Lightford

  • Senator Lightford speaks at a press conference

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


  • Lightford expands educational opportunities for minority teachers

    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: It’s not too late to do what’s right for our kids

    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.

  • Women's History Month 2016: Honoring Women in Public Service and Government

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  • Senate votes to override Rauner veto of MAP, college funding (AUDIO)

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  • Sen. Lightford on overriding MAP grant funding veto

    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.


  • Black lawmakers react to governor’s budget address

    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."

  • No mention of college, seniors, disabled, veterans in Rauner budget speech (VIDEO)

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  • Sen. Lightford on the gov.'s second budget address

    Assistant Majority Leader and Legislative Black Caucus Leader Kimberly A. Lightford (D-Maywood) speaks regarding the governor's budget address at a recent press conference.


  • Senate welcomes President back to Springfield

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  • Sen. Lightford argues in defense of MAP Grants

    Senator Kimberly A. Lightford (D-Maywood) argues in defense of MAP grants on the Senate chamber floor on January 28, 2016.


  • MAP grants, community colleges funding head to governor (AUDIO)

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  • Black Caucus: State of the State speech lacked scope, vision (VIDEO)

    ILBC lightford 012716The message was clear and the call for action united as members of the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus gathered outside the Senate chamber to voice their response to Governor Rauner’s State of the State address.

    The press conference began with ILBC Chair Kimberly Lightford giving opening remarks setting the stage for a number of initiatives important to the African-American community to be discussed, including education equity, restoring essential social services and police brutality and incarceration reform.

  • Sen. Lightford discusses the State of the State

    Senator Kimberly A. Lightford (D-Maywood) shares her thoughts after listening to the governor's State of the State address on January 27, 2016.


  • Senate Democrats react to State of the State address (VIDEO)

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  • Lightford responds to Cullerton's school funding reform speech

    lightford cps 012016CHICAGO—Senate Assistant Majority Leader Kimberly Lightford (D-Maywood) issued the following statement in strong support of Senate President John Cullerton’s speech detailing the necessity for need-based school funding reform Monday at the City Club of Chicago.

    “Just as President Cullerton expressed so eloquently today, we must continue to shed light on one of the grossest injustices setting back Illinois today – the iniquities of our school funding system. Working together is the only way we turn our education system’s regression into progression. It’s the only way we turn systemic disadvantage into education equity. If we don’t act now in the interest of our children’s futures, it will be too late for another generation, and this, we cannot afford.” Sen. Lightford said.

  • Rauner’s unnecessary hostile takeover

    lightford cps 012016SPRINGFIELD – In response to the forthcoming legislation seeking to allow for the bankruptcy and government takeover of the city of Chicago and Chicago Public Schools being pushed by the governor and Republican leaders, Senate Assistant Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford released the following statement.

    “The Republican administration has gone too far, and the governor has shirked his real duties to the people. If he wants so desperately to restructure Chicago Public Schools, he should start by restructuring the systemic prejudice that continues to permeate our children’s schools.

    “Chicago is not a third world country to be seized by a government. This is not our path to success. All of our leaders need to treat Chicago students and teachers with respect, value them as equally as any other student or teacher and be willing to proactively restructure our education system for the next generation.”

  • Senate Democrats make social justice reform and criminal justice reform top priority

    Senate Democrats make social justice reform and criminal justice reform top priorityThousands of police body cameras will hit the streets in the new year under major reforms sponsored by Senate Democrats in an effort to increase public accountability and confidence in the wake of scandals and unrest.

    The new law, Senate Bill 1304, takes effect Jan. 1 and sets the official parameters for the use of police body cameras, increases training and reporting requirements for officers and clarifies the public’s right to access the videos. It is one of several key criminal and social justice reforms enacted by Senate Democrats in 2015, covering everything from protecting students’ educational rights to common-sense consumer laws aiding women trying to escape domestic violence.

    “We’ve made great strides this year in defending the public’s right to be properly protected, with justice for all,” said State Senator Kwame Raoul, a Hyde Park Democrat who emerged as one of the state’s leading reform advocates.

  • New year, better way to prioritize needs of developmentally disabled

    lightford 120715SPRINGFIELD – On Jan.1, 2016, students with developmental disabilities will find it easier to get the help they and their families need. Sponsored by Assistant Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford (D – Maywood), a new law that goes into effect the first of the year requires the state to train public school case workers to register disabled students with PUNS (Prioritization or Urgency of Need for Services) database.

    The database records information about individuals with developmental disabilities who are potentially in need of services. Experts have argued that due to a lack of awareness, PUNS is under-utilized, and therefore, people with developmental disabilities across the state are not getting the services they need.

    “Our education system should be optimized to serve and develop all students to reach their fullest potential,” said Sen. Lightford. “This law is protecting our children and families from being overlooked or neglected through the power of institutional and academic synergy.”

    The law will ensure students in Illinois public schools and parents have the information they need to register with PUNS if they so choose.

    DHS and ISBE would develop a program for and conduct the training of public school employees so they are as prepared as possible to provide these students and their families with the information and advice they need. The law also requires ISBE to inform parents and guardians about updates with the PUNS waiting list through the school districts.

    POINTS OF EMPHASIS

    1. An effort to increase awareness of this valuable resource
    2. New training program for case workers to ensure students and parents in all public schools are well aware of the opportunities afforded to disabled students by signing up
    3. Yearly opportunities for individuals to sign up for the PUNS list to be provided in cases where training is not available
    4. Applies to all public school districts
    5. DHS choosing individuals based on need level and available funding
    6. Passed House unanimously, Senate concurred unanimously


    In addition, the Illinois Senate Democratic Caucus has a list on its website of 16 pieces of the legislation that will become effective Jan 1.

  • Senate sends local funding measure to governor

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