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Thomas Clatterbuck

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Two new positions were created for Chatham at this week’s board meeting. The first was the Foreman for Water & Parks. This position was seen as necessary to handle the workload in those departments. Although the board was sympathetic to concerns about adding a new position, they said that the departments were under staffed, and that as a result there was work that was going undone.

The second was a revamp of the director position of the Chatham Emergency Management Agency (CEMA). Previously the CEMA director had been an outside consultant. Issues with that model arose when the previous director left unexpectedly. Because he did not formally resign, the position was left functionally vacant during the height of storm season.

In response, the board amended the old position to made the director either an employee or contractor to the village. After the amendment, Trenton N. Thompson was appointed to the director position. Mr. Thompson was highly recommended for the role, and is very experienced in emergency management. With Director Thompson on board, the board also hopes that the village’s emergency response plan can be finalized and approved.

You can watch the full meeting in the player.

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Senior strategist, statehouse reporter and political correspondent for Springfield Daily. Graduate of District 117 and UIS. Thomas covers stories in both Morgan and Sangamon Counties, as well as statewide politics.

Education

Illinois unveiling a new model of accountability to divvy up federal money for schools

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Illinois’ education officials are set to unveil new metrics that will decide how much local school districts could receive in federal school improvement funds.

Using the new support and accountability model that’s planned to be released at the end of the month, schools that are struggling could receive $150,000 in Title I federal funds for school improvement, plus additional funds based on enrollment and state and local funding levels in the current school year. Some of those funds would have already been distributed earlier this year, officials said.

Rae Clementz, ISBE’s Director of Assessment and Accountability, said the new accountability and support metrics will provide insight for school officials and the public.

“It helps us depict a better, richer picture of the many ways in which schools are doing wonderful things,” she said.

Much of the new accountability and support model will be based on student data gleaned from PARCC, the acronym for Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers. Officials said that, while the test was not going to be conducted, the content would still be delivered and used to measure growth via an Illinois assessment of readiness.

PARCC received criticism from parents and administrators alike for long periods of testing.

One statistic that’s going to be factored in is chronic absenteeism, which measures students missing class for any reason, not just truancy.

“Chronic absenteeism highlights students that may otherwise go unnoticed in average attendance,” Clementz said.

Absenteeism figures will be higher than chronic truancy, which only measures unexcused absences. In the 2015 school year, the most recent year for which data was available, 335,094 Illinois students missed at least 10 percent of their school days. This is what advocacy group Attendance Works classifies as “chronically absent.”

Patrick Payne, director of Data Strategies and Analytics with ISBE said there will also be new information on teacher quality released, measuring certain credentials and “the number of inexperienced teachers.”

The new measurements will not affect the state’s school funding formula that went into effect this year.

Article by Cole Lauterbach with Illinois News Network. For more INN News visit ILnews.org

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Health & Wellness

CDC: Outbreak of Multidrug-Resistant Salmonella Infections Linked to Raw Chicken Products

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CDC | 92 people have been sickened in a recent outbreak of multidrug-resistant Salmonella, including five in Illinois. 21 people have been hospitalized, but no deaths have been reported. This outbreak is more worrisome because the Salmonella strains are resistant to several types of antibiotics.

No single source of contaminated chicken has been identified yet. The outbreak strain has been identified in samples taken from raw chicken pet food, raw chicken products, and live chickens. Because the outbreak strain of Salmonella Infantis is present in live chickens and in many types of raw chicken products, indicating it might be widespread in the chicken industry. The CDC is not advising that consumers avoid eating properly cooked chicken, or that retailers stop selling raw chicken products.

The CDC advises individuals to always handle raw chicken carefully, and cook it thoroughly to avoid contamination. Chicken needs to be cooked at at least 165ºF to kill harmful germs. Properly cooked chicken should not pose a risk of illness. Always wash your hands, utensils, and cooking areas after handling raw chicken. Do not wash raw chicken before cooking. This can cause cross-contamination.

Salmonella Symptoms

  • Most people infected with Salmonella develop diarrhea, fever, and stomach cramps 12 to 72 hours after being exposed to the bacteria.
  • The illness usually lasts 4 to 7 days, and most people recover without treatment.
  • In some people, the diarrhea may be so severe that the patient needs to be hospitalized. Salmonella infection may spread from the intestines to the bloodstream and then to other places in the body.
  • In rare cases, Salmonella infection can cause death unless the person is treated promptly with antibiotics.
  • Children younger than 5 years of age, adults older than 65 years of age, and people with weakened immune systems are more likely to have severe illness.
  • For more information, see the CDC Salmonella website.

To learn more about this outbreak and food safety, check out the CDC’s website.

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Local

City gets good budget news tempered with warnings

Thomas Clatterbuck

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The City of Springfield is on track for a budget surplus in FY 2019. Based on current revenue, the city may have a positive fund balance of $1.7 million. This comes as something of a surprise, considering the original budget had an estimated $2.6 million shortfall. At last night’s city council meeting, Budget Director Bill McCarty explained what caused the turnaround.

Numerous factors played into the turnaround. Early tax payments, a large settlement from Comcast, and a transfer from Fund 095 to the corporate fund were key on the revenue side. Hiring delays and stabilizing healthcare cost increases have been key on the expense side of the equation.

The city’s good management has been noted by outsiders as well. The S&P affirmed the city’s AA bond rating, which helps determine how much interest is paid on new bonds. A higher bond rating is a good indicator of financial health, and so avoiding a downgrade is very valuable for the city.

Clouds on the horizon

But while the current year is better than expected, the council was given several warnings about the future. Director McCarty pointed out that much of the surplus was due to a one time settlement. That extra million helps this year, but doesn’t represent a lasting increase in revenue. While optimistic about the long

Representatives from the Police Pension fund also warned about the growing pension obligations. Pensions already consume all of the property tax revenue in the city. McCarty said that where property tax used to pay for pensions and other things, now they only pay for pensions; and even other revenue sources are being tapped to make the required payments.

The S&P also noted these long-term challenges. So while the current AA rating was affirmed, the city’s outlook was downgraded from “stable” to “negative.” Although this will not impact current interest rates, it might make future borrowing more expensive.

You can watch McCarty’s presentation to the council which starts at 55:00. You can also watch his after meeting Q&A in the player below.

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