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Staunton schools benefitting from increased funding

Manar 101718STAUNTON – Smaller class sizes, school safety improvements and more emotional and behavioral support for students are some of the gains Staunton public schools have experienced as a result of school funding reform, State Senator Andy Manar learned during a recent tour of the district.

“Staunton schools are seeing significant benefits from the new school funding formula,” Manar said. “The district is making long-overdue changes and improvements that make good sense for families and students in this community.”

Staunton public schools are seeing more than $770,500 in additional money in the first two years of the new formula. Some of the changes that have been possible as a result of the increased funding:

  • Five new teachers and three support staff hired.
  • Decreased class sizes. For example, the addition of another fifth-grade teacher means there are about 26 students in each fifth-grade class, rather than the 34 or 35 students that would have been in each room otherwise.
  • Addition of a part-time counselor at the junior high and elementary school.
  • Established a peer intervention program that enables students to tutor, coach and mentor other students who are having difficulties
  • Expansion of the district’s agriculture program, which is offered to students in junior high and high school.
  • Expanded music education offerings.
  • Addition of a family engagement position for preschool families. Parents can borrow materials from the school district and be connected with available community resources.
  • 1:1 student computer program offered to fifth graders and ninth graders.
  • School safety improvements, including a new website that offers more transparency and better communication with parents, plus the addition of Navigate Prepared, an app that helps superintendents, principals, school staff and first responders know which students are in the building and receive alerts about emergencies.

“Now, for the first time in a long time, as a result of evidence-based funding we are having conversations about where we can drive our dollars to have the greatest impact on student learning versus the discussions of the past where we talked about what programs and services we could cut that would do the least harm,” said Dan Cox, superintendent of Staunton Community Unit School District 6.

The school district serves about 1,300 students in the Staunton area.

Manar honored for work on school funding reform

ManarMCRTASPRINGFIELD – State Senator Andy Manar received several awards recently for his work on school funding reform and his dedication to public education in Illinois.

The Illinois Association of Regional Superintendents of Schools presented Manar with its Friend of Education Award for his work in bringing a new school funding formula to Illinois. Manar accepted the award during the organization’s meeting in Springfield Sept. 11.

Manar tours Coffeen power station with Vistra officials, labor leaders

manar coffeen 1 092518COFFEEN – State Senator Andy Manar toured the Coffeen power station Friday to reaffirm his commitment to the plant’s operations, its role in the energy market and the workers it employs.

Participating in the tour and discussion were: Manar; plant manager John Cooley; production manager Kevin Ziegler; maintenance manager Scott Bell; administration manager Joyce Lipe; safety specialist Joe Luckett; Jeff Ferry government affairs director for Vistra Energy, which operates the Coffeen plant; Jerad Volkmar, business manager for Laborers’ Local 1084; and Luke Lyerla, union steward for the Operating Engineers Local 148.

School funding reform allowing Taylorville schools to invest in technology

manar 091118 TaylorvilleTAYLORVILLE – Taylorville students are going places – on an architectural tour of the Golden Gate Bridge, to explore a tomb deep inside an Egyptian pyramid, to experience action on a Civil War battlefield, to a virtual automotive shop to learn how to take apart an engine and to a biology lab to see what’s inside humans and animals.

Students are able to do all of this because of the investment the Taylorville school district is in 21st-century technology, made possible because of Illinois’ revamped school funding formula.

Sen. Andy Manar

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48th Legislative District

Years served: 2013 - Present

Committee assignments: Agriculture; Appropriations I; Appropriations II; Higher Education; Committee of the Whole; Executive Appointments (Vice-Chairperson); Education; Labor.

Biography: Born November 15, 1975, in Bunker Hill; B.A. in History, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville; past chairman of Macoupin County Board; married (wife, Trista), has three children.