Leading News Archives March 2019

March 29, 2019
In today’s Leading News, read a national take on charter schools, and what’s next for them.  Decatur SD 61 considers the best way to hire minority and local workers for its facilities plan. Next week’s election includes the much-watched Hinsdale THSD 86 referendum. Panhandle CUSD 2 will host the alternativeprogram for ROE 3. Also in the news, a CBTA analysis posits that the Evidence-Based Funding Formula is effective but underfunded.

Chicago Sun-Times, March 28

Valerie Wells, Decatur Herald and Review, March 27

Gregg Voss, Pioneer Press/The Doings, Hinsdale, March 24

Kyle Herschelman, Journal-News, Hillsboro, March 21

Jerry Nowicki, CNI/State Journal-Register, Springfield, March 27

March 28, 2019
In today’s Leading News, Watseka High School shares the “Stateof the District” at a community event. Oak Park River Forest HSD 200 reorganizes its administrative team. Outgoing Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel expands universal preschool in Chicago. Peoria Public Schools will revisit a decision to change school start times. Also in the news, reaction comes in from man corners on U.S. Department of Education budget priorities, which includes cutting federal funds for Special Olympics.

Carla Waters, Iroquois County Times-Republic, March 24

Steve Schering, Pioneer Press/Oak Leaves, March 25

Mitchell Armentrout, Chicago Sun-Times, March 21

Scott Hilyard, Journal Star, Peoria, March 25

Des Bieler, Washington Post/Chicago Tribune, March 27


March 27, 2019
In today’s Leading News, a study shows up to $1 billion of federal funds has been spent on charter schools that never opened or did not stay open. Elmwood Park CUSD 401 will have full-day kindergarten. Courses are added to the Naperville CUSD 203 high school curriculum, including a high-level math class that is drawing community scrutiny. CPS principals received their budgets for the upcoming school year.  Also in the news, in a severe measles outbreak, a New York County has issued an unusual emergency public health order keeping unvaccinated children out of public places.

US wasted up to $1 billion on charter schools
and still lacks oversight, report finds
Washington Post as published in the Lincoln Courier, March 25

Full-day kindergarten approved in Elmwood Park;
officials now focused on possible 2020 referendum attempt
Cheryl Waity, Pioneer Press/Elm Leaves, March 24

District 203 adds 10 high school courses,
including a math class that challenges college students,
official says
Suzanne Baker, Naperville Sun, March 25

CPS principals get school budgets for next year
Stefano Esposito, Chicago Sun-Times, March 22

New York Suburb Declares Measles Emergency,
Barring Unvaccinated Children From Public
Michael Gold and Tyler Pager, New York Times, March 26


March 26, 2019
In today’s Leading News, THSD 113 eliminates new-hire tiers, will have a uniform salary schedule and comparable benefits regardless of hiring date. A music theory class offered at Quincy High School draws attention, and cancellation. Alden-Hebron SD 19 presents voters with a referendum for new middle and high school facilities. Also in the news, alternative schools seek their place in the funding formula.

New agreement between Township High School District 113, teachers
eliminates 2-tier salary schedule
Karen Berkowitz, Pioneer Press/Highland Park News, March 21

Parent questions validity of QHS music theory class
Deborah Gertz Husar, Herald-Whig, Quincy, March 21

QPS superintendent says music theory class 'a mistake'
Herald-Whig, Quincy, March 23

Alden-Hebron School District 19 residents
to face $20.3M referendum question
Brittany Keeperman, Northwest Herald, March 23

School Funding Left Out A Few Thousand Kids
Dusty Rhodes, WUIS Education Desk, Springfield, March 19


March 25, 2019
In 
today’s Leading News, the Illinois legislature considers changes to teacher licensing tests. THSD 113’s new teacher contract will place all teachers on a uniform salary schedule. Rock Island County school districts discuss public access to board of education meeting agenda attachments. Pekin High School offers its community a “State of the District” update. Also in the news, reports indicate that the Parkland, Florida school shooting in 2018 continues to take a tragic toll.

