates of birth and partial Social Security numbers. The system’s reliability in finding duplicate registrations has been questioned, too.

The senators said the legislation would mandate Illinois’ departure from the Crosscheck system but allow the state to remain in a second system viewed as more accurate called the Electronic Registration Information Center, or ERIC.

Among Illinois’ neighboring states, only Wisconsin participates in ERIC. The rest are in Crosscheck. An elections board member said officials in Kansas, which oversees Crosscheck, have vowed to work on security upgrades. (Rick Pearson)

*Mazeski gets EMILY List backing in 6th Congressional District: Kelly Mazeski, a health care advocate and member of the Barrington Hills planning commission, has received the endorsement of EMILY’s List in her bid for the Democratic nomination to take on Republican U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam.

Stephanie Schriock, president of EMILY’s List, cited Mazeski’s efforts to cope with the loss of health insurance coverage while undergoing treatment for breast cancer.

“Mazeski’s experience and perspective is exactly the change that Chicagoland families deserve in Congress,” Schriock said in a statement. (Rick Pearson)  

*Quick Spins: The City Council confirmed former Deputy Mayor Andrea Zopp to the Chicago Police Board despite some complaints about the process. … The Thanksgiving long weekend is the home stretch for candidates who need to gather petition signatures to run for office. Filing to get on the March primary ballot starts Monday.

*On the “Sunday Spin”: Political reporter Rick Pearson’s guests are Tribune reporter Ted Gregory, state Rep. Carol Sente, D-Vernon Hills, and Kent Redfield, professor emeritus at the University of Illinois at Springfield. The “Sunday Spin” can be heard from 7 to 9 a.m. on WGN-AM 720.

 

What we’re writing

*Cook County Board approves budget with more than 300 layoffs.

*Emanuel’s 2018 budget is approved. The cost of phone fees and ride-share trips will rise.

*Immigrant who sought sanctuary at Chicago church files civil rights lawsuit.

*Partisan politics could mean fewer second helpings and more early exits this Thanksgiving.

 

What we’re reading

*After winning Foxconn, Southeast Wisconsin prepares for influx of jobs as residents fear loss of “peace and quiet.”

*United Soccer League expansion team coming to North Side site proposed for Amazon’s HQ2.

*Beyond the horseshoe: How I fell in love with Springfield food.

 

Follow the money

*Track Illinois campaign contributions in real time here and here.

 

Beyond Chicago

*FCC unveils plan to repeal net neutrality.

*Judge halts Trump transgender military ban.

*Ethics investigation begins into Conyers sexual harassment allegations.

*Mugabe resigns as leader of Zimbabwe.

 

RELATED

‘Dumb Track Mind’: N.Y. Daily News slams Emanuel over transit boast

Mayor Emanuel didn’t seek comparison to Mussolini in NYT op-ed

Morning Spin: Emanuel calls New York vs. Chicago transit ‘a tale of two cities’

Morning Spin: City Council to take up Emanuel budget Tuesday

http://ift.tt/2AYPT5t

Welcome to Clout Street: Morning Spin, our weekday feature to catch you up with what’s going on in government and politics from Chicago to Springfield. Subscribe here.

Topspin

Aldermen Brendan Reilly and Scott Waguespack were realistic about their dim chances of getting the City Council to approve amendments to Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s 2018 budget that would have stopped the city from sending a total of $30 million to the CTA and Chicago Public Schools.

But Reilly and Waguespack figured they would at least get to make their case.

They didn’t. Aldermen will be presented with Emanuel’s budget for approval Tuesday, and the spending plan will send $16 million to the CTA from raised fees on ride-share trips and $14 million to CPS.

The aldermen’s amendments didn’t made it on to the Finance Committee’s agenda Monday. That left them claiming that some political skullduggery was at play to stop a public airing of their proposals that would have given aldermen a chance to gripe about Emanuel’s plan to send the money to the agencies.

“If it was read into the record five days ago at the City Council meeting, I assumed we would have an opportunity to hear it today,” Waguespack told Finance Committee Chairman Ald. Edward Burke. “That was our only chance to do amendments on the budget.”

Burke said his committee hadn’t gotten the ordinances “in sufficient time to put them on the agenda.”

