A recent Chicago Tribune investigative report uncovered 523 cases of sexual violence committed against students who attended Chicago Public Schools (CPS) between 2008-2017. In many instances, school officials who were required by law to report the suspected or alleged abuse, failed to do so. Today, State Representative Steve Reick (R-Woodstock) filed legislation that would provide for the immediate suspension or revocation of the license of any Illinois educator or other school district employee who negligently fails to report an instance of suspected child abuse or neglect.

While the statutes already provide for dismissal of a school employee who willfully fails to report suspected abuse, through HB 5923, acts of negligent failure to report would be added to the Abused and Neglected Child Reporting Act.

“In cases when abuse is suspected in a school, teachers and other employees are mandatory reporters,” said Reick, who sits on the Illinois House of Representative’s Elementary & Secondary Education- Curriculum & Policies Committee. “Current laws only provide a path for removal of those who willfully make a choice not to report suspected abuse. My bill expands the ability to remove an employee to also include those displaying simple negligence. Whether the failure to report is willful or not, it is inexcusable, and school boards need broad tools at their disposal to dismiss those who fail to fulfill their responsibilities as mandatory reporters.”

During a June 20 joint hearing before the House and Senate K-12 Education Committees, Reick asked Stephanie Jones, General Council for the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE), if adding “negligent failure to report” to the list of reasons why an employee could have their license suspended or revoked would be beneficial. Jones said it would be extremely helpful.

“We don’t want these child predators to get off the hook due to a technicality,” Reick said. “Failure to report is a criminal offense, and this complete failure to protect the children in their care should lead to an immediate suspension or firing. I have no doubt that these horrific crimes against children are not limited to CPS. My bill would grant broader dismissal authority statewide when mandatory reporting requirements are ignored.”

Reick expects the bill to be heard during the November veto session. If approved and signed, its provisions would take effect immediately.
Today in Chicago, a joint committee of the House and Senate K-12 Education Committees began gathering information and testimony about ongoing instances of sexual abuse against students who attend Chicago Public Schools (CPS). The subject matter hearing was prompted by a recent Chicago Tribune investigative report that unveiled 523 instances of sexual abuse against CPS students over the last ten years.

State Representative Steve Reick (R-Woodstock), who sits on the House K-12 Education- Curriculum and Policies Committee, grilled representatives from CPS about ongoing abuse that has been highlighted in newspaper articles that span more than 30 years, and the lack of corrective measures that have been implemented. “I am outraged,” said Reick. “Not by the fact that we don’t have the policies and procedures in place, but by the fact that your people, and people going back 32 years, did nothing. You shoved it under the rug. You took those young ladies and told them that ‘it’s your fault.’ You let those teachers resign instead of holding them accountable and taking away their pensions.”

Reick went on to say, “I want to see in any piece of legislation that comes out of this that anybody who is accused of doing this and there’s any reason to suspect that they actually did it, those people are going to lose their pensions if I have anything to say about it.”

Committee members heard from several panels during the 6 1/2-hour hearing. The first to testify was a panel of two victims of sexual abuse from CPS teachers. Lawmakers also heard testimony from CPS, the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE), the Department of Children & Family Services (DCFS), the Children’s Advocacy Center (CAC) and the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU).

In questioning an attorney for CPS, Reick said, “I cannot believe that (CPS schools CEO) Janice Jackson is not sitting there right here, right now taking responsibility for her part in this because she’s been in CPS for a long time,” Reick said. “I cannot believe that the people who have been in CPS all these years haven’t known what’s going on.”

The joint committee chairs said their goal is to use the testimony to help craft new public policy to improve protections for students, and strengthen accountability measures within school districts where sexual abuse charges are brought forward by students or families. Click here to watch a segment of Reick’s questioning of CPS representatives.
House Adjourns 2018 Spring Session
Following more than four months of committee and floor action, the Illinois House adjourned on Thursday, May 31, after passing a $38.5 billion budget for Fiscal Year 2019. At the sound of the adjournment gavel, members of the General Assembly passed a total of 421 bills for the year. Of these, 332 originated in the House and 89 originated in the Senate. Governor Rauner has already begun taking final action on these bills.