Why Illinois lawmakers want to change teacher licensing tests
Peter Hancock, CNI/Daily Herald, Chicago suburbs, March 25

New agreement between Township High School District 113 teachers
eliminates 2-tier salary schedule
Karen Berkowitz, Pioneer Press/Highland Park News, March 21

Many RICo school districts don't routinely make documents 
available to public
Nicole Lauer, Quad Cities Dispatch-Argus, March 23

State of the District event highlights PCHS programs, students
Mike Kramer, Pekin Daily Times, March 19

Second Parkland school student dead in "apparent suicide": Police
Amber Randall, WRSP, Springfield, March 24


March 22, 2019
In today’s Leading News, Quincy High School is looking at three new courses next year, and the area vocational school is proposing  a course on robotics.  An election complaint has been filed against the Geneva teachers union for actions supporting three board candidates. A bill in the General Assembly would give voters the authority to force school districts into resource-sharing agreements. Meanwhile a vocational area superintendent proposed an "instructional coach" position during a presentation to the school board on Monday. Finally in the news, the Chrisman school board has approved a plan to give Chromebooks to all students in grades 6-12 next year, thanks in large part to a state grant.

Deborah Gertz Husar, Herald-Whig, Quincy, March 20

Susan Sarkauskas, Daily Herald, Chicago suburbs, March 19

Jerry Nowicki, CNI/Peoria Journal Star, March 19

Linda Bell, The Register-Mail, Galesburg, March 19

Gary Henry, Prairie Press, Paris, March 18


March 21, 2019
In today’s Leading News, 32 Chicago Public Schools will see new STEM investments over the next six years. A school district in northwestern Illinois plans to take out bonds to cover increased construction costs, while an eastern Illinois district will see a small savings on newly renovated science labs. A Hinsdale District 86 referendum will have plenty of campaign funds in support of its approval before the April 2 election. Finally in the news, Decatur Public Schools will have some new four-legged friends on its land after a change in city code.


32 CPS schools to get $32 million for new STEM,
fine arts and language programs

Madeline Buckley, Chicago Tribune, March 19

Board to vote on $6.85M bonds
Cody Cutter, Sauk Valley News, March 19

Board to vote on CHS science lab work bid
Dave Fopay, Journal Gazette and Times Courier, Charleston/Mattoon, March 19

Hinsdale District 86 referendum supporters
contribute more than $245,000 to campaign

Kimberly Fornek, Pioneer Press/The Doings, Hinsdale, March 19

Decatur city council OKs farm animals for ag academy,
$389,707 lake parking lot project

Jaylyn Cook, Decatur Herald and Review, March 18



March 20, 2019
In today’s Leading News, DeKalb County schools address the teacher and substitute shortage, while Homewood SD 153 also works to fill staff and teacher positions. Champaign CUSD 4 talks about compensated home visits. A plan for a solar field for Kildeer-Countryside CCSD 96 is being revised. Also in the news, The University of Illinois at Chicago aims to give art students an additional degree in Art Education and the option to obtain a teaching license.

DeKalb, Sycamore school officials address
latest teacher shortage reports, substitute shortage
Kelsey Rettke, DeKalb Daily Chronicle, March 16

School districts searching near and far for top candidates
Marilyn Thomas, Homewood-Flossmoor Chronicle, March 19

Champaign teachers union rolling out plans
for newly compensated home visits
Lyndsay Jones, News-Gazette, Champaign, March 19

School district revises plan for solar field in Long Grove
Bob Susnjara, Daily Herald, Chicago suburbs, March 13

UIC draws up plan to help train high school art teachers
AP/Sun-Times, Chicago, March 11


March 19, 2019
In today’s Leading News, the vaccination debate gets new attention amid measles outbreaks. Conversations about student stress and success are on the rise. In other news for schedule-stretchers, U-46 students may be able to try physical education online, outside of the school day and school ground. Limestone CHSD 310 gets an explanation of the wording of its referendum question. Also in the news, public employee groups decry the state’s 2010 pension reform measures and warn about the impact of teacher retirement plan rules on future federal compliance.

Are vaccinations about parent choice or public safety?
Illinois among top 5 states for measles as debate heats up
Suzanne Baker, Naperville Sun, March 16

'She can eat during passing period':
How college pressures are causing serious anxiety problems in students
Katherine Rosenberg-Douglas, Chicago Tribune, March 17

Take PE remotely? U-46 to test online high school phys ed courses
Madhu Krishnamurthy, Daily Herald, Chicago suburbs, March 16

Limestone voters asked to revisit education fund tax rate
Scott Hilyard, Peoria Journal Star, March 12

Illinois’ Tier 2 pension system under attack,
called patently unfair and possibly illegal
Peter Hancock, CNI/News-Democrat, Belleville, March 15


March 18, 2019
In today’s Leading News, Deerfield SD 109 hears requests for a return to “regular” math. The Altamont CUSD 10 school board takes time to “pause for applause.” St. Charles CUSD 303 is recommended to undergo a policy review after complaints about political activity. Bloomington SD 87 outlines reductions in force. Also in the news, a deep look at facilities in Rock Island/Milan SD 41.

