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Castro’s pension consolidation program approved

Published: Wednesday, December 18, 2019 04:03 PM

castro 121819SPRINGFIELD – A plan sponsored by State Senator Cristina Castro (D-Elgin) aimed at mitigating the threat of the state’s pension crisis was signed into law Wednesday.

“The number one budget issue legislators have been dealing with for decades is the pension crisis,” Castro said. “We got a victory today with this consolidation plan, but there’s still a lot of work to be done.”

Hunter receives TASC Legislative Champion Award

Published: Wednesday, December 18, 2019 10:31 AM

hunter 121819

CHICAGO – State Senator Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago) received TASC’s 2019 Legislative Champion Award at the agency’s annual Leadership Awards Luncheon on Tuesday for her efforts to improve opportunities for substance-use disorder treatment, recovery, and community engagement, especially such opportunities for individuals who have had contact with the criminal legal system.

“Working to create a healthier, more equitable, more just society has been the bedrock of my career. I’m so honored to be recognized for these efforts by an organization equally committed to those values,” Hunter said. “I look forward to continuing this mission alongside groups like TASC to identify and implement new, innovative, and more holistic ways to address health inequities and stop the cycles of substance abuse and drug-related crime in Chicago and communities statewide.”

Belt: A child’s success starts with early childhood education

Published: Tuesday, December 17, 2019 10:43 AM

earlychildhoodSPRINGFIELD - State Senator Christopher Belt (D-Centreville) will serve on the Illinois Commission on Equitable Early Childhood Education and Care Funding to improve access to quality early childhood programs for all Illinois families.

“If we expect our children to have successful careers, we need to continue to invest in early childhood education,” Belt said. “This starts with making sure students have an intellectual skill set before entering kindergarten and ensuring the most disadvantaged children have the opportunity to succeed alongside their more advantaged classmates.”

Pritzker taps Manar to co-chair Early Childhood Funding Commission

Published: Monday, December 16, 2019 02:51 PM

manar 031219CHICAGO - State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) was today named co-chair of the Governor’s Commission for Equitable Funding for Early Childhood Education and Care by Illinois Governor J.B Pritzker. The commission will make recommendations on how to fund equitable access to high-quality early childhood education and care services for all children birth to age 5.

“Governor Pritzker has demonstrated real commitment to early education, and I’m confident that the commission can find a data-driven early childhood education financing plan that meets that needs of families in every region of the state and enables every child to benefit from a high-quality preschool experience,” Manar said.

Manar, who engineered the state’s historic Evidence-Based Funding (EBF) reform for K-12 schools in 2017, has long advocated equitable funding for early childhood education programs.

The commission will build on the state’s record investment of $100 million in early childhood education in the fiscal year 2020 budget, which will provide pre-K to 14,000 children across Illinois.

Manar was a vocal critic of the Rauner administration’s decision last year to cut all pre-K funding for dozens of schools across Central and Southern Illinois with no warning and little explanation. The move, which forced some schools to suspend their pre-K programs indefinitely, is something Manar says should never happen again.

“Changes made by the previous administration left entire counties in downstate Illinois without a single state-funded pre-K program. We’ve done a good job reversing some of those harmful changes, but we still have work to do,” Manar said. “A primary goal of this commission is to correct a broken system and propose a new, fair funding formula just like we did for K-12.”

The 29-member commission – consisting of child care providers, advocates, educators and legislators – will be led by co-chairs State Senator Andy Manar, former State Representative Barbara Flynn Currie, Deputy Illinois Governor Jesse Ruiz, and former Illinois Early Learning Council member George Davis.

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