On Monday, June 4, Governor Bruce Rauner signed the Fiscal Year 2019 budget bills into law. Without this bipartisan agreement, Illinois would have been saddled with an “auto-pilot” budget that would have increased spending by $1.2 billion. The budget includes no new taxes or fees, and marks the first time in several years that lawmakers have come together and approved a balanced budget prior to the scheduled May 31 adjournment date of the General Assembly. Here are a few highlights from the new budget that will take effect on July 1:

Investment in K-12 Schools and Colleges/Universities
  • Additional $350 million investment into K-12 education; 
  • $50 million in support of early childhood education; 
  • 2% increase in funding for higher education institutions—to reduce pressure to raise tuition; 
  • A new, merit-based scholarship program, “AIM High,” funded by $25 million from the state and $25 million from universities to help keep students in-state; 
  • $4.3 million for veteran grant reimbursements to apply to all Illinois community colleges, and continues to fund the MAP Grant Program for students with financial need. 
Pension Reform
  • Caps end-of-career salary increases to prevent pension spiking; 
  • Funds a voluntary pension cost of living adjustment (COLA) buyout, modeled after Missouri's successful plan (Estimated savings of buyout: approx. $455 million); 
  • Makes a full pension payment (rather than skipping it or making a partial payment). 
Capital and Roadways
  • $2.5 billion into the Department of Transportation’s road program to make much-needed repairs to roads across the state; 
  • Provides funding for State Police to hire 100 new police cadets to keep roadways and communities safer; 
  • $53 million for Quincy Veterans’ Home (largest veterans’ home in Illinois) to fund its renovation and eliminate the presence of Legionnaires' disease. 
While the budget is not perfect, and we have much work still to do with regard to reforms to stimulate Illinois' economy and provide real property tax relief, it provides a foundation to build upon in the future, and is a product of true partisan compromise at the Capitol.

The House and Senate will return to Springfield on Tuesday, November 13 for Veto Session, which is the six-day period set aside for consideration of the Governor’s vetoes of bills passed by both houses. In addition, committees and task forces will continue working throughout the summer and fall.

I will be spending a great deal of time in my district office so I can meet with constituents about issues of concern. If you would like to come in and talk, please call my office at (815) 880-5340 to make an appointment.

Free Senior Fair Set for June 28
Plans are coming together for my Second Annual Senior Resource Fair, which will be held on Thursday, June 28 from 10:00 AM until noon at Johnsburg High School, 2002 W. Ringwood Road in Johnsburg. 

Those who attend can visit more than 20 booths staffed by agencies that assist seniors, and register for a chance to win a door prize. Helpful guides, literature and other resources from state, county and local government agencies will also be available. Free blood pressure screenings will also be available at the event. No pre-registration is necessary.

Rep. Reick Seeks Community Input through Legislative Survey
If you live in McHenry County, I’d appreciate your input on a 2018 legislative survey I recently posted to my web site (www.repstevenreick.com). The results will be a valuable tool as I represent the issues and priorities of the 63rd District and all of McHenry County in Springfield. Difficult votes are coming, and I want to be sure I have a solid understanding of my constituents’ expectations. The survey includes several multiple choice questions, and participants will also be offered an opportunity to subscribe to an E-newsletter that includes regular updates on legislation and other issues affecting McHenry County and the State of Illinois. I will read every survey that is completed, and I look forward to seeing the results. If, after completing the survey, you would like to add additional comments, please send me an email at reick@ilhousegop.org

“ON TO 2050” Draft Plan Comment Period Open
The Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) is nearing completion of the “ON TO 2050” comprehensive regional plan. A draft version is available for public viewing until August 14. CMAP is holding a series of ten open houses and one public hearing, so people can discuss the proposal with CMAP staff. CMAP will also present for comment the draft 2019-2024 Transportation Improvement Program and air quality conformity analysis of proposed transportation projects. The draft plan is posted at this link, which will also include an area where the public can submit written comments. All open houses will take place from 4:00 PM until 7:00 PM. While only one open house is scheduled for McHenry County, two others are nearby in Kane and Lake Counties: 
  • Tuesday, June 19, McHenry County Administration Building, 667 Ware Road in Woodstock 
  • Wednesday, June 27, Kane County Government Center, 719 South Batavia Avenue in Geneva 
  • Thursday, July 12, Libertyville Village Hall, 118 West Cook Avenue in Libertyville 
The public hearing is scheduled for Wednesday, July 25, from 3:00 PM until 6:00 PM at the MAP headquarters in Chicago, located at 233 South Wacker Drive, 8th Floor.

