Saturday, May 23, 2015

Cash Penalties for Salary Spikes for near retirees

What The Chicago Tribune failed to state is that some of these raises were in labor contracts and/or individual administrator’s contacts prior to enactment of the law and as such must be paid.

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This information is available at: 

http://www.chicagotribune.com/ct-search-for-cash-penalties-at-your-school-district-database-pension-20150522-htmlstory.html

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Friday, May 22, 2015

Amid questions about Title 1 funding, achievement gap persists in Belvidere schools - News - Rockford Register Star - Rockford, IL

 

BELVIDERE — The state's strategy for covering its unfunded pension liability by charging school districts exorbitant fees on federal Title 1 funds is disproportionately affecting minority students.
According to standardized test results tracked by the Illinois State Board of Education, the dividing lines between race and achievement on standardized tests essentially mirror those of class and achievement. Students who are living in poverty are far more likely than students who aren't to score lower on state math, science and reading tests.
In Belvidere, minority students are far more likely to experience poverty.
The U.S. Census Bureau estimated the per-capita income of non-Hispanic whites in Belvidere at $24,406 in 2013. The estimated per-capita income of Hispanic or Latino residents that year was $12,824 and for African-American residents, it was $12,506.
Achievement gaps are largest between rich white and poor minority students.
Percentage of students who met or exceeded standards on ISAT reading exams in Belvidere schools&#xa0
"It’s kind of a sharp reality that we’re dealing with," Belvidere Superintendent Michael Houselog said. "There is certainly a national trend along those lines, and we’ve been working really hard in the past six to 10 years to really try to close that gap.”
Programs funded by Title 1 exist to close those gaps. Title 1 was created during Lyndon B. Johnson's presidency to level the playing field between wealthy and poor students by financing education programs that target students who are falling behind in districts with high concentrations of low-income families.
A Register Star special report on the federal funds rate set by Illinois legislators on Title 1 revealed that the Belvidere School District was forced to pay $400,000 of its Title 1 funding this year to the Illinois Teachers Retirement System. Administrators had been planning to use that money to hire math specialists in five elementary schools who would have helped underachieving students catch up to their peers.
The Rockford School District paid nearly $2 million to TRS this year. All told, $59 million of Title 1 funding was paid into TRS by school districts statewide.
In 2014, 44 percent of low-income students in Belvidere met or exceeded math standards on the Illinois Standard Achievement Test, whereas 67 percent of students who were not identified as low-income met or exceeded those standards. The numbers by race: 45 percent of Hispanic or Latino students, 41 percent of black students and 65 percent of white students met or exceeded state math standards last year.

Read more of this article:  Amid questions about Title 1 funding, achievement gap persists in Belvidere schools - News - Rockford Register Star - Rockford, IL

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Illinois House Passes Bill Allowing Parents To Opt-Out Children From PARCC Test « CBS Chicago

 

(CBS)Parents unhappy about the PARCC test are one step closer to a formal process for opting their children out of it now that the Illinois House has approved a bill.

Wendy Katten, director of the parent group Raise Your Hand, says the 64-47 vote was validation for months of hard work and a sign that lawmakers listened to parents.

“This is just a way for those parents who don’t think that their kids should take the test to have to have the right,” said Wendy Katten, director of Raise Your Hand. “It really shouldn’t require a bill.”

The vote did not break along strict party lines, something Katten attributes to widespread support

Illinois House Passes Bill Allowing Parents To Opt-Out Children From PARCC Test « CBS Chicago

Monday, May 18, 2015

On the backs of kids: Money for poor children paying off Illinois pensions - News - Rockford Register Star - Rockford, IL

 

 

Rockford sent nearly $2 million — above and beyond what it normally would contribute for teacher pensions — to Springfield as part of a “federal funds rate” charged to districts receiving Title 1 money.

Statewide, the federal funds rate generated $74.5 million last year, about $59 million of which went to address unfunded pension liability.

 

Read the entire story:  Money for poor children paying off Illinois pensions - News - Rockford Register Star - Rockford, IL