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

Downstate school districts facing severe shortage of substitutes

04252018 ManarSPRINGFIELD – The severe shortage of substitute teachers available in rural and downstate school districts would ease under a measure that was approved by the Illinois Senate Wednesday.

The plan, sponsored by State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill), increases to 120 the number of days a retired teacher can return to the classroom as a substitute without affecting his or her retirement status. Currently, the limit is set at 100 days.

“We have an urgent problem in classrooms all over the state. Not only are school districts struggling to hire full-time teachers, they also can’t find substitutes to fill in when teachers are sick or need to be out of the classroom for training,” Manar said. “Retired teachers – people who already know what to do in a classroom – can help ease the burden on schools if we give them the opportunity to do so.”

Senate Bill 3045 was approved by the Senate with no opposition. The bipartisan measure will go to the House for consideration.

The results of a survey released earlier this year showed that numerous Illinois school districts are experiencing substitute teacher shortages. The survey of more than 500 superintendents was conducted by the Illinois Association of Regional Superintendents of Schools.

Southern Illinois superintendents’ responses indicated the shortage is more severe there than it is in other parts of the state. The association recommended increasing the number of days and hours retired teachers can work as a way to significantly relieve pressure on schools.

Manar said it’s troubling to hear about schools around the state canceling classes when they are unable to find subs.

“Every time a substitute teacher is available to work, that’s one less school social worker or interventionist a principal has to pull away from their duties to fill in,” he said.

Category: Latest News

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