$69.5 Million in IDOT Funds Coming to 63rd District Between 2019-2024
I’m pleased to announce that close to $69.5 million of an $11.05 billion statewide road and bridge improvement program will be spent on projects in the 63rd District between 2019-2024. The projects are part of the Illinois Department of Transportation’s (IDOT) six-year Proposed Highway Improvement Program, which is funded annually through IDOT’s budget. 

District 63 projects included in IDOTs six-year program include:
  • $890,000 for resurfacing, ADA improvements and a railroad flagger on US 12 from IL 173 to Tryon Grove Road in Richmond 
  • $2,600,000 for resurfacing on US 12 from IL 31/Tryon Grove Road to the Lake County Line in Richmond and Spring Grove 
  • $529,000 for milled rumble stripping on US 12 from Wilmot Road to Fox Lake Road and Kuhn Road to North Solon Road, and on IL 173 from west of Lake Avenue to 7th Avenue in Richmond 
  • $2,000,000 for bridge deck overlay, joint repair and bridge repair on US 14, IL 173 and on Division Street at the railroad crossing at McComb Street in Harvard 
  • $2,995,000 for resurfacing on US 14 from Bunker Hill Road to IL 47 
  • $1,110,000 for resurfacing on US 14 from IL 47 (Eastwood Drive) to Lake Shore Drive in Woodstock 
  • $5,060,000 for resurfacing and ADA improvements on US 20 from the Boone County line to I-90 in Marengo and Hampshire 
  • $1,300,000 for channelization on US 20 at West Union Road and at Coral Road in Marengo 
  • $1,426,000 for culvert replacement on US 20 at the creek west of Beck Road in Marengo 
  • $3,240,000 for intersection reconstruction on US 20 at Marengo-Beck Road and Union Road in Marengo 
  • $2,350,000 for intersection reconstruction on US 20 at Harmony Road in Coral Township 
  • $600,000 for land acquisition and culvert replacement on IL 23 near the drainage ditch at IL 176 in Marengo 
  • $2,040,000 for resurfacing on IL 31 from US 12 to south of Johnsburg Road in Ringwood 
  • $650,000 for resurfacing on IL 31 from Diamond Drive to McCullum Lake Road in Ringwood and McHenry 
  • $5,800,000 for engineering for safety improvements on IL 31 south of IL 120 to north of IL 176 and near the drainage ditch four miles south of US 12 in McHenry, Prairie Grove, Crystal Lake and Ringwood 
  • $770,000 for culvert replacement on IL 31 at the drainage ditch six miles north of IL 176 in McHenry 
  • $695,000 for resurfacing and ADA improvements on IL 47 from State Line Road to IL 173 in Hebron 
  • $1,050,000 for land acquisition and culvert replacement on IL 47 at the drainage ditch west of Wilke Road in Hebron 
  • $1,075,000 for engineering for improvements on IL 47 from Charles Road to north of IL 120 in Woodstock 
  • $1,025,000 for engineering for improvements on IL 47 from north of IL 120 to US 14 in Woodstock 
  • $2,850,000 for resurfacing, ADA improvements and a railroad flagger on IL 47 between IL 120 and IL 176 in Woodstock 
  • $2,430,000 for engineering for improvements on IL 47/IL 176 from US 14 to south of IL 176 in Woodstock 
  • $3,536,000 for engineering for improvements on IL 47/IL 176 from south of IL 176 to Reed Road in Lakewood and Huntley 
  • $230,000 for culvert replacement on IL 120 at the ditch 1.2 miles east of US 14 in Woodstock 
  • $7,400,000 for resurfacing and a railroad flagger on IL 120 from Charles Road to west of 3rd Street and from the Fox River to the Lake County line in McHenry and Lakemoor 
  • $5,840,000 for resurfacing ADA improvements and a railroad flagger on IL 173 from Alden Road to the Lake County line in Hebron and Richmond 
  • $385,000 for land acquisition and culvert repair on IL 173 at the north branch of the Nippersink east of Hunt Club Road in Richmond 
  • $1,600,000 for land acquisition and channelization on IL 173 at Solon Road at Lakeview Road in Richmond 
  • $7,600,000 for land acquisition and left turn lanes, a milled rumble strip, a guardrail and pavement widening on IL 176 from Deerpass Road to Dean Street in Marengo and Woodstock 
  • $400,000 for culvert replacement on IL 176 at the ditch 1.1 miles west of IL 47 and the drainage ditch 8.6 miles east of IL 23 in Woodstock and Marengo 
Based on current funding levels, the FY 2019-2024 Proposed Highway Improvement Program aims to improve a total of 1,945 miles of road and 525 bridges maintained by the State. The multi-year program also includes funding for upgrades to more than 750 miles of local roads and 922,933 square feet of local bridges.

