AFC Looking To Close Middle School To Bring District Closer To Balanced Budget

gkf5tx4kchxz7521lw14wa53q4qkyeoThe Ashton-Franklin-Center school district in Lee county is looking at closing its middle school and operating with only an elementary and a high school.

The district is facing a worst case scenario of a $600,000 budget deficit for this year, after having a $362,000 deficit the year before. The district has also been facing declining enrolments as both Ashton and Franklin Grove shrink in population.

As a property owner, not even 100 feet from the high school, this is probably the best hope the district has of getting its finances in order, short of going Scott Walker and tearing up the teachers union contract, or a massive influx of new residents and/or business(neither of which is going to happen).

The Dixon Telegraph has more:

The board is looking at relocating students from the middle school to the other two schools in the district, said John Zick, the district’s superintendent. The board met Tuesday to discuss the proposal in front of about 25 staff and community members.

Last year, the school district operated with a $362,000 shortfall in the education fund. Based on what is spent this year, that shortfall could balloon to more than $600,000.

“The $600,000 deficit is a worse-case scenario,” ZIck said. “We can’t operate like this.”

If the board decides to approve the reorganization, changes would take effect in the fall and save the district $440,000.

One reason for the decrease in spending is declining enrollment.

In the 2004-05 school year, the school district had 666 students. It’s down to 520 students.

Ashton-Franklin Center has three school buildings, a kindergarten through fourth grade elementary school, a fifth through eighth grade middle school and a ninth through 12th grade high school.

Based on the reorganization, the elementary school would house kindergartners through sixth-graders, and the high school would be home to seventh- through 12th-graders.

“The middle school would be used for practices and other things,” Zick said. “As far as instruction, if this were to happen, there would be no classes there.”

Rockford’s Rock River Academy Closing After Series Of Problems

rra 003Rock River Academy in Rockford has been taking care of teenage girls under the care of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services for several years, in the coming days and weeks the facility will close its doors.

DCFS stopped placing children with RRA last month after it was revealed that Rockford police had to respond to the facility some 800 times since 2006 for everything ranging from vandalism, rape and sodomy complaints, assault, and runaways.

The girls currently at RRA will be placed at other care facilities inside of 90 days. 

WIFR has more:

A representative with the Department of Children and Family Services says the facility has less than 90 days to relocate the girls who stay there.

Rock River Academy has come under fire recently after workers have been accused of mistreating the patients. DCFS has been doing investigations over the last months looking into the allegations of physical and mental abuse.

the girls tell stories of running away, being verbally abused by the staff and prostituting themselves out for clothes and drugs. The center provides therapy and various types of treatment to girls ages 10-21 to help them assimilate back into the community and their home.

23 News did speak to a woman who says she used to be a PE teacher before she was fired and confirms some of the alleged abuse that she says was tolerated by the administration. She says she was slapped, beaten up, and had her hair pulled out.

The facility has also come under fire from former employees who claim they were fired for attempting to unionize.

Uber Ridersharing To Start In Rockford Within Weeks

uber-logoDespite the best efforts of Chicago Democrats in the state legislature(who want to protect the Taxi companies monopoly on giving people rides), the ridesharing service company Uber is ready to start-up operations in Rockford within the next few weeks.

Uber Rockford would cover nearly all of Winnebago and Boone counties.

WIFR has more:

Toby Niedermeier is ready to work out of his own car. He’s signed up to be an Uber Rockford driver, after getting laid off from his full-time job.

“It opens up a lot of opportunities for people to get out there on the road,” said Niedermeier.

Approved, freelance drivers will be able to give people rides throughout Rockford and surrounding areas.

Connecting with an Uber driver is pretty simple, all you do is download the Uber App on your smartphone, and tell the driver where and when you want to be picked up.

“The GPS on your phone already tells the Uber driver where you’re at,” explains Niedermeier.

As a rider, you’ll see a picture of the driver on your phone, so you know who to expect and when.

“You’ll know where the Uber driver is at, it will pick out the one closest to you,” said Niedermeier.

