WBEZ | U of I http://www.wbez.org/tags/u-i Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Study: Pension savings 'barely dent' Illinois fiscal woes http://www.wbez.org/news/study-pension-savings-barely-dent-illinois-fiscal-woes-109547 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/jimmywayne.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>If you think Illinois&rsquo; new pension law will fix the state&rsquo;s money troubles, think again.</p><p>Savings from the controversial pension overhaul will &ldquo;barely dent&rdquo; Illinois&rsquo; budget shortfalls over the next decade, according to a new study released Tuesday by researchers at the University of Illinois.</p><p>Even with the new law, Illinois&rsquo; budget shortfall is still on course to grow to $13 billion by 2025, according to estimates produced by U of I&rsquo;s Institute of Government and Public Affairs.</p><p>Chalk it up to state government&rsquo;s propensity to spend more money than it takes in, said Richard F. Dye, who co-authored the study.</p><p>&ldquo;It just doesn&rsquo;t add up,&rdquo; said Dye, an economics professor assigned to the institute. &ldquo;We like government services. We don&rsquo;t like paying taxes. We like politicians that tell us it&rsquo;s gonna be fine. But it ain&rsquo;t fine.&rdquo;</p><p>Backers say the pension law, <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/legislature-passes-historic-pension-vote-109287">passed by lawmakers</a> and quickly signed by Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn in December, will save the state $160 billion over the next 30 years. Much of those savings comes from scaling back annual benefit increases for state workers, a provision organized labor groups say violates the <a href="http://www.ilga.gov/commission/lrb/con13.htm">state constitution&rsquo;s guarantee</a> that benefits &ldquo;shall not be diminished or impaired.&rdquo;</p><p>But the law&rsquo;s savings are backloaded and will not be fully felt for years, Dye said, even if the law survives legal challenges.</p><p>Illinois would save between $1 billion and $1.5 billion each year for the next decade, according to his analysis. Even with those savings, the state would face a roughly $3 billion hole in 2015, which would swell to $13 billion in 2025.</p><p>Darkening the forecast is the scheduled 2015 expiration of the income tax hike -- aimed at closing the state&rsquo;s budget gaps -- that was <a href="http://www.wbez.org/story/news/quinn-holds-income-tax-increase">championed by Quinn</a> and enacted in <a href="http://www.chicagopublicradio.org/story/illinois-legislature-approves-major-tax-increases">2011</a>. That will mean less money to the state starting next year, unless that law is extended.</p><p>But even if lawmakers do continue the increased tax rate beyond 2015, things do not get much sunnier, Dye said. That would still leave Illinois on track to have its deficit grow to $5.5 billion in 2025.</p><p>&ldquo;We are spending beyond our means,&rdquo; Dye said. &ldquo;And, you know, greater cuts in education or social services are on the way. It&rsquo;s just not sustainable.&rdquo;</p><p><em><a href="http://www.wbez.org/users/akeefe">Alex Keefe</a> is a political reporter at WBEZ. You can follow him on <a href="https://twitter.com/WBEZpolitics">Twitter</a> and <a href="https://plus.google.com/102759794640397640028">Google+</a>.</em></p></p> Tue, 21 Jan 2014 00:39:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/study-pension-savings-barely-dent-illinois-fiscal-woes-109547 Local colleges need more Chicago prep talent http://www.wbez.org/blogs/cheryl-raye-stout/2013-03/local-colleges-need-more-chicago-prep-talent-106092 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/rsz_depaul_bb_heather.jpg" style="float: right; height: 377px; width: 300px;" title="DePaul men's basketball teams in Chicago with problems. (AP/File)" />While colleges across the country celebrate getting into the NCAA men&rsquo;s basketball tournament, there is no madness in Chicago. It has been years since Chicago had a spotlight on it for its men&#39;s college basketball prowess. This is difficult to understand with the quality of the players who excel on the high school courts of Chicago. Particularly since the Big Ten Conference (arguably the best in the country) just held court at the United Center for its tournament. It&rsquo;s tough to see local teams in such a rut. It&rsquo;s hard to watch the best talent from Chicago not play here on the NCAA Division I level.