State owes $358 million to CPS

The news: The State of Illinois owed schools and education vendors more than $1.1 billion in education costs through June 28. Behind the news: Among all schools and education vendors, Chicago Public Schools is owed the most money from the state, with 80 percent of those funds intended for students with special needs, according to a Chicago Reporter analysis of school board data. The state has more than $358 million in outstanding payments to CPS since December. Of that, the biggest chunk was intended for special education, roughly $301 million, and the largest share of that is for transportation. By mid-August, the state had paid some of its education bills, including some of the money owed to CPS.

The brain’s impact on youth justice

Understanding how the brain develops could help determine whether Illinois raises the age at which teenagers are tried in adult court. State Rep. Monique Davis is among a group of Illinois legislators fighting to increase that age from 17 to 18, citing studies that show full brain development doesn’t occur until individuals are in their early 20s, years after some youth have been sentenced to long and harsh adult prison stints. In Illinois, 17-year-olds charged with felonies are viewed as adults, even though legislators consider them minors when it comes to alcohol, tobacco, voting, marriage, contractual obligations, or if they are victims of crimes. Not every state operates that way. In fact, Illinois is one of only 12 states that tries 17-year-olds charged with felonies as adults.