Reick to Partner with Woodstock Food Pantry and City of Woodstock for Free Shred Event and Food Collection Drive
Please mark your calendar for Saturday, August 18, when I will host a free document shredding event in the rear lot of my legislative office at 1072 Lake Avenue in Woodstock. From 9:00 AM until noon, residents can drop off up to two garbage-sized bags or two banker-sized boxes of documents to be fed into a large shred truck that will be on site. Just follow the sign that directs cars through the lot, and my volunteers will take your documents for shredding. 

We’ll also be collecting non-perishable items for the Woodstock Food Pantry, so please plan to stop by. We’ll shred your documents and collect a few items for the food pantry. Visit my website at http://www.repstevenreick.com often for additional information about these and other upcoming events.

Rep. Reick Demands Public Hearings in Light of Tribune Investigative Report Detailing Ongoing Sexual Violence against CPS Students
I was deeply troubled by a recent Chicago Tribune investigative report that outlined hundreds of cases of sexual violence and abuse against students in the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) system. As a member of the House of Representatives’ K-12 Curriculum and Policies Committee, after reading the initial article, I immediately contacted the chair of the committee and demanded public hearings into this sickening abuse of power over children. It’s a betrayal of the highest level, and the members of the General Assembly deserve some answers. 

The June 3 article unveiled sexual abuse in CPS through an examination of crime data between 2008 and 2017. The investigative report outlined how ineffective background checks, sloppy oversight and blatant efforts to hide instances of sexual abuse led to ongoing acts of sexual violence against students. According to the Tribune, police investigated 523 reports of children claiming to be sexually assaulted or abused inside CPS buildings between 2008-2017.

It is clear that CPS has done very little to address these crimes against children. It seems there are adult predators in positions of authority in CPS schools and in some cases teachers and principals failed to alert child welfare investigators the moment a situation was reported. The negligence shown by CPS cannot be allowed to continue. Since it is clear that CPS did not take adequate steps to change this sickening culture in the schools, the General Assembly will. The Tribune reported only on the instances of abuse they uncovered through police reports. I have to wonder how many students also suffered, or continue to suffer, abuse within the walls of CPS but have not come forward. Sweeping changes need to occur in order to change this culture where predators are allowed access to students during the school day, and public hearings before the General Assembly’s Education Committee are a good start.

$16 Million in Agriculture Grants Released
In March of this year, I petitioned Governor Bruce Rauner to release current budget year funds earmarked for agriculture support in Illinois. The money was included in the budget, but never delivered. I’m pleased to announce that that the $16 million in agriculture grants included in this year’s budget have finally been released. This money will fund soil and water districts, county fairs and agriculture societies, and the University of Illinois Extension services. 

Soil and Water Conservation Districts, which protects our state’s farmland through strategic conservation efforts, will receive $6 million. The 97 districts around the state play a central role in efforts to protect and sustain the viability of Illinois soil and water resources in order to preserve our farmland for future generations. The Department will be issuing more than $61,000 to each of the districts to help fund operations.

More than $54,000 will be sent to each of the 92 county fairs across the state. It will help operations at the fairs and may be used to support critical facility rehabilitation needs. Illinois county fairs are economic drivers for rural Illinois. A study from the University of Illinois shows county fairs generate more than $90 million annually and create more than 1,000 jobs each summer. In addition to providing family friendly entertainment, county fairs provide an outlet for our state’s youth to become involved and engaged in Illinois agriculture.

