Yearly Archives: 2015


SchoolDigger Ranks the 3 Best Elementary, Middle and High Schools in NW Suburbs

SchoolDigger, a website that evaluates K-12 school performance, updated its rankings of the best elementary, middle and high schools in Illinois using the recently released Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) test scores. As with any rankings, it is important to realize that this is not a definitive list. Rankings vary according to the scoring methodology used – and PARCC, in particular, or standardized test scores, in general, are arguably not the only indicator of a school’s success. Regardless, here are the top three elementary, middle and high schools in the NW suburbs of Illinois, according to SchoolDigger’s latest rankings. Top Three Elementary Schools South Park Elementary School | Deerfield Enrollment: 497 Percent low-income students: 0.0% Average standard score: 98.45 Willowbrook Elementary School | Glenview Enrollment: 310 Percent low-income students: 1.3% Average standard score: 98.74 Shabonee School | Northbrook Enrollment: 390 Percent low-income students: 3.3% Average standard score: 98.89 Top Three [...]

By |2015-12-31T20:14:31-06:00December 31st, 2015|Local Events|Comments Off on SchoolDigger Ranks the 3 Best Elementary, Middle and High Schools in NW Suburbs

Right to Work is About Our Right to Pay

Critics wonder what the fuss is about. Lincolnshire has just exempted its employees from paying union dues and opponents want to sue. Why? In Monday night’s 5-1 vote, north suburban Lincolnshire created Illinois’ first private sector “right-to-work” municipality. Private sector unionized employees working in Lincolnshire will now have the choice of whether or not to pay union dues, and a union worker cannot be fired for not paying dues. According to the Union Business website, Union fees and monthly dues depend on the type of Employer and your particular wage rate. Initiation fees are from $75 to $600, and dues range from $17 to $85. Monthly union dues are generally two and a half times your hourly wage rate. So if you earn $18 an hour expect to pay $44 to your work union. For some employees, such as teachers, this is a goodly part of their wage. Earlier this [...]

By |2016-02-09T17:13:11-06:00December 27th, 2015|Local Events|Comments Off on Right to Work is About Our Right to Pay

Cue The Buddies – Special Gifts Theater gives kids with special needs a chance to take the stage

Special Gifts Theater is  bringing you the Wizard of Oz and Shrek on February 20th, March 5th and 12th, and April 23rd. Special Gifts Theater (SGT) is the brainchild of Susan B. Field a former occupational  therapist. In 2000, her two sons had left for college, she was feeling pretty lonesome and as she tells it: “one night during family dinner.. my daughter turned to me and asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up…. I confided my dreams of starting a theater company for children with special needs.” Her children immediately set to work; her middle son designed the logo and her daughter  named it.  They adapted scripts to the children's abilities, made fliers, printed tickets, did technical work, and taught their mother  choreography. Three years later Special Gifts Theater is still going strong. In 2005, researchers from the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) were [...]

By |2016-02-09T17:14:08-06:00December 16th, 2015|Local Events|Comments Off on Cue The Buddies – Special Gifts Theater gives kids with special needs a chance to take the stage

Top 10 Holiday Events in Chicagoland and Northern Illinois

It's almost impossible to pick out ten events from the hundreds of local events listed in online directories. We think that you’ll agree that each of the events chosen are major happenings and will interest both children and adults. Happy Holidays! Holidays of Light at the Museum of Science and Industry: For over ten years now, the Holidays of Light has featured different customs, traditions and festivals celebrated by other cultures in various countries around the world. For example, you can learn about and experience Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Ramadan and Diwali. During the holiday season there are special performances through December. The Art Institute's Holiday Gifts for the City- The Wreathing of the Lions is a much cherished holiday gift in Chicago. This year the 23rd Annual Wreathing of the Lions takes place on Friday, November 28th at 10am with all the appropriate fanfare and pageantry in front of the Art [...]

By |2015-12-10T19:01:52-06:00December 10th, 2015|Local Events|Comments Off on Top 10 Holiday Events in Chicagoland and Northern Illinois

Glenbrook Dist. 225 Hikes Property Tax Levy 3%

If you live in Glenview and are a local property owner, here’s news that may affect you. On November 12, Glenbrook High School District 225 Board of Education determined to levy property taxes by a total of 6 percent. Two years ago, Glenbrook had discussed a levy that would amount to 3%. This means that property owners in Glenview would now pay a further 3% on their taxes. The proceeds would go to funding the school.  Assistant Superintendent for Business Affairs Hillarie Siena had explained that the purpose was to “allow the District to address rising costs due to inflation and financial challenges resulting from new growth, such as increased student enrollment” She had urged that taxpayers not consider the levy as increase in their personal taxes.  Rather: “The tax levy is only one of a number of factors that determine how much a property owner actually pays.” Two days [...]

