Verizon's rate-reduction request filed
May 1 with the Illinois Commerce Commission also states that the
company would not seek a rate increase for basic local service for
at least five years.
If the Illinois Commerce Commission
approves the request, more than 860,000 Verizon customers in
Illinois would see savings on telephone bills mailed after June 1.
The average savings over the next five years would be $150 for
residential customers and $90 for businesses.
This is good news for customers of
Verizon -- the kind of results Illinois lawmakers were seeking with
the deregulation of the telecommunications industry. Competition is
good for consumers, promoting service and keeping prices at
Rate reductions were a condition of the
merger of GTE and Bell Atlantic that created Verizon. Most of the
company’s 850,000 customers in Illinois are in rural areas and small
If approved by the Illinois Commerce
Commission, the rate reductions are to be phased in over the next 18
retired teachers could return to classrooms
Illinois schools facing a shortage of
teachers in certain subjects would have another source of teachers
under legislation co-sponsored by Sen. Bill Brady and approved May 1
by the Senate Education Committee.
House Bill 1185 creates a five-year
pilot program (July 1, 2003, to June 30, 2008) that allows retired
teachers to return to work and receive active teacher health
insurance while receiving an annuity, as long as they teach in a
"subject shortage area."
With older teachers retiring and school
enrollments increasing, schools are finding it harder to hire enough
qualified personnel for all subjects. This means that classroom
sizes are growing, and some teachers might be asked to teach classes
that are outside their particular area of expertise. This is not in
the best interest of our children, so we need to look to another
source of teachers.
[to top of second column in
The employment must be within a subject
area that is experiencing a teacher shortage and within a qualified
school. Regional superintendents of schools would be required to
certify school district compliance with certain requirements of the
House Bill 1185 sets forth rules school
districts must follow in order to hire a retired teacher. Prior to
hiring a retired teacher, districts must first attempt to fill the
position with teachers who have been honorably dismissed from the
district in the preceding calendar year and have not yet begun
receiving a retirement annuity.
Retired teachers must wait until the
school year following their retirement to participate in this
program. Retired teachers who wish to return to work must wait 90
days if they have retired at age 60 or after 34 years of service.
They are not allowed to use any of their time spent as a teacher
working after retirement to recalculate their retirement annuity.
Currently, retired teachers can work
without impairing their retirement status if employment is not
within the school year during which service was terminated and if
the employment does not exceed 120 paid days in any school year.
Supported by the Illinois Education
Association, Illinois Federation of Teachers, Teachers’ Retirement
System and School Management Alliance, House Bill 1185 now moves to
the full Senate for further consideration.
1185 is similar to Senate Bill 195, also sponsored by Sen. Bill
Brady, which has been approved by the Senate and is currently being
considered by the House of Representatives.
from Sen. Bill Brady]