Statewide update—Feb. 18, 2011

Peoria Journal StarFederal panel says workers were fired by Blagojevich reps for being Republicans, “A federal jury found Thursday that 16 former workers with the Illinois Department of Transportation were fired seven years ago by representatives of former Gov. Rod Blagojevich because they were Republicans.”

  • State Journal RegisterQuinn plan targets more than 500 school districts for merger, “The state offers financial assistance to districts that consolidate, including guarantees of no loss in state aid, help in covering disparities in teacher salaries between the merging districts and an extra $4,000 for each certified staff member for three years.”
  • (AP) Bloomington PantagraphQuinn’s budget calls for 950 new state workers, “The administration said adding some jobs will actually save money because some state agencies, particularly the Corrections Department, are spending huge amounts on overtime as guards work long hours to make up for a staff shortage.”
  • SouthtownStarSheriff ‘appalled’ at cemetery’s treatment of bodies, “Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart called for a review of its contract with the cemetery at a news conference in which he criticized the operation for haphazard practices and restated his belief the state needs legislation requiring DNA collection on all unidentified bodies.”
  • The SouthernPoverty hits children hard, “The child poverty rate in Illinois jumped from 17 percent in 2008 to 19 percent in 2009, which was the highest level since 1993…”
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