Many suburban and Downstate school superintendents are issuing statements of support for the push, led by Governor Rauner, to eliminate some of the more than 100 unfunded mandates imposed by Springfield on local school districts and their taxpayers. For example, last week St. Clair County Regional Superintendent of Schools Susan Sarfaty agreed that these unfunded mandates are costing her schools money not provided for in these districts’ property-tax-funded budgets.
Unfunded mandates targeted by the Rauner push include required drivers’ education, for which schools are supposed to be reimbursed by fees paid by pupils but often are not; daily physical education; and restrictions on school districts contracting out needed non-educational services, such as janitorial work, to the private sector. The Rauner “Turnaround Illinois” property tax relief measure, sponsored by House Republican leadership in the General Assembly as HB 4247, includes language specifically aimed at repealing barriers to use of third-party contractors for budget savings. House Democrats have so far failed to release HB 4247 from the Rules Committee for discussion and debate.
“Clean Slate” trustees vote to reduce tuition, cut property tax levy. The newly-elected majority of the community college’s governing board voted for a revised FY16 budget that sharply changes the college’s fiscal stance. The $314.1 million spending plan will reduce tuition by $5 per credit hour and slice the school’s property tax levy by approximately 5 percent. The new budget was approved on Monday, September 28.
The “Clean Slate” property tax cut will benefit owners of real property throughout the College of DuPage’s taxing jurisdiction. The College’s jurisdiction follows the lines of high school and consolidated secondary-school districts in its western-suburban service area, and is not coterminous with DuPage County as a whole. Significant numbers of taxpayers in Cook and Will Counties will also benefit from this property tax cut. Students with bona fide residence within the district will see tuition dropping from $140 to $135 per credit hour.
Board chairwoman Kathy Hamilton stated that the cuts became possible after newly-elected trustees reduced unnecessary spending and administrative expenses. For example, the College’s former fine-cuisine restaurant, Waterleaf, was closed permanently on Aug. 29 after losing money continuously during its four-year span of operations.
Law enforcement intensifies probe of College of DuPage leadership team. Until 2015, the College was actively led by President Robert Breuder and his top aides. New personnel are transitioning into leadership roles at the College, with slots opening up as the former leadership team enters leave-of-absence status, pre-retirement status, or statuses reflecting legally contested actions of suspension and dismissal. Meanwhile, a DuPage County grand jury has issued a subpoena seeking records and data over certain policies carried out by the departing Breuder leadership team, especially policies relating to the relationship between the College’s top leadership and the Waterleaf restaurant. The subpoena appears to parallel press reports and allegations that members of the Breuder team used Waterleaf as a taxpayer-funded private eating club.
The county grand jury subpoena is not the only probe ongoing into the College of DuPage’s operations. Separate federal criminal probes are looking into President Breuder’s college-issued credit cards, reimbursements and house accounts, and into certain of the College’s video surveillance recordings. The State of Illinois issued three subpoenas earlier in 2015 to scrutinize records covering Breuder’s employment contract, personal expenses, and no-bid jobs awarded by the Breuder leadership team to a school fundraiser.
Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White announced Monday that his office will suspend mailing out vehicle registration renewal reminder notices to the public due to the lack of a state budget.
White noted that by suspending this service, which will save approximately $450,000 per month, his office will be able to prolong the ability to mail vehicle registration renewal stickers, titles and license plates to vehicle owners for a few months longer before the postage account is depleted.
“The lack of a Fiscal Year 2016 budget is adversely impacting the Secretary of State’s office, and threatens to jeopardize the services we provide to the public,” said White. “Without a state budget in place, we are doing what we can to manage so that we may serve the people of Illinois for as long as possible. As a result, difficult decisions like suspending renewal reminder notice mailings are decisions we are being forced to make.”
White encouraged vehicle owners to be mindful of their vehicle registration status to ensure they renew in a timely manner and avoid driving on expired vehicle stickers. He also emphasized that more vehicle owners will be forced to visit facilities to renew their vehicle registration stickers because without a reminder notice they will not have a pin number needed to renew online. However, people who have signed up to receive electronic reminder notices will continue to receive them by email. To sign up for this service, please visit www.cyberdriveillinois.com.
If you were able to participate in our 13th annual cardboard boat race on August 15, you know it was a beautiful day and a bigger-than-ever event. More boats, more spectators, more sinkings-it was a great time, and a fantastic way to kick off our fundraising campaign for 2015-2016.
ADS reminds us all that the holidays – and Aurora’s Festival of Lights, are just around the corner.
