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Bertino-Tarrant’s new laws increase college affordability in Illinois

jbt 041118 3PLAINFIELD —Two new state laws that make dual-credit courses more available to high school students will take effect Jan. 1.

Illinois Senate Education Committee Chair Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) championed the two laws, the first of which requires public universities and community colleges to work with local high schools to ensure students are credited for their dual-credit courses taken in high school

The second prohibits limiting the number of courses and credits a student may receive from dual credit courses.

Bertino-Tarrant’s business program for veterans has immediate impact

jbt 041118 3PLAINFIELD – Illinois veterans are taking advantage of a program championed by State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) to provide veterans with the tools to launch new businesses.

Due to a loan from the Illinois business program, Captain Jon Glass, an Army combat veteran paratrooper, recently purchased the iconic Glenwood Oaks restaurant in Glenwood.

“Veteran-owned businesses are important to our state’s economy,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “This new program will help our veterans get their businesses off the ground by equipping them with the tools to be successful.”

The Illinois veterans’ business loan program allows the Illinois Finance Authority to offer an increased number of low-interest loans to veterans to create new businesses.

“Our military veterans have worked hard to protect us,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “Now is the time for us to honor their sacrifices.” 

Captain Glass is currently the head chef at the Glens restaurant in the northern suburbs. He is married with five children and is active in his church community.

Bertino-Tarrant’s Senate Bill 324 launched the program through the Illinois Finance Authority, which now allows veterans to apply for and receive business loans.

She worked on developing this loan program with Lynn Lowder, a former Marine officer and advocate for veterans becoming small-business owners. The program would be similar to agribusiness and farming programs administered by the state treasurer.

Bertino-Tarrant urges veterans to visit www.il-fa.com to learn more about this veteran loan program or contact her Plainfield office at (815) 254-4211 for more information.

Bertino-Tarrant backs law to put educators at ISBE decision-making table

Sen. Jennifer Bertino TarrantSPRINGFIELD — A new law championed by State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) will give the education community better representation on the Illinois State Board of Education.

The new law will require that three of nine state board of education members are representatives of the educator community, ensuring more efficient implementation of the state’s education initiatives.

“This new law will ensure that educators are at the table while we work to implement policies and standards to help give students the opportunity to be successful,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “Our educators are on the frontlines. They have a good pulse on what works and doesn’t work in our classrooms. Their insight will help give the board a more rounded perspective.”

Education Committee looks at early childhood funding fixes

jbt 053018SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Senate Education Committee discussed solutions to statewide funding shortages for early childhood education programs this week.

State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) led the charge last year to establish an evidence-based funding formula to dispense state dollars to public schools more effectively and is ready to take on the issue of early childhood education.

“Our goal is to guarantee all Illinois’ children are given the opportunity to succeed,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “After last year’s effort, we are one step closer to ending education inequalities in our communities by funding schools the right way. The next step is to tackle the way we fund our early childhood programs.”

As a result of this new school funding formula, schools across Illinois received $350 million in additional funding this year while no schools received less funding than a year ago. Public schools across the 49th State Senate District received more than $22 million in new money for the 2018-2019 school year.

“This hearing reiterated the necessity to revamp the way we currently fund early childhood programs in Illinois,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “The current grant process is pitting schools against each other instead of promoting opportunities for all of our children.”

Dr. Kris Monn, Superintendent of Minooka Elementary School District 201, helped paint a clear picture on the difficulties local schools face due to uncalculated changes made to the competitive grant process. 

The Minooka School District routinely qualified for the early childhood funding grant in the past but was denied this year, requiring the school to self-fund part of the program to ensure children were not removed from their programs. 

“Two years ago this body made a monumental shift in how we fund education,” Monn said.  “Six months ago, we saw that the schools with the best grant writing received state dollars, instead of those who need it the most. There is a flaw in the way we decided to divvy up the dollars for preschools. I urge members of the General Assembly to push for a preschool funding program that drives dollars to the districts that need it the most.”

As the Chair of the Senate Education Committee, Bertino-Tarrant pledges to work to revamp the way state dollars are allocated to early childhood programs during the upcoming legislative session.

Sen. Bertino-Tarrant

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49th Senate District

Years served: 2013 - Present

Associated Representatives: Mark Batinick; Natalie A. Manley

Committee assignments: Appropriations II; Education (Chairperson); Labor; Licensed Activities and Pensions; Transportation.

Biography: Lifelong educator; former Will County superintendent and secretary of Will County Regional Board of School Trustees; B.A., Illinois State University; MS, University of St. Francis; EdD., Loyola.