Niedermeier says we should only have to wait about five to ten minutes. As a driver, you have about 15 seconds to accept a ride request, otherwise it goes to the next, closest driver.

Niedermeier says he met with Uber reps about a week ago and they told him Uber Rockford would be ready in about two weeks. The City tells 23 News that Uber has talked about a kick off, but hasn’t given them an official date yet. We’re still waiting to hear back from Uber.


Gregg Cummings, Tea Party Patriots: Wipeout of Democrats At State Level Not Because Of GOP But Grassroots

Speaking at Tuesday’s meeting of the LaSalle Tea Party, Gregg Cummings with the Tea Party Patriots(and a key part of the documentary The Border States of America) talked about the wipeout of Democrat lawmakers at the state level since 2010.

In three election cycles Republicans have flipped state legislatures and governorships into being a majority in their parties control after Democrats held big advatages at the state level going into the 2010 mid-terms.

That success Cummings says isn’t because of the GOP, or Karl Rove, but because of the work and effort of the conservative grassroots.

Illinois Tea Parties Given Award By Tea Party Patriots

IMG_0601_2At Tuesday nights meeting of the LaSalle Tea Party, coordinator Art Havenhill, who also serves as co-state coordinator for the Illinois Tea Party, announced that during a recent trip to Washington DC, the national Tea Party Patriots organization presented an award to all Illinois Tea Party groups.

The award is the “Hell Freezes Over Award” and it was given to Illinois Tea Partiers for their work in getting a fiscal conservative Republican, Bruce Rauner, elected Governor of President Obama’s home state.

LaSalle County Board Members Explain Property Tax Increase

IL-LaSalleAt Tuesday nights meeting of the LaSalle Tea Party two Republican members of the county board explained why a property tax levy increase was approved by the board.

The two members who attended, out of 17 invited, explained that they had little choice but to vote for the levy increase due to mandated spending forced upon the county, including a mandatory pay raise for a Veterans related position.  There are also the naturally higher cost for healthcare, unreliable(and dwindling) state aid, and contractual pay raises for the counties unionized employees.

The board has faced some criticism for not communicating or explaining to county residents why the tax levy increase occurred.

Rick Santorum In Davenport Urges GOP To Rebrand Economic Policy Towards Blue Collar Voters

Rick Santorum

Rick Santorum

Speaking at the Scott county(Iowa) Lincoln day lunch in Davenport, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, who won the 2012 Iowa caucuses, urged Republicans to rebrand their message on economic policy to gear it towards blue collar workers/voters.

The QC Times has more:

This time, Santorum has a different message, telling GOP activists that if the party is to succeed, it must change its ways and appeal directly to low- and middle-income voters, that it must do more than just preach pro-growth economic principles.

“We’ve been delivering that message for 30 years, and it’s gotten a little stale,” Santorum told the Lincoln Club. “And, secondly, I don’t think people believe it anymore.”

Santorum said the principles are still valid, but they are not sufficient, particularly in an age when many people are being left behind economically or are hurting in other ways.

“We have a lot of Americans who are struggling, and they are not feeling like our movement, our party is concerned or talking about them,” he said. “Why? Because we never talk about them.”

Santorum later told reporters the minimum wage should cover a broader range of workers, although he noted he opposes President Barack Obama’s minimum wage proposal. And he said wages for low- to moderate-income workers are being held down by immigrants, including those here legally.

He also had a few words for Wall Street.

“I know Wall Street says they create wealth. But I know making things, you actually do create wealth. And you create wealth not just for the high-flying players on Wall Street, but you create wealth for the people who make that thing.”

IL Issued Drivers Licenses To 85,000 Illegals Last Year

illinois+illegal2014 was the first year in which illegal immigrants could obtain Illinois drivers licenses under a new law signed by former Gov. Pat Quinn and pushed by among others former state Senator and GOP gubernatorial candidate Kirk Dillard.

In 2014 85,000 illegal immigrants were issued Illinois drivers licenses with 190,000 illegals scheduling appointments in order to complete the drivers licensing process.

