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  • lightford cps 012016CHICAGO- A woman walked into U.S. Rep. Danny Davis’ office yesterday, drank out of a bottle of hand sanitizer, poured the hand sanitizer on herself and used a lighter to set herself on fire. The unfortunate incident highlights the mental health crisis in our state and across the country.

    “We need to fully fund our state’s mental health services,” said Assistant Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford (D-Maywood). “The story about this woman inflicting pain on herself should move us to acknowledge and support solutions for the mental health issues so many people are struggling with.”

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  • lightford 072016CHICAGO-Funding for programs serving children ages birth to three will continue to increase under a proposal that was signed into law today. Assistant Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford (D-Maywood) led efforts to ensure this funding increase would not sacrifice support for other early childhood programs.

    Senate Bill 238 requires 25 percent of any increase in funding for early childhood education must go to birth to three programs.

    “Educating our children requires us to invest the proper resources to ensure their success,” Lightford said.

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  • Senate Majority Leader Kimberly Lightford (D-Maywood) speaks to the negotiated stopgap budget.

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  • Senator Kimberly A. Lightford (D-Maywood) argues in favor of HB 3190 which would create an evidence-based school funding model to reform education funding in Illinois.

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  • lightford 051116SPRINGFIELD- Senate Democrats sent a measure to the House that restructures the formula for distributing funds to school districts throughout the state. Senate Bill 231 increases funds for districts in need while maintaining level funding for others. Assistant Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford (D-Maywood) released the following statement.

    “The reality is that our current system for distributing funds to our schools is broken. This legislation may not be perfect, but if we don’t act soon we’re only going to continue failing to provide resources to children who need them most.

    Our children should be prepared for their future no matter where they live. I urge my colleagues in the House to consider this measure to bring our state’s education system up to date. Our population is constantly changing and that requires changes in the way we educate our children.” 

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  • Senator Kimberly Lightford (D-Maywood) speaks about two budget measures that passed the Senate today at a Legislative Black Caucus press conference.

  • lightford 042116SPRINGFIELD- In 2012, 49 percent of Illinois public school students belonged to a racial or ethnic minority group, while only 16.7 percent of teachers did. Many studies show that the more teachers reflect the student body, the better the results in the classroom will be.

    In light of this, minority teachers working toward additional degrees or certifications in Illinois could soon be eligible for the Minority Teachers of Illinois Program, under a proposal the Senate approved today.

    Senate Bill 3319, which passed the Senate today, would allow minority teachers to apply to receive a grant for up to $5,000 a year.

    “Studies show minority children have better academic outcomes when being instructed by a teacher belonging to their same racial minority,” said Assistant Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford, sponsor of the legislation. “A more diverse group of teachers with advanced degrees only creates more opportunities for our children.”

    Teachers with appropriate degrees can teach dual credit courses, which award college credit upon their completion. This legislation would help expand opportunities for all children to get ahead on their college coursework while still in high school.

    The proposal now heads to the House for consideration.

  • lightford 040516In response to legislation filed today restructuring the Illinois school funding formula, State Senator Kimberly A. Lightford (D – Maywood) released the following statement.

    Fairness in our school funding formula has been a topic of legislative debate and revision for decades, yet education equality remains elusive. At some point, justice has to become more than a promise. It must become a reality for all kids.

    Senator Manar has worked tirelessly with leaders on both sides of the aisle and from all sides of the funding debate to construct a bill that takes the well-being of every student, every school and every district into account. It’s not too late for us to do what we should have done decades ago – pass fair education funding reform worthy of our students.

    Like previous versions of education formula reform, such as SB 1, schools with fewer resources will receive more funding under the new version of the plan, but this legislation also allows more districts to qualify for additional funding through a widened adequacy grant, institutes a complete hold harmless for the next fiscal year and creates an evidence-based panel to oversee implementation of any changes.

    The legislation is filed as Senate Bill 231.

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  • Senate Assistant Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford (D-Maywood)speaks about her vote to override the governor's veto of MAP grant funding on March 2, 2016.

  • lightford budgreax0216The governor’s budget address fails to help college students, vulnerable residents and disenfranchised communities. This was the core belief expressed by the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus at their budget press conference on Wednesday.

    ILBC Chair Kimberly Lightford joined members in calling student activists and the governor to action. She challenged the governor’s proposal to sell an outdated, broken education funding plan as true reform and his failure to address higher education concerns.

    “Funding our schools without reforming our unfair education system does more harm than good. No matter how much wealth you have, throwing money at a problem is not going to solve it without understanding the real issues at hand. Our decades-old funding formula has not done anything to meet the needs of today’s students. It has only led to the most regressive funding system in the nation."