One of the largest free outdoor holiday light displays in Northern Illinois, the Festival of Lights, returns to Aurora’s Phillips Park for its ninth year in 2015, with dazzling displays that will delight both adults and children.
Sponsored by the Aurora Rotary Club in partnership with the City of Aurora, this signature winter event is a drive-through of more than one mile of spectacular lighted displays, many of which are animated, and are illuminated by tens of thousands of bulbs. It is staged at Phillips Park, 615 S. Smith Blvd. in Aurora, and will be open from 5 to 9 p.m. Sunday to Thursday and 5 to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday starting Nov. 27 through Dec. 27.
Patrons will enjoy an Elf Village, Santa’s Toy Factory, Old Man Winter, reindeer, holiday trains, gigantic snowflakes, lighted holiday trees and other seasonal favorites.
The festival is free, however, volunteers are on the route to accept donations that benefit local charities.
More than 45 organizations that address a variety of community needs have benefited from the Festival of Lights since its inception in 2007. The Aurora Rotary Club distributes the funds collected at the event to organizations most in need including those that serve the homeless, youth, seniors, domestic shelters, physically and developmentally challenged, and many others.
The Festival of Lights is sponsored by over two dozen local companies, organizations, and individuals whose support has allowed the event to expand since its inception. Hundreds of men and women setup and dismantle the festival every year and volunteer for other duties during the course of the event.
For more information, visit www.aurorafestivaloflights.com.
As part of Crain’s Chicago Business’s Small Business Week, Aurora University will present two programs at its Orchard Center, 2245 Sequoia Drive in Aurora. At 8 a.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 7, actors will enact banned workplace practices in “Taboo Topix.” On Thursday, Oct. 8, at 8:00 a.m., they will host “The Power Pyramid: Building a Structure for Business Growth.” The public is invited. Admission is free. For free advance registration or more information, call (630) 947-8923 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Running through Sunday, October 11, Colonial Cafe will be featuring a traditional and tasty Oktoberfest menu. This limited time menu features Crispy Bacon Kielbasa, Beer Bratwurst, Bavarian Pretzels, and much more. Celebrate the beginning of Fall with these festive dishes!
PumpkinPALOOZA returns to The Growing Place in Aurora on October 10-11. PumpkinPALOOZA is the celebration of all things pumpkin. This year they are decorating two extra-large pumpkins and visitors can vote for their favorite. For every vote the pumpkins receive, The Growing Place will donate $1 to Wayside Cross Ministries.
School District 308 would like to congratulate Wheatlands fourth grade student Jensen Coonradt who recently won the World Robot Olympiad, and will travel to Qatar in November to compete in the world championships. Jensen and her TeamRoboGals partner Kaiya Hollister of Aurora have a Go Fund Me page and are asking for donations for the trip to Qatar.
Support AID by advertising in the 2015 Auction program book. You can also show your support by purchasing ad space to congratulate a special client. For more information, contact Wendy at (843) 931-2294.
Naper Settlement October 2015 Special Events and Programs include; Dinner on the Town: Country Fair, Flashback Fridays – Meet a Curator, Oktoberfest, Headstones in History: A Naperville Cemetery Walk, Getting Down to Business Walking Tour, All Hallows Eve, History Speaks Lecture Series: Grimm’s Grimmest. For more information on these events, click here.
DuPage Children’s Museum presents Innovation 15, Building Blocks for Future Leaders. Harry M. Jansen Kraemer, Jr. will lead a panel of successful leaders on Thursday, October 22, at 5:30 p.m.
The UL International Crown is a global team match play event – the first of its kind in women’s and men’s professional golf, bringing tremendous opportunity for the local community, corporations, and youth to take part. Rich Harvest Farms will offer numerous youth programs in conjunction with the UL International Crown that will create a special experience they will never forget. For more information regarding this explosive tournament: visit the Website or watch the Video.
Join us on Saturday, October 3, 2015, as we raise funds for the Hesed Employment And Training (HEAT) Program which equips individuals at Hesed House with the tools necessary to regain self-sufficiency and independence! Walk alone or with a team of co-workers, family, or friends through downtown Aurora and take the journey that many individuals staying at Hesed House take daily on foot.
Registration begins at 8:00 a.m. at Hesed House located on 659 South River Street. The Hike begins at 9:00 a.m., and we hike in rain or shine. Hike as an individual or create a team. Individuals who raise $25 – or a family of four who raises $50 – will receive “HIKE for HESED” T-shirts.
Make sure to stick around after the Hike for music from Twist of Faith, food, family-friendly activities, complimentary massages, and much more!
We are so excited to announce that Pouch from NBC Chicago Fire will be making a celebrity appearance at this year’s Hike!