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Afternoon roundup

Thursday, Jan 12, 2023 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Hmm…


Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) Education Career Pathway Grants are preparing 10,805 future teachers in high schools across the state. The grants expose students of all backgrounds to the experience of teaching and also aim to increase the diversity of the state’s teacher workforce: 45% of students in the pathway program identify as Black or Hispanic, compared to just 14% of current teachers.

Thanks to initiatives like the Education Career Pathways Grants, Illinois has increased student enrollment in education preparation programs by 41% - from 8,534 in 2017 to 12,069 in 2021. However, Illinois schools still reported 2,139 unfilled teaching positions in October 2021, and those unfilled positions are concentrated in under-resourced communities and in bilingual and special education. […]

ISBE has released $18 million in total Education Career Pathways Grants through three rounds of grant funding. A total of 171 high schools now offer Education Career Pathways.

* This is a bit silly. Mailed ballot application signatures are matched with voter registration signatures. The Democrats say the law already allowed election judges to compare signatures on the subsequently mailed ballots to the already pre-checked ballot application signatures, but a county judge disagreed, so they made the statute more explicit. ILGOP…

After rewarding themselves with massive pay raises, Illinois Democrats are once again drunk on power, and have moved to weaken signature requirements on absentee ballots.

During the 2022 election, the DuPage County Clerk chose to flout the letter of the law by not requiring that signatures on returned vote-by-mail ballots be matched to the official signatures on file for those voters. A DuPage County judge rebuked the Clerk for this practice. “Use of the Vote by Mail ballot application to qualify signatures on the Vote by Mail ballot itself would be an obvious way to commit ballot fraud.” Now, instead of abiding by the law – or strengthening it with common sense measures like voter ID – Democrats have decided to do away with the requirement altogether.

“When the rules don’t go the Democrats’ way in Illinois, they use their massive supermajorities to change them in their favor. First they voted to give themselves massive pay raises, next they voted to weaken signature verification requirements on absentee ballots.”

* Capitol News Illinois

Sixteen hours after Gov. JB Pritzker signed the measure into law, the Rev. Jerry Doss of Springfield’s Abundant Faith Christian Center recognized it before his invocation over the House swearing-in ceremony.

“I want to also personally thank you – the leaders and the decision-makers – for passing the bill last night on banning assault weapons,” Doss said. “We appreciate you. Thank you.”

Doss’ comment was met with rousing cheers from Democratic supporters – and silence from Republicans.


* Press release…

Today, Governor JB Pritzker joined local, state, and community leaders to celebrate the final structural beam being placed at the Quincy Veterans’ Home. The “Topping Out” ceremony marks a significant milestone in the nearly $300 million renovation and rehabilitation project that will provide a 260,000 square foot residential long-term care facility and 80,000 square foot independent living facility to Illinois veterans.

“With these renovations, our veterans and their families will be able to enjoy state-of-the-art facilities that support them in living their fullest life – exercising their right to excellent care in quality surroundings,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “We owe our veteran heroes nothing less – and it’s exactly what I sought to do when I dedicated nearly $300 million in state funding to this renovation in our Rebuild Illinois infrastructure plan.”

The scope of work for the Quincy Veterans’ Home includes a campus rehabilitation to buildings, infrastructure, utilities, and landscaping to support the new facilities. The project provides for the demolition of six existing buildings, and renovation of the Neilson Dining Facility to include a multi-purpose space, administrative offices, and stores.

The long-term care facility is projected to house 210 skilled-care beds with full amenities for its residents. The independent living building, referred to as a domiciliary, will host 80 independent living units, with accommodations large enough for resident spouses and children.

“Illinois continues to ensure veterans and their families thrive in our state. By building this new Veterans’ Home on the hallowed grounds of Quincy, our treasured heroes will live in a brand-new, state-of-the-art facility on a truly historic campus,” said IDVA Director Terry Prince. “The continued investment in the five Veterans’ Homes across Illinois represents the State’s commitment to Veterans and their families. We are grateful for the Governor’s support, the work of the Capital Development Board and finally, our incredible partners on the construction team for addressing the unique needs of Veterans and the Home.”

Quincy Veterans’ Home is currently 45% complete, with an anticipated substantial completion for the domiciliary set for September 2023 and the long-term care facility scheduled for February 2024. The Illinois Capital Development Board (CDB) is overseeing the project’s design and construction in accordance with the protocol for state-appropriated projects.

During the event, the last structural beam was raised to the top of the long-term care facility and attendees had the opportunity to sign the beam before it was placed on the third floor of the structure.

“The Capital Development Board is proud to work collectively with Quincy Veterans’ Home staff and the dedicated construction teams to bring this project to life,” said Capital Development Board Executive Director, Jim Underwood. “More than 150 construction workers have remained committed to advancing this project and because of their hard work, the project has remained on track, despite ongoing challenges in the construction industry.”

Mild winter temperatures have allowed the project to progress without delay. In the domiciliary, air and vapor barrier installation and brick masonry work is nearing completion. The long-term care facility has completed all grade beams, with structural steel in place for all resident wings anticipated this week.

Governor Pritzker’s bipartisan Rebuild Illinois capital plan provides essential funding to support the revitalization and improvement of Illinois roadways, state facilities, universities, bridges, and railways over a six-year period. The plan addresses critical infrastructure and economic opportunities.

Video is here.

