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Cunningham votes to protect local school funding

040114 CM 0304csSPRINGFIELD – State Sen. Bill Cunningham today voted against legislation that would cost local suburban schools nearly $22 million in state funding according to the Illinois State Board of Education’s projections. The proposal, which would create a windfall of funding for many poorer downstate schools, would also drastically slash state funding to suburban schools that are struggling to make ends meet with current levels of funding. 

“Our school system is in desperate need of education funding reform, but this is not the right proposal. I commend the sponsor for taking up this monumental task, but I simply cannot support a proposal that would cut state funding to school districts in the southwest suburbs by nearly 90 percent,” Cunningham said.

However, Cunningham continues to remain optimistic that substantive education reform will be a major topic of discussion in the General Assembly.

“While I can’t support this proposal, it is a positive first step in education funding reform. I look forward to continuing to work with legislators across the state to support more equitable education reform, along with a property tax relief package to take the burden of school funding off of local property owners,” said Cunningham.

The legislation, which passed today with a vote of 32-19, will be sent to the Illinois House of Representatives.

Senator Bush issues statement on Education Funding Reform Plan

040214cm0205RSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake) issued the following statements after today’s Senate passage of the Education Funding Reform Plan:

“We have made huge strides over the last year,” said Bush, who is a member of the Education Funding Advisory Committee. “We got the conversation started and have identified undeniable problems with the current funding formula but I don’t yet believe this proposal is ready for passage.”

Senator Bush represents 16 Lake County school districts under the reform plan. However, in the funding reform proposal passed today, some of those districts, such as Wauconda Community Unit School District 118 and Winthrop Harbor School District 1, stand to lose as much as 80% of their state funding.

Silverstein sponsors Google Glass driving ban

google-glass-demoState Senator Ira Silverstein (D-Chicago) is sponsoring legislation that would ban the use of Google Glass and similar devices while driving. The proposal, Senate Bill 2632, creates similar rules to behind-the-wheel cell phone use aimed at curbing distracted driving.

Media Coverage:

Washington Post: Illinois lawmakers look to ban Google Glass on the road

Chicago Tribune: Illinois lawmaker wants to outlaw wearing Google Glass while driving

Sullivan, Hammond legislation helps WIU operations

052214 js 0403SPRINGFIELD – A trio of legislation helping Western Illinois University was approved by the Senate on Thursday. State Senator John Sullivan (D-Rushville) and Rep. Norine Hammond (R-Macomb) sponsored the three proposals – all of which were requests from WIU's Board of Trustees.

"It's a privilege to work with the WIU Board of Trustees and Rep. Hammond for the betterment of the University and the Western Illinois Region," Sullivan said.

"Western Illinois University's Board identified these issues are priorities. I am pleased to join Senator Sullivan in advancing them through the legislative process," Hammond said.

HB 5678 - WIU-QC building sale
New facilities at WIU-Quad Cities are planned to open this fall. As the new 94,800 square foot, $4.2 million Riverfront Campus project is completed, WIU plans to sell or lease a former classroom building in downtown Moline.

House Bill 5678 gives WIU the authority to lease, sell or transfer the old building and use the proceeds for construction on the Quad Cities campus.

HB 5681 - WIU-QC annual board meeting
Since becoming an independent campus in 2012, WIU-QC has continued to grow as a vital part of the university. The WIU Board of Trustees began the practice of holding at least one of its quarterly meetings at the quad cities campus.

House Bill 5681 makes the informal practice permanent – requiring the board to hold at least one meeting a year in the Quad Cities.

HB 5679 - High School Feedback System
The third piece of legislation approved by the Senate eliminates an out-of-date program that studied high school students' performance in public universities. The High School Feedback System became law in 1989 and was replaced in 2009.

House Bill 5679 removes references to the old system in state law.

All three bills passed with bipartisan support.