Morning headlines: Friday, April 15, 2011 | St. Louis Public Radio

Morning headlines: Friday, April 15, 2011

Apr 15, 2011

Ill. Senate Unanimously Approves Legislation Reducing Teacher Job Security

The Illinois Senate has unanimously approved sweeping legislation that would reduce teachers' job security and emphasize performance over seniority. The legislation would make it harder for teachers to achieve tenure. Even after getting tenure, bad teachers could be fired.  If a district has to make layoffs, jobs would be protected based on classroom performance instead of seniority.

The bill would also require more steps, including mediation, before teachers could go on strike. The final contract offer from each side would also be made public. The measure passed 59-0 and now goes to the House.

Mo. Proposal Could Require Electronic Surveillance Not Jail for Those Awaiting Criminal Trial

Some people awaiting criminal trials could find themselves under electronic surveillance rather than injail  under a proposal advancing in the Missouri Legislature. Similar legislation allowing judges to order the electronic monitoring passed both the House and Senate on Thursday. But the two versions still must be reconciled.

The Senate sponsor of the bill, Republican Jay Wasson of Nixa, says he hopes electronic monitoring can keep nonviolent offenders productive in the workforce while awaiting trial. Wasson also said the legislation could save counties money on jail costs.

Ill. Board of Education Takes of East St. Louis Public Schools

The Illinois Board of Education is taking over East St. Louis' public schools because it doesn't believe the district's students are being properly educated.

The Belleville News-Democrat reported Thursday the board will send a consultant to run the district. The East St. Louis district spends 8.7 percent of its budget on administration. That's more than double the statewide average. The district also has been on a watch list of underperforming schools for four years. State law requires the board to intervene after four years though a state audit released Thursday indicates that seldom happens.

School board member Carl Officer welcomed the takeover. News reports last year indicated the district spent millions of federal dollars intended to help students on travel and consultants who were often former district employees.