Would waive tuition for those who agree to teach in hard-to-staff schools

SciencePhoto350SPRINGFIELD – College students who agree to teach science, math and vocational education in hard-to-staff schools could get a substantial break on the cost of their education under a plan introduced by State Senator Andy Manar.

The proposal, which aims to get teachers into the pipeline and ease the statewide teacher shortage, received bipartisan support in the Senate Thursday and will move to the House for consideration.

“We have every reason to incentivize our young people to attend Illinois universities, earn Illinois degrees, put down roots in Illinois towns, teach in Illinois schools and contribute to the Illinois economy,” Manar (D-Bunker Hill) said. “This is a bold plan, and done correctly, it can make a real difference for school districts in central and southern Illinois communities where the teacher shortage has been extremely difficult to overcome.”

Senate Bill 3047 creates the Grow Your Own STEM and Vocational Education Teachers Act. Illinois public universities could waive tuition, fees and on-campus housing costs for students who agree to pursue bachelor’s or advanced degrees in science, technology, engineering, math or agriculture and agree to teach related subjects in hard-to-staff Illinois schools.

They then would teach such subjects as math, natural sciences, and career and vocational education, including agriculture, technology, industrial arts, trades, health care and information technology. These are all subject areas for which many schools have difficulty filling teaching vacancies.

To take advantage of the offer, college students would have to maintain a 3.0 cumulative grade point average and also would be required to reimburse the university if they fail to teach at least three years in a K-12 school or five years at a college or university.

The legislation also creates the Create Your Own Dual Credit Teachers Program, which allows universities to waive tuition and fees for teachers who want to teach dual-credit courses in high school. Teachers must have a master’s degree and could pursue up to the maximum 18 graduate hours necessary to qualify to teach dual-credit courses. They would be required to teach at an Illinois high school at least five years and would have to fully reimburse the university if they breach the agreement.

The initiatives would be subject to annual appropriation, and the state could cap the number of students who are able to take advantage of the programs based on the need for teachers in Illinois from year to year. The Illinois Manufacturers’ Association and its Education Foundation, as well as various statewide education organizations, support the legislation.

“Manufacturers applaud Senator Manar for helping address the skills gap that exists today in the workplace,” said Mark Denzler, vice president and chief operating officer of the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association. “The Grow Your Own STEM Teachers Act will help ensure that we have the capacity in our schools to teach important vocational education.”

Manar agreed.

“We have to get more teachers into the pipeline and into classrooms,” Manar said. “With this plan, we can send a strong message that we’re willing to invest in our young people right here in Illinois, and we hope they’re willing to invest in us.”

Category: Latest News

04252018 Manar Counseling Group 350SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Andy Manar was honored to be presented the 2017 McGinn/Clark award for outstanding legislator by members of the Illinois Counseling Association during their visit to the Capitol Wednesday.

Manar received the award for his perseverance and dedication to overhauling Illinois’ unfair school funding formula, as well as his willingness to seek compromise – efforts that culminated in success in 2017 when a new evidence-based formula was approved by both houses of the Legislature and was signed into law.

The award also acknowledges Manar’s efforts to pass Conor’s Law requiring authorities to release anyone under 21 who is arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs to the custody of a responsible adult. The law was prompted by the tragic death of a young constituent.

The award was presented to Manar by professional counselors and graduate students in counseling at Quincy University.

“I am humbled to be thought of in this way, and I appreciate this award very much,” Manar said. “But, truly, it is the school counselors and mental health professionals of this state who deserve accolades for their devotion to helping our children grow into healthy, well-adjusted adults.”

On hand to present the award were Daniel Stasi, executive director of the DeKalb-based Illinois Mental Health Counselors Association; Nadia Johnson, president of IMHCA; Jennifer Froemel, past president of the IMHCA; and Quincy University students ChaRosnese Williams, Andrea Fifield, Veronica Lawson, Tasia Rios, Ashley Juette and Dylan DeClue.

The McGinn/Clark award was established in 1996 to recognize an Illinois legislator who contributes to advocacy, public policy and legislative recognition for professional counselors and clients in Illinois.

The award is named for two women – Pat McGinn and Joyce Clark – who have actively and consistently advocated at all levels of government on behalf of professional counselors. Nominations for the nonpartisan award are open to any current or former Illinois legislator.

Pictured from left to right: ChaRosnese Williams, Andrea Fifield, Veronica Lawson, Nadia Johnson, State Senator Andy Manar, Tasia Rios, Jennifer Froemel, Ashley Juette, Dylan DeClue and Daniel Stasi.

Category: Latest News

04252018 Manar Litchfield TIF 350SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Senate on Thursday approved extending the expiration date of a key economic development tool for the city of Litchfield.

Senate Bill 424, sponsored by Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill), would extend the life of the city’s tax increment financing district to 35 years from 23 years. The TIF was established June 2, 1998, and is set to expire at the end of 2021. The legislation would push the expiration to 2033.

Manar presented the legislation to a Senate committee Wednesday, and he was joined by Litchfield officials including Mayor Steve Dougherty.

“The city of Litchfield has what I would describe as an incredible number of positive economic development projects that are happening,” Manar said. “The certainty of this TIF is critical to many of the things the city is doing in an aggressive way for job creation for both Montgomery and Macoupin counties.”

The committee approved the measure Wednesday, followed by the full Senate Thursday afternoon. It has been sent to the House for consideration.

Pictured: State Senator Andy Manar (left) and Litchfield Mayor Steve Dougherty present legislation extending the expiration of Litchfield’s TIF district to the Senate Revenue Committee Wednesday, April 25, 2018.

Category: Latest News

SPRINGFIELD – An effort to shed more light on the actual cost of educating Illinois public school students was approved by the state Senate Thursday.

Senate Bill 3234, sponsored by State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill), would require an annual state report on public schools to include each school district’s administrative costs.

“Taxpayers deserve access to the most accurate information possible about how their money is used, and that includes the administration in public schools,” Manar said. “As we begin to implement the new school funding formula, it’s going to be more important than ever that everyone has the same information about the cost involved with providing an adequate education locally.”

The Illinois State Report Card contains data about statewide and individual school districts’ student and workforce demographics, finance, curriculum. It includes such data as average class size; a breakdown of students’ racial and ethnic backgrounds; percentage of low-income, special education and limited English proficiency students; operating expenditures; per-pupil state pension contributions; and various calculations under the state’s new school funding formula.

Districts’ administrative costs would be reported on a per-pupil basis under the measure.

Senate Bill 3236 was approved by the Senate with no opposition and goes to the House for consideration.

Category: Latest News

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