37 Illinois School districts receive school grants
The Illinois State Board of Education is announcing 37 school districts will share in nearly $43 million in federal "Race to the Top" school improvement grants.
The money will go toward improving achievement in science, technology, engineering and math education and building better connections to post-secondary education and training.
Among reforms is that districts will use more comprehensive principal and teacher evaluations that tie student growth to educators' reviews.
All districts must have such evaluations by 2016.
Illinois got third-round "Race to the Top" funding after it was a finalist in the first two. The State Board of Education keeps half the grant to implement statewide reforms and shares the rest based on a formula that measures school-district poverty levels.
East-Central Illinois Soldier Killed in Accident >
Pfc. Joseph Eveland of Mattoon, assigned to Company A, 634th Brigade Support Battalion in Mattoon, was pronounced dead Sunday (May 6) at Sarah Bush Lincoln Health Center in Mattoon after an off-duty motorcycle accident.
The family of the 27-year-old Pfc. Eveland released a statement through the Illinois National Guard.
“In our darkest moment, our hearts are warmed by the collective love and support of our family, our friends, our neighbors and our community. The outpouring of support and kindness has been tremendous and we cannot thank everyone enough. Joe was an excellent father, husband, brother, son, and Soldier; he would be proud and honored. This is not an easy time for us. As we navigate this difficult journey we ask media to maintain a respectful distance.”
Two professional emergency response people became are victims of severe weather in Iroquois County Sunday. No injuries have been reported, but structural damage was widespread south and east of Watseka.
Ameren utility crews report a few cust9omers still without power this morning. Those are in select areas near Route 24 between Watseka and crescent City where up to 49 utility poles came down across the T.P.& W. Railroad tracks along Route 24.
Watseka Police Sgt. Jeremy Douglas’ family is OK but a building was destroyed at the family site along County Road 1730 N. A 40 by 40 cinder-block building was blown apart on the north side of the property. Site. Debris was scattered a few miles to the east. Crumbled siding and furniture was ripped apart. The Douglas family was in the basement of the house, which wasn’t hit by the storm. Douglas said his wife was paying attention to weather reports and made sure the family was safely tucked until the storm had passed.
A few miles to the east, Iroquois County 9-1-1 Coordinator Nita Dubble’s 2-story home was shaken and windows blown out. Dubble said she was sitting inside and heard the winds rumble thru the house. At least five buildings on the property were damaged by winds. A camper parked inside one shed was impaled with a board ripped from another building. One camper, inside the building was moved about 8-feet. A large evergreen tree was also uprooted.
A farmer east of the same area, near Shewami Country Club, reported seeing a funnel aloft, but it didn’t touch down.
Iroquois County Board addressing transparency in Government….
… Committee Proposal Continues Elected Officers Salary Freeze
A governmental push to inform citizens of what’s going on with their government finds Iroquois County trying to do just that.
County business transactions will be posted on the county website to comply with Public Act 97-0609. Total compensation benefits, including wages and benefits over $75,000 is required to be posted. The board’s management committee is suggesting compliance . since the act was to be implemented in 2011.
Elected officials meanwhile, are required to meet a requirement of being trained on the Freedom of Information (FOIA)Act. All officials, including county, township and school officials must meet the 2012 required training.
The Iroquois County Board Finance committee also voted 6-3 (Thursday) to continue a freeze on the set-salaries of Circuit Clerk and Coroner. Election year requirements call for salaries to be set 180 days prior to the election. The salaries of the Clerk and Coroner Office have been frozen since the last election four years ago…the Circuit Clerk at $52,000 and the Coroner at $36, 600.
The State’s Attorney Salary of $128,950 is set by the State, based on county population.
Finance committee member Rod Copas, who also serves the Negotiation committee, said raising salaries would put the county in a tough position for bargaining. He said raises could create more problems.
The County Negotiation Committee is currently in talks with AFSCME and FOP union employees.
While current salaries have been frozen for four years, however, the County Board also approved the hiring of a new full-time position (Director of Financing for $65,000 a year) and the former part-time County Board Administrative Assistant position is now a full-time position; both salaries including benefits.
Finance committee members voting FOR the salary freezes were: Charles Ault, Russell Bills, Kevin Hansen, Kyle Anderson, Dave Hubert and Rod Copas. The three voting AGAINST included Jim Meyer, Susan Wynn Bence and Don Deany.