Bertino-Tarrant

  • Bertino-Tarrant passes new law to combat teacher shortage

    jbt 011718PLAINFIELD – School districts across Illinois will have additional tools to combat the national teacher shortage thanks to a new law championed by State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood).

    House Bill 5627 is a multi-faceted, bipartisan effort that removes red tape and allows retired teachers to fill in when needed.  It was signed into law on Friday. 

    “Teacher shortages lead to strained resources, large class sizes and impaired learning experiences for our children,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “This new approach will help us recruit qualified educators who want to work in our communities.”

    According to the Illinois Association of Regional Superintendents of Schools, 86 percent Illinois school districts surveyed have had to pull teachers from planning periods to fill in as substitute teachers in other courses. Superintendents are also struggling to find bilingual, Spanish and special education teachers, as well as school nurses and psychologists.

    “There are quality educators that want to teach in Illinois classrooms,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “It is important that we empower them by implementing commonsense reforms, cutting red tape and making the teacher licensure process reasonable and fair.”

    The law takes the following actions among others:

    • Creates a new type of license – a Short Term Substitute Teaching License – to allow individuals that hold an associate’s degree or who have completed 60 hours of Higher Education coursework to substitute teach for five consecutive days;
    • Allows full reciprocity for out-of-state educators wishing to teach in Illinois;
    • Allows individuals who hold a lapsed Professional Educator License due to failure to complete professional development to qualify for a substitute teaching license;
    • Allows downstate retired teachers to substitute teach for 120 days each year (currently 100) without jeopardizing their retirement benefits;
    • Requires school districts to offer training to short-term substitute teachers. 

    Bertino-Tarrant said allowing Illinois’ retirees more days in the classroom will be a win for everyone.

    “Our retired teachers are a valuable resource,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “We can lower the teacher-to-student ratios without increasing cost by expanding the use of our retired teachers on a part-time basis. Our goal is to ensure our children receive the best learning opportunities possible.”

    House Bill 5627 will go into effect on July 1, 2018.

    “As the new funding formula kicks in, we need to work toward ensuring property tax relief for families across Illinois,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “Funding schools the right way should mean that folks see property tax bill savings.”

    The 2017 report released by the IARSS the  can be found here: http://iarss.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/IARSS-Illinois-Educator-Shortage-2017-1.pdf

  • Will County public officials examine students’ safety needs

    jbt 030918PLAINFIELD – A group of Will County public officials met last week to examine how the community addresses the safety of students.

    State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) applauded the efforts taken by community stakeholders to be proactive in preventing school violence. She was joined by several elected officials, school administrators and area police chiefs at the forum. 

  • Bertino-Tarrant, committee look for answers on CPS sex misconduct

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  • Bertino-Tarrant empowers consumers to make sound financial decisions

    05172018CM0341RPLAINFIELD - Credit reporting agencies will no longer be able to charge Illinois residents who want to freeze their report reports due to system hacking or stolen information, thanks to a measure supported by State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood).

    House Bill 4095, which will allow consumers to protect themselves in a cost-effective and timely manner, was signed into law on Friday.

    “As a society, we rely on online systems to do everyday tasks. At times citizens are at the mercy of these credit reporting agencies,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “Dealing with the aftermath of massive security breaches is time-consuming and devastating. Will County residents who were unwitting victims of the 2017 Equifax security breach dealt with frustrating and often expensive processes to secure their information. This is simply unacceptable.”

    The Equifax security breach that happened in September of 2017 compromised information such as names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and driver's license numbers. This breach is very concerning as such sensitive information can be used for identity theft.

  • Bertino-Tarrant works to bring transparency to taxpayers

    jbt 011718SPRINGFIELD — Illinois taxpayers may soon have more transparency when it comes to their property taxes thanks to a measure passed by State Senator Jennifer Bertino Tarrant (D-Shorewood), Chair of the Senate Education Committee.

    Bertino-Tarrant passed Senate Bill 3190 to require school districts to issue quarterly reports on the available cash on hand, funds in reserves and investments.

    Senate Bill 3190 passed the Senate with bipartisan support on Wednesday and now heads to the House for consideration.

  • Bertino-Tarrant works to combat teacher shortage

    jbt 053018SPRINGFIELD – The United States Department of Education has designated Illinois a teacher shortage area, codifying an ongoing crisis that could cause irreversible damage to Illinois’ education ecosystem.

    State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) is working to combat the crisis by supporting House Bill 5627, a bipartisan, multi-faceted approach to end the shortage.

