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School funding reform allowing Taylorville schools to invest in technology

manar 091118 TaylorvilleTAYLORVILLE – Taylorville students are going places – on an architectural tour of the Golden Gate Bridge, to explore a tomb deep inside an Egyptian pyramid, to experience action on a Civil War battlefield, to a virtual automotive shop to learn how to take apart an engine and to a biology lab to see what’s inside humans and animals.

Students are able to do all of this because of the investment the Taylorville school district is in 21st-century technology, made possible because of Illinois’ revamped school funding formula.

Manar: UIS innovation hub offers promise for Springfield, downstate

uis logo 082818SPRINGFIELD – A new venture that will connect downtown and the nearby University of Illinois campus as part of a heralded statewide innovation network is an example of what’s possible when the state starts investing in its young people and their future, State Senator Andy Manar said today.

“Not only is this a step toward UIS having a more significant presence downtown – something local officials have discussed for years – it is the first of many incredible things to come for the capital city as a result of this project,” Manar said. 

“I am pleased to have had role in making this a reality, and I look forward to watching the exciting changes that are about to unfold in Springfield.”

State, local and university officials are announcing this morning that the Innovate Springfield business incubator will become part of UIS, giving the university a significant downtown presence for the first time in its history.

In addition, UIS will become a hub of a statewide innovation network that is intended to connect universities and foster entrepreneurship in various fields.

Manar: Limiting minimum wage no way to lure teachers to Illinois

manar 052118SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Andy Manar said he is disappointed but not surprised by the governor’s veto Sunday of a plan to raise the minimum wage for Illinois teachers for the first time since 1980.

For nearly four decades, state statute has required Illinois school districts to pay teachers a minimum salary of about $10,000. Based on decades of inflation, the minimum mandated salary today should be about $32,000.

Manar (D-Bunker Hill), the Senate sponsor of the measure, noted that there are teachers throughout Illinois today who live at or below the federal poverty line, something he said he finds unconscionable given the professionalism and dedication required to educate children.

It was hoped that raising the minimum salary would help Illinois tackle an acute teacher shortage crisis by sending a message that the work teachers do is valued and attracting more young people to the profession.

“Refusing to guarantee professional educators a livable minimum wage is no way to lure more teachers to Illinois,” he said. “I’m disappointed in the governor’s veto, and I know thousands of dedicated, hard-working, creative educators throughout the state are, too.”

Under the measure (Senate Bill 2892), the state would update the minimum mandated salary for teachers annually for the next four years. After that, subject to review by the General Assembly, it would be increased according to the Consumer Price Index. The phase-in looks like this under the proposal:

  • $32,076 minimum for the 2019-2020 school year
  • $34,576 minimum for the 2020-2021 school year
  • $37,076 minimum for the 2021-2022 school year
  • $40,000 minimum for the 2022-2023 school year

It is unknown if the General Assembly will attempt to override the veto.

Illinois Education Association President Kathi Griffin said members of the organization, which backed the minimum wage bill, also are disappointed but unsurprised by the governor’s veto.

“The governor repeatedly says he’s a friend of education, but his actions tell us otherwise. Senator Manar’s legislation would have been the best way to combat the teacher shortage in Illinois. Studies show the most effective way to alleviate a teacher shortage crisis is through respect and adequate wages,” Griffin said.

“By vetoing this bill, the governor is disrespecting every teacher, student and community in Illinois.  We are in the midst of a crisis the governor does not seem interested in fixing.”

Manar: Money for Decatur grant payment was protected in FY19 state budget

Manar 013118 sb444DECATUR – The state is releasing another payment toward the $2.1 million grant it awarded for improvements to the Decatur Civic Center in 2016 – a grant that was suspended by the Rauner administration, then reinstated – State Senator Andy Manar announced today.

The comptroller notified Manar’s office Tuesday that it would release about $200,000 for the civic center grant. Money for reimbursement was included in the FY19 state budget, which Manar (D-Bunker Hill) was instrumental in negotiating.

“As a downstate budget committee chairman, I believe it’s important for everyone to work together and find opportunities to compromise in the interest of the common good. This is what happens when we work together,” Manar said.

The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity grant was approved in late 2016. The money was to be used for costs associated with improvements to the Decatur Civic Center. However, in June 2017 – after civic center officials had received seed money from the grant and already had opened bids and signed contracts for projects – the Rauner administration suspended the grant. It was reinstated in December 2017.

Information about the grant can be found here.

According to the comptroller’s office, after this week’s $200,000 payment, the state still owes Decatur $634,539 toward the grant.

Sen. Andy Manar


48th Legislative District

Years served: 2013 - Present

Committee assignments: Agriculture; Appropriations I; Appropriations II; Higher Education; Committee of the Whole; Executive Appointments (Vice-Chairperson); Education; Labor.

Biography: Born November 15, 1975, in Bunker Hill; B.A. in History, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville; past chairman of Macoupin County Board; married (wife, Trista), has three children.