June 2024 Leading News

In today’s Leading News, the presence of school police officers didn’t change the students or staff perception of safety in schools. Peoria Public Schools will use special pouches to limit the use of cell phones by students while in school. Some boards see resignations over the summer months while others shift board roles. Also in the news, Chicago Public Schools launches summer “LunchStop” program.
CPS dropping school police officers didn't change whether students, teachers feel safe, U of C study reveals
Sarah Karp and Nader Issa, WBEZ/Chicago Sun-Times, June 26

Peoria Public Schools board to buy 9,200 Yondr Pouches for phone-free schools
Sam Godby, Madeline Burke, WMBD, Peoria, June 25

Two longtime members of GCMS school board step aside
Will Brumleve, Ford County Chronicle, June 24

District 303 school board president resigns from post, but staying on board
David Petesch, Daily Herald, June 25

Chicago Public Schools launches free summer lunch program at schools across the city
Molly Morrow, Chicago Tribune, June 24
In today’s Leading News, Governor Pritzker signs legislation creating a new Department of Early Childhood. Substantive policy changes could be on the way for Quincy SD 172. The nation’s first publicly funded religious charter school is blocked by the Oklahoma Supreme Court. In other news, Belleville THSD 201 educator retires with more than 30 years in her hometown. 

Pritzker signs bill creating new Department of Early Childhood 
Peter Hancock, CNI/WSIU, Carbondale, June 25 

Substantive policy changes could be on the way for QPS 
Deborah Gertz, Quincy Herald-Whig, June 25, 2024 

Nation’s first publicly funded religious charter school blocked by Oklahoma Supreme Court 
Associated Press/Chicago Tribune June 25 

Belleville THSD 201 educator retiring after more than 30 years in her hometown 
Kelly Smits, Belleville News-Democrat, June 26, 2024 
In today’s Leading News, charter school operators have sued the state over the 2023 union neutrality provision in the School Code. The list of candidates for the elected CPS Board of Education comes in at 47. A report is filed on the controversial yearbook quote in Glenbrook High School District 225. Crystal Lake SD 47 and its teachers will have mediation for contract talks. Also in the news, coffee and community in Arlington Heights SD 25.

Charter school operators file suit seeking to declare state law requiring union neutrality ‘invalid’
Sarah Macaraeg, Chicago Tribune, June 20

47 candidates file for Chicago school board elections
Nader Issa, Chicago Sun-Times, June 24

Controversial yearbook quote about Palestinians and Israel was taken out of context, investigation reveals
Russell Lissau, Daily Herald, June 24

Federal mediator brought in for contract talks between Crystal Lake District 47, teachers union
Michelle Meyer, Northwest Herald, June 25

District 25, Residents Connect Over Coffee
Sherry Giewald, Journal and Topics, Chicago suburbs, June 19
In today’s Leading News, get a flyover look at some of the current issues in education today.

Louisiana Requires All Public Classrooms to Display Ten Commandments
Rick Rojas, New York Times, June 19

National education leaders hold teacher shortage summit in Chicago
Peter Medlin, Northern Public Radio, June 21

Iowa Board of Education passes new rules on gender identity in schools. What to know:
Samantha Hernandez, Des Moines Register, June 21

School Cellphone Bans Have Buzz, but May Be Hard to Enforce
Dana Goldstein and Emily Cochrane, New York Times, June 21

Opinion: Books teach and inspire us. Banning them is anti-democratic.
Natalie Moore, WBEZ/Chicago Sun-Times, June 21
In today’s Leading News, school board candidates file in Chicago. A new audit raises more questions in Paris Union SD 95. Also in the news, shall we talk about the weather?

