PRESS RELEASE | U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.) released the following statement after his bill to reform the FEMA funding formula was signed into law today as part of the FAA reauthorization package.
“This change is long overdue and it is one I have fought tirelessly for since my first term in Congress,” Davis said. “My legislation will help level the playing field and ensure rural areas, like my district, are treated fairly when a disaster happens and help is needed. I am very happy to see this finally signed into law and that my constituents, who pay into the Disaster Relief Fund, will receive more fairness when seeking federal assistance following a major disaster.”
Davis’ bill, the Disaster Declaration Improvement Act, requires FEMA to place greater consideration on the severe localized impact of damage following a disaster. Under current law, FEMA takes into account several factors when determining the need for assistance, but there is no standard to determine which factor is more important than another. This provision will help level the playing field for rural communities in downstate Illinois when disasters happen.
Currently, FEMA uses a per-capita formula to determine the need for public assistance. They multiply the state’s population with $1.39 then use this number as a threshold for determining the state’s need for public assistance. Illinois compared to surrounding states:
Illinois $18 million
Indiana $9.1 million
Missouri $8.4 million
Wisconsin $8 million
Kentucky $6.1 million
Iowa $4.3 million
FEMA can also take into account damage done in a specific county but whether they take this into account and how much this will impact their decision is highly subjective. The formula used to determine this is $3.50 per capita in infrastructure damage in a county.
Illinois sustained $15 million in flood damage in 2015/2016. Governor Rauner requested public assistance for 16 counties. In one county, damages were assessed at $4 million, which was $486.00 per capita for that county. Illinois was still denied public assistance.
Davis has been working to bring fairness within in the disaster declaration process since his first term.
Illinois unveiling a new model of accountability to divvy up federal money for schools
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
CDC: Outbreak of Multidrug-Resistant Salmonella Infections Linked to Raw Chicken Products
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.
- 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.
City gets good budget news tempered with warnings
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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