All posts by emilyhoerner

By the numbers: Chicago’s 2015 elections

By Laura Furr & Emily Hoerner

Updated 4:30 p.m. 2/25/15

Hours after the polls closed, unofficial summary data from the Chicago Board of Elections show new lows in voter turnout, with many races left unanswered.

The polling results show that fewer voters turned out in the chilly February weather than in the last decade, at only 32.7 percent of registered voters voting. Continue reading

Measles vaccination rates at public schools lowest in poorest areas

By Emily Hoerner

Less than 90 percent of students at 14 Chicago Public Schools were vaccinated for measles last school year, according to data by the Illinois State Board of Education. Nearly all of those schools are located in low-income neighborhoods on the city’s South and West sides.

Francis M. McKay Elementary in the Chicago Lawn neighborhood had only 80.8 percent of students vaccinated last year, while Legacy Elementary Charter School in North Lawndale had 84.8 percent of children vaccinated against the measles. Both neighborhoods hosted more than one school with low vaccination rates. Continue reading

Rauner’s call for union reform stirs talk before state address

By Emily Hoerner

Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner ignited conversation by sending a memo to the Illinois legislature, calling on lawmakers to prune union rights and government spending just two days before Wednesday’s State of the State address.

The memo prefaced the governor’s cost-saving measures, including state employee rule reforms that Rauner described in the memo as “fair to both state workers and taxpayers.” The note pointed out that federal workers are prohibited from striking and bargaining over wages, benefits and pensions. Illinois union workers are not.

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2014 GED exam changes lead to major dip in Illinois test takers

By Emily Hoerner

Nearly 27,000 fewer Illinois residents tried for a GED certificate in 2014 than in 2013 after major changes to the high school equivalency exam, according to data by the Illinois Community College Board.

The new GED exam, introduced to test takers in January of 2014, is aligned with Illinois Common Core standards, said Jennifer Foster, the state GED administrator at the Illinois Community College Board. The new education requirements are more rigorous for participants, she said.

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At South Side meeting, disputes erupt over Obama library

By Emily Hoerner

Nearly 1,000 community leaders and residents gathered in Hyde Park for a public meeting Tuesday night, where tensions flared over using roughly 20 acres of Chicago Park District land for the Barack Obama Presidential Library.

The two sites, Washington Park and Jackson Park, proposed by the University of Chicago belong to the Chicago Park District. If the Barack Obama Foundation chooses either bid, the land would have to be acquired by the city. Continue reading