More than 1.5 million Illinois residents take part in programs offered by the University of Illinois Extension Service. Extension provides educational assistance in the areas of energy and environmental stewardship, food safety and security, economic development and workforce preparedness, family health, financial security and wellness, and youth development. The Department of Agriculture will disperse $5 million dollars to assist the organization with its core mission.

Seniors from the 63rd Legislative House District in McHenry County are invited to attend a free Senior Fair sponsored by State Representative Steve Reick (R-Woodstock) on Thursday, June 28. The fair will take place from 10:00 AM until noon at Johnsburg High School, 2002 W. Ringwood Road, in Johnsburg.

Seniors and those who help care for them can visit more than 20 booths staffed by agencies that assist seniors, and register for a chance to win a door prize. Blood pressure screenings will also be available. In addition, helpful guides, literature and other resources from state, county and local government agencies will be distributed.

“My staff and I are bringing several not-for-profit organizations, businesses and medical professionals together under one roof,” said Reick. “These professionals focus on improving the lives of senior citizens, so I expect it will be a very well-attended event.”

No pre-registration is necessary. For additional information, please contact Rep. Reick’s district office at (815) 880-5340.

State Representative Steve Reick (R-Woodstock) announced today that almost $69.5 million of an $11.05 billion statewide road and bridge improvement program will be spent on projects in the 63rd Legislative House District. The projects were announced recently as part of the Illinois Department of Transportation’s (IDOT) six-year Proposed Highway Improvement Program for Fiscal Years 2019-2024.

“I’m happy to see so many projects coming to the 63rd District over the next six years,” said Reick. “Keeping our infrastructure in good condition not only provides safety to our residents, but it also helps the economy thrive by providing good-paying jobs for Illinois’ work force.”

District 63 projects included in IDOTs six-year program include:
  • $890,000 for resurfacing, ADA improvements and a railroad flagger on US 12 from IL 173 to Tryon Grove Road in Richmond 
  • $2,600,000 for resurfacing on US 12 from IL 31/Tryon Grove Road to the Lake County Line in Richmond and Spring Grove 
  • $529,000 for milled rumble stripping on US 12 from Wilmot Road to Fox Lake Road and Kuhn Road to North Solon Road, and on IL 173 from west of Lake Avenue to 7th Avenue in Richmond 
  • $2,000,000 for bridge deck overlay, joint repair and bridge repair on US 14, IL 173 and on Division Street at the railroad crossing at McComb Street in Harvard 
  • $2,995,000 for resurfacing on US 14 from Bunker Hill Road to IL 47 
  • $1,110,000 for resurfacing on US 14 from IL 47 (Eastwood Drive) to Lake Shore Drive in Woodstock 
  • $5,060,000 for resurfacing and ADA improvements on US 20 from the Boone County line to I-90 in Marengo and Hampshire 
  • $1,300,000 for channelization on US 20 at West Union Road and at Coral Road in Marengo 
  • $1,426,000 for culvert replacement on US 20 at the creek west of Beck Road in Marengo 
  • $3,240,000 for intersection reconstruction on US 20 at Marengo-Beck Road and Union Road in Marengo 
  • $2,350,000 for intersection reconstruction on US 20 at Harmony Road in Coral Township 
  • $600,000 for land acquisition and culvert replacement on IL 23 near the drainage ditch at IL 176 in Marengo 
  • $2,040,000 for resurfacing on IL 31 from US 12 to south of Johnsburg Road in Ringwood 
  • $650,000 for resurfacing on IL 31 from Diamond Drive to McCullum Lake Road in Ringwood and McHenry 
  • $5,800,000 for engineering for safety improvements on IL 31 south of IL 120 to north of IL 176 and near the drainage ditch four miles south of US 12 in McHenry, Prairie Grove, Crystal Lake and Ringwood 
  • $770,000 for culvert replacement on IL 31 at the drainage ditch six miles north of IL 176 in McHenry 
  • $695,000 for resurfacing and ADA improvements on IL 47 from State Line Road to IL 173 in Hebron 
  • $1,050,000 for land acquisition and culvert replacement on IL 47 at the drainage ditch west of Wilke Road in Hebron 
  • $1,075,000 for engineering for improvements on IL 47 from Charles Road to north of IL 120 in Woodstock 
  • $1,025,000 for engineering for improvements on IL 47 from north of IL 120 to US 14 in Woodstock 
  • $2,850,000 for resurfacing, ADA improvements and a railroad flagger on IL 47 between IL 120 and IL 176 in Woodstock 
  • $2,430,000 for engineering for improvements on IL 47/IL 176 from US 14 to south of IL 176 in Woodstock 
  • $3,536,000 for engineering for improvements on IL 47/IL 176 from south of IL 176 to Reed Road in Lakewood and Huntley 
  • $230,000 for culvert replacement on IL 120 at the ditch 1.2 miles east of US 14 in Woodstock 
  • $7,400,000 for resurfacing and a railroad flagger on IL 120 from Charles Road to west of 3rd Street and from the Fox River to the Lake County line in McHenry and Lakemoor 
  • $5,840,000 for resurfacing ADA improvements and a railroad flagger on IL 173 from Alden Road to the Lake County line in Hebron and Richmond 
  • $385,000 for land acquisition and culvert repair on IL 173 at the north branch of the Nippersink east of Hunt Club Road in Richmond 
  • $1,600,000 for land acquisition and channelization on IL 173 at Solon Road at Lakeview Road in Richmond 
  • $7,600,000 for land acquisition and left turn lanes, a milled rumble strip, a guardrail and pavement widening on IL 176 from Deerpass Road to Dean Street in Marengo and Woodstock 
  • $400,000 for culvert replacement on IL 176 at the ditch 1.1 miles west of IL 47 and the drainage ditch 8.6 miles east of IL 23 in Woodstock and Marengo 
Based on current funding levels, the FY 2019-2024 Proposed Highway Improvement Program aims to improve a total of 1,945 miles of road and 525 bridges maintained by the State. The multi-year program also includes funding for upgrades to more than 750 miles of local roads and 922,933 square feet of local bridges.