  • Bertino-Tarrant continues statewide education tour in downstate Staunton

    STAUNTON—State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant, the jbt 050818chairwoman of the Illinois Senate Education Committee, continued her statewide “Chalk Talk” tour of schools on Monday at Staunton Community Unit School District 6.

    Bertino-Tarrant and local State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) met with members of the District Improvement Team to discuss the teacher shortage faced by many schools in the area.

  • Senate Dems work for teachers year-round, not just this week

    0508 TeacherDayThis week is Teacher Appreciation Week, but Senate Democrats are working on behalf of public school teachers year-round to provide the resources and opportunities they need to educate our children.

    Last year, after nearly four years that included hundreds of hours of testimony from parents, teachers and students and dozens of bipartisan meetings, an unprecedented overhaul of how Illinois funds public schools was signed into law. State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) was the sponsor of the proposal, Senate Bill 1947, in the Senate.

  • Bertino-Tarrant: Put public schools before wealthy donors

    jbt 030918SPRINGFIELD- State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) continues to push for proper funding of Illinois’ schools.

    A new bill she sponsors will continue that effort by prohibiting the diversion of public funds to scholarship tax programs in any calendar year unless the state has appropriated the $300 million in added education funding required annually by the new school funding formula.

  • Bertino-Tarrant’s new law will help alleviate teacher shortage

    jbt 030918PLAINFIELD – A new law championed by State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) will help alleviate the teacher shortage crisis in Illinois.

    Bertino-Tarrant’s measure, Senate Bill 863, eases licensure requirements to allow out-of-state educators to be licensed in Illinois if they have already completed comparable state-approved training. It was signed into law last week and will take effect immediately. 

  • Senate Dems celebrate Women's History Month (VIDEO)

    whm mainEvery March, Senate Democratic members take time to honor the contributions and achievements of women throughout our history.

    Women’s History Month dates back to 1987 when the National Women’s History Project petitioned Congress to designate the month of March as Women’s History Month. Since that time, every U.S. President has taken part in the tradition.

  • Bertino-Tarrant announces Illinois veterans’ business loan program is ready to go

    jbt 030918PLAINFIELD – Veterans looking to start a new business in Illinois now have a new resource available thanks to legislation supported by State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood). 

    Last week, the Illinois Finance Authority released criteria for the loan program that allows veterans to apply and receive business loans for new companies. 

    “Our veterans come home with remarkable leadership skills and on-the-job training,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “This program will give our returning heroes an outlet to channel their entrepreneurship spirit to create new businesses and generate jobs in our own communities.”

    Bertino-Tarrant worked on this program with Lynn Lowder, a former Marine officer and advocate for veterans becoming small-business owners. The program would be similar to agribusiness and farming programs administered by the state treasurer.

    Nearly half of World War II veterans and 40 percent of Korean War veterans went on to own or operate a business, according to Syracuse University‘s Institute for Veterans and Military Families.

    But now less than seven percent of returning veterans own their own businesses. Today’s veterans have fewer resources than their predecessors did.

    “Our veterans have made great sacrifices to serve our country,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “It’s our duty to empower them to channel the life skills and training they received in the field as they transition back to civilian life.”

    Bertino-Tarrant urges veterans visit www.il-fa.com to take advantage of this resource or contact her Plainfield office at (815) 254-4211 for more information.

  • State education leaders confirm Rauner plan bad for public schools, local taxpayers

    isbe approp 022718SPRINGFIELD – The governor’s plan to dump the state’s share of teacher pension costs on local school districts would have devastating effects on classrooms and learning throughout Illinois, state education officials said Tuesday.
     
    The testimony of State Superintendent of Schools Tony Smith and other education officials during a Senate budget hearing confirms what Democratic and Republican lawmakers have been saying since Gov. Bruce Rauner unveiled his budget plan Feb. 14.
     
    “The governor is playing the game of trickling expenses down to local districts. My school leaders are already facing high levels of unpredictability and uncertainty. They’re unable to carry a half-billion dollars in new spending that the governor is putting on them,” said State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant, a Democrat from Plainfield and a member of the Senate Appropriations II Committee.

  • Bertino-Tarrant’s “Kari’s Law” will be implemented nationwide

    jbt 120817PLAINFIELD –State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) is pleased to see nation-wide implementation of “Kari’s Law,” a measure she introduced in the Illinois Senate in 2014.

    Today, President Donald Trump signed legislation that requires newly installed business phone systems to allow users to dial "9-1-1" without needing to pre-dial a code such as the number "9."