</div><p>Fifty years ago, the Loyola Ramblers celebrated the last time a time from Chicago won a national title. DePaul during the 70s and 80s was a nationally renowned team under Head Coach Ray Meyer. During the Blue Demons hey day, they were <em>the</em> basketball team in Chicago (not the Bulls). This of course was pre-Michael Jordan and six NBA titles. There have been Chicago schools in the NCAA tournament in the past few decades, but none have been a premier team in the country.</p><p>There have been times when Bradley, Northern Illinois, Southern Illinois and Illinois have produced winning men&#39;s programs. Illinois has made numerous appearances in the NCAA tournament. It was just eight years ago when Bruce Weber took the Illini with Dee Brown and Deron Williams to the brink of a NCAA championship. They lost to North Carolina in the final.</p><p>Many give credit to former coach Bill Self for bringing in those players before he bolted to Kansas and won the NCAA championship there. After the loss to the Tar Heels, Illinois saw erosion of talent. Weber was fired and now Illinois is under the leadership of John Groce. In his first season, the Illini coach is guiding the team to post season play. The #7 seed Illinois will play #10 seed Colorado in first round NCAA action on Friday in Austin, Texas.</p><p>Simeon High School&rsquo;s Jabari Parker, the top national player and an excellent student, is headed to Duke. Why not? It is an elite program and has been consistently challenging for national titles. It is a huge shame that a team from this area, DePaul or Northwestern, was not even considered. Derrick Rose left here to play at Memphis for a year before leaping to the NBA.</p><p>Why is it hard to keep the best Chicago high school players? The factors are numerous: campus life, coaches, consistency of excellence, putting a distance from the streets of Chicago (and for some, the weather). Whatever the reasons, the local college teams see players leave&nbsp;and&nbsp;not become hometown heroes.</p><p>Here is a look at what the Chicago college teams did&nbsp;this season:</p><p><strong>DePaul 11-21 (overall) 2-16 (Big East conference) </strong></p><p>The Blue Demons been spinning their wheels for years. They have been the doormat in the conference and now they will be joining the new league of the Catholic schools. Playing in Rosemont is a huge negative for the school. Their last NCAA appearance was 2004.</p><p><strong>Northwestern 13-19 (overall) 4-15 (Big Ten Conference) </strong></p><p>They started the season 7-0. Numerous injuries and a suspension depleted the team&rsquo;s roster. With the loss to Iowa in the first round on Thursday, Northwestern fired head coach Bill Carmody on Saturday after 13 years guiding the team. One of the names highlighted for this job is Duke assistant Chris Collins. He is from the area and his father Doug is a former Chicago Bulls coach. NU has never been to the NCAA tournament.</p><p><strong>University of Illinois Chicago 17-15 (overall) 7-9 (Horizon Conference) </strong></p><p>The Flames will go to the Collegeinsider.com tournament. It&#39;s a rather new event that gives some teams a chance to experience post season play. UIC has had four post season appearances, three NCAA, one NIT and no wins.</p><p><strong>Loyola 15-16 (overall) 5-11(Horizon Conference) </strong></p><p>Head coach Porter Moser has had the job for two years. The Ramblers have not been to the NCAA since their &quot;Sweet 16&quot; appearance in 1985.</p><p><strong>Chicago State 11-21 (overall) 5-5 (Great West Conference) </strong></p><p>They won the Great West Conference tournament, which they also hosted on Saturday. The win gave them a berth in the Collegeinsider.com tournament. It is the school&rsquo;s first post-season appearance. The Cougars will join the WAC next year. Head coach Tracey Dilby is finishing his third season. He was a former DePaul and UIC assistant.</p><p>According to former players, it doesn&rsquo;t take much to turn a basketball program. If a school can recruit one or two top notch players, it can catapult a college team. The challenge is convincing Chicago student athletes to stay here and make a difference.</p><p>Looking at what John Groce did in his first recruiting year may mean Illinois is moving in the right direction. He will have two players from Simeon high school playing for him next season: Kendrick Nunn and Jaylon Tate. Groce got some help from an Illinois alumni and former star Kendall Gill. The new coach asked him to recruit and it worked. Gill&rsquo;s pitch is something his parents told him: stay in your home state and it will be beneficial when the playing career is completed. He believes the alumni base in Illinois helped him when his playing days in the NBA were over.</p><p><em>Follow Cheryl on Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/Crayestout">@CRayeStout</a> and Facebook <a href="http://www.facebook.com/CherylAtTheGame">Cheryl Raye Stout #AtTheGame</a>.