Stadelman Newletter head

Rockford, Harlem schools awarded library grants

State Senator Steve Stadelman announced today that Rockford Public School District 205 and Harlem Community Unit School District 122 are set to receive nearly $25,000 in grants given out by Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White’s School Library Grant program.

“I’m grateful to hear that both Harlem and Rockford schools will receive these grants,” said Stadelman. “Libraries played an important role for me growing up, and additional funding will help our libraries to continue updating their collections for every student to enjoy.”

The grants were awarded based on a per-student formula. Rockford will receive $19,557 with Harlem getting $4,284. School libraries can use the funds to acquire fiction and/or nonfiction books, educational CDs and DVDs, library subscriptions to electronic resources or improve technology by purchasing new computers or improving Wi-Fi connectivity.

Lawmakers seek answers to abuse of seclusion rooms in schools

Members of the joint bipartisan Illinois Senate and House Education Committees met to examine the abuse of seclusion rooms in public schools. The committee heard testimony from the Illinois State Board of Education, the Illinois Association of Social Workers, Equip for Equality and Illinois Education Association, among other key education stakeholders.

The testimony comes in the wake of a report released by the Chicago Tribune and ProPublica Illinois found that school officials disciplined misbehaving children by locking them in seclusion rooms alone, sometimes for hours, a practice found to be harmful to children’s well-being. Gov. JB Pritzker's administration responded by issuing an emerengy ban on the practice, and Senate Bill 2315 was introduced to permanently prohibute use of seclusion rooms as a punitive measure.

During the hearing, lawmakers discussed the need to address the alarming number of reported violations of the use of isolation by certify educators are well-trained in techniques and procedures and supported by proper staffing numbers. The ultimate goal of the committee, lawmakers said, is to keep students safe so they have opportuntities to be successful, which can't happen when misconduct occurs.



Illinois gives students ability to self-administer medication

Students are now allowed to self-administer prescribed medication while at school under a new law supported by State Senator Steve Stadelman. Parental permission must be in place and the medication must be doctor prescribed. Stadelman said the law, which took effect Jan. 1, is designed to give students control of their own health and greater ability to focus on school work while providing parents with peace of mind.

State's minimum wage increase beginning to take effect

Minimum wage earners statewide will see a $1 per hour increase their next paycheck under Illinois' move to increase the hourly mimimage pay rate to $15 by January 2025.

Stadelman backed the increase as a means to move more families toward a living wage and away from public assistance to fill the gap. Single parents making the previous $8.25 an hour qualified for food stamps, Medicaid and often housing benefits.

Illinois' minimum wage is scheduled to increase again to $10 an hour July 1 and another $1 an hour each Jan. 1 from 2021 through 2025. Workers under age 18 will receive more modest increases from $8 to $13 by Jan. 1, 2022.