By |2015-12-02T19:24:17-06:00December 2nd, 2015|Local Events|Comments Off on Glenbrook Dist. 225 Hikes Property Tax Levy 3%

Poll Shows Majority Of Illinois Voters Oppose Tax Hikes

A new poll shows that most registered voters in Illinois want to close the state’s $4 billion budget gap through spending cuts rather than tax increases, and more than half want to see public pensions cut to address the deficit. The pension problem has been enduring.  Illinois is barely able to pay its employees - firemen, police, park workers and so forth - their pensions. It owns a $30 billion debt. MarketWatch says it has the worst pension reform situation in the nation. Senators have been creating and eliminating plans for years. Toni Preckwinkle suggested a sales tax; Bruce Rauner wants to cut pension benefits. Politicians remain undecided. Meanwhile,  a poll produced by Americans for Prosperity of Illinois surveyed 600 registered Illinois voters. Sixty-six percent called for state-spending to be cut while only 15% - not even a third of the people surveyed - proposed raising taxes. Four percent elected [...]

By |2015-12-02T17:56:29-06:00November 27th, 2015|English Articles|Comments Off on Poll Shows Majority Of Illinois Voters Oppose Tax Hikes

How Much Do We Pay Teachers in Illinois and Chicago?

The University of Illinois's Labor Education Program worked out that the average Illinois teacher works about 207 days a year or about 2,165 hours per year.  Teacher benefits: Teachers get 2.5 months off in June, July and August, 1 week paid time off in December, 1 week paid time off in April and 10 paid vacation days on the CPS calendar. Illinois teachers receive 10 sick days per year. Illinois teachers receive health coverage and are required to pay 1.8 percent of their salary toward the plan. (The range in employee contribution is from 1.3% - 2.8% depending on the level of coverage selected). Figure that the average teacher pays $1,282. Teachers hired after 1986 also pay the Medicare Tax which would mean that the average Illinois teacher pays another $1,033. The average Illinois teacher also has to contribute 2% of his or her base salary (approximately $1,425) to the Chicago Teachers Pension [...]

By |2015-11-17T21:07:46-06:00November 17th, 2015|English Articles|Comments Off on How Much Do We Pay Teachers in Illinois and Chicago?

Medical Marijuana Debuts in Illinois

Medical marijuana dispensaries opened their doors in Illinois for the first time in state history this week. The eight clinics served hundreds of patients across the state most waiting for hours to get inside. From Mundelein, a reporter chirped that it was so busy that the Mundelein clinic actually sold out their products in one day. The place was supposed to close at 6.00pm but they remained open until every last patient was served. It serviced over 200 cardholders. Patients like Laura Bailey who had been suffering from pain, spams and insomnia for the past 15 years and had been living on prescription pills could barely wait for the clinics to open. Monday she and patients like her flocked to one of the eight clinics in various parts of the state and walked out with the ‘miracle plant’ with veins like blue cheese. After smoking it, Laura said that the [...]

By |2015-11-12T17:22:13-06:00November 11th, 2015|English Articles|Comments Off on Medical Marijuana Debuts in Illinois

Illinois & Lake County Property Taxes

Are You Going To Get A Break On Illinois & Lake County Property Taxes? More news on tax. Mayor Rahm Emanuel plotted a tax hike for property, but insiders are gossiping that if you’re a middle class owner, your burden may plummet. It is the same old reason. Soaring pension payments and a chilling budget deficit caused the mayor, earlier this month, to jack property taxes to $450 million to cover unpaid liabilities for the police and firefighter pensions, plus $50 million for the Chicago Public Schools. The result: a proposed record-breaking $500 million property tax gift. US Effective Tax Rates by Income This is the highest yet since 1996. It is 50 percent more than we paid in property taxes five years ago. It raises our tax rate from $774.4 million in 2014 to $1.22 billion Ironically – and of small consolation to Chicagoans – the mayor’s [...]

By |2015-10-16T18:06:19-05:00October 16th, 2015|English Articles|Comments Off on Illinois & Lake County Property Taxes

Illinois Small Business Grades

Sorry, Owners: Illinois Small Business Is Not Too Friendly For You. If you’re planning to set up shop in Illinois, think again. Thumbtack shows that our local government innocently makes some things very, very hard for us. Last week, Thumbtack ran its fourth annual Small Business Friendliness Survey on 18,000 small business owners across the nations. They considered the following: • Ease of starting a business • Ease of hiring • Regulations • Health and safety • Employment, labor and hiring • Tax code • Licensing • Environmental • Zoning • Training and networking programs Jon Lieber said, chief economist of “Given that there is a crisis of entrepreneurship in the United States, seen in the broad collapse of self-employment across industries and states, creating the right environment for business start-ups is more important than ever.” Merchant St in Decatur IL New Hampshire, Utah, Louisiana, and Colorado [...]

By |2015-10-14T20:32:09-05:00October 14th, 2015|English Articles|Comments Off on Illinois Small Business Grades