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Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
6:07pm
Fri Apr 10

Report Outlines Reforms To Strengthen Illinois Charter School Oversight

The oversight system of charter schools in Illinois contains "fundamental flaws" that need to be revamped in order to prevent fraud, argues a report by Action Now and the Center for Popular Democracy (CPD).

The report -- which pointed to the scandal involving insider deals at the charter school operator United Neighborhood Organization (UNO) as a more recent example of the need for stronger oversight -- noted that over $13 million in charter school fraud, waste or abuse has been uncovered in Illinois since the legislature passed a 1996 law allowing charters to open in the state.

As a result of the state's "lack of transparency and necessary oversight," there are likely more instances in which funds were inappropriately used in the Illinois charter system than has been reported, the researchers claim. According to their estimate, charter school fraud in Illinois tallied up to nearly $28 million in the last year alone.

Quick Hit
by Op-Ed
5:55pm
Wed Apr 8

Op-Ed: Thousands Call On Rauner To Undo Pound-Foolish Cuts To Important Investments

The following comes from the Illinois Coalition of Immigrant and Refugee Rights.

Immigrant women in need of help securing orders of protection against abusive spouses. Elderly people seeking medical treatments. Autistic Illinoisans and their families. The disabled, the addicted, the young. When Governor Rauner took a last-minute knife to social service investments in this fiscal year's budget, he aimed for Illinois's most vulnerable populations--and he hit his mark. That was the message at a Wednesday rally at the Thompson Center, where the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR) brought together hundreds of supporters representing a broad array of those who will suffer due to the Governor's suspension of a wide variety of spending that supports investments in some of Illinois's most underprivileged communities.

"What the Governor did, as the clock ran out on the Friday before a holiday weekend, is not just a slap in the face to the immigrant community after he stood with us earlier this year and told us how important we are to Illinois," said Lawrence Benito, CEO of ICIRR. "It's an affront to the millions of Illinoisans who rely on these investments in order to pursue self-sufficiency. These are cuts that enable economic success; cutting them is pennywise and pound-foolish. It's the height of irony: Governor Rauner, who portrays himself as a savvy businessman, seems oblivious to the returns on the state's investment in immigrant and other disadvantaged communities."

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