Illinois Public Media News

AP - Illinois Public Media News - December 29, 2009

Indiana Schools Will Get Budgets Cut in January

Gov. Mitch Daniels says Indiana will start cutting school funding starting in January.

Daniels previously announced the K-12 cuts of about $300 million. Schools will lose about 3.5 percent of current state funding in 2010, starting with their January payment. The Indiana State Board of Education had recommended that the cuts begin in January.

State Superintendent Tony Bennett says school districts can find 3 percent savings without laying off teachers.

Daniels says education is such a big part of the state budget in Indiana that cuts were unavoidable to ensure Indiana doesn't have a deficit when the budget ends in July 2011. The Republican governor has already ordered cuts at state agencies and universities.

Categories: Education
Tags: education

AP - Illinois Public Media News - December 18, 2009

Buyout Could Be Choice For Some U of I Employees

Employee buyouts are being looked at as another option for the University of Illinois to cut costs next spring.

Campus units were told earlier this month to make contingency plans to reduce spending by 7, 10, and 15 percent. Those plans were to be submitted earlier this week. U of I spokeswoman Robin Kaler says this is just another possibility as state reimbursements to the university are behind by about $400 million. "For several months the university has been struggling with a mounting financial crisis," says Kaler. "We're working on several options and buyouts are one of those, but we don't have details yet on any of the options." Kaler says it's too early to speculate who may take advantage of a buyout plan.

The U of I is also considering implementing a furlough policy next spring that's already been put together. Kaler says administrators have other cost-cutting proposals on the table, but couldn't be more specific.

Categories: Education, Government, Politics

AP - Illinois Public Media News - December 18, 2009

St. Rep. Winters Defends Bill to Cut Tuition Waivers for State University Employees

The sponsor of a bill to eliminate the 50 percent tuition waivers available for children of state university employees says it's a sacrifice the state needs to make.

Dave Winters of the Rockford area submitted the bill (HB4706) last week and acknowledges that he's received some unhappy phone calls from state-employed parents since he did so. But Republican state representative says public employees shouldn't be seen as having a special privilege not available to others.

"We have to realize that it's a fiscal crisis", says Winters. "The state can shut down the universities. If we go another year or two in the current spending habits without making some tough decisions, I think we're facing disaster this year with so many of our social service agencies on the verge of closing or having already closed."

Winters also says he'll probably amend the bill to allow students already using the tuition waivers to continue to do so. And he says he would add a controversial scholarship program for state lawmakers to the chopping block.

Winters also says universities could be given the option of continuing the tuition waivers, but he says they'd have to compete with many other programs and services for a shrinking pool of state funding. He expects more lawmakers to sign onto his bill when the legislature reconvenes next month.

Categories: Education, Government, Politics

AP - Illinois Public Media News - December 17, 2009

Bill Seeks to Remove Tuition Waivers for Children of University Employees

An Illinois lawmaker has set his sights on a tuition waiver program for children of state university employees as a potential target for elimination.

A bill filed last week by Representative Dave Winters of the Rockford area would remove language that makes children of an employee eligible for a 50 percent waiver on undergraduate tuition at any state institution.

That prospect concerns Winters' fellow Republican representative Chapin Rose of Mahomet. But he also says he was under the impression that universities should make up their own minds on whether to offer the benefit.

"I guess the way I'd look at it is that's a choice that each university has just like any business in terms of their overall compensation package," Rose said. "If they want to give their faculty a raise rather than a 50 percent tuition waiver, that's their business. If they'd rather do a flat salary and a 50 percent tuition waiver, that's their business."

University of Illinois spokesman Tom Hardy says the U of I hasn't taken a stand on the bill yet, saying administrators will want to talk with Winters.

Rose says it would make more sense for the state to get rid of the program that lets General Assembly members offer scholarships to the students of their choice. Winters has not returned a call seeking comment.


AP - Illinois Public Media News - December 17, 2009

Unit 4’s New Committee to Continue Racial Equity Progress Holds 1st Meeting

A new committee assigned with creating a climate of equal opportunities for all Champaign school students held its inaugural meeting Wednesday.

