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Rauner says he wants school consolidation

Thursday, Apr 23, 2015

* You really gotta hand it to the governor. The man makes no small plans

Gov. Bruce Rauner on Monday said that it’s a “travesty” for Illinois to be “dead last” in general funding for its schools and promised to send more money to classrooms. […]

Rauner suggested that cost saving could be found in the layers of bureaucracy within the state’s 850-plus school districts, some of which are just a single school.

“The money should be in the classroom with the teachers, with technology, with the infrastructure and with the students. Not in the bureaucracy,” he said. “We have a lot of layers that consume the money.”

The topic of school district consolidation has been a recurring one in Illinois. Decades ago, Illinois went from 12,000 school districts to roughly the current setup. But separate elementary school districts and high school districts remain throughout the state, including the Metro East.

* Except maybe about his political future

Gov. Bruce Rauner said he has no plans to run for president and revealed his favorite ice cream is chocolate chip during an interview Wednesday by a group of fourth-graders from Harristown, a town west of Decatur.

The 27 students, in Springfield as part of a civics event first launched more than four decades ago, toured the Hall of Governors and then interviewed Rauner in his second-floor office on Wednesday. All of the students wore media badges with their name and the media outlet they wanted to represent.

Jordan Szczelaszczyk, 9, asked the governor if he plans to run for other offices, like president.

“That’s a very good question, I get asked that a lot and there’s a very simple answer. I really don’t have an interest in anything else, other than helping Illinois as governor,” Rauner said. “But I’m privileged to be governor; that’s all I want to do. And the most I want to do it for is eight years.”

- Posted by Rich Miller        


55 Comments
  1. - 6184life - Thursday, Apr 23, 15 @ 10:30 am:

    I wish the Governor luck in persuading towns to do this. East Alton/WoodRiver/Hartford voted on consolidation again this year. It failed by 7 votes. I imagine he’ll have this problem across downstate Illinois.


  2. - Skeptic - Thursday, Apr 23, 15 @ 10:30 am:

    You think people are passionate about RTW, just wait until you try to mess with their schools.


  3. - Juice - Thursday, Apr 23, 15 @ 10:34 am:

    On this, I generally agree with the Governor. One of the things that absolutely needs to changed to get this done is the incentives in terms of revenue collection that elementary and high school districts have over unit districts. It makes absolutely no sense other than essentially codifying the state’s recognition that it is a less efficient way to operate, and then rewarding it.


  4. - Downstate Illinois - Thursday, Apr 23, 15 @ 10:34 am:

    Requiring unit districts makes perfect sense. At one point Jefferson County had 17 school districts, and four high schools even though the population was around 35,000. I think a couple of the tiny one-school grade school districts did consolidate but there’s obviously more that could be done.

    Carbondale and Mount Vernon schools are split between multiple school districts with the high school a separate one. That’s not smart.

    Franklin County (Benton, West Frankfort), has a population of 39,202 and has been hovering around 40,000 for the last forty years or more has six high schools, yet almost no vocational programs. On Route 148 between Mount Vernon and Herrin there’s a high school every seven miles, most of which can’t support their own athletic teams they’re so small.

    Consolidation is rarely popular but is needed.

    Of course, school choice, open enrollment, vouchers, etc. are also very much needed to empower parents and students with choices.


  5. - Just Observing - Thursday, Apr 23, 15 @ 10:38 am:

    Illinois once had 12,000 school districts?????


  6. - CharlieKratos - Thursday, Apr 23, 15 @ 10:40 am:

    Is this double or tripling down on his attack on teachers?


  7. - walker - Thursday, Apr 23, 15 @ 10:40 am:

    ==Rauner wants school consolidation.==

    Yeah. A lot of people do. Nothing wrong with a bully pulpit.

    But does he have a plan, soon to be unveiled?


  8. - Shark Sandwich - Thursday, Apr 23, 15 @ 10:41 am:

    So, on one hand, he wants to consolidate school districts for the savings in layers of bureacracy and repeated efforts, but then, at the end of the article, he says he wants to ‘return vocational/shop classes’ to each high school… So the plan is to deconsolidate things like CACC (in Springfield) back to each of the area high schools?


  9. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Apr 23, 15 @ 10:43 am:

    This is why Sonny was a bad Don, rest his soul…

    Grand plans, indeed. Any blueprint? Does the blueprint have… wait for it… local control attached?

