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Education and Family

Domestic Violence Advocates Seek Greater Community Action

Sep 26, 2016
McLean County YWCA

"Stand Up With Me" is the theme of a new effort in McLean County to help eradicate domestic violence.

Violence prevention groups are asking members of the community to publicly show their support for domestic violence survivors.

Emma Shores / WGLT

Unit 5 school board members say the district's bus contractor needs to increase its supply of drivers as soon as possible. Driver absenteeism has frequently made students up to two hours late to class. 

Superintendent Mark Daniel said he knows contractor First Student is struggling to find drivers, but the company should have been thinking about this since the school year began. 

Wikimedia Commons

Gathering accurate numbers and determining the true scope of homelessness is difficult. The people are transient, sometimes don't identify as homeless, or may be hidden as the person is couch surfing instead of sleeping on the street. Trying to track subsets, like homeless youth or LGBTQ youth homelessness is even more difficult. 

Emma Shores / WGLT

Unit Five Schools officials, parents, and students continue to grapple with bus issues. At least twice in the last week, more than a dozen bus drivers have called in saying they could not show up for work. This has delayed some students' arrival at school by more than two hours.

The Women to Women Giving Circle of the Illinois Prairie Community Foundation is an organization founded by women for women and children.

In the last six years, it's provided more than $200,000 in grants for local programs and projects.

This year, the focus will be programs that " inspire girls and young women to achieve their  highest potential," according to Kathi Davis, the foundation's program director.

About $40,000 in grants will be available for those programs.

Charlie Schlenker / WGLT

Illinois State University says not only did overall enrollment and freshmen enrollment rise this fall, so did minority student enrollment. African American enrollment and Latino student attendance increased ten and nine percent respectively.

Freshman Kharisma Thomas of Chicago talked about staff efforts to accommodate students.

Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children's Hosptial

Local advocates are raising funds to open a clinic in Bloomington-Normal that will address the health needs of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community.

It would be the first such clinic in central Illinois.  

One model might be the Ann and Robert H. Lurie (LURE-ee) Children's Hospital in Chicago. The hospital has what is considered  one of the most comprehensive clinics in the state for treating health issues involving gender and sexuality.

Melissa Schoper / WGLT

The Unit 5 School Board last night heard parent concerns about new bus routes. More students are riding fewer buses due to a change in school start times, and budget cuts.

Some routes have children spending two hours on a bus when they only live ten minutes away. Parents and First Student bus drivers said buses are overcrowded and routes are confusing.

Illinois State University

Early enrollment numbers have Illinois State University leaders smiling.

More than 21,000 students are on campus, an increase of about three hundred, based on first day enrollment numbers.

Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly

GLT correspondent and producer Judy Valente was recently honored for her journalism by the national Association for Women in Communications.

Valente received a Clarion Award in public affairs reporting for a segment she reported on "Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly," a religion news show on national PBS-TV.

The report focused on St. Benedict's Preparatory School for boys in Newark, New Jersey. The school was born out of the strife of the 1967 riots in that city, and is run by a group of Benedictine monks who have gained success with unconventional teaching methods.


Lynne Mapes-Riordan has long been active at St. Nicholas Catholic Church in the Chicago suburb of Evanston. She never thought about becoming an ordained deacon, however, until her church began praying to the Virgin Mary to help guide one the men in her parish who was training to become a deacon.

Then Mapes-Riordan had an epiphany.

"I read that prayer because part of it was to help people understand what deacons do. And it occurred to me that Mary herself could not be a deacon," Mapes-Riordan said.

That's because the Catholic diaconate, as it's known, is currently open only to men. That might change.


Unit 5's new school bus system will be put to the test when classes start next week. Earlier this year, the school board adjusted school start times to reduce the number of buses needed.

Superintendent Mark Daniel said he is ready for the first day, but also aware there will be some trouble spots.

Heartland Community College
Staff / WGLT

Heartland Community College is getting ready for a new school year.

But many things are not yet clear.

In this conversation with GLT's Charlie Schlenker, Heartland President Rob Widmer said one of the unknowns, with only a month to go before school, is enrollment.

Illinois State University

Illinois State University is losing its Provost. Janet Krecji is leaving at the end of the year to become Dean of the School of Nursing at Marquette University in Milwaukee. Krejci said she's sorry to go, but she has had changes in her family situation back in Wisconsin over the last couple months.


