Monday, Feb 28, 2011
* Cook County Board rolls back controversial sales tax increase
* Cook County Board marathon session on Preckwinkle budget
* Firm moving to take over Illinois Lottery despite court ruling
* FutureGen on the horizon once again: Four Illinois counties got the word in December that they made the cut for the FutureGen project.
* State budget shortfall hits Morton East day care center for students’ kids: During the last two years, the Children’s Center has cut 10 percent of its offerings, from bus service to snacks at holiday parties, administrators said. It expects to lose another $68,000 in state funding next school year and plans to eliminate weekly support groups, home visits and summer outings for teen parents, they said.
* Finke: In southern Illinois’ Franklin County, Mary Ann Adams worked for the regional office of education. She decided she wanted a raise. She went to the then-Franklin Williamson regional superintendent, Barry Kohl, who agreed to the raise with the stipulation that Adams kick back half of it to him each month. The raise came in two paychecks in addition to Adams’ regular paycheck. She’d cash one of the two pay raise checks and give the proceeds to Kohl. This went on for several years before she retired. Three years later, an auditor employed by the Teachers’ Retirement System uncovered the deal. TRS said money involved in an illegal kick-back scheme doesn’t count as salary for retirement benefits. Adams said she earned the money and should get a pension on it. She fought TRS’s ruling. She lost an administrative review, in circuit court and most recently in an appeals court. All said she can’t collect taxpayer-funded pension benefits for salary that was part of a kickback scheme. That will cost her $15,000 a year in pension benefits. She’ll still get about $50,000.
* Charter schools spark emotions, debate at School Board meeting
* Schools chief says Illinois needs to consolidate districts
* Lawmakers, Superintendents Talk Illinois State Funding for Education
* 3rd Chicago airport no worry for B-N officials
* Champaign cuts back: Fewer firefighters ahead
* New bike study measures where rubber meets road