Friday, March 4, 2016

Wheaton’s “fired” prof now at Virginia

image

A professor who was placed on leave at an Illinois Christian college and later agreed to part ways with the school after asserting that Christians and Muslims worship the same God is joining the faculty at the University of Virginia.

The university's Institute of Advanced Studies in Culture said Thursday in a statement Larycia Hawkins accepted a position as the Abd el-Kader Visiting Faculty Fellow. The institute says she will research relationships between religions and races.

Hawkins was teaching political science at Wheaton College when she posted her views about Muslims and Christians on Facebook and donned the headscarf worn by some Muslim women to counter what she called "vitriolic" rhetoric against Muslims.

Wheaton College announced last month that it and Hawkins reached a "confidential agreement" for her to leave.

Above is from:  http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/professor-left-illinois-christian-college-heads-uva-37371599

Thursday, March 3, 2016

After veto override fails , Madigan introduces new higher ed funding plan

Dan Petrella The Southern Springfield Bureau Updated 8 hrs ago 0

SPRINGFIELD -- Hours after the Illinois House failed to override Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner’s veto of a higher education funding bill, the chamber’s Democratic leader announced a new plan to fund universities, community colleges and grants to low-income students -- along with several human services programs.

The House will be asked Thursday to consider a bill that would fund the programs at the same levels as the General Assembly approved in May, said Steve Brown, a spokesman for House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago. That funding is tied to another measure that would do away with a requirement that the state repay within 18 months about $450 million that was borrowed from special funds to plug holes in last year’s budget.

Funding for higher education and some human services has been caught up in a deadlock between Rauner and Democratic leaders in the Legislature, now in its ninth month.

Brown called the plan announced Wednesday evening “a new compromise effort that contains an agreed funding source.”

The bill Rauner vetoed would have spent $721.5 million on grants for low-income students through the Monetary Award Program and operations at community colleges. Republicans in the House and Senate, none of whom voted to buck the governor, criticized the Democratic-backed bill because they said there was no way to pay for it.

Rep. Terri Bryant, R-Murphysboro, who represents Southern Illinois University Carbondale, called it “a hoax.”

“It’s a lie,” Bryant said. “It’s smoke and mirrors.”

Rep. Dan Brady, R-Bloomington, who represents Illinois State University, likened it to trying to save someone who’s drowning.

“You’d throw that person a life jacket, but you wouldn’t throw them a life jacket that had no material in it to keep them and the life jacket afloat,” Brady said.

They and other Republicans argued that lawmakers should consider proposals they’ve made, which they said include funding for public universities and ways to pay the associated expenses.

One GOP-backed proposal, which Rauner expressed support for earlier this week, would free up money for emergency funding to universities and community colleges by doing away with the special fund repayment requirement.

Noting the Rauner’s support for the concept, Brown said, “We’ll try to meet the governor partway.”

Earlier in the day, Rep. Kelly Burke, D-Evergreen Park, the vetoed bill’s House sponsor, argued that funding MAP grants and community colleges was a good first step toward funding the entire higher education system.

“I hear some concerns from the other side that somehow this is bad for taxpayers,” Burke said. “I’ll tell you what’s bad for taxpayers: closing universities, shutting down the higher education system, limiting access to universities.

“Students are taxpayers. The folks who work at universities are taxpayers. The people who live in towns that are supported by institutions, such as Carbondale, DeKalb, Macomb, Charleston, Champaign, Urbana, Chicago, University Park, Bloomington, those folks are taxpayers too, and when their biggest economic engine in those areas goes down or suffers because of the crippling effect of our inaction, we’re going to hear from (them).”

Ultimately, the House fell two votes short of overriding Rauner’s veto, with Rep. Scott Drury, D-Highwood, voting against the proposal and Rep. Luis Arroyo, D-Chicago, absent. That followed a successful override vote in the Senate.

After the House vote, Rauner’s office praised Republican lawmakers and Drury for “standing up for taxpayers today.”

“Despite the Governor's request that the General Assembly not waste time with a political vote that was never going to pass, the legislature is poised to leave students, universities and community colleges in the lurch for at least a month,” spokeswoman Catherine Kelly said in a prepared statement. “We continue to urge Democratic leaders not to recess until the General Assembly passes a bipartisan proposal to fund MAP (grants) and higher education.”

With primaries coming March 15, the House is scheduled to leave town after Thursday’s session and not reconvene until April.

