TazewellCo2RSSPRINGFIELD – Illinois agriculture education will be receiving a boost thanks to measure pushed by State Senator Bill Cunningham that goes into effect on January 1, 2017.

The legislation, Senate Bill 2975, will add agriculture education as an area of identified staff shortage, which would make additional scholarship money available for those who want to go into agriculture education.

“There is a shortage of qualified agriculture education teachers in Illinois,” Cunningham said. “As a result, fewer students are receiving science and business-based instruction that could prepare them for the growing number of jobs available in agriculture.

Cunningham pointed to a recent Purdue University study that found nearly 58,000 jobs will open annually across the United States in occupations involving food, agriculture, and natural resources over the next five years, but colleges and universities are not training enough students to qualify for those jobs.

Category: Press Releases

052916CM0269ResizeSPRINGFIELD – Senator Bill Cunningham voted to override the governor’s veto of Senate Bill 2822, legislation designed to provide equal funding to the Chicago Public Schools teachers' pension fund.

“Governor Rauner refuses to provide the same level of state financial support to Chicago Public Schools that is provided to every other school district in the state," Cunningham said. “If his veto stands, CPS will be forced to lay off teachers and Chicago's students will be forced to pay the price.”

Senate Bill 2822 would provide pension parity between the Chicago Public Schools and every other school system throughout the state. Currently, the state only picks up a small percentage of CPS’ pension payment, while paying the full cost for all other school districts.

“We need to support all public school systems throughout the state and that includes Chicago Public Schools,” Cunningham said.

The Senate voted to override the governor’s veto and the legislation now moves to the House for further consideration.

Category: Press Releases

U of I webCHICAGO— State Senator Bill Cunningham joined the University of Illinois in announcing a new performance and accountability initiative that will ensure full funding for the university and help hold the line on tuition increases.

The plan would provide the university with stable funding and some regulatory relief in exchange for meeting specific standards on student access and achievement. Some examples of standards include in-state enrollment requirements and benchmarks on graduation rates, financial aid and tuition.

“This proposal would provide U of I with stable funding from the legislature, but it would require them to reach a number of goals to keep the funds flowing," Cunningham said. “We need real results from our universities to ensure that state resources are being properly used.”

The plan was announced at the University of Illinois’ Board of Trustees meeting in Chicago on Thursday. Cunningham will serve as the chief senate sponsor on the initiative.

Category: Press Releases

052916CM0269ResizeSPRINGFIELD—Higher education administrators will no longer be able to claim country club memberships as a part of their pensionable income thanks to a proposal pushed by Senator Bill Cunningham becoming law today.

Senate Bill 2156 was one several new laws authored by Cunningham this year aimed at limiting perks for public college and university presidents in Illinois. The legislation was sparked by a scandal at the College of DuPage, where the president received a $750,000 severance package just to leave the college.

“Colleges and universities presidents often receive fringe benefits like housing allowances and country club memberships as part of their compensation packages,” Cunningham said. “Under the current law, those individuals can receive pension credit for the cash value of those perks. With the state struggling to afford the pensions of rank-and-file employees, allowing high-salaried administrators to spike their pensions in this matter is totally unacceptable. SB 2156 will end this abusive practice.”

Senator Cunningham represents portions of Worth, Orland and Palos Townships in the southwest suburbs and the neighborhoods of Mt. Greenwood, Beverly, Morgan Park and Auburn-Gresham in Chicago.

Category: Press Releases

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