Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program applications available for seniors, people with disabilities beginning October 1

Bertino Tarrant2016cPLAINFIELD – State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) is urging seniors and people with disabilities to begin the application process for Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program applications on October 1 this year.

"Many seniors and our vulnerable populations rely on energy assistance to keep the heat on in this winter," Bertino-Tarrant said. "This program saves lives. I urge those who qualify to apply as soon as possible to ensure they receive this crucial assistance."

Beginning October 1, applications can be submitted and appointments can be made through the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity’s Office of Community.

Customers must bring all required documentation when applying for assistance including:

  •  Proof of gross income from all household members for the 30-day income period beginning with the date of the application.
  • A copy of their current heat and electric bills issued within the last 30 days (if they pay for their energy directly).
  • A copy of their rental agreement (if they are renting) showing that utilities are included, the monthly rental amount and landlord contact information.
  • Proof of Social Security numbers for all household members.
  • Proof that their household received Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF); Aid to the Aged, Blind, or Disabled (AABD); or other benefits, such as Medical Eligibility or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), if receiving assistance from the Illinois Department of Human Services.

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Bertino Tarrant2016cPLAINFIELD —State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) was designated a Friend of Agriculture this week by the local Illinois Farm Bureau ACTIVATOR trustee committee.

Local trustee members designated Bertino-Tarrant with the distinction based on her support in the General Assembly for significant legislative issues impacting Illinois agriculture.  

“Agriculture is the backbone of Illinois’ economy,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “It’s important that, as legislators, we cultivate relationships in the farming community to ensure Illinois implements policies that encourages this vital industry to grow and prosper.”

The Illinois Farm Bureau believes Bertino-Tarrant’s views and knowledge of agricultural issues demonstrate her continued desire to be an excellent advocate for farmers.

The designation as a Friend of Agriculture by IFB ACTIVATOR places Bertino-Tarrant in a group of select individuals who understand the leading role agriculture plays in Illinois. It proves that she comprehends the benefits of agriculture, and that those benefits extend far beyond the vital function of feeding Illinois.

MinookaPrimaryCenter8.28.18 RSPLAINFIELD— August 31 marks the one year anniversary of the passage of monumental school funding reform.

The drastic school funding overhaul became law last year thanks to efforts from both parties in the House and Senate.  

Senate Education Committee Chairwoman Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) this week took time to reflect on the effort which established an evidence-based funding formula to dispense state dollars to public schools.

“Our goal is to guarantee all Illinois’ children are given the opportunity to succeed,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “This year we are one step closer to ending education inequalities that exist within our communities by funding our schools the right way. I’m proud to say we worked together to fix a broken system.”

The formula institutes a base funding minimum that serves to ensure school districts do not lose state dollars year after year. As a result of this new school funding formula, schools across Illinois received $350 million in additional funding this year. Public schools across the 49th State Senate District received more than $22 million in new money for the 2018-2019 school year.

“The evidence-based formula distributes funds to students in a more equitable way than the foundation formula, and District 86 has benefited from that distribution,” Dr. Theresa R. Rouse, Superintendent of Joliet Public Schools District 86 said. “The funding reform bill ensures that Joliet Public Schools District 86 can continue to work towards its mission of equity.”   
The distribution – which is based on detailed enrollment figures, district-specific student learning needs, available local resources and 27 other elements – is the first step toward right-sizing state support for every school district.

“We appreciate the bipartisan efforts of the General Assembly and the assertive leadership exhibited regarding the revisions made to the funding formula for public education for the students of the State of Illinois,” Dr. Lane Abrell, Superintendent of Plainfield CCSD 202 said.

The funding plan outlined in the new law includes a minimum funding level of $350 million in additional funding each year, with the goal of meeting the total statewide adequacy target over a period of time.

Bertino-Tarrant pledges to continue to shepherd public schools across Will County and the state toward 100 percent adequacy funding.

Bertino Tarrant2016cPLAINFIELD – To make college more affordable, State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) spearheaded a new measure to increase availability of dual-credit classes in Illinois.

Bertino-Tarrant’s initiative, Senate Bill 2838, requires a public university or community colleges to work with local high schools to grant dual credit to a student who completes an accredited course. It was signed into law on Thursday.

“While the cost of college continues to escalate nationwide, dual-credit provides a great economic benefit for families and students by empowering students to accumulate college credit while still in high school,” Bertino-Tarrant said “As the mother of a high school junior, I know what parents are going through. Like any other parents, I want my children to graduate from college with many opportunities, not mountains of student loan debt.”

Dual enrollment allows students to get credit for postsecondary coursework that is completed when they are still in high school. Bertino-Tarrant said it is a promising approach to improving academic outcomes for student by preparing them for college and helping them meet general requirements while in high school.

“There is no better way to prepare students for college than to give them a hands-on experience at a local public university or community college,” Bertino-Tarrant said.  

Research has shown that student participation in dual enrollment curriculum often leads to improved academic outcomes, especially for students from low-income backgrounds and first generation college students. Students who enroll in dual-credit courses are more likely to get better grades in high school and to pursue a secondary education.

Under this bipartisan law, students are allowed to receive up to 60 hours of dual credit.

“We need to continue to explore ways to make college more affordable and help students graduate without loads of debt,” Bertino-Tarrant said.

Senate Bill 2838 passed the Senate and House with bipartisan support. It goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2019.

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