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Stories by Matt Masterson

Parent of Expelled 3-Year-Old: ‘One Day We Had Child Care, the Next We Didn’t’

New Illinois law helps protect pre-K students from expulsion

(Barnaby Wasson / Flickr)

Illinois parents faced with the expulsion of a preschool-age child are often put in a difficult situation, but a new state law seeks to end that practice and get schools thinking about alternative solutions.

CPS Counting on City, State Funding in Fiscal Year 2018 Budget

Chicago Public Schools on Friday finally issued the framework of its operating budget for the 2017-18 school year, but the source of some of its revenue remains unclear.

CPS Students Call For Fair Funding With 606 Protest

(Matt Masterson / Chicago Tonight)

Public school students set up dozens of desks and seats Thursday morning along the 606 trail in protest of Chicago Public Schools’ latest staffing cuts and Gov. Bruce Rauner’s amendatory veto of Senate Bill 1.

CPS, Chicago Focused on SB1 as Override Vote Looms

(Matt Masterson / Chicago Tonight)

Mayor Rahm Emanuel says Chicago Public Schools is prepared for the long term, but he’s not willing to put the city in a “weakened position” by discussing education financing options outside of Senate Bill 1.

CTA Offering CPS Students Free Back-to-School Rides

(Daniel Schwen / Wikimedia Commons)

Chicago students may be dreading the rapidly approaching first day of school, but at least they won’t have to worry about how to get there.

ISBE: ‘Significant Error’ in Data Used for Rauner School Funding Model

The education funding model Gov. Bruce Rauner hopes will replace a new formula he sees as a Chicago Public Schools' bailout contains a “significant error” in how it calculates the value of TIF districts, according to the Illinois State Board of Education.

CPS Delays Budget Vote, Announces Hundreds of Staffing Cuts

As districts across the state await an answer on school funding, Chicago Public Schools announced Monday it’s laying off more than 950 teachers and support staff.

Civic Federation: Latest City Colleges Budget a ‘Strong First Step’

Harry S. Truman College (Daniel X. O'Neil / Flickr)

Students within the City Colleges of Chicago won’t see any tuition hike this fall as the state’s largest community college district works through its first full budget in more than two years.

CPS Won’t Withhold Money, But Keeping Funding Appeals Process

(Chicago Tonight)

Citing principal feedback, CPS says it will no longer withhold 4 percent of schools’ special education funding and will instead using central contingency funds to grant appeals for both general and special education resources.

PolitiFact Rates Rauner’s SB1 ‘Bailout’ Claim as False

Just before Gov. Bruce Rauner issued a long-anticipated amendatory veto of an education funding reform bill in Springfield, top political fact-checkers cast doubt on one of the governor’s biggest criticisms of the legislation.

New Study Has ‘Strong’ Praise for Illinois Education Accountability Plan

(Chicago Tonight)

Illinois was praised for the clarity of its four-tier school ranking system and its focus on student growth, which makes up half of the weight behind a school’s annual rating in the proposed system.

NTA Student: ‘As Kids we Shouldn’t Have to Worry About Our Second Home’

Debate continues over controversial plan to convert elementary into new South Loop high school

(National Teachers Academy / Facebook)

A trio of town halls wasn’t enough for National Teachers Academy parents and South Loop-area residents, who filled a Board of Education meeting Wednesday to continue talks over a controversial plan for a new high school.

CPS Renews Call on Rauner to Sign SB1 as Special Session Begins

CPS CEO Forrest Claypool speaks to the press in April 2017. (Chicago Tonight)

Chicago Public Schools CEO Forrest Claypool once again criticized Gov. Bruce Rauner, saying Wednesday the governor is putting his own politics ahead of the needs of Illinois students.

CPS Making ‘Major Changes’ to Special Ed Funding

Teachers and principals spent the past year criticizing the way Chicago Public Schools handles special education funding. The district now says it’s planning major changes in the new fiscal year.

‘We Teach, We Don’t Preach’: Public School Teachers Find Space for Religion in the Classroom

(Matt Masterson / Chicago Tonight)

Dozens of Chicago-area public school teachers are getting a taste of several world religions this week as part of a course designed to increase their religious literacy.

CPS: Rauner’s SB1 Veto ‘Exceeds the Power of the Governor’

(Chicago Tonight)

As districts across the state face the possibility of a delayed start to the school year this fall, Gov. Bruce Rauner and Chicago Public Schools are squaring off over what to do with a potential fix for the state’s broken education funding formula.

CPS Principals to Receive New School Budgets Next Week

In a letter sent Friday to principals, CPS officials admit the budget distribution process is taking place “later than anyone can remember.” They put blame for the setback on Gov. Bruce Rauner.

Testing Reveals High Lead Levels in U-46 District Schools

(Jason Gillman / Pixabay)

Elevated lead levels have been found in hundreds of water fixtures in Illinois’ second largest public school district following an initial round of testing earlier this year.

Report: Illinois Has Room to Improve Education Accountability Plan

The Illinois State Board of Education is still waiting to hear back from Washington on its proposed education accountability plan, but an independent review found the state likely has room for improvement.

A Common Language: Chicago Charter Sharing its Bilingual Program

(U.S. Department of Agriculture)

An Archer Heights charter school is partnering with a traditional Little Village elementary school to share its unique bilingual and dual-language classes.

Parents, Community Seek Unity in New South Loop High School Proposal

(National Teachers Academy / Facebook)

Hundreds of parents and Near South Side residents weighed in Monday night on a controversial proposal that would transition the National Teachers Academy into a new South Loop high school.

CTU Files Whistleblower Suit Over Fired Special Education Teacher

(Chicago Tonight)

The Chicago Teachers Union claims Saucedo Academy teacher Sarah Chambers was suspended and later fired by the Board of Education in retalation for blowing the whistle on special education law violations.

AG Madigan Joins Suit Against DeVos Over Student Loan Protection Law

(Chicago Tonight)

A lawsuit alleges Secretary of Education Betsy Devos violated federal law and abandoned “critical federal protections” for students that were set to take effect this month.

Roosevelt University Aiming to Encourage New Wave of STEM Teachers

(Chicago Tonight)

This fall, Roosevelt will begin offering a new scholarship to future STEM teachers, thanks to a $1.4 million grant from the National Science Foundation.

Tracking CPS’ Shuttered School Properties

(Steven Kevil / Wikimedia Commons)

Following a highly controversial move in 2013 to close 50 elementary schools, Chicago Public Schools has sought to sell the vacant properties. Find out who is buying the shuttered schools, how much they’re paying, and what the sites could be used for.