Above is from:  http://thesouthern.com/news/local/govt-and-politics/house-fails-to-override-rauner-s-veto-of-higher-education/article_de57f715-2339-5408-a82d-167050905675.html

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Harrison School District 36 (Wonder Lake, McHenry County) to refund $127,000 in tax lawsuit settlement

Harrison School District 36 to refund $127,000 in tax lawsuit settlement

Published: Tuesday, March 1, 2016 5:18 p.m. CST • Updated: Wednesday, March 2, 2016 12:45 a.m. CST

 

By ALLISON GOODRICH - agoodrich@shawmedia.com

WONDER LAKE – A group of McHenry County residents will be refunded part of their property taxes paid to Harrison School District 36, according to a settlement that brought the district's involvement in a tax objection lawsuit to an end.

In total, $123,071.54 will be refunded to District 36 taxpayers, according to the settlement agreement, obtained by the Northwest Herald under the Freedom of Information Act.

"The transportation fund is being refunded because that is the one that was over," District 36 Superintendent Sue Wings said.

Represented by Timothy Dwyer of the St. Charles-based Dwyer Law Office, the 132 plaintiffs challenged the district's entire 2014 levy, but specifically named the transportation fund levy of $1.8 million, court documents said.

McHenry County Treasurer Glenda Miller said she will be refunding the money by deducting it from District 36's tax revenue distributions. She expects taxpayers will receive refunds by late May or early June.

"This impacts us in the sense that we're going to lose those funds, but we want to be cognizant of the fact that we're not here to take taxpayer dollars if we don't have to," Wings said.

Moving forward, this is something the district will be more attentive about, she added.

"Very much so," Wings said. "We've actually started putting a plan in place to stop that from happening. We've looked at different ways we can receive funding, whether through fundraising, grants or just cutting costs."

This year, the District 36 board approved a reduced property tax levy of an estimated $3.73 million compared to last year's $4.56 million, she added.

District 36 was named in the November 2015 suit along with Community High School District 155, Crystal Lake Elementary School District 47, Algonquin Township, Algonquin Road District, McHenry Township and McHenry Road District.

In such lawsuits, the county treasurer and collector – in this case, Miller – is named as a defendant, but the independent taxing entities are the “real party interests,” Dwyer has said.

The settlement, which took about a month and half to reach, has satisfied at least the few plaintiffs he has spoken with since, Dwyer said.

As for the other two school districts, he said there have been a couple procedural court appearances.

"[Their lawyers] have filed some motions, and I'm going to amend the complaints," Dwyer said, declining to specify what amendments might be made.

District 47 officials said the district would not be commenting on the lawsuit, and District 155 officials did not return calls for comment.

(Continued from Page 1)

WONDER LAKE – A group of McHenry County residents will be refunded part of their property taxes paid to Harrison School District 36, according to a settlement that brought the district's involvement in a tax objection lawsuit to an end.

In total, $123,071.54 will be refunded to District 36 taxpayers, according to the settlement agreement, obtained by the Northwest Herald under the Freedom of Information Act.

"The transportation fund is being refunded because that is the one that was over," District 36 Superintendent Sue Wings said.

Represented by Timothy Dwyer of the St. Charles-based Dwyer Law Office, the 132 plaintiffs challenged the district's entire 2014 levy, but specifically named the transportation fund levy of $1.8 million, court documents said.

McHenry County Treasurer Glenda Miller said she will be refunding the money by deducting it from District 36's tax revenue distributions. She expects taxpayers will receive refunds by late May or early June.

"This impacts us in the sense that we're going to lose those funds, but we want to be cognizant of the fact that we're not here to take taxpayer dollars if we don't have to," Wings said.

Moving forward, this is something the district will be more attentive about, she added.

"Very much so," Wings said. "We've actually started putting a plan in place to stop that from happening. We've looked at different ways we can receive funding, whether through fundraising, grants or just cutting costs."

This year, the District 36 board approved a reduced property tax levy of an estimated $3.73 million compared to last year's $4.56 million, she added.

District 36 was named in the November 2015 suit along with Community High School District 155, Crystal Lake Elementary School District 47, Algonquin Township, Algonquin Road District, McHenry Township and McHenry Road District.

In such lawsuits, the county treasurer and collector – in this case, Miller – is named as a defendant, but the independent taxing entities are the “real party interests,” Dwyer has said.

The settlement, which took about a month and half to reach, has satisfied at least the few plaintiffs he has spoken with since, Dwyer said.

As for the other two school districts, he said there have been a couple procedural court appearances.

"[Their lawyers] have filed some motions, and I'm going to amend the complaints," Dwyer said, declining to specify what amendments might be made.

District 47 officials said the district would not be commenting on the lawsuit, and District 155 officials did not return calls for comment.

A status hearing for the case is scheduled for 9 a.m. April 12 before Judge Thomas A. Meyer.

Above is from:  http://www.nwherald.com/2016/02/29/harrison-school-district-36-to-refund-127-000-in-tax-lawsuit-settlement/a9vmjer/?page=2