Prospective candidates line up to enter Chicago’s elected school board race
Molly Morrow, Chicago Tribune, June 17

Chicago school board candidates submit signatures: 'It was a hustle'
Nader Issa, Chicago Sun-Times, June 17

Paris 95 faces more questions about grant funding amid ISBE audit
Annie Johnston, WTHI, Terre Haute, Indiana, June 17

McLean County Unit 5 uses lightning detection alarms
Drew Zimmerman, Bloomington Pantagraph, June 12

Keeping kids safe is the goal for park and school districts as the hot weather continues
Emily McMinn, WREX, Rockford, June 20
In today’s Leading News, school districts consider staffing shortages and adding SROs. Also in the news, the new federal Title IX rule, with greater protections for LGBTQ students, is being challenged in some states.

DeKalb School District 428 making strides to shore up speech language pathologist shortage
Megann Horstead, DeKalb Daily Chronicle, June 20

Librarians staffed below state recommended levels in some south suburban schools
Olivia Stevens, Daily Southtown, June 18

Mahomet-Seymour board signs off on third multi-year SRO contract
Dave Hinton, Champaign News-Gazette, June 20

After public dust-up between officials, second District 59 school to get cop
Christopher Placek, Daily Herald, June 16

Biden’s Title IX law expanding protections for LGBTQ+ students is dealt another setback
Bruce Schreiner, AP/Chicago Tribune, June 17
In today’s Leading News, school districts make calls on cellphones in the classroom.

District 186 discusses new proposed cellphone plan to curb school violence
Caroleina Hassett, WICS, Springfield, June 17

Meeting Minutes & More | A roundtable discussion on cellphones in school
Jeff D'Alessio, Champaign News-Gazette, June 1

Evanston Township High School says cell phones will no longer be allowed in classes
NBC 5, Chicago, June 1

LAUSD approves cellphone ban as Newsom calls for statewide action
Howard Blume and Defne Karabatur, Los Angeles Times, June 18

To Ban or Not to Ban? Educators, Parents, and Students Weigh In on Cellphones
Isaiah Hayes & Arianna Prothero, Education Week, June 5
In today’s Leading News, Fremont SD 79 makes decisions in advance of a new development in Mundelein. In facilities news, Quincy SD 172 progresses on HVAC, Dolton SD 149 families question renovation accommodations, and a new roof is in the works for Bethalto CUSD 8. Also in the news, a look at poverty and plans in Alexander County.

‘A far more complex process’: District 79 preparing for Ivanhoe Village mega-development in Mundelein
Mick Zawislak, Daily Herald, June 14

QPS 'feeling pretty confident' with high school HVAC progress
Deborah Gertz Husar, Herald-Whig, Quincy, June 12

Residents question Dolton District 149 officials on school renovations, use of temporary classrooms
Olivia Stevens, Daily Southtown, Chicago and suburbs, June 6

Civic Memorial High School gets new roof this summer
John Badman, Alton Telegraph, June 14

Illinois made a bold promise to end poverty. In Alexander County, it’s hard to tell
Lylee Gibbs, Jamilah Lewis, Molly Parker, Julia Rendleman, Capitol News Illinois and Saluki Local Reporting, June 12
In today’s Leading News, today is the first day for school board candidates for Chicago Public Schools  to submit petitions. Meanwhile, CPS reports improved reading scores. A camp at Northern Illinois University promotes STEM education and activities for all. Chalkbeat looks back at the legislative session. Also in the news, Newtown, Connecticut, graduates remember their classmates who were killed in the 2021 Sandy Hook School shooting.

Chicago school board hopefuls to submit petitions for first time ever
Nader Issa, Chicago Sun-Times, June 14

Readings scores rise for Chicago kids
Sarah Karp, NPR, June 14

NIU STEAM Camp organizer says they keep economic access to their programs in mind
Maria Gardner Lara, Northern Public Radio, June6

Here are Illinois education bills that did not pass in the spring legislative session
Samantha Smylie, Chalkbeat Chicago, June 7

Newtown High graduates told to honor 20 classmates killed as first-graders ‘today and every day’
Associated Press/Chicago Tribune, June 13
In today’s Leading News, budgets.

