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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 Aricka Flowers
Thu Nov 8, 2012

Freeport Sensata Employees Rally For Job Creation, Full Severance

Freeport workers at the Bain Capital-owned Sensata Technologies rallied today as part of a national movement calling on politicians to focus on job creation, not cuts to social services and education. The workers say the outcome of the election, which saw Democrat Cheri Bustos beat incumbent, Tea Party-backed Republican Bobby Schilling in the 17th congressional district where the Sensata factory lies, shows that voters are ready to see their elected officials work for them, not against them.

For months, the Sensata workers called on U.S. Rep. Schilling and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney to address the issue of the 170 U.S. jobs being outsourced to China. But their calls fell on deaf ears, with neither Schilling nor Romney ever taking the time to meet with the workers or address the issue. 

“Politicians who turned their back on workers, like Bobby Schilling and Mitt Romney, were rejected by voters,” said Tom Gaulrapp, who has worked at the plant for 33 years. “Our elected leaders need to stand up for good jobs, not job-killing budget cuts.”

Quick Hit
by Brandon Campbell
Tue Nov 6, 2012

Enyart Wins 12th Congressional District Race


Shortly after election polls closed Progress Illinois checked in on the candidates in Illinois’ 12th Congressional District, where the race turned nasty through political mudslinging in the final days. The AP is calling the race for Democrat Bill Enyart.

In the far-south district, where issues like coal power and personal finances dominated the candidates’ campaigns, the race has been so close it’s been listed as a “Tossup” by the New York Times.

Quick Hit
by Steven Ross Johnson
Fri Nov 2, 2012

Discord Over Chicago Public School Closings Grows, Logan Square Community Balks At Consolidation Plan (VIDEO)

The fight over public school closures and consolidations in Chicago came to the northwest side community of Logan Square this week, as nearly 100 concerned parents and residents filled a classroom in Ames Middle School in response to a proposed plan to move a military academy into the building.

The plan, submitted to the Chicago Board of Education by Ald. Roberto Maldonado (26th), would bring Marine Military Academy High School, currently located at 145 S. Campbell Ave., to Ames with the intent of expanding the school to include both 7th and 8th grades.

Organizers for the event said an invitation was sent to Maldonado to attend the community meeting, but he declined.

The proposal sparked anger among the school’s parents, who said Maldonado never discussed the plan with the community, which according to a survey conducted last month by the Logan Square Neighborhood Association (LSNA), is overwhelmingly opposed to the idea.

Quick Hit
by Michael Sandler
Thu Oct 25, 2012

A Closer Look At Constitutional Amendment 49

On Election Day, Illinoisans will see a referendum on the ballot that would, if approved by voters, install a state constitutional amendment that would boost the number of legislative votes needed to pass statewide pension increases for public employees.

If passed, Amendment 49 would require a three-fifths, or super majority, vote of approval by the General Assembly to make any increases in public employee pensions. As it stands now, only a simple majority, or one-half of the legislative vote, is needed to increase the pensions of state employees. The amendment would also apply to city and county employees as well as educators, meaning that local governments, school boards and similar legislative bodies would also be beholden to the super majority vote requirement.

The controversial amendment, sponsored by House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago), swept through both the Illinois Senate and House by margins of 51-2 and 113-0, respectively.

Quick Hit
by Matthew Blake
Wed Oct 24, 2012

Chicago City Council: School Closing Hearing Will Be Held, Homeless Population Questioned

The Chicago City Council will hold hearings on what are rumored to be 80 to 120 neighborhood school closings, according to Ald. Latasha Thomas (17th), head of the council's education committee.

Thomas, who as education chairperson must convene such a panel, has previously been silent on a resolution signed by 32 aldermen calling for a school closing hearing. She told Progress Illinois that she would “absolutely” hold such a hearing.