    This is Rauner in “Sonny, CEO” mode.

    “Just help me win, please. Help me win.”


  10. - Anon221 - Thursday, Apr 23, 15 @ 10:47 am:

    JO-

    Here’s some background on historical district numbers:
    http://www.iasb.com/closure.cfm


  11. - Langhorne - Thursday, Apr 23, 15 @ 10:47 am:

    School bureaucracy = magic beans

    With his decades of education advocacy, and big shot appointments, why hasnt he tackled this problem and driven results?


  12. - Precinct Captain - Thursday, Apr 23, 15 @ 10:48 am:

    ==Gov. Bruce Rauner…promised to send more money to classrooms==

    This, from a Governor who just cut school funding.

    Regarding Rauner making no small plans, he’s coming off more and more like Jimmy Carter. Legislative leaders: “What’s the most important stuff to accomplish?” Carter: “Everything!” The Carter White House was notorious for doing that and it appears Bruce is doing the same thing to his leaders in the ILGA.


  13. - Jake From Elwood - Thursday, Apr 23, 15 @ 10:51 am:

    It took nearly 14 years and two sets of court decisions for residents to merge one little 400 student elementary school district in DuPage County into another unit school district.
    There needs to be a better way.


  14. - Just Observing - Thursday, Apr 23, 15 @ 10:53 am:

    @Anon221 — Thanks for the info! What a shocking number.


  15. - Just Observing - Thursday, Apr 23, 15 @ 10:55 am:

    === With his decades of education advocacy, and big shot appointments, why hasnt he tackled this problem and driven results? ===

    @Langhorne — So, as Governor you want him to never tackle any issues on the basis that he should have addressed it prior to being Governor? You might disagree with the issue, but you aren’t exactly being fair.


  16. - Team Sleep - Thursday, Apr 23, 15 @ 10:56 am:

    I support consolidation. I just hope this is something that is carefully negotiated over a lengthier period than, say, the last few weeks of session.


  17. - archimedes - Thursday, Apr 23, 15 @ 10:56 am:

    During his campaign, didn’t he say this was it - only 4 years as governor? He would not run for re-election, hence he would make decisions and take action without re-election in mind.


  18. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Apr 23, 15 @ 10:57 am:

    ===didn’t he say this was it - only 4 years as governor? ===

    Nope.


  19. - Cheswick - Thursday, Apr 23, 15 @ 10:59 am:

    Sorry for not knowing this, but don’t school districts already have a way to consolidate? Something to do with voters voting?

    The governor is always on about local control, but wants to dictate consolidation to local school districts. Which is it, their way or your way?


  20. - Skeptic - Thursday, Apr 23, 15 @ 11:01 am:

    “didn’t he say this was it - only 4 years as governor” No, he said he was going to do “the right things” and not the things that would necessarily get him re-elected.

    So….local control it’s all about the locals, it should all be local…except the State should mandate school consolidation? Pick a lane.


  21. - Skeptic - Thursday, Apr 23, 15 @ 11:02 am:

    Looks like Cheswick and I are on the same wavelength…


  22. - Wordslinger - Thursday, Apr 23, 15 @ 11:04 am:

    I guess the “principle” of local control only applies to right to work, not school districts,

    Consolidation is a tnird-rail in rural Illinois because you start messing with property values and community viability.


  23. - Aldyth - Thursday, Apr 23, 15 @ 11:09 am:

    While I agree with the concept, the execution of consolidation is one heck of a process. In the rural areas where Rauner did so well, consolidation might mean that your kid doesn’t get on the football team.

    You don’t mess with small town high school sports. That’s killed more than one district consolidation.


  24. - Person 8 - Thursday, Apr 23, 15 @ 11:16 am:

    - Aldyth -
    Consolidating districts doesn’t necessarily mean consolidating schools or sports.


  25. - Rod - Thursday, Apr 23, 15 @ 11:16 am:

    If one goes to the ISBE website and searches the historic board packets, one will find repeated attempts by ISBE to promote district consolidations. In general they do not work because of outstanding debt that one or the other of the district’s do not want to assume. This is especially true when buildings with outstanding debt are going to be shut down as part of the consolidation proposal. ISBE never has had a big enough hold harmless pot of money to give to consolidating districts to get a buy in from them.