McLean County Unit 5 approves amended fiscal 2024 budget
Drew Zimmerman, Bloomington Pantagraph, June 13

Fairview Heights school district to cut costs as part of state-ordered financial plan
Kelly Smits, Belleville News-Democrat, June 13

District 87 approves budget, expresses some concerns about downtown TIF
Adeline Schultz, WGLT, Bloomington, June 13

Rockford Public Schools touts lowest tax rate in region for the first time in decades
Peter Medlin, Northern Public Radio, June 10

Facing Shortfall of Nearly $400M, Chicago Public Schools Pushes Back Budget Release to July
Matt Masterson, WTTW, Chicago, June 11
In today’s Leading News, Northbrook/Glenview SD 30 takes action after swastikas were found drawn in elementary yearbooks. The Bourbonnais SD 53 has denied the appeal of a union grievance stemming from a book club selection. After departures, Bethalto CUSD 8 received 21 applications for two board seats. Read the Register-Star’s coverage of Rockford SD 205 schools and “ticketing.” Also in the news, the IHSA has approved a shot clock for high school  basketball games.  

Maple School Yearbooks Confiscated After Hand-Drawn Swastikas Found
Tom Robb, Journal and Topics, Chicago suburbs, June 11

Bourbonnais elementary book club choice sparks controversy
Stephanie Markham, Kankakee Daily Journal, June 5

Bethalto School Board receives 21 applications for 2 vacant seats
Jill Moon, Alton Telegraph, June 11

Civil rights groups accuse Rockford of disproportionately ticketing Black students
Jeff Kolkey, Rockford Register Star, June 5

IHSA to use shot clock for all varsity basketball games in 2026-27
Bill Welt, Springfield State Journal- Register, June 12
In today’s Leading News, from cafeterias, and careers to managing stress and new situations, school districts innovate to support students. 

New food service contract eyed for West Aurora School District
Linda Girardi, Aurora Beacon-News, June 11

CPS teacher residency program growing, helping fill classrooms
Nader Issa, Chicago Sun-Times, June 10

Students look at future options with Career Camp
Deborah Gertz Husar, Herald-Whig, Quincy, June 6

District 58 to hold Sneak Preview session for incoming seventh graders
Shaw Local News Network, June 7

Suburban high school uses heart monitors to track and manage students' stress levels
Lauren Petty and Matt Stefanski, WMAQ/NBC5, Chicago, June 3
In today’s Leading News, pandemic recovery conversations continue. Also in the news an Illinois appellate court ruled CPS did not violate the moratorium on school closures when the district did not renew their charters.

Most US students are recovering from pandemic-era setbacks, but millions are making up little ground
Collin Binkley, Associated Press/WSIL, Carterville, June 1

Pandemic aid for schools is ending soon. Many after-school programs may go with it
Beth Wallis, NPR Illinois, June 1

Retiring District 25 superintendent discusses medication scandal, pandemic
Chris Placek, Daily Herald, June 6

With 'chronic absenteeism' soaring in schools, most parents aren’t sure what it is
Sequoia Carrillo, NPR, June 10

CPS decision not to renew Urban Prep charter OK, appellate judge rules
Sarah Karp, WBEZ/Chicago Sun-Times, June 7
In today’s Leading News, read the news on facilities projects and plans in Illinois school districts.

Danville school board approves laundry facility for homeless students at elementary school
Jennifer Bailey, Champaign News-Gazette, May 24

LT trims construction plans amid cost increases
Bob Skolnik, Riverside Brookfield Landmark, June 4

New administration building approved for Sycamore School District
Camden Lazenby, Dekalb Daily Chronicle, June 4

School board hears report on structural analysis of Dennis Lab School's west end campuses
Valerie Wells, Decatur Herald and Review, May 28

Residents question Dolton District 149 officials on school renovations, use of temporary classrooms
Olivia Stevens, Daily Southtown, Chicago and suburbs, June 6
In today’s Leading News, read these deep dives into pressing issues for the public education community.

