Lower kindergarten age among new Illinois laws - Education Week

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Source: Education Week Illinois

Illinois Education Association endorses Quinn - Education Week

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Source: Education Week Illinois

Illinois governor signs anti-bullying bill - Education Week

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Source: Education Week Illinois

SIU board to revisit student newspaper's finances - Education Week

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Source: Education Week Illinois

Quinn signs Illinois early education law - Education Week

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Source: Education Week Illinois

Big pay, little district

The retirement system reports May’s “current creditable earnings” at $357,117, almost $23,000 more than any other educator in the system and one of 10 receiving more than $300,000 in the state.

May’s total compensation is 160 percent more than in 2002 when he started with the district. It’s also more than twice any other employee of the district, according to the retirement system’s data.

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“There are over 800 superintendents making $200,000 and $300,000, and all they do is try to convince parents their children are getting a good education and they aren’t,” said Jack Roeser, founder of the Family Taxpayers Foundation, a conservative organization often critical of the state’s public education system. “These people are supposed to be leaders of the district, and if you look at the rankings, they are presiding over a below-standard district.”

In 2013, 58.8 percent of the state’s tested students met or exceeded state education standards, compared to 51.9 percent of Marquardt students. The district’s students have tested below the state average since 2008, according to state records.

Read more at the Daily Herald

Proposal could let schools opt out of some topics - Education Week

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Source: Education Week Illinois

Illinois budget would mean more money for schools - Education Week

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Source: Education Week Illinois

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