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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — The Illinois Senate has approved on a second vote Senate President John Cullerton's proposal overhauling teacher pensions.

Minutes earlier senators rejected the plan; it was shy one vote to pass. Cullerton used a parliamentary procedure to recall the bill. The second vote yesterday was 30-22.

Cullerton's amended plan addresses the Teachers' Retirement System and is estimated to save up to $40 billion over the next 30 years. It also offers employees a choice on whether they want retirement health care or reduced annual cost-of-living increases.

Opponents say the plan doesn't go far enough in addressing Illinois' pension crisis. Illinois has nearly $100 billion in unfunded pension liability.

Earlier in the day senators rejected a total overhaul sponsored by state Sen. Daniel Biss.
Thursday, 21 March 2013 02:40
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Residents in one north city neighborhood are back in their homes after a car crash forced their evacuations. It happened at Theodore and Oriole in the Walnut Park neighborhood about 7:30 Wednesday evening.

St. Louis police say a car struck a Laclede Gas service pipe. There was initial concern about a possible gas leak. Half a dozen nearby homes were evacuated as a precaution.

Laclede Gas crews determined that there was no gas leak, so the residents were allowed back home.

There's no word what led to the crash.
Thursday, 21 March 2013 01:57
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The Cleveland Junior Naval Academy will remain open, but five other public schools in the City of St. Louis will be closed. That was the decision of Saint Louis Public School leaders at Wednesday night's meeting of the Special Administrative Board.

Superintendent Kelvin Adams says the small magnet high school was spared after parents and alumni developed a recruitment plan that will add 30 students to the incoming freshman class this fall. They'll build on that increased enrollment through partnerships with middle schools.

District officials still plan to close Sherman Elementary, L'Ouverture Middle School, Fresh Start South, Multiple Pathways, and Beaumont High School.

Plans to switch from a three-tier bell system to a two-tier system were scrapped. That will save the district more than $5 million next year.
Thursday, 21 March 2013 00:47
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ST. LOUIS (AP) — The move to a new building for the St. Louis Police Department is going to be more expensive than first thought.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that bids came in more than $1.6 million over expectations. Now, the move will be delayed until early next year — nearly a year later than the original estimate.

The department received seven bids this month. The lowest was $6.3 million to retrofit a former Wells Fargo office building at 1915 Olive St. The department was expecting a cost of about $4.7 million.

Chief Sam Dotson says the awarding of a contract is on hold while officials ensure that the low bidder meets minority participation requirements.

The department's current headquarters at 1200 Clark Ave. dates to 1927 and needs extensive renovation.
Wednesday, 20 March 2013 17:52
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