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Colin Jeffery

Colin Jeffery

Normandy choral group excelling despite hardship

Friday, 07 March 2014 14:56 Published in Local News
WELLSTON, Mo. (AP) - The Normandy School District has gone through a difficult year and is teetering on the verge of bankruptcy. But a high school chorale group is excelling, earning a trip to Carnegie Hall.
 
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the Normandy High School Chorale boarded a plane Friday for New York, where they'll join other top high school choirs from around the country for a performance Sunday night.
 
The school district in St. Louis County is unaccredited. A Missouri Supreme Court ruling last summer paved the way for hundreds of Normandy students to transfer to better-performing schools, at the district's cost.
 
The district couldn't afford to send the chorale group to New York, but a nonprofit group called Beyond Housing helped generate $16,000 from private donors.

Illinois campaign finance challenge remains alive

Friday, 07 March 2014 11:48 Published in Local News
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - A lawsuit challenging Illinois' caps on political donations is unlikely to be resolved before the 2014 elections.
 
That means limits put in place after Gov. Rod Blagojevich's impeachment will probably remain in place for the rest of this election season.
 
The Springfield bureau of Lee Enterprises newspapers reports that a federal judge this week dismissed most of the challenges brought by the Liberty Justice Center.
 
The judge kept one element of it alive for debate, but an attorney for the Chicago-based group says it will take months to play out.
 
As a result, attorney Jacob Huebert says it's unlikely it will be settled by November.
 
The group argues the donation limits in the 2009 law are unconstitutional because contributions from legislative leaders are not capped in general elections.
 

Illinois universities could face large funding cuts

Thursday, 06 March 2014 15:23 Published in Local News
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Illinois' public universities are warning of serious perils if the state's temporary income tax increase is allowed to expire as scheduled in January.
 
Southern Illinois University President Glenn Poshard says institutions of higher education are anticipating a 30 percent decrease in funding next year because of an expected $1.5 billion reduction in state revenues.
 
Poshard told a Senate appropriations committee Thursday that budget cuts would mean larger class sizes, having more classes taught by adjunct professors instead of tenured faculty and an increase in tuition.
 
Western Illinois University President Jack Thomas says the state's backlog of bills has already created budget headaches for his institution.
 
Both presidents say increasing the state's minimum wage as Gov. Pat Quinn wants could heighten budget problems, requiring millions more to pay their student workforces.

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