  26. - JS Mill - Thursday, Apr 23, 15 @ 11:19 am:

    =“The money should be in the classroom with the teachers, with technology, with the infrastructure and with the students. Not in the bureaucracy,” he said. “We have a lot of layers that consume the money.”=

    Questions, boy have I got questions.

    If you want to put money in the classroom why are you attacking pensions? That is part of teacher compensation, it is in point of fact, money on the classroom.

    The governor is and always will be on of these “bureaucrats”. That is the role that he played. Some people also call it management, in education it is administration. They all mean the same thing, done well it is truly leadership.

    The governor has hired two educational bureaucrats at the state level and paid the richly. The State Supt. is not qualified to work in public education in Illinois. Seems to be a bit of a contradiction there. He does not like superintendents to be paid for their work unless they are his, that seems to be part of a trend in his behavior.

    School consolidation is needed. Be careful- creating too large of a district can mean that real change and improvement are all but impossible (see the history of almost every large urban district, U 46, Naper 203, 204 et al). Pontiac should not be divided up into 4 school districts. There are smart options out there but it is unlikely to get the reduction in admin costst that he thinks are out there (once again proving that like many other topics he does not get it). Schools typically run an admin cost of 3%-5% unlike the 10%-15% that is typical for an efficient business. Big savings aren’t there on that side. You may be able to get some additional efficiencies on staffing if you combine small districts and from closing buildings but the numbers are not big and this was studied pretty extensively in the past.

    As an interesting aside one should study take a look at a Rauner supported organization and their bureaucracy. Ounce of prevention has 31 people in its “leadership” also known as a bureaucracy. Kind of interesting. That is pretty heavy on top and does not take in the three dozen Board Members.

    He may be going after the bureaucracy because we actually understand the finance part and can advocate along with our Board’s of Ed in a way that teachers cannot. At the end of day he is back to the magic beans of empty rhetoric.


  27. - Ducky LaMoore - Thursday, Apr 23, 15 @ 11:22 am:

    People like having their kids in schools within 20 minutes of home, specifically in their own towns, but most people from a small county can deal with a county-wide school. But if he wants people to ship their kids 45 minutes away or more, man, he will be Illinois’ last republican Governor.


  28. - Juvenal - Thursday, Apr 23, 15 @ 11:27 am:

    Change begins at home, Governor:

    In Winnetka, only 47.6% of tax dollars go into the classroom, says the ISBe school report card.

    In, Chicago, 53.3% of tax dollars go into the classroom.

    Chew on that.


  29. - Just Observing - Thursday, Apr 23, 15 @ 11:29 am:

    === Sorry for not knowing this, but don’t school districts already have a way to consolidate? Something to do with voters voting?

    The governor is always on about local control, but wants to dictate consolidation to local school districts. Which is it, their way or your way? ===

    It’s pretty difficult for average citizens to have the know how, let alone collect the necessary signatures to get consolidation on the ballot. Then, once on the ballot, the school districts can use taxpayer money to “educate” voters on the question, while the citizens will have to raise their own money and launch a campaign.


  30. - Skeptic - Thursday, Apr 23, 15 @ 11:32 am:

    “But if he wants people to ship their kids 45 minutes away or more” He can also find a way to pay for the transportation. Without raising my taxes.


  31. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Apr 23, 15 @ 11:35 am:

    ===Change begins at home, Governor:

    In Winnetka, only 47.6% of tax dollars go into the classroom, says the ISBe school report card.

    In, Chicago, 53.3% of tax dollars go into the classroom.===

    Oh - Juvenal -, I’m suprises at you;

    Rauner clouted his denied, “perfect score” Winnetka-living, Daughter into Payton Prep.

    So, in reality, “Chicago” was home.

    For 4 years.


  32. - TwoFeetThick - Thursday, Apr 23, 15 @ 11:48 am:

    In the late ’90’s a bill was signed into law that required all schools districts to study the feasibility of consolidation. Study it, not do it. Just that caused such an outcry that the GA repealed it the next veto session. People were terrified that such studies would be used to force consolidation.

    Out of all of the unpopular things the governor has pushed so far, pushing this would indeed be a career killer. Good luck.


  33. - Crispy - Thursday, Apr 23, 15 @ 11:51 am:

    @JS Mill, with respectful acknowledgement of your expertise:

    Regarding this–”The State Supt. is not qualified to work in public education in Illinois.” Has this situation (of an uncredentialed ISBE chair) happened before, that you know of? Is there any statutory requirement regarding qualifications or certifications for the head of ISBE? I’m guessing not, but figured you’d know if anyone would.