Jeanne Hamilton is a month into her new job as the Director of the Bloomington Public Library. Hamilton replaced Georgia Bouda who retired amid concern over a bookmobile program that did not serve the west side of town. Hamilton says it's going well with a great staff.

She tells GLT's Charlie Schlenker she is getting to know members of the community. Hamilton says there are no fires to put out, but instead goals to work toward.

WIU To Furlough Again

Jun 27, 2016
Adam Moss / Creative Commons

Some Western Illinois University employees will have to take more unpaid days off as the school tries to cope with a drastic decrease in state aid.

This spring, Western imposed furloughs on non-negotiated staff earning more-than 40-thousand dollars. They had to take those days off between April and June.

ISU Actuarial Program Receives Award

Jun 16, 2016

The Casualty Actuarial Society has chosen Illinois State University to receive one of four CAS University Awards. 24 schools from around the globe competed for the honor.

Creative Commons

A sexual assault case involving the sentencing of a 20-year-old former swim team member at Stanford University has sparked a national soul-searching about the appropriate punishment for rape.

Melissa Schoper

The Unit 5 School board has agreed to an amended budget for the 2015-2016 school year.  The board made some tough choices over the past school year due to the lack of a state budget, including changing school start times beginning this fall. 

Mike Miletich / WGLT

School district superintendents across the state of Illinois are upset with the lack of a state budget again. District 87 Superintendent Barry Reilly said unlike some districts, Bloomington schools will open in the fall.

Reilly said if the state doesn't get a budget, the district will get around six million dollars from the state. Reilly said most district money will still come from property tax revenues and federal funds.


The new President of Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington says he is happily settled in the new job. Eric Jensen took over last November saying it felt right because the members of the community that he had a chance to meet were dedicated individuals and walking around campus felt like home.

Illinois State University

Think of this as Story Corps for Strangers. Illinois State University has what's called a Human Library. It exposes students to the experiences of people who have endured adversity and stereotypes and shown perseverance in the face of discrimination or social exclusion.

Exterior of NCHS signage
Staff / WGLT

School Districts are reviewing their disciplinary codes this summer to prepare for the effect of a new law going into effect with the new school year in the fall.

'Someday' Is Now For The Pritts Family

May 25, 2016
Marci Pritts

Jeff and Marci Pritts will spend the next year with their family in an RV they've named "Someday."

"There's one overwhelming response I think that we get and we have  kind of brought that into our trip a little bit," said Marci. "People often say 'I'd love to do that someday.' For that reason we named the RV 'Someday.' It's kind of a statement that that today can be someday. Just do it."

Creative Commons

As many as 5 million women in the United States are abused by an intimate partner each year with more than 1,500 murdered.


Education funding and the state budget standoff continue intertwined with public events designed to ratchet up pressure on opposing sides.

Girls Only Program Helps Build Confidence

May 16, 2016
Judith Valente

It's 3:30 in the afternoon -- dismissal time at Colene Hoose Elementary School in Normal - but not for one group of fourth and fifth grade girls. These girls, though, are excited to stay after school.

"They come to school and if I see them in the hallway at 8:40 in the morning, they'll say, 'Mrs. Nelson, it's Heart & Sole Day. I can't wait!' And there's still a whole day in front of them, but they're looking forward to that time together and that means a lot," said fourth grade teacher Maggie Nelson.

Staff / WGLT

School officials are trying to make sure they aren't stung by proposed economic incentives for a $50 million downtown Bloomington hotel project.

The city is studying the feasibility of creating a tax increment financing district, or TIF, where additional property tax revenue in an area is redirected back to the development site instead of going to local taxing bodies.

While District 87 wouldn't be getting any less money than it does now, Superintendent Barry Reilly said the district doesn't want to miss out on that money for the maximum length of a TIF.

Alan Levine / Creative Commons

Illinois’ school funding formula relies heavily on property taxes. That leaves districts with low land values to make do with about six thousand dollars per student each year, while districts with thriving businesses can spend up to five times that amount.

Mike Miletich / WGLT

Illinois State University's Board of Trustees formally approved a 3 percent increase in tuition, fees, and room and board at a Trustee's meeting Friday.

For students who are Illinois residents, the increase amounts to an additional $10.78 per credit hour. ISU President Larry Dietz said the increase is necessary because of a $60 million short fall in the university's budget despite an expected infusion of stop gap funds by the state.