“No Schoolers”: How Illinois’ Hands-Off Approach to Homeschooling Leaves Children at Risk
Molly Parker and Beth Hundsdorfer, Capitol News Illinois with ProPublica, June 5

Dozens more former youth inmates sue over alleged sexual abuse at Illinois detention centers
Associated Press/Todd Richmond, Daily Herald, June 3

Federal rule on Title IX is a ruse to require trans sports participation, GOP states say
Associated Press/Alton Telegraph, May 31

A tough call: What area districts do about student cellphones
Jeff D'Alessio, Champaign News-Gazette, June 1

An Illinois School District’s Reliance on Police to Ticket Students Is Discriminatory, Civil Rights Complaint Says
Jennifer Smith Richards and Jodi S. Cohen, Pro Publica, June 4
In today’s Leading News, contract negotiations continue for districts and teachers and staff. Also in the news, McLean Co Unit District 5 offers support services after the tragic death of a second-grade teacher.

Support staff in New Lenox District 122 vote to unionize
Michelle Mullins, Daily Southtown, Chicago and suburbs, June 1

Plainfield District 202 reaches contract with support staff
Jessie Molloy, Joliet Herald-News, June 3

Teutopolis Unit 50 board approves teacher contract
Herb Meeker, Hometown Register, Mt Carmel, June 4

Union wins bonuses, raises in settlement with Crystal Lake District 47 over use of temp agency
Michelle Meyer, Northwest Herald, May 22

Unit 5 offers space and ways to grieve for 2nd grade teacher Amy Moore
Charlie Schlenker, WGLT, Normal, June 3
In today’s Leading News, school districts across the state will receive federal funds for electric school buses. Also in the news, state grants improve other ways to get to school.

Bureau Valley to receive $1.7 million in rebate funding to buy 5 clean school buses
Derek Barichello, Shaw Media, May 31

Unit 5 to buy 5 electric school buses with grant money
Charlie Schlenker, WGLT, Normal, May 30

Urbana, Hoopeston districts get federal grants for eco-friendly school buses
Jana Wiersema, Champaign News-Gazette, June 4

Harlem School District receives $800K to purchase 4 electric buses
John Clark, WTVO, Rockford, May 31

Bluffs, Pike schools among those receiving Safe Routes to School awards
David C.L. Bauer, Jacksonville Journal Courier, June 5
In today’s Leading News, read coverage of filling the boards in Champaign and Chicago. Post-pandemic conversations include academic recovery, closing out of funds, and class reunions.

Banks, Holm selected to fill Unit 4 board openings
Jeff D'Alessio, Champaign News-Gazette, May 31

$158,234 has been raised so far by all candidates for Chicago’s new elected school board
Jesse Howe, Nader Issa, Sarah Karp, Justin Myers and Lauren FitzPatrick, Chicago Sun-Times, June 3

Most US students are recovering from pandemic-era setbacks, but millions are making up little ground
Collin Binkley, Associated Press/WSIL, Carterville, June 1

Pandemic aid for schools is ending soon. Many after-school programs may go with it
Beth Wallis, NPR Illinois, June 1

After fractured goodbye four years ago, Homewood reunion helps former middle school students say farewell
Jesse Wright, Chicago Tribune, June 2
In today’s Leading News, Edwardsville CUSD 7 and Mahomet-Seymour CUSD discuss classroom space. Eureka looks at “release time religious instruction.” A yearbook controversy continues in Glenbrook High School District 225. Also in the news, Waukegan CUSD 60 redesigns student support for middle schoolers.

Edwardsville District 7 tries to ease concerns about 'temporary' classrooms
Billy Woods, Alton Telegraph May 30

Mahomet-Seymour reviews more options to relieve class overcrowding
By Dave Hinton, the News-Gazette, May 28, 2024

Eureka public school students could have option of studying the Bible during the school day
Collin Schopp, WCBU, Peoria, May 28

Glenbrook South yearbook investigation begins as tensions rise in community
Christopher Placek, Daily Herald, May 28

Programming ‘redesign’ at Waukegan middle schools to kick in next term;
‘There is more time for students who need more support’

Steve Sadin, Lake County News-Sun, May 24

Leading News

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