03012017CM0381WebPLAINFIELD- State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) advanced legislation to ensure public schools are funded adequately before any state funds are diverted to pay for tax breaks to wealthy individuals and corporate scholarship donors. 

“This initiative solidifies our bipartisan goal to fund our public schools in a way that guarantees our children are provided an excellent education regardless of their zip code,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “Every single dollar in state education spending should go toward the adequate education of our children until the disparities created by generations of systematic inequality in Illinois’ school system are fixed.”

Bertino-Tarrant’s measure, Senate Bill 2236, was filed in response to Senate Bill 1947, which includes a five-year pilot program that would award a 75 percent tax credit to donors that contribute to scholarship funds for students to attend non-public schools. The credits are capped at of up to $1 million per taxpayer and $75 million statewide.  

“Public education should be the top priority,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “It is unacceptable that these tax credits are diverting resources away from the classroom.”

Bertino-Tarrant said this could take valuable taxpayer dollars away from Illinois’ public schools especially if the minimum funding level is not met.   

“The bipartisan reform passed in the Senate and House stipulated that the General Assembly shall meet the minimum funding level each year. This new measure simply helps guarantee the legislature stays true to its promises,” Bertino-Tarrant said.

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dataprivacy 012818In honor of Data Privacy Day, here are a few easy and quick ways to protect your sensitive personal information.

Create better passwords:

Changing and creating innovative passwords can go a long way toward protecting your information. Using a password that is easy to guess does not protect your sensitive data in our tech-savvy world.

Even though it is difficult to remember different passwords for each of your accounts, experts all agree that users should not use the same or similar passwords in all instances. If someone does discover your password for one account, all of your other accounts will then be vulnerable.

It is beneficial to include numbers, symbols and both uppercase and lowercase letters (depending on password rules set up by the program, app or website). The best passwords avoid using words that can be found in the dictionary.

Experts also are divided on whether you should change your passwords frequently, but if there’s any chance one of yours has been stolen in a breach, it is important to change it right away.

Don't use Social Security numbers, phone numbers, addresses, or other personally identifiable information as passwords.

Using numbers or combinations associated with other personally identifiable information as all or even part of your passwords is a huge security risk.

Don't use any part of your social security number (or any other sensitive info, like a credit card number) as a password, user ID or personal identification number (PIN).

If a hacker gains access to this information, it will be among the first things they use to try to get into your account.

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KidsFair2018PLAINFIELD- State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) is searching for community organizations and small businesses to participate in her free Kids’ Fair.

The fourth annual Kids’ Fair will take place from 9 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Monday, Feb. 19 at Troy Middle School (5800 W. Theodore St., Plainfield, IL.).

The fair provides area residents a free one-stop shop for parents and children looking for kid-friendly educational resources and fun activities.

“Our Kids’ Fair serves as a vehicle to connect children, parents, grandparents, educators and loved ones with remarkable organizations that impact our children’s lives in a meaningful way,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “This annual event is a free resource for area residents to learn more about the tremendous work vital community groups do to assist and improve the lives of young people across Will County.”

There are openings currently available for child-oriented community organizations that gear a majority of their work toward elementary school-aged children. Bertino-Tarrant invites interested organizations click here to register. Once registered and approved, interested participants will receive an email confirmation at a later date.

Registration is free.

Storytelling, live animals and other activities are already scheduled for the event.

In addition, free haircuts will be given by the Professional’s Choice Hair Design Academy of Joliet. Special events such as a martial arts demonstration, various dance performances, kids hip hop fitness demonstration and a stroller fitness class will also take place.

For more information please call Bertino-Tarrant’s office at (815) 254-4211.

SPRINGFIELD – Illinois school districts that have not yet been able to afford the cost of installing reliable high-speed internet soon will be able to do so under a plan being advanced by a bipartisan group of state senators.

A proposal introduced by state senators Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood), Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) and Sam McCann (R-Plainview) and  sets aside $16.3 million in the upcoming state budget to help school districts foot the cost of installing fiberoptic cable for high-speed internet.

The $16.3 million would be matched nearly three to one by the federal government to cover the installation costs, which often are cost-prohibitive for school districts in hard-to-reach areas of the state. Costs can range from $75,000 more than $420,000 per school.

About 100 Illinois school districts with nearly 90,000 students currently do not have high-speed internet through fiberoptic infrastructure. Fiberoptic is faster, more reliable and more cost effective over the long term.

“Technology in school plays an impactful role in the inequalities we see in our schools. Students lack quality learning experiences simply because of their ZIP codes,” said Bertino-Tarrant, chairwoman of the Senate’s Education Committee. “We need to recognize that tech goes beyond a teaching tool, but allows training opportunities for teachers and expanded course selections for students.”

When schools lack high-speed internet, students are unable to take advantage of such routine modern classroom activities as streaming educational videos, participating in online testing, browsing the internet, playing educational games and engaging in remote learning.

“There’s federal money on the table that we can take advantage of, and we want to make sure we do that on behalf of school districts that can benefit from this state-federal partnership,” Manar said. “Rural schools need to be a priority in Illinois. The digital divide is another example of the inequities among school districts that we have to work to address.”

“Too many of our schools are unable to obtain reliable, high-speed internet access, leaving their schools on the wrong side of a digital education divide,” McCann said. “This legislation is a promise to students that we will do everything in our power to make sure they have access to the tools they need to succeed.”
The $16.3 million will come from the School Infrastructure Fund.

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119 B Capitol Building
Springfield, IL 62706 
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