“The State Board of Education is doing the right thing by trying to find out what has gone wrong and what we need to do to get qualified teachers into classrooms more efficiently. The sooner they can convey that information to the General Assembly, the sooner we can do our part to help correct this problem.” - State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant

04252017CM1305rSPRINGFIELD – Three Senate education leaders are urging the governor’s administration to expedite its study of the statewide teacher shortage and report its findings to the General Assembly by March 1.

In a Nov. 14 letter (attached) addressed to Illinois State Board of Education Chairman James Meeks, State Senators Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant, Kimberly A. Lightford and Andy Manar ask the board to accelerate its inquiry into the crisis so that lawmakers will have enough time to craft and pass legislation that will help to address the matter prior to next school year.

The shortage has caused more than 2,000 current teaching positions to go unfilled statewide.

“We commend you for the effort made thus far by the State Board to address teacher shortages and for further prioritizing the issue by initiating a year of inquiry on the subject,” the letter reads. “However, this is a crisis that deserves even more urgent attention and swift action to provide crucial support to students, administrators, and teachers.”

Bertino-Tarrant, a Shorewood Democrat and chairwoman of the Senate Education Committee, said solving the problem requires everyone to pull together.

“The State Board of Education is doing the right thing by trying to find out what has gone wrong and what we need to do to get qualified teachers into classrooms more efficiently,” she said. “The sooner they can convey that information to the General Assembly, the sooner we can do our part to help correct this problem.”

According to a recent teacher shortage survey by the Illinois Association of Regional Superintendents of Schools, 60 percent of school districts reported trouble filling teaching positions and 75 percent had seen fewer qualified candidates than in previous years.

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Category: Press Releases

05092017CM0307SPRINGFIELD- Illinois taxpayers are unable to see if state agencies pay their bills in a timely manner. This will soon change, thanks to the support of State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood).

Bertino-Tarrant joined her colleagues in the Illinois State Senate to override Governor Rauner’s veto of House Bill 3649, which requires state agencies to provide a more accurate accounting of bills and late payment interest penalties accruing.  

“Illinois businesses cannot continue to serve as lenders to state agencies,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “During these tough financial times, we need to promote a transparent and open financial picture to better manage taxpayer dollars.”

Currently, state law requires that on October 1 agencies report the annual aggregate amount of pending unpaid bills that were being held as of June 30.  The comptroller’s office then publishes the outdated information on their website.

Bertino-Tarrant believes real-time reporting will allow state agencies, financial officers and the Illinois General Assembly to make better financial decisions. The state’s unprecedented fiscal challenges require a full weighing of outstanding vouchers and the ramifications of an increasing unpaid bill backlog.

House Bill 3649 will require state agencies to report the amount of unpaid bills, whether that amount was appropriated or not, and an estimate of interest penalties accumulated on a monthly basis.

“Financial transparency will promote responsible and accurate use of vital taxpayer dollars,” said Bertino-Tarrant. “This new bipartisan law will require the state to partake in good accounting practices. We have a responsibility to taxpayers in our communities to use each state dollar sensibly. This measure is long overdue.”

House Bill 3649 goes into effect on January 1, 2018.  

Category: Press Releases

11 15 17 Flyer newROMEOVILLE— State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) is hosting a Coffee and Conversation in Romeoville next week.  

Romeoville Coffee and Conversation will be from 9 to 10 a.m. on Wednesday, November 15 at the Romeoville Village Hall-Board Room (1050 W. Romeoville Rd., Romeoville, IL).

Bertino-Tarrant hopes area residents will take advantage of the casual environment to discuss questions and share concerns on important legislative matters discussed during the General Assembly’s Veto Session that ends this week.

“Coffee and Conversations serve as informal events for area residents to discuss issues important to our state and community in a friendly environment,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “Connecting with constituents helps me better represent our district.”  

If you have additional questions regarding coffee and conversation, please contact Senator Bertino-Tarrant’s district office at (815) 254-4211.

Coffee and Conversation                                                                                                                                                                   

Date: Wednesday, November 15
Time: 9 to 10 a.m.
Location: Romeoville Village Hall-Board Room (1050 W. Romeoville Rd., Romeoville, IL).

Category: Press Releases

D11062017RT0026bRSECATUR- State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood), Chairwoman of the Senate’s Committee on Education, held a hearing in Decatur to discuss the state’s difficulty recruiting and retaining teachers.

The committee heard from a series of teachers, advocates and the Illinois State Board of Education who reiterated the importance of overhauling the teacher’s licensure process in Illinois to help attract new teachers and provide a better support system to give teachers the tools to succeed.  
 
“There are committed and dedicated educators in our community,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “It’s our duty to ensure we help quality individuals, who want to be in the classroom, be successful.”

According to a teacher shortage survey by the Illinois Association of Regional Superintendents of Schools during the 2015-2016 schoolyear, 60 percent of school districts reported trouble filling teaching positions.

Of those that responded to the survey, 75 percent had seen fewer qualified candidates than in previous years, especially in rural districts and those in central and northwest Illinois. Sixteen percent of schools had canceled programs or classes because of the lack of teachers – mostly special education, language arts, math and science classes.

Bertino-Tarrant looks forward to working with her colleagues this legislative session to revamp and streamline the teacher’s licensure system to help alleviate the teacher’s shortage in Illinois.

Category: Press Releases

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