Quinn, Dillard and the rest who supported the measure say that allowing illegals to get drivers licenses will save Illinois residents money and make the roadways safer.

I don’t know about you but the only money the state of Illinois has saved me this past year is the reduction in the state income tax that came automatically at the start of this year.

And as far as making the roadways safer only the finalized traffic death and accident numbers will determine whether or not that is true, and those numbers will be some time in coming.


Rep. Adam Kinzinger: Obama “Unilaterally Withdraw(ing) From War On Terror”

Rep. Adam Kinzinger

Rep. Adam Kinzinger

Monday morning Illinois Republican congressman Adam Kinzinger was on Fox & Friends to talk about foreign policy.

During the discussion Kinzinger said that the Obama administration is “unilaterally withdraw(ing) from the war on terror.”

Breitbart has more:

“Look, here’s the reality — the administration is trying to unilaterally withdraw from the war on terror,” Kinzinger said. “I mean that’s obviously happening. Al Qaeda doesn’t know that. ISIS doesn’t think the war is over, but the administration, the president made it clear he wants the legacy getting America out of war. The problem is you can’t wish and unicorn and rainbows in a world that does not exist. And right now, we live in a dangerous world that wants to kill all of us sitting here and all your viewers because of what we believe in.”

Kinzinger went on to comment on this administration’s tactics, including the swap for U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl.

“I think so. The latest one, there’s more information to come out we have to know, but it’s very obvious that this administration does not hold to the idea of we don’t negotiate,” he added.

Over 100 Counter Westboro Protest Of Iowa High School

Westboro Davenport protest, photo QC Online

Westboro Davenport protest, photo QC Online

This morning a handful of members of the Westboro Baptist Church, based in Kansas, protested outside of Davenport West High school in Davenport, Iowa as part of a multi-day campaign to spread the lunatic groups hate-filled message ahead of their planned appearance and protest at the Iowa state capitol building today.

The inbred moonbats from Westboro were countered by over 100 residents of the Quad Cities area who peacefully stood up to the Westboro’s displays of disrespect towards the American flag and repulsive rhetoric towards homosexuals and people of faith who don’t share Westboro’s radical views.

The counter protesters were made up of Veterans, members of the Patriot Guard riders(who continually have to keep the moonbats away from military funerals across the nation), your occupy types wearing Guy Fawkes masks, and area students.

The Westboro cultist arrived in Iowa Saturday in Bettendorf and were met by another group of over 100 counter protesters.  That counter demonstration apparently caused the Westboro rejects to cancel their series of planned protest for Sunday at houses of worship across the QCA.

QC Online has more:

Six members of  Westboro Baptist Church protesting outside West High School in Davenport on Monday  were met with hundreds of counter protesters who view the group’s message as hateful and bigoted.

Westboro, based in Topeka, Kan., is widely known for protesting at veteran funerals, waving signs. condemning soldiers, homosexuality and other religious groups, including other Christian denominations.

The counter-protesters said they were were pleased with the turnout this morning and the diversity of the group, which varied from students opposing the group’s condemnation of homosexuality to military veterans protesting the group’s harsh words for veterans and soldiers who have died.

“I’m out here because of the Westboro going to the veterans funerals, and I don’t think that’s right,” said Dan Stichter, an Army veteran.  “I don’t think anything they do is right.”

Curtis Galloway, a Monmouth College student and vice president of his school’s LGBT organization, said the protests bring together people from different walks of life.

“Even with people who don’t agree with homosexuality, it still affects everyone because they’re protesting soldiers and protesting religion and everything,” he said. “It’s a broad spectrum that they’re covering, and it just upsets everyone and it makes everyone in America look bad to other countries.”

Capt. Dale Sievert, of the Davenport Police Department, said the protests were peaceful, and officers didn’t see any problems.

Streator Elementary Moving With April Ballot Tax Increase Strongly Suggested By State

90px-Streator_logoThe Streator elementary school district is moving ahead with an April tax increase ballot question that is being pushed on area taxpayers by the “strong suggestion” of a financial consultant with the Illinois State Board of Education.

