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Gov. Bruce Rauner is calling lawmakers back from their summer vacation to deal with a new school funding plan in special session starting Wednesday. The issue has turned into a showdown between the Republican governor and the Democrat-controlled legislature, with the fate of k-12 school children in the balance.

Illinois State Capitol
Daniel X O'Neil / Flickr

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner’s choices for new top staff positions — from chief of staff to policy director to the head of his communications team — have created a firestorm in recent weeks.

James Kluppelberg
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Illinois is finally making good on some of its most overdue bills — compensating people who were unjustly imprisoned.

Gov. Bruce Rauner, flanked by Auburn superintendent Darren Root, State Representatives Avery Bourne (R-Raymond) and Sara Wojcicki Jimenez (R-Leland Grove), demands SB1 by Monday at noon.
Dusty Rhodes / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

Monday at high noon — That's the deadline Gov. Bruce Rauner has given Democrats to send the school funding bill to his desk. The new state budget requires this revamped funding formula, but Rauner plans to veto certain parts of the plan.

He promises every school district -- except Chicago -- lots more money once he gets to veto portions of the Democrats' bill.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Gov. Bruce Rauner has demanded Democrats send him school funding legislation, threatening to call a special session if they don't. The governor has sought to pit Downstate school school districts — and local legislators — against Chicago Public Schools.

Meanwhile, Rauner continued replacing top staff with people from a libertarian advocacy organization.

WOSU Public Media/flickr

Adults in Illinois who failed to graduate from high school still can earn a General Educational Development certificate, also known as a G-E-D.  But legislation approved by the General Assembly would provide what some consider to be a better alternative. 

Illinois Issues Forum on the state budget and the challenges ahead at the Peoria City Hall.
Sarah Scott / Peoria Public Radio

NPR Illinois continued its listening tour on the state's fiscal health co-hosting an Illinois Issues Forum in Peoria on July 20. 

Community members attended to tell how they have been impacted by the state budget impasse.

Cyndy Sims Parr / Flickr

The Land of Lincoln is the country's largest de facto nuclear waste dump.

This one is for every adult who’s watched in frustration as a parent or child struggled in some way.  Perhaps you’re a caring neighbor who sees the single parent next door work two jobs in order to provide for her kids.  Maybe you’re a grandparent who can’t stand to watch a grandchild try again and again to get the right piece in the jigsaw puzzle.  Or you might be a friend who sees a parent at his wit’s end figuring out how to support a child’s more peaceful behavior.

ilga.gov

Illinois' constitution has been in place since 1970.  But there's an effort to draft a new one.  Republican representative Tim Butler of Springfield has introduced a plan to hold another constitutional convention. 

Carter Staley / NPR Illinois

The new state budget will fund Illinois colleges and universities at the level of funding they received in 2015 — minus 10 percent. But there’s one area of higher education that got a boost.  

SJ-R.com

Sean Crawford talks with State Journal-Register Business Editor Tim Landis.

Rauner at podium
@GovRauner / Facebook

Lawmakers approved a state budget more than a week ago. But the education portion remains uncertain. For the money to flow, Democrats added a provision that requires enactment of a new school funding plan. Democrats have passed such a plan through both chambers, but Gov. Bruce Rauner, a Republican, says he’ll veto parts of it.

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flickr:401(k)2012

A tax increase is not the only change coming for some Illinois residents as the new budget package is rolled out.  

Seaton Township High School District 40

The shakeup in Gov. Bruce Rauner’s office seems to signal a tougher stance on school funding. The state spending plan passed by the General Assembly requires adoption of a new funding formula, but Rauner has promised to veto the only school formula plan that got legislative approval. This standoff might make the lawsuit filed by 21 school superintendents more relevant.

 

The lawsuit, filed in April, demands that Illinois honor its constitutional obligation to provide a high quality education for all students.

Downtown Springfield, Inc.