    Also, doesn’t the Senate still have to confirm the appointment (even if it’s just pro forma)? Is there any chance the lack of a search process will be brought out?

    Grateful for any insights you might be able to provide. …


  34. - mythoughtis - Thursday, Apr 23, 15 @ 11:58 am:

    My sons’ school had already consolidatd 3 small towns into one school 80 years ago. When the topic came up to consolidate again, people were still discussing that one. Here were the various reasons against the newest possibilities:

    We’d lose our high school (the other towns’ student population was twice ours).
    We don’t like the kids from that town (it’s 8 miles from us, how different can they be).
    Our kids might have to compete to be on a sports team other than just show up to practice.

    But the biggest obstacle was the fact that our district (Buffalo Tri-city) already covers 100 square miles (10 by 10). Having kids ride the bus even longer… or high school students driving from south of Mechanicsburg to either Mt. Pulaski or Riverton (or from east of Dawson to Niantic) in the winter was daunting for parents.


  35. - mythoughtis - Thursday, Apr 23, 15 @ 11:58 am:

    sorry - West of Dawson to Niantic. Directionally challenged.


  36. - Sue - Thursday, Apr 23, 15 @ 12:11 pm:

    Rauner is on target with this. There are dozens of districts employing superintendents’,assts, HR and curriculum personnel all serving single schools or a small number. Who will cry about getting rid of highly paid underworked administrative personnel. Rauner may even get IEA IFT support on this one


  37. - Juice - Thursday, Apr 23, 15 @ 12:15 pm:

    Crispy, the Superintendent serves at the pleasure of the board, and is not Senate confirmable. The board is though.


  38. - Rayne of Terror - Thursday, Apr 23, 15 @ 12:26 pm:

    Around us rural McLean co and DeWitt co school districts are consolidating sports so they they can field a team. A consolidated team is better than no team at all.

    I attended and my mom still teaches in a county-wide school district that consolidated in the 1970s. The pluses are that there are so many good quality extra curricular activities when the pool of potentially interested children is thousands. Beyond sports - arts, theater, music, debate, etc., can all be top notch programs. My high school marching band was significantly better than any marching band I’ve seen from a central IL high school and there’s pride in being a part of a group which competes at a very high level. The downside I see is when things go wrong in a school, a bad principal perhaps, things have to go very, very wrong before changes are made.

    I did a quick comparison and see that McLean county has 50% more population than Vigo County, IN, and more than twice as many school buildings.


  39. - Anonymous - Thursday, Apr 23, 15 @ 12:31 pm:

    I think everyone can agree there are way too many school administrators and not to mention too many schools that are half empty with no hope of growth. School district consolidation is down the road along with lots of other reality checks.


  40. - VanillaMan - Thursday, Apr 23, 15 @ 12:34 pm:

    The Governor is goofy.
    He supports local governments except school districts?

    Consolidation of school districts is a natural occurrence with no need for gubernatorial meddling.

    He doesn’t favor local governments, he favors money. His goofy stand on school consolidation exposes him as a governor who only cares about what something costs, not what it does or who is helped.


  41. - DuPage - Thursday, Apr 23, 15 @ 12:39 pm:

    @Jake from Elwood 10:51

    Sometimes there are good reasons people want local control over their schools.


  42. - Diogenes in DuPage - Thursday, Apr 23, 15 @ 1:06 pm:

    Why are we always talking only about school district consolidation for cost savings? There are 865 school districts in Illinois’ 102 counties. Has anyone ever counted the number of county, municipal, township, library district, park district, mosquito abatement district, etc. units in Illinois? NOW that’s a great source for consolidation!


  43. - Big Joe - Thursday, Apr 23, 15 @ 1:15 pm:

    I can think of one possible situation on the North Shore that would make sense for consolidation. I believe Highland Park has 3 elementary school districts. If that is true, it certainly should be consolidated. That would be 3 districts inside the same suburb that feed into the one Highland Park HS.


  44. - JS Mill - Thursday, Apr 23, 15 @ 1:21 pm:

    @ Crispy-

    The State Board determines the qualifications for the State Superintendent. In that regard, they can have pretty much anyone they want.

    To my knowledge Illinois (and I could be wrong just going on memory here) has always had an “educator” in that position.

