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Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
Tue Nov 5, 2013

Ames Middle School Officials, Parents Demand Meeting With CPS Over Military School Plan

Logan Square parents, residents and the Local School Council (LSC) at Ames Middle School say they want Chicago Public Schools (CPS) officials to meet with them about the district's plan to affiliate their neighborhood school with the Marine Corps next year. 

Ames LSC members stressed at their meeting Tuesday morning that those from nearby feeder schools should also have an opportunity to weigh in about the decision to convert Ames, located at 1920 N. Hamlin Ave., into a military academy. Those feeder schools include John Barry Elementary, Laughlin Falconer Elementary, Kelvyn Park High School, Sharon Christa McAuliffe Elementary and William P. Nixon Elementary.

No CPS officials attended Ames' morning LSC meeting, although several school district representatives were reportedly invited to attend.

"Nobody has had the courtesy to come to us, the parents, constituents and, most importantly, the students that will be most affected [by this decision]," said Ames LSC member Jose Jaramillo. "We are tired of trying to fight a battle of people making decisions for our school when we are the ones that are vested and give all our time for the excellence of our community and school."

PI Original
by Steven Ross Johnson
Mon Nov 19, 2012

Illinois Revenue Projections, Allocation Procedures Need Revamping, Report Finds

A new report from the governor’s advisory commission on improving the state’s budget process is calling on lawmakers to find a more accurate way of estimating how much revenue the state takes in, and become more flexible when it comes to how those funds are allocated.

Quick Hit
by Matthew Blake
Mon Nov 12, 2012

Despite Ballot Measures, Action Not Expected On Addressing Money In Politics

The financing of political campaigns is one area where the gap between what voter’s want and what the law of the land is appears vast.

In last week’s election, there were referenda in Illinois and across the country calling for nothing less than an amendment to the U.S. Constitution in order to overturn the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision. Yet U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Illinois) pretty much acknowledged to Crain’s Chicago Business that Congress has no interest in passing campaign finance reform laws.

Quick Hit
by Matthew Blake
Fri Nov 9, 2012

Springfield May Consider A Chicago Elected School Board

Eighty-seven percent of the 65,763 Chicago voters who weighed in on the matter said ‘yes’ to a non-binding referendum on whether the city should have an elected, instead of mayor-appointed, school board.

An effort by the city council’s progressive caucus this summer, with the support of the Chicago Teachers Union, to get the referendum on ballots across the city failed. So only voters in select polling precincts were asked to consider the measure.

“Can you imagine the whole city of Chicago saying the same thing and the momentum that would have rolled from that,” asked Stacey Davis Gates, legislative policy director for CTU.

But even a citywide referendum would have been purely symbolic because, like so much else that governs the Chicago Public Schools, the selection of school board members is a matter of state, not city, law.

Quick Hit
by Matthew Blake
Wed Nov 7, 2012

Muddled Public Employee Pension Referendum Fails

The state’s biggest political issue of 2012 has been growing unfunded pension obligations to public employees, with the shortfall expected to hit $93 billion by next summer. By comparison, the annual state budget is about $33 billion a year.

Considering this, Illinois voters could have been forgiven for thinking that a failed referendum on yesterday’s ballot regarding the approval of pension benefit increases had something to do with these addressing the deficit. But it really didn’t, and neither the referendum’s merits nor its key political backers were ever made clear.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
Tue Nov 6, 2012

Election Morning In The 10th Congressional District (VIDEO)

Democratic candidate for the 10th congressional district Brad Schneider voted with his two sons and his wife at the bustling Red Oak Elementary School in Highland Park as the sun rose this morning.

More than 40 Schneider volunteers toting signs and listening to Survivor’s “Eye of the Tiger” greeted voters as the polls opened at 6 a.m. They cheered as Schneider and his sons Adam, 19, Daniel, 18, and his wife Julie arrived about a half hour later to cast their votes.

Schneider talked with Progress Illinois after casting his ballot and said he feels “fantastic”, adding that his team has been working hard for 18 months.