* From yesterday…

Today, after being elected by his peers to serve as the Illinois Senate Republican Leader, Sen. John Curran (R-Downers Grove) announced his leadership team for the 103rd General Assembly as follows:

    Senator Sue Rezin, Deputy Leader
    Senator Neil Anderson, Caucus Chair
    Senator Terri Bryant, Assistant Republican Leader
    Senator Dale Fowler, Assistant Republican Leader
    Senator Steve McClure, Assistant Republican Leader
    Senator Jason Plummer, Assistant Republican Leader
    Senator Sally Turner, Republican Caucus Whip
    Senator Jil Tracy, Republican Caucus Whip

“This team from throughout Illinois will bring diverse perspectives, experiences, expertise and policy solutions to our caucus leadership,” Curran said. “I trust each of these members to be champions for their districts and their ideals as we work together to create a bold but doable agenda for the Senate Republicans.”

* CBS Chicago

Chicago Public Schools Inspector General Will Fletcher is opening an investigation after Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s reelection campaign sent an email to Chicago Public Schools teachers asking them to encourage their students to volunteer for her campaign in exchange for class credit.

“CPS OIG has opened an investigation into this matter and we are currently gathering information to determine which, if any, policies have been violated,” Fletcher’s office said in a statement.

Chicago Inspector General Deborah Witzburg’s office confirmed they’re “gathering information” as well.

“The Office of Inspector General is aware of the public reporting on this matter. We are gathering information and we’re in contact with the Inspector General for Chicago Public Schools,” spokeswoman Deanna Shoss said in an email.

The Chicago Board of Ethics also plans to discuss the matter at its next meeting on Jan. 23, according to executive director Steve Berlin.

…Adding… Trib

“This should not have happened,” Lightfoot said Thursday afternoon at a news conference. She called the emails a mistake by a staff member and said she didn’t know about the emails until Wednesday, at which point she “put an immediate stop to it.”

* The Illinois Senate said goodbye to retired Sen. Tony Muñoz today. Sen. Napoleon Harris’ speech captured Muñoz’s personality well

* Isabel’s roundup…


  1. - Arsenal - Thursday, Jan 12, 23 @ 2:09 pm:

    Imagine being one of the few Senate Republicans *not* invited to the leadership team.

  2. - Dotnonymous - Thursday, Jan 12, 23 @ 2:11 pm:

    Pawn shops prey on poor people for an exploitative living.

  3. - Big Dipper - Thursday, Jan 12, 23 @ 2:12 pm:

    Are the Republicans in the G.A. refusing the pay raises or donating them back to the State Treasury? At least to charity?

  4. - Donnie Elgin - Thursday, Jan 12, 23 @ 2:15 pm:

    “eyeballing of this chart really tells the story of inflation in 2022. It was a first half of the year story, not a back half of the year story”

    That may well be, but the 6.5% YOY CPI increase guarantees whopper property tax bills. Taxing bodies under PTELL will levy at 5% once again.

  5. - NIU Grad - Thursday, Jan 12, 23 @ 3:03 pm:

    That leadership team is basically the entire caucus at this point, no?

  6. - TheInvisibleMan - Thursday, Jan 12, 23 @ 3:10 pm:

    –guarantees whopper property tax bills–

    Not for me. I’ve already seen the levy requested for most of the district I live in. The eventual tax rate on my bill will be falling between 1 and 3 percent depending on the district involved.

    Sounds like you have some local meetings to attend, if you are already sure your tax bill will increase 5% for certain.

    Or you know, just blame the state… or something.

  7. - Grandson of Man - Thursday, Jan 12, 23 @ 3:30 pm:

    Elon Musk embraces the right wing and starts to fail. Looks familiar.

  8. - Donnie Elgin - Thursday, Jan 12, 23 @ 3:34 pm:

    “I’ve already seen the levy requested for most of the district I live in”

    Schools are the largest single factor on a property tax bill - the average is 62% - they will for sure levy to the max which will be 5% - your property may well go down due to the vagaries of the values of the real estate ( commercial, Industrial, TIF’s…) in you locality. Districts mechanically set their levy to the max for fear of losing the ability to tack on future % increases. Also, today’s CPI print will be used to calculate the max levy for PTELL bodies for levy year 2023/year taxes paid 2024.

  9. - Big Dipper - Thursday, Jan 12, 23 @ 3:39 pm:

    Kanye is probably glad Musk lost more. Two fools.

  10. - Southside Chi - Thursday, Jan 12, 23 @ 3:52 pm:

    Muñoz was the man. Good dude.

  11. - TheInvisibleMan - Thursday, Jan 12, 23 @ 4:01 pm:

    –Schools are the largest single factor on a property tax bill –

    That’s correct.

    The tax rate on my property tax bill for the school district I live in will be going down 1.6%.

    Point being, just because inflation is a certain amount, doesn’t mean it translates to an automatic dollar increase in your tax bill.

    I would imagine places that are growing in population have an even bigger advantage due to the assessment captures on new construction.

    Your locals control the attractiveness to new development, and your locals in other districts control what to set the levy at. If your locals are failing to such an wide-ranging extent on all of the above to the degree where you already know it is a certainty you will see a massive property tax increase in real dollars; that’s a problem with your locals, not your property taxes.

    As George Carlin liked to say; these officials don’t pass through a membrane from another reality, they come from local parents, local families, local schools, local churches, local businesses. And they are elected by locals. Maybe that is just the best you can do.

  12. - Flexible One - Thursday, Jan 12, 23 @ 5:57 pm:

    Tony Muñoz is a class act

  13. - FormerParatrooper - Thursday, Jan 12, 23 @ 6:58 pm:

    The Quincy Veterans project is well overdue, glad to see it is moving along.

  14. - Blue Dog - Friday, Jan 13, 23 @ 6:37 am:

    RIP Tippy.

  15. - From DaZoo - Friday, Jan 13, 23 @ 8:56 am:

    Some school districts ask for more than what they really need knowing what is actually collected is less than the original ask due to tax appeals.

    However, you do make a good point about the need to attend meetings. Especially if one lives in an area with a school district that just goes on autopilot with increases.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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