    My point was mainly this- Smith does not and never has held nor been eligible for teacher certification or a license in any state therefore, he is not qualified to teach in Illinois. He has never held nor has he been eligible for administrator (principal) certification of license in any state therefor, not eligible to be an administrator in Illinois. Same goes for superintendent. California allows districts to waive the requirements. That really equates to - he is a political ideologue/appointee and not an educator.

    The Superintendent is not approved by the ILGA, just the ISBE.


  45. - olddog - Thursday, Apr 23, 15 @ 1:23 pm:

    Why would Rauner be interested in rural school consolidation unless someone, somewhere can make a pile of money with it? Look for more local school turnarounds and closures, on-line classes and abominations like Tennessee’s statewide, all-charter “Achievement School District.”

    http://tn.chalkbeat.org/2015/04/01/only-two-bills-still-alive-out-of-22-to-limit-the-states-school-turnaround-district/#.VTk4KWTBwXA


  46. - JS Mill - Thursday, Apr 23, 15 @ 1:38 pm:

    =He can also find a way to pay for the transportation. Without raising my taxes.= Transportation just received another haircut but the truth is much worse. Stay with me-
    The transportation claim (your district and mine) was prorated at 80% from actual entitlement. Later, the UISBE went back and proarted the claim to 72% and then 80% (yes, twice) to kick out your actual, payable claim.

    Withe the reduction they went back and prorated it to 71% and then 80% to kick out the payable claim.

    The kicker? We have received two payments of four that we should get and have been told we will probably only get the two, we won’t get four, and probably won’t get three. That means we get 22% of the state entitlement for transportation. In a rural district of 200 square miles yo cannot run buses on dreams. It is a killer for the large geographic districts. We are only allowed to levy for .20 in transportation so our ability to fund it is limited. Our fund balances which were solid last year will be gone by the middle of next year if this keeps up.

    When we talk consolidation, and there are good resons to have that discussion, the geograophy outside of cook and the collar counties is daunting. Olympia CUSD is 440 square miles. How long should a kid be on a bus at age 5? We shoot for 45 minutes as our max. It will go to an hour or an hour and a half if this keeps up. Country roads are dangerous in the winter, young drivers are a serious risk.

    =I think everyone can agree there are way too many school administrators=

    Not necessarily. There is a reason for some of the growth in that area and you only have to look to the state mandates for part of the reason. A suburban district of 800 has no earthly business having 4 central office administrators. Down here in the smaller districts you often find superintendent/principal combinations. I am not sure how you can really do the things that need to be done- evaluations which now take 10 times as much as they used to thanks to the new laws (unfunded mandate. State and federal reporting has gone through the roof. A move to a new state test has required hundreds of hours of my time. Helicopter parents take up an enormous amount of my time, I often serve as a screen for my staff so they can teach. The finance side has become a theater of the absurd. Insurance? Don’t get me started. The list is endless. Sorry but unless you have some detail to support your attack I disagree with you for the most part.


  47. - Walter Mitty - Thursday, Apr 23, 15 @ 2:00 pm:

    JS… There is no real debate. The bus ride is not going to be past 45 minutes in the Highland Park example. They are all in positive fiscal balance. The real question is, in those communities that do not want to be Unit districts, including downstate, how much of an increase in taxes when Madigan get’s his cost shift, and he will. Are you willing to pay higher taxes for Highland park high school and the other 2-3 school districts you pay to keep them? My guess is, not very long. You are correct about mandate relief.


  48. - JS Mill - Thursday, Apr 23, 15 @ 2:10 pm:

    @Walter Mitty- agreed, the tax issue is legit. We have looked at the local cost of the pension cost shift. Based on our EAV it would be .26 on the levy (if we could) or $400k on our payroll (certified) of approx $6 million. No easy task for a district like our, no one will like that additional tax bump even though it represents about $39 on a $150,000 home.


  49. - Crispy - Thursday, Apr 23, 15 @ 2:18 pm:

    Juice and JS–thanks for the info.

    JS, I got your original point about qualifications. Like others here, I wish the new ISBE head were a strong advocate for public schools, one with lots of real-world classroom and administrative experience, who cares about kids, respects professional educators, and values people over money. (Of course, I’d like world peace, too.)

    Of course, the preliminary signs suggest that we’re getting the opposite. (I hope I’m wrong.) No surprise, but unfortunate.