Clerk’s office spokeswoman Kate LeFurgy said the office followed the usual procedure in logging in the proposals last Wednesday, when they were introduced. By Thursday, the amendments were listed on the clerk’s website as being assigned to the Finance Committee. And Burke’s staff picked up documents, including the amendments, that same day, LeFurgy said.

“This is probably (an amendment) that would not have succeeded, but again, it does deserve to be heard,” Ald. Leslie Hairston said. “And these types of shenanigans that go on, again, how convenient it is to lose something that should be debated by the council, that does deal with taxpayer dollars that are going to other sources, is very suspect.” (John Byrne)

What’s on tap

*Mayor Emanuel will preside over the City Council meeting.

*Gov. Bruce Rauner has no public events scheduled.

*Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle will preside over the board meeting.

*Illinois Department of Innovation & Technology Acting Secretary Kirk Lonbom will speak to the City Club of Chicago.

From the notebook

*Garcia backs Kaegi: First-time candidate Fritz Kaegi has racked up more endorsements in his challenge to Cook County Assessor Joe Berrios in the Democratic primary next March.

Cook County Commissioner Jesus “Chuy” Garcia and his close ally Ald. Ricardo Munoz both endorsed Kaegi, an asset manager who pledges to straighten out a property tax assessment system that a Tribune investigation determined favored the wealthy at the expense of the poor.

“The hard-working men and women of Cook County are getting shafted under Assessor Berrios,” Garcia said. “We need to elect Fritz Kaegi to fix this broken system.”

Last month, county Clerk David Orr endorsed Kaegi, who’s also backed by Aldermen Proco “Joe” Moreno, 1st; Michele Smith, 43rd; and John Arena, 45th. State Sen. Heather Steans of Chicago and 33rd Ward Committeeman Aaron Goldstein also have endorsed Kaegi over Berrios, a two-term incumbent who is chairman of the Cook County Democratic Primary. (Hal Dardick)

*Quick Spins: Democratic governor candidate Daniel Biss has gotten the endorsement of Northwest Side Ald. Roberto Maldonado of the 26th Ward. “Daniel Biss is the candidate I trust to fight for my community,” Maldonado said in a statement. … Democratic Attorney General candidate Jesse Ruiz received an endorsement from U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez.

What we’re writing

*Typical Chicago homeowner will pay $174 more to City Hall, CPS in 2018.

*Preckwinkle agrees to fewer Cook County job cuts. Hundreds of layoffs are still in works.

*Former Cook County Board President Todd Stroger says he’s running again.

*At least a dozen Illinois DCFS workers attacked, seriously threatened since 2013.

*Divided vote keeps Illinois in Crosscheck voter database.

*Zopp appointment to Police Board advances.

*Judge dismisses one of two lawsuits against Dennis Hastert.

What we’re reading

*Federal judge permanently blocks Trump‘s executive order to cut funding to sanctuary cities. Emanuel praised the decision late Monday.

*Chicago cop given 5 years in prison for shooting at car, wounding two teens.

*Chicago passes 600 homicides for only third time since 2003.

*Too many turkeys means cheaper Thanksgiving as demand stalls. Thrifty shoppers might gobble up those deals.

Follow the money

*Democratic attorney general candidate Kwame Raoul reported $110,000 in contributions.

*Track Illinois campaign contributions in real time here and here.

Beyond Chicago

*DOJ sues to block AT&T, Time Warner merger.

*Trump puts North Korea on state sponsors of terrorism list.

*Charlie Rose accused of harassment.

*Streaks on Mars might be from sand, not water.

RELATED

Typical homeowner will pay $174 more to City Hall, CPS in 2018 »

Fairley formally runs for attorney general post to replace Lisa Madigan »

Ex-Cook County Board President Todd Stroger says he’s running again »

Preckwinkle agrees to fewer Cook County job cuts; hundreds of layoffs still in works »

Morning Spin: City Council to take up Emanuel budget Tuesday

State Week: Are Voters Thinking About 2018?

http://ift.tt/2hFGEzG

Gov. Bruce Rauner and Republican challenger Rep. Jeanne Ives hit the road this week. On the Democratic side, J.B. Pritzker sets a deadline for releasing his tax returns, after Sen. Daniel Biss compared him to President Donald Trump. Meanwhile, Rauner signs ethics legislation that will allow the new legislative inspector general to investigate a backlog of complaints dating back nearly three years.

State Week: Are Voters Thinking About 2018?