flushotHomeless individuals in Decatur and Springfield can receive free health screenings and flu shots this month through February.

The Illinois Department of Public Health and its partners, Fifth Street Renaissance and Walgreens, will offer the services. The agency will drive its Wellness on Wheels van to various locations so that it can provide health care to people who may not otherwise seek it.

Walgreens will provide free flu shots and blood pressure screenings. Fifth Street Renaissance will offer free testing for various infections and diseases. Dates, times and locations are below.

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Category: Latest News

Lockers

SPRINGFIELD – Three Senate education leaders are urging the governor’s administration to expedite its study of the statewide teacher shortage and report its findings to the General Assembly by March 1.

In a Nov. 14 letter (below) addressed to Illinois State Board of Education Chairman James Meeks, State Senators Andy Manar, Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant and Kimberly A. Lightford ask the board to accelerate its inquiry into the crisis so that lawmakers will have enough time to craft and pass legislation that will help to address the matter prior to next school year.

The shortage has caused more than 2,000 current teaching positions to go unfilled statewide.

“We commend you for the effort made thus far by the State Board to address teacher shortages and for further prioritizing the issue by initiating a year of inquiry on the subject,” the letter reads. “However, this is a crisis that deserves even more urgent attention and swift action to provide crucial support to students, administrators, and teachers.”

During a Nov. 6 hearing of the Senate Education Committee in Decatur, lawmakers were told that teachers around the country often skip over Illinois when they’re looking for a job because of low starting salaries, licensure difficulties and other issues.

Manar said schools in the 48th Senate District are among those most affected by the teacher shortage.

“We have schools all over central and southern Illinois relying on retired teachers and permanent substitutes to fill the void of qualified, professional teachers. And when no one answers that call, classrooms go dark. This is no way to educate children,” said Manar (D-Bunker Hill), a member of the Education Committee and chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee.

“It is essential that lawmakers and ISBE work together quickly to identify the red tape that can be cut to help get good teachers into good jobs teaching great kids in Illinois schools.”

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Category: Latest News

Senate overrides veto of measure to address shortage of substitutes

SubstituteTEacherSPRINGFIELD – Active substitute teachers will be able to seek a refund of the $50 fee they’re required to pay when they apply for a state license under a new law sponsored by Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill).

“This is an example of what we can do to ease up on the government bureaucracy that’s got a stranglehold on the teaching profession in Illinois,” said Manar, a member of the Senate Education Committee.

“We have empty classrooms because of a statewide teacher shortage, a rapidly shrinking pool of substitutes and students who are suffering as a result. Curbing fees and eliminating unnecessary red tape will help address some of these problems.”

The Senate Wednesday voted 53-0 to override the governor’s veto of House Bill 3298. The measure authorizes a refund of the licensure application fee for substitutes as long as they can offer evidence of teaching at least 10 full school days within a year of being licensed.

The House overrode the governor’s veto 110-0 in October. The law goes into effect immediately.

School districts statewide are experiencing difficulty recruiting and retaining qualified full-time and substitute teachers.

During a hearing of the Senate Education Committee in Decatur Monday, lawmakers were told that teachers around the country often skip over Illinois when they’re looking for a job because of low starting salaries, licensure difficulties, lack of mentoring and other issues. The teacher shortage disproportionately affects districts in central Illinois and rural parts of the state.

Category: Latest News

Debt Transparency Act becomes law after Senate overrides governor’s veto

ManarMendoza11082017SPRINGFIELD – A day after Illinois’ bill backlog reached $16.7 billion, members of the state Senate rejected a system that allows government agencies to conceal unpaid invoices from the comptroller and taxpayers for months on end.

The Illinois Senate on Wednesday voted to override the governor’s veto of the Debt Transparency Act, a commonsense measure that demands better accounting and reporting practices by state agencies so that officials can understand the true extent of the bill backlog at any given time.

“There is no reason that state agencies cannot do a better job of communicating with the comptroller each month about invoices they’ve received that will need to be paid,” said Senator Andy Manar, a Bunker Hill Democrat and the chief Senate sponsor of the act.

With the Senate’s vote to override, the act takes effect Jan. 1. The House overrode the veto on Oct. 25.

An initiative of Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza, the act requires state agencies to report monthly to the comptroller the bills they are holding and estimate the amount of interest that will be paid on those bills.

Until now, agencies have not been required to regularly report their liabilities. The lapse created problems for the comptroller, who is charged with balancing the state’s checkbook and prioritizing payments to vendors.

“The financial pressure on Illinois government has not lifted, as evidenced by the growing bill backlog,” Manar said. “Businesses all over Illinois are patiently waiting to be paid for services and goods they’ve provided. The least we can do is engage in basic, responsible accounting practices and communicate across offices as we try to work through this.”

The legislation is House Bill 3649.

In the news

Illinois Senate OKs 'debt transparency' measure over veto | The Associated Press

Senate overrides veto of Debt Transparency Act | WAND-TV

Bipartisan override of debt transparency veto clouds Rauner's view | Chicago Sun-Times

State agencies now have to provide monthly updates of bills they've accumulated | Belleville News-Democrat

Category: Latest News

School Funding Reform

 

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Springfield Office:
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Springfield, IL 62706
Phone: (217) 782-0228
Fax: (217) 557-3930

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