The Education Equity Excellence committee was put together as part of the Unit 4 settlement of its Consent Decree for racial equity. The panel is made up of district administrators and community members --- including a bilingual teacher, the President of the local NAACP chapter and a former Unit 4 school board member, Nathaniel Banks.

Banks, who stepped down last spring, is the most recent African-American to serve on the school board. Speaking prior the meeting, Banks said the Triple-E Committee's first session would be largely about laying the groundwork for future work. He says the Champaign school district has already made strides towards greater equity in some areas, but that it's a work in progress.

"Unfortunately, it doesn't lend itself to the cycle of elections", said Banks. "So there are long-term issues that the Consent Decree was trying to address, and those issues are still there. Certainly, there's been progress, not only in closing the achievement gap, but also in looking at (programs for) Gifted and Talented (students) increasing the number of African-American students there."

Banks says the Champaign school district also needs to take a hard look at the number of minority students in special education, and discipline issues.

Triple-A Committee member and PTA Council President Nancy Hoetker says she'll be responsible for helping facilitate communications between the the committee and Unit Four's 16 campuses.

The Triple-E Committee is expected to meet at least twice per semester.

Categories: Education, Race/Ethnicity

AP - Illinois Public Media News - December 17, 2009

Illini Football’s Benn to Enter NFL Draft

Illinois receiver Arrelious Benn will skip his senior season and enter the NFL draft.

The junior said at a news conference Wednesday he thinks he is ready for the National Football League and wants to take care of his family. But he says he won't forget the U of I.

"As I begin this adventure, I will always be proud to represent the University of Illinois", said Benn. "I will be a role model for inner-city kids and anyone who wonders if they really can realize their dreams. And one more thing, I will finish college --- and Ma, that's a promise".

"OK, I'll take you up on that", replied Benn's mother, Denise Benn, who joined him at the news conference.

"Rejus" Benn was a top prospect out of high school in Washington, D.C., and the Big Ten freshman of the year in 2007. The Illini went to the Rose Bowl that season. He struggled with the team the past two seasons. Illinois was 3-9 this season and Benn caught just 38 passes for 490 yards. But despite his disappointing junior season, Benn is considered a potential high-round pick. Draft expert and former NFL general manager Gil Brandt believes Benn will be a second-round pick.

(Additional reporting by Rob McColley for AM 580 News)

Categories: Education, Science

WILL - Illinois Public Media News - December 10, 2009

Danish UI Student Heads Home to the Copenhagen Climate Summit

Adam Lentz is taking a week from his studies at the University of Illinois to go back to his home town in Europe. But it'll be a working break - his home is Copenhagen, where representatives from the world's countries have gathered to hammer out an agreement on climate change. Lentz is a Fulbright graduate student studying natural resources and environmental science. When he was an undergraduate at the University of Copenhagen, he was the president of the Union of Danish Natural Resource Students. He's going to the Copenhagen summit to monitor its progress, and he sat down with AM 580's Tom Rogers to talk about his expectations.

Download mp3 file

AP - Illinois Public Media News - December 08, 2009

11 Campustown Bars Cited by Champaign

11 bars in Champaign's Campustown area are accused of promoting and hosting drinking games last month. Mayor and Liquor Commissioner Jerry Schweighart has issued complaints accusing the bars of violating the Illinois Happy-Hour statute, by encouraging binge drinking and providing special discounts.

The activity occurred during the fall Bar-Scramble that Schweighart says attracted over a thousand participants to Campustown bars on November 7th. He says participants played games in which their scores determined how much they were to drink. Schweighart says he's been a long-time opponent of such drinking games, and he's surprised that so many bars took part.

"They've known for ten years that my rules, they're going to be dealt with very harshly if you involve yourself with drinking games. And by doing this --- an especially in this magnitude. It's kind of in-your-face, we're going to do what we want to

The Barscrambles are held every semester, and sponsored by the Irish Illini, a student group. But Schweighart says this is first time they've been aware of the drinking games, which he was were obvious from the advertising for the event.