</em></p></p> Mon, 18 Mar 2013 06:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/cheryl-raye-stout/2013-03/local-colleges-need-more-chicago-prep-talent-106092 Kennedy defends Hogan's brief presidency at U of I http://www.wbez.org/story/kennedy-defends-hogans-brief-presidency-u-i-97557 <p><p>The Chairman of the University of Illinois Board of Trustees said Mike Hogan made the university stronger in his two years as university president. Hogan offered his resignation Thursday.</p><p>U of I Board Chairman Chris Kennedy said it was Hogan's decision to resign, he wasn't forced out. Hogan took over as president in 2010 after the university became mired in an admissions scandal. But in recent months, some faculty had started calling for Hogan to be fired.</p><p>Kennedy said Hogan has numerous accomplishments in two years' time and he said Hogan has strengthened the university's ability to recruit employees.</p><p>"People who are great agents of change rarely get to enjoy the change that they've wrought," Kennedy said.</p><p>When asked if he expected he'd have to help pick another president so soon, Kennedy would say only, "Well, maybe we'll get good at it."</p><p>Kennedy said the board will conduct a national search for the next president, but he said there is a strong bench of potential candidates already at the university.</p></p> Fri, 23 Mar 2012 10:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/kennedy-defends-hogans-brief-presidency-u-i-97557 Quinn weighs in on U of I controversy http://www.wbez.org/story/quinn-weighs-u-i-controversy-97021 <p><p><font size="2">Illinois Governor Pat Quinn is weighing in on the recent controversy between a group of University of Illinois faculty and its president.&nbsp;</font></p><p><font size="2">Last week, a group of 130 faculty members signed a letter calling for President Michael Hogan's resignation, saying they had no confidence in his leadership. </font></p><p><font size="2">"I think it's important that everybody gets along. My number one interest, when it comes to the University of Illinois, is the students. I think they come first," Quinn said.</font></p><p><font size="2"><font size="2">Quinn, a member of the University's board of trustees, said he gets along with Hogan very well. The board met for an emergency&nbsp;meeting Monday to discuss employment related matters. Board Chairman Christopher Kennedy said he wants President&nbsp;Hogan to do more to regain the faculty's support. </font></font><font size="2">According to Kennedy, the board is scheduled to review Hogan's job performance at their regularly scheduled quarterly&nbsp;meeting&nbsp;next week.</font></p></p> Tue, 06 Mar 2012 19:09:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/quinn-weighs-u-i-controversy-97021 U of I trustees want university president to gain faculty support http://www.wbez.org/story/u-i-trustees-want-university-president-gain-faculty-support-96995 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2012-March/2012-03-05/RS5047_kennedyPic-scr.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2012-March/2012-03-05/RS5047_kennedyPic-scr.jpg" style="margin: 5px; float: left; width: 180px; height: 249px;" title="Christopher Kennedy, chairman of the University of Illinois Board of Trustees, at a 2009 meeting. (AP/Seth Perlman) ">The University of Illinois' Board of Trustees said they want the university's president to do more to regain the faculty's support.</p><p>The sentiment comes a week after 130 faculty members from the university’s Champaign-Urbana campus called for President Michael Hogan’s dismissal. In that letter, the faculty wrote they had “no confidence in President Hogan’s leadership.”</p><p>The letter prompted Monday's emergency closed meeting between the trustees and Hogan. The board took no direct action at the meeting, but board chairman Christopher Kennedy said it was productive.&nbsp;</p><p>“We let him (President Hogan) know we thought we needed our people to change or we needed change in our people,” said Kennedy. Kennedy said the board still stands by Hogan, though he acknowledged the concerns raised by faculty.</p><p>“When we have so many of our incredibly important professors writing letters to us that express their concern, that, in and of itself, represents concern on the part of the trustees,” said Kennedy.</p><p>He added that board members expect President Hogan to&nbsp;identify specific actions that will help regain the faculty’s support. Kennedy said the board will review Hogan's&nbsp;job performance frequently, beginning March 15.</p></p> Tue, 06 Mar 2012 00:54:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/u-i-trustees-want-university-president-gain-faculty-support-96995