The Illinois Senate has passed two bills that would give Chicago more charters—in one case, by shifting slots to the city from the suburbs and downstate Illinois. Under the bill sponsored by state Sen. Kimberly Lightford (D-Maywood), five new slots would be shifted to Chicago, giving the city 35 charters—more than half the statewide cap of 60. The new charters would be solely for truants and dropouts; each charter would be allowed up to 25 campuses. A more ambitious bill, sponsored by state Sen. Iris Martinez (D-Chicago), would raise the state’s charter cap to 100 and abolish the geographical restrictions on charter location.
UPDATED JAN. 10: CPS will receive $147 million in state aid after legislators accept Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s changes to the 2008 budget implementation bill, which increases per pupil spending by $400, to $5,734. Schools throughout the state will get a total of $617million. In addition, schools will receive additional special education funding of $1,000 for each certified teacher and $700 for each non-certified staff member.
Posted August 24, 2007– Dozens of grants that lawmakers earmarked for building repairs and after-school programs at individual Chicago schools are among the $463 million in spending cuts Gov. Rod Blagojevich made Thursday.
A major overhaul of school funding appears off the table once again as lawmakers move into an overtime session. Political manuevering over a potential freeze on electricity rates has kept one proposal out of the Senate. Democrats now need GOP support to get more money for schools.
Now that the Illinois Legislature is in overtime, organizers from A+ Illinois, the coalition of groups that support an overhaul of state school funding, are working to gauge support among rank-and-file lawmakers for a marginal income tax increase to support education.
Chicago would get 15 new charters, but have limits placed on expansion campuses of existing charters, under proposed legislation crafted by Senate President Emil Jones Jr. and the Chicago Teachers Union.
With help from its national and state affiliates, the Chicago Teachers Union is planning a push to organize charter school teachers. Initial steps in Chicago will include admitting charter teachers to union-run professional development programs, including the union’s touted National Board certification prep program, called Nurturing Teacher Leadership.
An Illinois House committee has passed a tax plan backed by school funding advocates, moving lawmakers closer to a standoff over how best to generate more state money for K-12 education and other priorities.