    “We teach our children to dial 9-1-1 in case of emergencies. That number should work all the time from anywhere,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “In the time of crisis, you don’t have the time to learn new phone systems.”

  • Senate Dems react to governor's Fiscal 2019 budget address

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  • Senators react to governor's State of the State speech

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  • Bertino-Tarrant: Prioritize children over private school tax credits

    jbt 120817PLAINFIELD- State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) advanced legislation to ensure public schools are funded adequately before any state funds are diverted to pay for tax breaks to wealthy individuals and corporate scholarship donors. 

    “This initiative solidifies our bipartisan goal to fund our public schools in a way that guarantees our children are provided an excellent education regardless of their zip code,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “Every single dollar in state education spending should go toward the adequate education of our children until the disparities created by generations of systematic inequality in Illinois’ school system are fixed.”

    Bertino-Tarrant’s measure, Senate Bill 2236, was filed in response to Senate Bill 1947, which includes a five-year pilot program that would award a 75 percent tax credit to donors that contribute to scholarship funds for students to attend non-public schools. The credits are capped at of up to $1 million per taxpayer and $75 million statewide.  

    “Public education should be the top priority,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “It is unacceptable that these tax credits are diverting resources away from the classroom.”

    Bertino-Tarrant said this could take valuable taxpayer dollars away from Illinois’ public schools especially if the minimum funding level is not met.   

    “The bipartisan reform passed in the Senate and House stipulated that the General Assembly shall meet the minimum funding level each year. This new measure simply helps guarantee the legislature stays true to its promises,” Bertino-Tarrant said.

    The new school funding mechanism outlined in Senate Bill 1947 established an evidence-based funding formula to dispense state dollars to public schools. The formula institutes a base funding minimum that serves as a hold harmless to ensure school districts do not lose state dollars year after year.

    Any additional funding the General Assembly appropriates is distributed through a tier-based system that prioritizes the state’s poorest and most disadvantaged schools. The funding plan outlined in the new law includes a minimum funding level of $350 million in additional funding each year, with the goal of meeting the total statewide adequacy target over a period of time.

    Senate Bill 2236 passed the Senate’s Committee on Education and moves to the full senate for consideration.

  • Senators announce plan to connect rural schools to high-speed internet

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  • Rauner’s veto creates uncertainty for Will County schools

    jbt 120817PLAINFIELD- In light of the most recent spate of chaos created by Gov. Bruce Rauner, State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) is calling for a pause on the award of tax credits to scholarship donors.

    “If our schools are not receiving state funding, scholarship donors should not receive tax rebates on the taxpayer’s dime,” said Bertino-Tarrant, chairwoman of the Senate’s education committee.  “It is concerning that the tax program is up and running while our schools have not received funding or even been informed how many state dollars they can count on for the next school year.”

    Funding clarity has been denied to public schools because Rauner vetoed Senate Bill 444, a technical piece of legislation previously requested by the governor’s administration to help clarify and quickly implement school funding reform. His veto of the measure will do just the opposite of that.

  • Bertino-Tarrant’s law to make addiction-fighting resources readily available takes effect in the new year

    JBTAprilPLAINFIELD- Families across the 49th State Senate District will soon have more resources readily available to fight the opioid epidemic, thanks to State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood).

    Bertino-Tarrant’s new law requires the Illinois Department of Human Services (DHS) to create and maintain a website to educate people on heroin and prescription opioid abuse. The measure, enacted through House Bill 3161, found bipartisan support as it passed the General Assembly.

    “Opioid addiction does not see age, socioeconomic class, race or religion,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “It is vital for our families, friends and neighbors to have resources readily available to help their loved ones kick this deadly habit.”

    On Jan. 1, DHS will begin work on a website that will include the warning signs of heroin and opioid addiction, helpful tips for parents on how to discuss the dangers of addiction with their children, available treatment options and services and other related information.

    “This website will help save lives,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “It is absolutely critical that we work together as a state to combat this epidemic. If we can save one life, it is worth it.”

    Will County saw a record number of heroin-related deaths in 2016; this was an increase of more than 40 percent from 2015. According to the Will County coroner’s office, 77 people died in Will County due to opioid overdoses in 2016.

    “This new resource will help equip Will County residents with essential information to save lives,” Dr. Kathleen Burke, Director of Substance Use Initiatives, Will County Executive’s Office said. “Education is a key element to end the opioid overdose epidemic in communities across Illinois. Our hope is providing parents and loved ones with the right tools will help individuals seek treatment sooner. We look forward to working with Senator Bertino-Tarrant to continue to fight this crisis and eliminate this problem from our communities once and for all.”