After 'regular' math class eliminated,
Deerfield parents argue remaining middle school math options
too rigorous
Steve Sadin, Pioneer Press/Deerfield Review, March 16

Variety of Items Acted On by Altamont Board
Greg Sapp, WXEF, Effingham, March 15

Report: District 303 board president unintentionally violated ethics policy
Lauren Rohr, Daily Herald, Chicago suburbs, March 14

District 87 reduction in force affects 11 people
Lenore Sobota, The Pantagraph, Bloomington, March 14

Traveling the tunnels: A look at what lies beneath Rock Island schools
Leon Lagerstam, Quad Cities Dispatch-Argus, March 17


March 15, 2019
In today’s Leading News, bills before Illinois legislative committees deal with the issues of district reorganization and consolidation. A bill requiring specifically-funded public school textbooks be unbiased and recognize the contributions of LGBT individuals moves to Senate committee. West Carroll CUSD 314 will send fifth-graders from middle to elementary school. Teachers with “extra-duty” assignments are asked to re-apply for those positions as Decatur SD 61 undergoes reconfigurations. Also in the news, a museum exhibit features School District U-46’s Elgin High School during its 150th anniversary.

Dusty Rhodes, WUIS Education Desk, Springfield, March 13

By Peter Hancock, CNI/State Journal-Register, Springfield, March 13

Samantha Pidde, Carroll County News, March 13

Valerie Wells, Decatur Herald and Review, March 12

Rafael Guerrero, Elgin Courier-News, March 13


March 14, 2019
In today’s Leading News, Warren THSD 121 has reached a tentative agreement with its teachers union. The news features more local looks at the nation- and statewide teacher shortage. Also in the news, Lincoln Elem SD 27 students offer “A Walk through the 1860s” as they study the Civil War.

Doug T. Graham, Daily Herald, Chicago suburbs, March 14

Jarad Jarmon, Journal Gazette and Times Courier, Charleston/Mattoon, March 13

AP/Decatur Herald and Review, March 13

Peter Hancock and Lexi Cortes, Belleville News-Democrat, March 11

Lincoln Courier, March 11


March 13, 2019
In today’s Leading News, Danville SD 118 reviews facilities for safety upgrades. Pleasant Plains CCSD 8 parents protest the movies shown and discussed in a high school film class. School District U-46 approves lights and other upgrades to athletic facilities at South Elgin High School. A survivor of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida advocates against gun control measures while speaking at Hinsdale THSD 86. Also in the news, small and rural communities consider impacts of changes to the U.S. Census.

Carol Roehm, Danville Commercial-News, March 12

Amanda Henderson, WICS/WRSP, Springfield, March 11

Rafael Guerrero, The Courier-News, Elgin, March 10

Kimberly Fornek, Pioneer Press/The Doings, Hinsdale, March 11

Grant Morgan, CNI/The Southern Illinoisan, Carbondale, March 11


March 12, 2019
In today’s Leading News, read about the ongoing teacher shortage: The State Journal-Register reports on the IARSS survey; Indian Prairie CUSD 204 aims to bring young alums back to teach; and Decatur SD 61 participates in a job fair. In other news, Peoria Public Schools plans to realign grade levels at three schools and Effingham CUSD 40 to opts against weighted class grades.

Cassie Buchman, State Journal-Register, Springfield, March 3

Suzanne Baker, Naperville Sun, March 11

Kennedy Nolen, Decatur Herald and Review, February 27

Scott Hilyard, Journal Star, Peoria, March 11

Greg Sapp, WXEF, Effingham, March 11


March 11, 2019
In today’s Leading News, the Associated Press examines the status of the of the state’s 1990s-era grant program amid a push for a new statewide capital construction program. “Booming” Bourbonnais SD 53 plans for growth. Neighbors, the village, and THSD 113 discuss plans for a new scoreboard for Deerfield High School athletic fields. A new program offers STEM ed to African-American, Hispanic and women in engineering and computer science fields. Also in the news, measles outbreaks in six states, including Illinois, lead to conversations about vaccinations.

John O’Connor, Associated Press /The State Journal-Register, Springfield, March 9

John Dykstra, Kankakee Daily Journal, March 2

Steve Sadin, Pioneer Press/Deerfield News, March 3

Manny Ramos, Chicago Sun Times, March 1

Lauren Rohr, Daily Herald, Chicago suburbs, March 11


March 8, 2019
In today’s Leading News, proposed legislation would increase clean energy jobs and related training in schools. Lawmakers hear from students against legalized recreational marijuana. Hinsdale THSD 86 proposes to increase class sizes and cut teaching positions. Oak Park-River Forest HSD 200 students protest a personnel review that followed a student walkout. Also in the news, new state funding for Quincy SD 172 increases scheduled raises for teachers and staff.

