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Morrison seeks solutions to failing DCFS system

morrison 081518SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Julie Morrison (D-Deerfield) convened the Senate Human Services Committee Tuesday afternoon to seek solutions to the continuing problem of Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) youth being held longer than medically necessary in psychiatric hospitals across the state.

“Abused or neglected children with mental health conditions should receive the care they need and transition to an outpatient or residential setting as soon as possible,” Morrison said. “Languishing in a psychiatric hospital can cause affirmative harm for a child. The state must do a much better job caring for these vulnerable children.”

Tom Cullerton takes first step toward cutting school administration costs

tc 052918VILLA PARK — A measure championed by State Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park) will give DuPage County taxpayers easier access to records of school administration costs.

Cullerton’s Senate Bill 3236, which will require the Illinois State Board of Education to include a school district’s administrative costs in state school report cards, was signed into law last week.

“Taxpayers deserve to know how their money is spent,” Cullerton said. “The more access the public has to administrative costs, the more likely they are to hold school boards accountable.”

Between 1992 and 2009, the number of district administrators grew by 36 percent in Illinois. That is 2.5 times greater than the growth in student population, according to the nonprofit group Ed Choice.

This is despite the fact that nearly half of Illinois school districts manage one or two schools and more than one-third of all district offices serve fewer than 600 students.

One example is Lake Park Community High School District 108, which has five elementary school districts that feed into it. The high school district shares overlapping boundaries with those schools and serves the same population, yet each individual district has a superintendent and several administrators. 

Cullerton said Senate Bill 3236 will help give the legislature and residents a chance to examine how school districts spend their tax dollars.

“DuPage County residents pay their property taxes to give students the best educational opportunities, not to pay for executive salaries,” Cullerton said. “Finding savings and cutting administrative costs will help lower property taxes and this new law will help us know where to look to make these cuts.”

Illinois school report cards already include information on average class size, teaching experience, percentage of special education students, per-pupil operating expenditures and the per-pupil state pension contribution among other items.

Senate Bill 3236 passed the Senate and House without any opposition and goes into effect immediately.

Steans tackles statewide mental health professional shortage

steans 042518CHICAGO – Underserved communities across the state may soon see more mental health professionals thanks to a new law sponsored by State Senator Heather Steans.

“Both rural and urban areas across the state are not adequately staffed with mental health professionals. This law will incentivize mental health professionals to work in those shortage areas,” Steans (D-Chicago) said. 

Murphy promotes voice of disabled individuals in workforce discussions

murphy 041118DES PLAINES — A new law sponsored by State Senator Laura Murphy (D-Des Plaines) requires the governor to appoint two individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities to the Illinois Workforce Innovation Board.

“Individuals with disabilities need to have a seat at the table and an opportunity to make their voices heard on how to address the needs of Illinois’ workforce,” Murphy said. “I believe that as a state, we need to do more to utilize individuals with disabilities within the workforce. I hope that by having advocates on the board, they will help develop a strategic plan to increase employment among disabled Illinoisans.”

The Illinois Workforce Innovation Board seeks to evaluate and meet Illinois’ workforce needs. It includes a variety of members from the public and private sector who represent the interests of the business community, workers and educational field.

Senate Bill 3222 requires the governor to appoint two individuals who self-identify as individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities who are advocates for the rights of individuals with disabilities to the Illinois Workforce Innovation Board. Currently, nearly 50 members serve on the board.

According to the United States Census Bureau, about 7 percent of Illinoisans under the age of 65 have a disability.

This legislation, which was signed into law yesterday, takes effect immediately.

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News Releases

IMAGE Tom Cullerton takes first step toward cutting school administration costs
Wednesday, 15 August 2018
VILLA PARK — A measure championed by State Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park) will give DuPage County taxpayers easier access to records of...

Read More...
IMAGE Murphy promotes voice of disabled individuals in workforce discussions
Wednesday, 15 August 2018
DES PLAINES — A new law sponsored by State Senator Laura Murphy (D-Des Plaines) requires the governor to appoint two individuals with...

Read More...
IMAGE McGuire DCFS measure becomes law
Wednesday, 15 August 2018
SPRINGFIELD — Legislation championed by Sen. Pat McGuire (D-Crest Hill) to support children whose families are involved with the Department of...

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IMAGE Morrison’s proposal to require SMA testing in newborns signed into law
Wednesday, 15 August 2018
SPRINGFIELD – Illinois newborns will now be tested for Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) under a proposal passed by State Senator Julie Morrison...

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IMAGE New Martinez law seeks to place teachers in low-income classrooms
Wednesday, 15 August 2018
SPRINGFIELD — A new law passed by Assistant Majority Leader Iris Y. Martinez (D-Chicago) expands the Grow Your Own Teacher initiative, a...

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