Sean Burns talks with Nikki Overcash of the Vachel Lindsay Society and Erica Smith of the Top Hat Tellers about this weekend's "Amaranth Apple" Food and Music Festival in downtown Springfield.

Hosted by Downtown Springfield Inc, the festival includes Bedrock 66 Live performances by Matthew Sweet, Chuck Mead, and many others; food and drink provided by several local restaurants; along with poetry, film, and acoustic music on the Lindsay Lounge stage.

downtownspringfield.org/event/amaranthapple/

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Gov. Bruce Rauner is replacing several top aides with employees of the Illinois Policy Institute, a libertarian-conservative advocacy organization. It comes days after a bipartisan group of legislators ended Illinois' two-year budget impasse by overriding Rauner's veto. 

EnjoyIllinois.gov

Change is coming to the state agency that oversees historic sites and the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum.  

Carter Staley / NPR Illinois

The issue pits business interests against privacy concerns.

For Carolyn Parrish, a privacy professional based in Evanston, data privacy is just as important in her personal, everyday life, as it is to keeping her business running.

Every pair of parents has a subtle competition going on most of the time.  Even when they’re deeply committed to each other, daily life with a family provides no shortage of space for skirmishes.

There’s a natural “gatekeeping” related to parents’ devotion to their child.  Each parent believes he or she knows best on some issue of childrearing, which often results in disagreement.  Mom thinks sugar should be restricted, and Dad thinks she’s being silly.  Dad has no tolerance for sass, and Mom thinks some of it should be overlooked.

NPRIllinois

The Governor failed to get a lot of what he wanted in the recent legislative session.   Now, there's fallout in the top ranks of Bruce Rauner's administration.  

The NPR Illinois Gallery will exhibit the works of two Springfield Artists: Jeff Williams and Corrin Smithson McWhirter. Their art re-evaluates and draws attention to our overlooked surroundings. 

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Passing a budget wasn’t the only thing Illinois lawmakers did last week. They also named a major road after former president Barack Obama. 

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

After more than two years, 16 Republicans split from Gov. Bruce Rauner to help Democrats pass a budget for Illinois. It spends less than Illinois has been during the impasse, and raises the individual income tax rate from 3.75 percent to 4.95 percent.

What was the breakthrough? Was this really an uprising among rank-and-file legislators? Does Rauner benefit from this outcome? And is the end of Illinois' fiscal problems?

Courtesy of Amanda Vinicky / WTTW

Yesterday's controversial override vote that increased taxes was delayed by about two hours when the capitol was put on lockdown, due to reports of a woman throwing or spilling an unknown substance near the governor’s office and other locations. Reporter Dusty Rhodes knows the woman, and spoke with a lobbyist who witnessed her detention.

His face screwed up in remorse, Joe was one miserable five-year old.  His buddy Brandon was crying and holding his sore arm where had Joe grabbed him to get the Lego guy they both wanted for playtime.

A couple of years earlier, Joe would have been merrily playing with his snatched toy.  But now, his joy at winding up with the coveted piece was marred by his sense of guilt at taking it away from Brandon.

David Harris
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Illinois’ two-year budget impasse is over. The House of Representatives on Thursday overrode the governor's budget veto, giving final approval to a spending plan and tax increase.

Library of Congress

Updating history 

This year is the centennial of America’s entry into World War I. Most stories about the war focus on the fighting overseas, but there was another struggle taking place. An American icon from Illinois helped lead that battle and, for a time, paid for it with her reputation.   

Dusty Rhodes / NPR Illinois

More than a dozen school leaders from across Illinois gathered at the state capitol today to thank lawmakers who went out on a limb to raise taxes and send more money to schools. They held signs and banners saying “thank you,” but gratitude wasn’t their only motive.

If you deal with children, you're probably familiar with the concept of positive reinforcement. You reward a child for good behavior as a way to encourage them to continue doing it.

Gov. Bruce Rauner
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

The Illinois House will meet Thursday to try to override Gov. Bruce Rauner’s budget veto.

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