  50. - Ghost - Thursday, Apr 23, 15 @ 2:26 pm:

    I agree with him on this one :)


  51. - Anon III - Thursday, Apr 23, 15 @ 2:29 pm:

    Jake From Elwood @ 10:51 am: It took nearly 14 years … to merge one little 400 student elementary school district in DuPage County into another unit school district.
    There needs to be a better way.

    There is: condition a percentage of State aid upon exceeding a set minimum school district size, and raise the conditional percentage every two years.


  52. - Demoralized - Thursday, Apr 23, 15 @ 2:52 pm:

    Is the Governor suggesting forced consolidation?Something isn’t fitting here. On the one had the Governor is all about local control. Districts can consolidate now if the voters approve it. Either he wants local control of issues or he doesn’t.


  53. - Demoralized - Thursday, Apr 23, 15 @ 3:01 pm:

    ==And the most I want to do it for is eight years.==

    If he’s here in 8 years we’ll see if that holds true. Never. Commit. Yourself. To. Timelines.


  54. - Buzzie - Thursday, Apr 23, 15 @ 3:12 pm:

    There are usually two major reasons why school consolidation referendums usually fail: 1) people feel tremendous ownership of their respective school districts and 2) the proponents never produce the actual financial numbers which validate that the consolidation will save the money they project.


  55. - forwhatitsworth - Thursday, Apr 23, 15 @ 4:27 pm:

    === School consolidation is needed. Be careful- creating too large of a district can mean that real change and improvement are all but impossible (see the history of almost every large urban district, U 46, Naper 203, 204 et al). ===

    Naperville School Districts 203 & 204 are two of the most outstanding school districts in the state! What is the insinuation? Having lived in Naperville District 203 for almost 25 years, I couldn’t be happier with the school system and the education my two children received. Yes, there have been some growth issues and some redistricting, but nothing that would support the argument of “be careful what you wish for.”


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        * The attacks continue..
        * Pot, meet kettle..
        * Illinois governor: Will not sign unbalanced sta.....
        * Rauner's top priority in last-minute budget tal.....
        * House Passes Plan For Separate Agency To Run Li.....
        * Unsolicited advice..
        * Brother of top Illinois Republican named judge .....
        * Chicago’s heart of mercy for the disabled..
        * Rauner's turnaround agenda turns its back on mu.....
        * Latest on Dennis Hastert: Hastert Resigns From .....


        * 1st positive test for West Nile virus in Illinois in 2015
        * Latest on Dennis Hastert: Hastert resigns from college board
        * New Berlin teen continues siblings' valedictorian tradition
        * Indictment gives few hints about former speaker's actions
        * Rauner: No special session if deadline for budget missed
        * House OKs plan for separate Lincoln Library and Museum
        * SIU-Edwardsville says worker killed repaving campus road
        * 'Clean energy' bills take back seat to Illinois budget
        * Wise expects U of Illinois to face censure over Salaita
        * Timeline of the career of ex-US House Speaker Dennis Hastert

        * Rauner won't call special session to reach budget agreement
        * House passes bill separating ALPLM from Historic Preservation
        * House OKs plan to make Lincoln Library and Museum its own state agency
        * Illinois Capitol statue of Dennis Hastert on hold
        * Legislative leaders say Rauner's Turnaround Agenda still on table
        * Rauner agenda bills defeated in committee
        * Bill would prevent strike, lockout
        * AFSCME pushing bill to prevent state workers from going on strike, being locked out
        * Effort to expand Illinois gambling likely pushed into summer
        * Body camera rules, other police reforms approved by Illinois House

        * Happy 90th birthday, Lester Crown
        * Fast Fifty methodology
        * Dennis Hastert the latest inductee in Illinois Hall of Shame
        * Scott Walker: Obama's power plant polution rule is 'unworkable'
        * ADM, Mondelez chiefs among best-paid female CEOs


          * Former Rep. Aaron Schock reimburses government $122,000
          * Police release images of 2014 homicide suspect
          * Blame game, political jockeying as overtime looms for Rauner, Madigan
          * Biggest dealer on underground Silk Road given 10 years in prison
          * Ex-House Speaker Dennis Hastert paid to conceal sexual misconduct: sources
          * White Sox John Danks at center of drama involving friend paralyzed at condo
          * Rapper killed a week after posting video making fun of rival gang
          * Great America marks anniversary with 3 vintage rides from '76 opening
          * Yorkville school district says it has no knowledge about Hastert case
          * Missing 73-year-old woman with dementia reunited with family


