State employee gets $137,000 pension after only 10 years of work.

During some recent research I discovered a former  employee of Gov. Pat Quinn, Carolyn Brown Hodge,  had worked for the state for less than 10 years but was receiving a 137,000 pension. When I asked Tim Blair, Executive Director of SERS (State Employee Retirement System) about it he stated it was a clerical error. So this woman has been receiving in excess of 10,000/mo pension payments when they should have been about 1,600/mo. So far since she retired in Nov 2010 she has collected $375,000 when she should have collected about $70,000.

In addition she was forced to resign her $130,000 job in the Gov. office after an ethics investigation found she had used state property for Gov. Pat Quinn’s re-election campaign and fined her $1,000.

It gets worse. In a Jan 14, 2014 appellate court decision, Sharp vs. SERS, the court rules that SERS only has 35 days after a pension is approved (before the first check is cut) to correct a mistake then on day 36 it becomes permanent and irrevocable. So under current law this woman will receive 4.6 million over her expected lifetime instead of the 700,000 she should receive.

Right now a new bill SB-3309 is wending its way thru Springfield. SB-3309 would/maybe/might correct the problem. However there is no guarantee it will pass by the end of session on May 31 and if it does that it will be retroactive. So Ms. Hodge still may collect $4.6 million by mistake.

So here are the numbers as we know them right now:
1. Current pension = $137,976/yr.
2. Pension should be = about $20,000/yr.
3. Total employee contributions for $137,000 pension = $24,242.
4. Years worked for the state = 9.7.
5. Total lifetime payout based upon IRS Life Expectancy tables = $4.6 million based on mistake versus $700,000 if mistake corrected.
6. Total payments made thru May 1, 2014 = $374,114 versus should be about $70,000.

For more details here is the link to the appellate court decision:
Sharp vs. SERS

And here for the ethics commission ruling:
Ethics Commission vs. Hodge



Chicago Union Comes Out Against Common Core - Education Week

The Chicago Teachers Union last week passed a resolution saying that it opposes the Common Core State Standards.

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Source: Education Week Illinois

Illinois-Chicago adds Illini legend Thomas - Education Week

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Source: Education Week Illinois

Illinois school funding data fuel reform debate - Education Week

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Source: Education Week Illinois

CPS to name new selective-enrollment school for Obama

Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Thursday unveiled plans to use $60 million in tax increment financing funds to build another selective-enrollment high school for 1,200 students to be named for President Barack Obama.

The new school will be built on Chicago Park District property near Skinner North Classical School, 640 W. Scott, a coveted choice for North Side parents. Barack Obama College Preparatory High School is expected to open in the fall of 2017 with a freshman class of 300, then add classes in each of the following three years.

Roughly 70 percent of the seats will be filled through the highly competitive admissions process already in place for Chicago’s 10 other selective-enrollment high schools. The remaining seats will be filled through a “neighborhood preference” already in place at Jones and Westinghouse College Prep.

Read more at Chicago Suntimes


After Two Years of Waiting, Illinois Earns NCLB Waiver - Education Week

U.S.Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has granted his home state a waiver from some mandates of the No Child Left Behind Act,making it the 43rd state to win such approval.

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Source: Education Week Illinois

The NU Sex Week is sponsored by the College Feminists and will feature an orgasm workshop and a film about a man “born with a micropenis.”

Northwestern University is sponsoring an event for female students who are “having trouble masturbating.”

“Vulvas too confusing? Having trouble masturbating? Wanna please your consenting female-bodied friend?” asks the “Cum*tactics” event description posted on a college website.

“Vulvas too confusing? Having trouble masturbating? Wanna please your consenting female-bodied friend?”    Tweet This

The workshop will be taught by Early2Bed, a “feminist sex shop” in Chicago.

It is not clear why Northwestern was concerned about the ability of its female students to masturbate.

The event is part of Northwestern’s Sex Week, which will also feature events on BDSM and a screening of “Unhung Hero,” a film about a man “born with a micropenis … on a fact-finding mission … as he confronts the stigma of having a small dick.

Continue reading at Campus Reform

School funding plan advances in Illinois Senate - Education Week

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Source: Education Week Illinois

The politics of this week’s Local School Council elections

It’s election day Monday, arguably the largest yet quietest citywide election day when more than 6,000 candidates vie for the job of governing the city’s public schools.

Some 6,362 people are running for Local School Council at 513 Chicago Public Schools, including 422 elementary schools whose communities will cast ballots Monday; the rest are high schools voting Tuesday.

Among the candidates are charter school teachers, former mayoral staffers, a former Board of Education member and several employees from the Illinois Network of Charter Schools — the statewide organization advocating charters, which also opposes a bill in Springfield that would require charter schools elect LSCs, too.

Those names have been circulating on an online “do not vote” list of candidates that accuses them of loyalties to the charter movement; to charter champion and gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner; or to Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who has closed a record number of neighborhood schools while new charters proliferate.

Continue reading at the Chicago Sun Times

New Illinois Teacher Licensing System Full of Glitches, Hitches - Education Week

Major security flaws have been reported in Illinois’ new teacher licensing system, putting educators’ privacy at risk.

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Source: Education Week Illinois