Cassie Buchman, State Journal-Register, Springfield, March 1

Robert McCoppin, Chicago Tribune, March 6

Kimberly Fornek, Pioneer Press/The Doings, Hinsdale, March 6

Phil Rockrohr, Pioneer Press/Oak Leaves, Oak Park, March 1

Deborah Gertz Husar, Herald-Whig, Quincy, February 28

March 7, 2019
In today’s Leading News, Metro East schools work to deal with vaping. East Aurora USD 131 adds more physical education and Spanish classes to its elementary curriculum. A proposed bill would provide a definition for and explanation of “consent” in sex education classes. Indian Prairie CUSD 204 opines on economic development. Also in the news, read additional takes on the new, shorter, state assessments.

Kavahn Mansouri, Highland News-Leader, March 4

Susan Sarkauskas, Russell Lissau, Daily Herald, Chicago suburbs, March 4

Cassie Buchman, State Journal-Register, Springfield, March 3

Suzanne Baker, Naperville Sun, March 5

Karen Berkowitz, Pioneer Press/Highland Park News, March 2


March 6, 2019
In today’s Leading News, new State Superintendent of Education Carmen Ayala talks funding with the state Senate. Evanston THSD 202 considers body cameras for school police officers. Panhandle CUSD 2 (Raymond) schedules roofing work. Bloomington District 87 reviews its process after higher-than-expected bids for capital projects. Also in the news, a program to monitor social media drew criticism, but also results, according to CPS’s head of safety and security.

New ISBE superintendent supportive of added education funding
Jerry Nowicki, CNI/State Journal-Register, Springfield, March 5

Police officers inside Evanston Township High School
will soon be able to use body cameras
Genevieve Bookwalter, Pioneer Press/Evanston News, March 4

Panhandle School Board Ready For Roofing Bids
Kyle Herschelman, Journal-News, Hillsboro, February 28

Higher-than-expected bids spark District 87 review
Lenore Sobota, The Pantagraph, Bloomington, February 28

Social media monitoring drastically cut down misconduct:
CPS security chief
Mitchell Armentrout, Chicago Sun-Times, February 28


March 5, 2019
In today’s Leading news, PARCC is out, IAR is next. Effingham County considers the school facilities sales tax. A bill now before the Illinois House requires curriculum noting the contributions of LGBT individuals. Orland SD 135 gets a “do-over.” Also in the news, last week’s “creepy” internet hoax drew the attention of school districts.

Illinois scraps controversial PARCC test
in favor of shorter exam with new name
Kate Thayer, Chicago Tribune, March 5

April referendum: School Facilities Tax
Officials discuss April 2 referendum
Dawn Schabbing, Effingham Daily News, March 1

Lawmaker pushes for ‘non-discriminatory’ textbooks
that highlight LGBT contributions
Peter Hancock CNI/The Telegraph, Alton, February 27

Orland school district rescinds program and staff cuts\
 after public outcry: 'We get a do-over'
Mike Nolan, Daily Southtown, Chicago and suburbs, February 28

Decatur School District warns parents
about 'Momo Challenge,' a creepy internet hoax
Valerie Wells, Decatur Herald and Review, March 1


March 1, 2019
In today’s Leading News, The U.S. Department of Education announces support for a federal school choice tax credit. The Rock Island/Milan SD 41 Board of Education considers requests for upgrades to athletic facilities. Jacksonville SD 117 offers students means to recognize signs of potential violence or self-harm. Barrington CUSD 220 holds public sessions on its upcoming referendum. Also in the news, Decatur SD 61 students discover lesser-known historical figures during Black History Month.

DeVos Announces Support
For Proposed School Choice Tax Credit
Clare Lombardo, NPR News/WUIS, Springfield, February 2

Parents push for upgraded athletic facilities
Nicole Lauer, Quad Cities Dispatch-Argus, February 25

Students encouraged to ‘Say Something’
Samantha McDaniel-Ogletree, Journal Courier, Jacksonville, February 25

Barrington School District 220 leaders describe in public forum 
how $185M asked for in referendum will be used
Steve Sadin, Pioneer Press/Barrington News, February 26

Heard of Elijah McCoy? Dennis School highlights
lesser-known figures during Black History Month
Valerie Wells, Decatur Herald and Review, February 22



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