East St. Louis School District

(via Flickr/alkruse24)

As summer break winds down, East St. Louis School District 189 is gearing up to begin spending $10.5 million in federal money to kick start academic performance at its two middle schools.   

In the coming days the district will begin the hiring process for 20 new positions to focus on everything from professional development to community engagement. The grant will also pay for an extended school schedule.       

Illinois State Board of Education website

The state's takeover of the district aims to improve student achievement, finances and governance, but progress will be hard without more money from Springfield.

Christopher Koch knows what schools in East St. Louis need to succeed, and he has a pretty clear idea how to get the job done. He just hopes that the state of Illinois will provide the resources that the district needs.

(via Flickr/frankjuarez)

Illinois state education officials and members of the East St. Louis school board have settled a nearly year-old lawsuit sparked by the state board's attempt to take over the struggling district.  

The troubled East St. Louis school district is cutting 50 administrative jobs amid concerns the school system may run out of money by the end of September unless it gets an emergency loan.

The Belleville News-Democrat reports the jobs being eliminated include such positions as administrative clerk, custodian, coordinator, warehouse worker, security guard and attendance officer.

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A St. Clair County Circuit Court judge has approved a preliminary restraining order for a group of recently ousted East St. Louis School Board members. 

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Five members of East St. Louis' elected school board are suing to reverse the state's takeover of the city's public school system.

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For the first time in its history, the Illinois State Board of Education has taken over a public school district.

The members voted unanimously today to dissolve the elected board of the East St. Louis Public Schools and replace it with an appointed oversight authority.

State board member and long-time educator Vinni Hall of Chicago said she'd heard the concerns of East St. Louis residents and understands why the district is struggling.

(via Flickr/Indofunk Satish)

Seniority, income determining factors in new Illinois insurance law

Governor Pat Quinn's office announced early this morning that he has signed a measure that will require retired state and public university employees to kick in more money for their health insurance. 

Retirees with at least 20 years of service currently get free health coverage. Those with less time on the job pay for a portion of the cost.

(via Flickr/albertogp123)

The school superintendent in East St. Louis says some teachers used "inappropriate strategies and techniques" to inflate students scores on standardized achievement tests.

District 189 Superintendent Arthur Culver told the Belleville News-Democrat's editorial board on Wednesday that elementary test scores will likely drop this year. Culver didn't call the teachers' actions cheating and he didn't cite any schools by name. He also didn't describe or give examples of the questionable methods the teachers allegedly used.

(via Flickr/alkruse24)

The school year is over in East St. Louis, and the next one will mean only half of the school district's ten elementary schools will be left.

St. Louis' KMOV-TV reports the school system decided months ago that it planned to close five of its ten elementary schools as a result of declining enrollment. The district also cited the need to stabilize attendance and staffing.

Beginning Tuesday, schools superintendent Arthur Culver and other administrators will meet with affected parents to discuss the downsizing.

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