State Recap: Feds search state senator’s capitol office

Staff Report

SPRINGFIELD — FBI agents were seen Tuesday, Sept. 24, searching the Capitol office of state Sen. Martin Sandoval, D-Chicago, and later carrying boxes and a brown bag marked “evidence” into two SUVs.

John Althen, a spokesman in the FBI’s Chicago field office, confirmed that agents were present in the building but provided no additional details.

“They are engaged in an authorized law enforcement activity. Beyond that we have no further comment,” he said.

The first-floor suite contains the offices of several senators, but it was apparent the agents were focusing on the office of Sandoval, who is the Democratic Caucus whip. Through the translucent windows, reporters outside could see people moving inside that office, with occasional camera flashes visible inside.

Attempts to reach Sandoval’s district office by phone were unsuccessful, but several Chicago area media outlets reported that Sandoval’s Cicero offices and his Chicago home were also being searched Tuesday.

A spokesman for Senate President John Cullerton, D-Chicago, said in an email that he had no information to offer.

Sandoval has served in the General Assembly since 2003. He serves as chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee as well as a subcommittee that was instrumental in crafting the 2019 capital bill, known as “Rebuild Illinois.” He also chairs the Special Committee on Supplier Diversity.

ISBE BUDGET HEARINGS
The Illinois State Board of Education has scheduled four hearings in different parts of the state to gather input in the coming weeks for its budget request that will be sent to the governor and General Assembly in January.

In a news release announcing the hearings, Illinois Education Superintendent Carmen Ayala touted the state’s evidence-based funding formula, which was passed in August 2017.

“Illinois has made historic investments in Evidence-Based Funding and early childhood education that have transformed entire communities,” Ayala said in a statement. “The voices of educators and community partners must be front and center as we advocate for the adequate and equitable resources our students need to continue to grow.”

That formula separates school districts into four tiers based on how far they are from adequate funding. Each district receives an adequacy target determined by a number of factors impacting student performance, such as class size, number of low-income students, English language learners and students with special education needs.

The upcoming hearings will be facilitated by ISBE Finance and Audit Committee Chair Jane Quinlan.

The hearings will take place:

  • Immediately following the board’s regular meeting on Wednesday, Oct. 16, at East St. Louis Public Schools Administration Building, 1005 State St., East St. Louis
  • From 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 23, at the Bloomington High School Senior Cafeteria, 1202 E. Locust St., Bloomington
  • From 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 6, at the Dr. Nick Osborne Primary Center CORE Classroom, 401 N. 30th St., Mount Vernon
  • From 1 to 4 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 21, at the James R. Thompson Center Room 16-503, 100 W. Randolph St., Chicago
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