Text Size
Login
config

Manar helps reverse veto of Lyme disease measure

manar lyme 111518SPRINGFIELD – Illinois physicians will not face discipline for recommendations they make to aggressively treat Lyme disease under a new law supported by State Senator Andy Manar.

The Illinois Senate on Thursday voted to override the governor’s veto of a bipartisan plan that permits Lyme disease sufferers to receive extended regimens of antibiotics under a physician’s care.

The plan clears the way for doctors to prescribe more aggressive treatments for Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses than are currently accepted under industry standards without facing disciplinary action by the state.

“Numerous people in my Senate district suffer from the life-altering effects of Lyme, and I believe this plan is a step in the right direction as we learn more about how to successfully treat the disease,” said Manar, a Bunker Hill Democrat who co-sponsored the measure in the Senate.

House Bill 4515 creates the Lauryn Russell Lyme Disease Prevention Act. It requires state officials to form a Lyme disease prevention and outreach program and establish a 12-member Lyme disease task force.

The bill passed in the spring with overwhelming support from both Democrats and Republicans in the General Assembly, but Gov. Bruce Rauner vetoed it in August. This week lawmakers voted to override the governor – 110-0 in the House and 48-0 in the Senate.

There were 237 confirmed cases of Lyme disease in Illinois in 2016, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.

Manar urges changes to state pre-K grant award process

manar 052818SPRINGFIELD – Illinois should reassess how it awards pre-K grants after school districts throughout central Illinois were unexpectedly rejected for money they’ve long relied upon to run their programs, State Senator Andy Manar said Tuesday.

“How can we ensure every student arrives at kindergarten ready to learn when the state is pulling the rug out from under school districts that are trying to help?” Manar said. “We have to ensure these grants get to the communities that need them the most so that we can continue to help the children who need it the most.”

School districts throughout Illinois earlier this year were denied pre-K grants by the Illinois State Board of Education without warning, even though they have been receiving the grants for years.

Bunker Hill CUSD 8 in Macoupin County is among those that were denied. Last year the district received $104,000 for its preschool program; this year it received $0. The district has received a pre-K grant since at least 1995, according to records.

Manar said the Illinois State Board of Education cut Bunker Hill’s pre-K funding by 100 percent with no warning and little explanation. Half of all students in the district are considered low income.

Studies show that early childhood education is vital to a lifetime of successful learning and that children from disadvantaged homes are less likely to attend preschool.

Manar noted that the abrupt decision by ISBE to change the way it awards early childhood grants undercuts priorities identified in school funding reform discussions, including equity, poverty and need. ISBE’s new process benefits wealthy school districts that can afford to pay consultants to write their grant applications, he added.

“Bunker Hill is not alone in this. Numerous rural and downstate communities are in the same boat, wondering how to move forward,” he said. “Like funding for K-12 schools, pre-K grants should be based on need, not on who wrote the best grant request.”

Staunton schools benefitting from increased funding

Manar 101718STAUNTON – Smaller class sizes, school safety improvements and more emotional and behavioral support for students are some of the gains Staunton public schools have experienced as a result of school funding reform, State Senator Andy Manar learned during a recent tour of the district.

“Staunton schools are seeing significant benefits from the new school funding formula,” Manar said. “The district is making long-overdue changes and improvements that make good sense for families and students in this community.”

Staunton public schools are seeing more than $770,500 in additional money in the first two years of the new formula. Some of the changes that have been possible as a result of the increased funding:

  • Five new teachers and three support staff hired.
  • Decreased class sizes. For example, the addition of another fifth-grade teacher means there are about 26 students in each fifth-grade class, rather than the 34 or 35 students that would have been in each room otherwise.
  • Addition of a part-time counselor at the junior high and elementary school.
  • Established a peer intervention program that enables students to tutor, coach and mentor other students who are having difficulties
  • Expansion of the district’s agriculture program, which is offered to students in junior high and high school.
  • Expanded music education offerings.
  • Addition of a family engagement position for preschool families. Parents can borrow materials from the school district and be connected with available community resources.
  • 1:1 student computer program offered to fifth graders and ninth graders.
  • School safety improvements, including a new website that offers more transparency and better communication with parents, plus the addition of Navigate Prepared, an app that helps superintendents, principals, school staff and first responders know which students are in the building and receive alerts about emergencies.

“Now, for the first time in a long time, as a result of evidence-based funding we are having conversations about where we can drive our dollars to have the greatest impact on student learning versus the discussions of the past where we talked about what programs and services we could cut that would do the least harm,” said Dan Cox, superintendent of Staunton Community Unit School District 6.

The school district serves about 1,300 students in the Staunton area.

Manar honored for work on school funding reform

ManarMCRTASPRINGFIELD – State Senator Andy Manar received several awards recently for his work on school funding reform and his dedication to public education in Illinois.

The Illinois Association of Regional Superintendents of Schools presented Manar with its Friend of Education Award for his work in bringing a new school funding formula to Illinois. Manar accepted the award during the organization’s meeting in Springfield Sept. 11.

Sen. Andy Manar

manar2014hs

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.