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Central Illinois Headlines – March 26, 2024

School Board meeting ends abruptly after two members leave

CHAMPAIGN – The Champaign Unit 4 school board ended its meeting early Monday night when two of five remaining members walked out. School board member Betsy Holder said she left with Amy Armstrong to prevent a vote on a new board vice president. The board usually has seven members.

Two resigned within the last month for different reasons — one leaving the vice president position open. Holder said she and Armstrong wanted to wait until new members join to hold the vice president vote. She said she decided nothing the board was supposed to do yesterday would hurt staff or students if it had to wait.

Some of those actions left undone included replacing laptops for students and staff for $1.3 million dollars, and the first step in updating social studies curricula. – Emily Hays, IPM News

Illinois’ Republican congress members vote against spending bill

All three of Illinois’ Republican members of Congress joined the majority of House Republicans in voting against the recent spending bill that prevented a government shutdown — including Rep. Darin LaHood (R-IL16). The Peoria-area Republican says the $1.2 trillion dollar government funding bill goes too far is growing the deficit. LaHood says he’d support across-the-board spending cuts. 

Reps. Mary Miller (R-IL15) and Rep. Mike Bost (R-IL12) also voted against the spending bill.

And a ‘no’ vote came from Rep. Delia Ramirez (D-IL4). She had voiced concerns about the bill’s cancellation of US funding for UNRWA, the United Nations agency responsible for Palestinian refugees. That came after Israel accused a dozen of the agency’s employees with taking part in the Hamas attack on Israel on October 7, 2023. – Eric Stock, WGLT

As UIS deals with a budget deficit, campus unions call out “a lack of investment”

SPRINGFIELD – Employee unions representing both tenure-track and non-tenured faculty, along with service, clerical, kitchen and custodial workers at the University of Illinois Springfield, say more financial resources are needed.

The unions are getting ready for what is expected to be difficult negotiations on new contracts. The non-tenure track faculty union, which was recognized for the first time early this year, is now at the bargaining table. The others are under contract until August 2025, with talks expected to begin this fall.

UIS lists total revenue available at $57.8 million. That includes state support, along with tuition and fees. But when expenditures are factored, the campus deficit sits at an estimated $8.8 million. A state budget impasse in the past decade, followed by a pandemic and rising inflation, has contributed to strained finances.

UIS has also struggled to grow enrollment. The number of students dropped from a high of 5,431 in 2014 to below 4,000. The campus froze tuition in several years since in an effort to remain affordable and attract students. Undergraduate tuition has remained the same since the summer of 2022. – Sean Crawford, NPR Illinois

 

April’s total solar eclipse promises to be the best yet for experiments

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — April’s total solar eclipse promises to be a scientific bonanza, thanks to new spacecraft _ and cosmic chance. The moon will be extra close to Earth, providing a long and intense period of darkness. Plus the sun should be more active with the potential for bursts of plasma. Then there’s totality’s densely populated corridor stretching from Mexico to the U.S. to Canada. Put all this together, and scientists are anticipating a windfall of learning on April 8. The U.S. won’t see another total solar eclipse on this scale until 2045, so NASA and everyone else is pulling out all the stops.

IPM News

IPM News

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