The complaints against the 11 bars will be heard at preliminary hearings set for Monday and Tuesday of next week. Schweighart says the bars could accept the penalties the city will propose at that time --- or appeal them to a full hearing, and beyond that to a hearing by state regulators. He says the penalties could range from fines, to something as severe as revocation of a bar's liquor license.

Categories: Education, Government, Politics

AP - Illinois Public Media News - December 04, 2009

20 Speak at U of I Search Committee Forum in Urbana

A public forum on the qualities needed by the next president of the University of Illinois attracted more than a hundred people to the Spurlock Museum on the Urbana campus Thursday.

20 people spoke, most of them students and faculty. Student Senator --- and political science major --- Carlos Rosa named a top priority for students.

"Tuition, tuition, tuition", said Rosa. "I cannot stress enough that me and my classmates, we want a president at this university that is ready to chop at the top, and not chop down on the number of students that can afford to attend this institution".

Rosa and others also said that the next president must be mindful of the need for diversity on campus.

History Professor Kristin Hoganson said she hoped for a president who would resist the "corporatization" of the university, and put a renewed emphasis on teaching and research --- including the liberal arts and humanities. And Hoganson said she wanted someone who would understand the problems of the Urbana campus, in the wake of the recent admissions scandal.

"I think we need somebody who understands that this campus is suffering from an unprecedented crisis of morale", said Hoganson, "and who would be active in addressing the turmoil on the lack of leadership this campus has had recently."

Others at the forum focused on the presidential search process itself. The discussion started when Miriam Larson of the Graduate Employees Organization said she hoped for more such forums in the spring ---"especially", she said, "as we have a more particular sense of what candidates we're looking at"

But Search Committee Chair and U of I Trustee Pamela Strobel said those "particulars" would not be made public. She says details about who's being considered for university president will stay secret, because most candidates don't want word to get out.

"If we started telling the world who our candidates were, we would probably lose 90 percent of them", said Strobel. "They would say'I'm not a candidate', because they do not want to jeopardize their current employment."

Strobel says not even the names of the finalists for U of I president will released. Finalists for the president's post are public knowledge at some universities, such as New Mexico State, where former U of I Urbana Chancellor Richard Herman recently withdrew as a candidate. U of I Interim President Designate Stanley Ikenberry said he doesn't know of any major university that releases names of candidates for president. But Ikenberry says this present search process is the most open one he's seen at the U of I.

Categories: Education

AP - Illinois Public Media News - December 03, 2009

U of I Illinois at the Phillips Program to End

A program enabling University of Illinois art students to study at the nation's capital is coming to an end due to cost and low enrollment.

Illinois at the Phillips started in 2006... enabling about 45 students to take courses at the Phillips Collection Modern Art Museum in Washington, DC. Former U of I Urbana Campus Chancellor Richard Herman championed the program... and paid for it through a discretionary fund that he controlled.

The concept was to create something that was self-supporting through private gifts, along with tuition dollars from Washington residents who could also take the classes.

But U of I arts dean Robert Graves says part of that never materialized:

"The hope was that it would generate considerable endowment funds from outside the university, (such as) private foundations", said Graves. "And it was successful to a certain degree in generating income from courses that it gave to Washington DC residents, but not enough to offset the huge amount of state funding that was going into it."

Illinois at the Phillips is projected to cost 600-thousand dollars this year... and Graves says those kind of expenses can't be justified as the U of I wrestles with a tight budget and uncertainty over state funding. Much of the money behind the program goes towards the salary for program director and art history professor Jonathan Fineberg, along with travel expenses.

Interim Urbana Chancellor Robert Easter acted on a recommendation from a 3-member committee this week to end the arts program. Illinois at the Phillips will end after the spring semester.

Categories: Education

Page 131 of 151 pages ‹ First  < 129 130 131 132 133 >  Last ›