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Tom Cullerton takes first step toward cutting school administration costs

tc 052918VILLA PARK — A measure championed by State Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park) will give DuPage County taxpayers easier access to records of school administration costs.

Cullerton’s Senate Bill 3236, which will require the Illinois State Board of Education to include a school district’s administrative costs in state school report cards, was signed into law last week.

“Taxpayers deserve to know how their money is spent,” Cullerton said. “The more access the public has to administrative costs, the more likely they are to hold school boards accountable.”

Between 1992 and 2009, the number of district administrators grew by 36 percent in Illinois. That is 2.5 times greater than the growth in student population, according to the nonprofit group Ed Choice.

This is despite the fact that nearly half of Illinois school districts manage one or two schools and more than one-third of all district offices serve fewer than 600 students.

One example is Lake Park Community High School District 108, which has five elementary school districts that feed into it. The high school district shares overlapping boundaries with those schools and serves the same population, yet each individual district has a superintendent and several administrators. 

Cullerton said Senate Bill 3236 will help give the legislature and residents a chance to examine how school districts spend their tax dollars.

“DuPage County residents pay their property taxes to give students the best educational opportunities, not to pay for executive salaries,” Cullerton said. “Finding savings and cutting administrative costs will help lower property taxes and this new law will help us know where to look to make these cuts.”

Illinois school report cards already include information on average class size, teaching experience, percentage of special education students, per-pupil operating expenditures and the per-pupil state pension contribution among other items.

Senate Bill 3236 passed the Senate and House without any opposition and goes into effect immediately.

Cullerton reduces the cost of small business ownership in Illinois

tc 052918VILLA PARK –A new Illinois law championed by State Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park) will spare small businesses from paying outrageous late penalties.

Cullerton’s House Bill 4578, which was signed into law Friday, will reduce late penalties from $300 to $100 for annual LLC report filings.

“This law will further the state’s commitment to energizing our economy,” Cullerton said. “I’m proud to work with my colleagues from both parties to eliminate this hurdle for small businesses.”

Last year, Cullerton passed Senate Bill 867 with bipartisan support to reduce a number of filing fees for LLCs to match those for corporations. This measure reduced the filing fees for the creation of an LLC from $500 to $150.

Cullerton also worked to lower the annual filing fee for LLCs from $250 to $75.

“Small businesses are the backbone of our economy,” Cullerton said. “Local businesses play a huge role in our communities and economy. We need to do whatever we can to encourage businesses to make Illinois’ their home.”

Limited Liability Company or LLC is like a corporation, a limited liability company or "LLC,” a separate and distinct legal entity.

House Bill 4578 goes into effect immediately.

Tom Cullerton’s new law cuts red tape for veterans’ ID cards

flag on camoVILLA PARK —A new law championed by State Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park) will make it easier for veterans to obtain an official veteran designation on their state identification cards.

Cullerton’s House Bill 4332 was signed into law Sunday, allowing an identification card issued under the federal Veterans Identification Card Act of 2015 to be used as verification for a veteran’s designation on a state ID or license.

“This commonsense law will streamline the process for Illinois’ veterans,” Cullerton said. “Our veterans have already jumped through hoops and filled out various forms to receive a federal designation – they should not have to complete a redundant process to receive state approval.”

Cullerton served as an infantryman in the Army from 1990 to 1993. He continues to use his military experience to champion commonsense legislation to help military veterans, personnel and their families.

“Our returning heroes should not have to go through additional red tape when they return home,” Cullerton said. “It is our duty to ease their transition back to civilian life by utilizing practical procedures.”

This measure is supported by the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the Illinois AMVETS Service Foundation.

House Bill 4332 passed the Senate and House with bipartisan support. It goes into effect on January 1, 2019.

Cullerton cuts off lawmakers’ sexual harassment ‘hush money’ funds

tc 053018VILLA PARK – Taxpayer dollars will be off limits for the purchase of silence regarding allegations of sexual harassment thanks to a new law championed by State Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park).

Cullerton’s House Bill 4243 was signed into law on Friday.

“We shouldn’t need a law to state the obvious: Taxpayer dollars shouldn’t be used as hush money,” Cullerton said. “But clearly some disgraced elected officials believe they are entitled to public funds to cover up inappropriate behavior. Now it is crystal clear under law that there is zero tolerance for sexual harassment in Illinois, particularly when it’s funded by the taxpayers.” 

House Bill 4243 is a response to recent news that members of Congress and officials from other states have used public funds to pay settlements to former employees in response to allegations of sexual harassment.

In Pennsylvania, newspapers reported that at least $3.2 million in taxpayer funds over the last eight years has been used to resolve more than two dozen sexual harassment complaints against government and public employees.

“This money belongs to the taxpayers, not in an elected official’s piggy bank,” Cullerton said. “This bill solidifies that we will not and cannot support a culture that subsidizes immoral behavior.” 

The new law was a bipartisan effort sponsored by State Representative David McSweeney (R-Barrington Hills) in the House and it will take effect immediately.

Sen. Tom Cullerton

tcullerton-hs

23rd Legislative District

Years served: 2013 - Present

Committee assignments: Appropriations II; Labor; Local Government (Vice-Chairperson); State Government & Veterans Affairs; Transportation; Committee of the Whole; Energy and Public Utilities.

Biography: Born Sept. 20, 1969; studied at the University of Kansas; former village president and trustee of Villa Park; married (wife Stacey), three sons.