          * Bears release Ray McDonald after domestic violence arrest in California
          * Ex-US House speaker's indictment offers few clues about case
          * Chicago school board to consider charter relocations, renewals
          * Ex-US Speaker Hastert indicted on bank-related charges
          * Vets' best friend: Two veterans trekking cross-country with the dogs that 'saved their lives'
          * After pig farm raises a stink, Hoosiers debate rural-city divide
          * City planners and neighborhood residents map out Chinatown’s future
          * City planners and neighborhood residents map out Chinatown's future
          * Nebraska repeals death penalty, but U.S. isn't quite ready to abandon it
          * FIFA officials arrested on charges of bribery and corruption


          * Rauner won't call special session to reach budget agreement
          * House passes bill separating ALPLM from Historic Preservation
          * Illinois Capitol statue of Dennis Hastert on hold
          * Esther Cepeda: How sincere is Clinton's Latino outreach?
          * Rauner agenda bills defeated in committee
          * Our Opinion: What's next, Springfield? More jobs, please
          * Brent Glass: Leadership the answer to presidential museum's problems
          * E.J. Dionne: Ireland's 'social revolution'
          * Bill would prevent strike, lockout
          * Effort to expand Illinois gambling likely pushed into summer


          * Peoria-area public pools watching the weather as they prepare for Saturday opening
          * Groce awaits first pitch at Wrigley
          * Road closure 5/30/15
          * Full audio of Dave Benton funeral
          * Dave Benton mourned at funeral
          * Judge dismisses two of six counts in suit against MTD
          * HS Boys' Track: Class 2A IHSA State Track
          * Rauner: No special session if deadline for budget missed
          * Second UI student in drug case pleads guilty
          * Tom's Mailbag May 29, 2015


          * Island Lake cops get new labor contract
          * 1st positive test for West Nile virus in Illinois in 2015
          * SEC's Slive steps down amid record revenue, new conduct rule
          * NHL combine shifts from ballroom to arena with Buffalo move
          * Rauner's top priority in last-minute budget talks: Property tax freeze

          * Official: US Steel Not Idling Granite City...
          * Kinzinger holds roundtable
          * The Straw that Broke the Federalist Camel’...
          * Peoria splits EPA clean up grant with Rock...
          * Summer Open House to again feature 'Rock t...
          * U.S Steel to remain open in Granite City
          * Democrats face contested primaries in 2016...
          * 2,000 jobs saved as Granite City Works get...
          * Rockford, Peoria Get Grants To Clean Up Co...
          * Duckworth: Democratic 2016 Senate primary ...

          * Bill To Disclose the 28 Pages to be Introd......
          * Peoria splits EPA clean up grant with Rock......
          * The Patriot Act Was Controversial Long Bef......
          * Rockford, Peoria Get Grants To Clean Up Co......

          * Hastert rose to speakership among the scan......
          * Mystery surrounds identity of former House......
          * Dennis Hastert Allegedly Engaged in Sexual......
          * Latest on Dennis Hastert: Hastert resigns ......
          * Latest on Dennis Hastert: Statue to honor ......

          * Andrzejewski: The VA Scandal One Year Later
          * Lightford shuts down hearing witness Rich Goldberg: "You're so rude" [video]
          * Rauner to dialysis patients: Turnaround and go backward.
          * Glen Brown: A reflection on the IEA leadership at the Representative Assembly that still bothers me six weeks later.
          * Can I have a casino now?
          * Tony at the Red Line Tap.
          * Checking In On Summer Pieces
          * Former U.S. House Speaker Hastert Indicted
          * Former U.S. House Speaker Hastert Indicted (UPDATED)
          * The [Friday] Papers


          * Honoring Illinois' Fallen - United States and Illinois flags at half-staff from Sunrise, Monday, June 1, 2015 until Sunset, Wednesday, June 3, 2015.
          * First West Nile Virus Positive Mosquito in Illinois for 2015 Reported
          * Celebrate National 529 Day with a College Illinois!® Savings Plan - Enrollment Open Through June 1st
          * State Announces Business Resource Event Coming to Aurora - ‘Make a Connection’ networking and resource program promotes economic growth of small and diverse businesses
          * Gulf War Veteran Reports for Duty as IDVA Women Vets Coordinator, Vet Business Champion




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