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The Majority Report 06/04/17 - Fair education funding, wages, school board representation and a balanced budget

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Senate Democrats pass fair funding for all Illinois schools

Sen. Andy ManarIllinois school districts, shortchanged for decades under the state's worst-in-the-nation education funding formula, could see a significant influx of funding to level the playing field for the poorest districts with wealthier suburban districts under a landmark school funding reform measure that passed in both houses of the legislature this week.

"I am pleased and incredibly proud that after four years of studying and debating the issue of school funding, lawmakers from all over Illinois were able to agree finally that students in schools all over Illinois are struggling because of an unfair and inadequate funding system," Senator Andy Manar, sponsor of SB1, said.

"This is a good bill because it addresses the root of the problem we have: inequity. Lawmakers and the governor have to stop fighting to preserve a broken system. This plan will send money to the poorest districts in the state. I represent some of them. This enables us to turn a major corner for the first time in 20 years in Illinois and attack poverty in the public school classroom."

"I am thrilled that this landmark reform has passed both chambers," Assistant Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford (D-Maywood) said. "This measure is about equity and the right to a quality education. I urge the governor to take our children out of politics and stop letting zip codes determine the quality of their education."

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Lightford: Give Illinois workers the raise they have been waiting for

Assistant Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford

Minimum-wage earners statewide could soon see a pay increase as a result of legislation that raises the minimum wage to $15 by January 2022. Assistant Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford spearheaded efforts that would give hardworking families a much-needed raise.

"People working full time should earn a living wage," said Lightford (Maywood). "We want our workers to be able to support their families, have financial independence and be able to contribute to the state's economy."

Senate Bill 81 would increase the minimum wage to $9 per hour from January 1, 2018, to December 31, 2018; $10 per hour from January 1, 2019, to December 31, 2019; $11.25 from January 1, 2020, to December 31, 2020; $13 per hour from January 1, 2021, to December 31, 2021; and $15 per hour on and after January 1, 2022.

The measure also increases the minimum wage for individuals under the age of 18 but at a slower pace, going from $8.00 on January 1, 2018 to $12.00 on January 1, 2022.

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A Balanced Budget vs. Rauner's Rhetoric

The Grand BargainAfter shouldering the responsibility of crafting and passing a balanced budget last week, Senate Democrats expressed their frustration today that the governor and the House refused to finalize a deal to bring stability back to Illinois.

The Senate Democrats' balanced budget includes a mix of $3 billion in cuts and reductions to government spending, an increase in revenues and a host of reforms.

In addition to closing the nearly $5 billion hole in Gov. Rauner's introduced budget, the Senate Democrats' budget includes millions of dollars for human services and education - two vital areas that continue to suffer as the governor holds the state hostage.

The budget provides the highest level of investment for colleges and universities they've seen in two years. It also restores funding for college grant (MAP) funding that Gov. Rauner slashed and would ensure public schools can open in the fall, with $300 million in additional funding, including 30 million for after-school programs and advanced placement classes.

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Senate approves CPS elected school board

Sen. Kwame RaoulState Senator Kwame Raoul (D-Chicago 13th) secured passage in the Senate of a measure allowing for the election of the Chicago Board of Education starting in 2023. Before this legislation, the Chicago Public School district was the only school district in the state without an elected school board.

"It's important that Chicago stay on par with the state, not only with funding but also with democracy," Raoul said.

The measure passed this week sets the size of the elected board at 15 members and establishes a redistricting commission to draw districts for board members.

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In the news

Cullerton blasts Rauner, House GOP  (WBEZ)

Illinois Senate approves 2-year property tax freeze  (SJ-R)

Illinois lawmakers pass workers' compensation measures  (AP)

Aquino: Senate Approves Prisoner Entrepreneur Training Pilot Program  (Lawndale News)

Link: Odds now longer for Lake County casino after latest bill stalls  (Lake County News-Sun)

Koehler: Renewal of historic tax credit aiding Peoria development sent to governor  (Peoria Journal Star)

Morrison: Head of DCFS resigns amid controversy  (Chicago Tribune)

Holmes: State Commission Could Lose Power to Overturn Charter School Closures  (Chicago Tonight, WTTW)

Biss: Illinois General Assembly passes ban on use of LGBTQ panic defense  (ChicagoPride.com)

 


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