Upon announcing the statewide infrastructure plan, Governor Bruce Rauner said, “Illinois is a transportation hub for the nation, facilitating commerce from coast to coast. By investing in that infrastructure and regularly repairing and upgrading our roads, we preserve a vital resource that brings jobs and economic opportunity to our state, and ensures roads are safe for Illinois families.”
State Representative Steve Reick (R-Woodstock), who serves on the House of Representatives’ K-12 Curriculum and Policies Committee, is demanding hearings into information made public over the weekend that involves multiple cases of sexual violence against students in the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) system.

“The Tribune’s investigative report was difficult to read. It made me sick to my stomach,” said Reick. “The parents of these students send their kids to school believing the adults in the buildings will keep them safe. Instead, we’re learning that some students were groped and even raped, while school leaders tried to hide systemic instances of abuse. It’s a betrayal of the highest level, and the members of the General Assembly deserve some answers.”

Reick pointed to a Chicago Tribune report published on June 3 that unveiled sexual abuse in CPS through an examination of crime data between 2008 and 2017. The investigative report outlined how ineffective background checks, sloppy oversight and blatant efforts to hide instances of sexual abuse led to ongoing acts of sexual violence against students. According to the Tribune, police investigated 523 reports of children claiming to be sexually assaulted or abused inside CPS buildings between 2008-2017.

“It is clear that CPS has done very little to address these crimes against children,” Reick said. “It appears there are adult predators in positions of authority in CPS schools and in some cases teachers and principals failed to alert child welfare investigators the moment a situation was reported. Failure to report is a criminal offense.”

According to Reick, the Tribune uncovered several instances where individuals working within the CPS system who were accused of abuse had prior arrests related to alleged sexual offenses involving children, or other arrests that should have disqualified them for employment or volunteer work within CPS.

“The negligence shown by CPS cannot be allowed to continue. Since it is clear that CPS did not take adequate steps to change this sickening culture in the schools, the General Assembly will,” added Reick. “The Tribune reported only on the instances of abuse they uncovered through police reports. I have to wonder how many students also suffered, or continue to suffer, abuse within the walls of CPS but have not come forward. Sweeping changes need to occur in order to change this culture where predators are allowed access to students during the school day, and public hearings before the General Assembly’s Education Committee are a good start.”