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Dusty Rhodes

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Dusty Rhodes

The Grand Bargain is a package of interlocking legislation designed to break the state budget impasse in Illinois. How important is school funding to that deal? Important enough that leaders titled it Senate Bill One.

Courtesy of Jim Melvin

Jim Melvin is finally fulfilling a lifelong dream. He's a rookie in the classroom but a seasoned veteran at real life. At age 59, he's in his first full year of teaching social studies at V.I.T. High School.

During the recent state budget impasse, Illinois colleges and universities have been forced to scrape by without state funding, except for stop gap money designed to keep them open through the fall semester. But that may not satisfy accreditation agencies. James Applegate, director of the Illinois Board of Higher Education, says the Higher Learning Commission may just home in on the fact that Illinois schools are missing what schools in other states have: a solid budget.

The Illinois legislature adjourned last night with no budget for education -- at any level.

Illinois university presidents were stunned last night as the funding measure they thought would provide the first state funds in almost a year suddenly disappeared.

The budget that Gov. Bruce Rauner proposed yesterday recommends a 16 percent cut to higher education. This year's proposed cut sounds gentler than the 32 percent reduction Rauner recommended last year. But instead of being spread across higher education, virtually all of the pain would fall upon the state's universities.

Illinois Speaker of the House Mike Madigan today announced that he will re-convene hearings on the state’s education funding formula. The state's current formula relies heavily on property taxes, creating a big disparity among schools based on their geographic location. Some districts can spend more than $32,000 per student every year, while others scrape by on a fraction of that amount. 

Top officials of the state board of education declined to appear before a House committee yesterday to answer questions about costly perks being paid to the board’s superintendent, Tony Smith. Smith was appointed by Gov. Bruce Rauner, and receives a stipend on top of his $225,000 salary. 


Governor Bruce Rauner has approved the portion of the state budget earmarked for public schools. His move yesterday ensures schools will be able to open on time.

The legislation even increases funding for education by more than $200 million dollars over the previous year. But the new money has strings attached.

Cortlon Cofield

Cortlon Cofield said Thursday nights were always special during his freshman year at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. That’s because Thursdays were "Food for the Soul" night in the Florida Avenue Residence Hall (known as FAR).

Dusty Rhodes

Governor Bruce Rauner was scheduled to deliver the keynote address at a meeting of public school leaders Tuesday in Springfield. Instead, he sent his new education czar.