The Ottawa Times has more:

If the referendum passes, the annual impact on a $100,000 homeowner would be a $250 increase in taxes, and the impact on a $150,000 homeowner would be a $375 increase in taxes.

Beginning Tuesday, the district will host informational sessions on the referendum at each of its schools.

The move is at the “strong suggestion” of an Illinois State Board of Education financial consultant, who indicated the district would have a better chance of having their required deficit reduction plan approved by ISBE if they requested the referendum — seeking to increase revenues.

The district has had two consecutive years of deficit balances in the education fund and is eligible to be deemed in financial difficulty.

Superintendent Matt Wilkinson said if the referendum does not pass, the district will most likely be required to present a three-year deficit reduction to ISBE and be eligible for possible financial oversight by the state.

In essence an unelected, unaccountable, consultant, to the states education bureaucracy is forcing the Streator elementary school board to move forward with a tax hike or face the possibility of the state taking over the districts finances.

What a lovely choice, I’m surprised this deal didn’t include a complementary breaking of ones knees.

The voters and taxpayers in Streator should tell the ISBE to go pound sand and reject this tax hike in an overwhelming fashion.

Sen. Rick Santorum, Iowa Freedom Summit(Video)

Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, a likely 2016 GOP presidential contender, speaking Saturday at the Iowa Freedom Summit.

Westboro Moonbats Flee From 100 Quad Cities Counter Protesters

photo QC TImes

photo QC TImes

The inbred moonbats from the Westboro Baptist Church where meet by over 100 counter protesters Saturday in Bettendorf, IA.

The show of unity from the residents of the Quad Cities area prompted the Westboro lunatics to abandon their planned protest for Sunday at house of worship across the QCA.

While at their brief protest Saturday the lady(and I use that term loosely) who runs the Westboro bunch repeatedly stepped on an American flag in an intentional display of disrespect.  Why is a question only her psychiatrist can answer.

QC Online has more:

More than 100 Quad-Citians came out Saturday to the corner of Belmont and Devils Glen roads in counter protest of about a half-dozen members of the Westboro Baptist Church, who came to picket the nearby Bettendorf Christian Church.

The Topeka, Kan.-based group that propounds an anti-homosexual theology played and sang along to current songs, flashed printed signs and stepped on American flags.

Westboro member Rebekah Phelps-Roper, of Topeka, had an American flag tied around her ankle. With nearly every step she took, she swung her leg around to step on the flag.

The Westboro fruitcakes say they plan on protesting outside of a Davenport high school Monday morning, then at the Iowa state capitol.


Rep. Bustos Talks Social Security In Rockford

Rep. Cheri Bustos(D-IL)

Rep. Cheri Bustos(D-IL)

Democrat congresswoman Cheri Bustos was in Rockford over the weekend to hear from residents and talk about Social Security.

The Social Security trustees have the entitlement program running out of money in 15 years or so.  Currently Social Security disability insurance is bankrupt as more people are one disability than live in the city of New York.

Social Security and Medicare combine for a $110 trillion unfunded liability debt for the entitlement programs.

WIFR has more:

Congresswoman Cheri Bustos gave her take on socialsecurity as she was in Rockford today at Amberwood Care Center, listening to the thoughts and concerns of Stateline seniors.

Bustos says the main reason for the visit was to take some of those concerns with her back to Washington. Because these days there are plenty of concerns with social security, like will the money be there in the future? Another concern is the consumer price index, which are the prices paid by typical consumers for retail goods. In Bustos recent letter to Obama, she asked him to disregard using the chained CPI to calculate cost-of-living and inflation adjustments for federal programs like social security.

“When I say that I want to fight for social security benefits and Medicare benefits, it’s because that is in many cases all these seniors have financially and all they have for healthcare,” says Bustos.

Gov. Rick Perry, Iowa Freedom Summit(Video)

Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Americas job creator, and possible 2016 GOP presidential contender at the Iowa Freedom Summit.