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    Rally Against Budget Cuts | April 8
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Many Challenges, Take ONE Action

On Friday, April 3, Governor Bruce Rauner suspended $26 million in social services and public health grants as part of his push to tackle a $1.6 billion shortfall in the current FY15 state budget. Effective immediately, these programs and services that benefit thousands of children and families across Illinois must cease operations and close their doors; leaving an already vulnerable population at risk.

The programs directly affected by these cuts include services for persons with autism and those with epilepsy, the developmentally disabled, the mentally ill and homelessness, addiction prevention services for immigrants seeking to become U.S. citizens, and afterschool services for children and youth.

Take Action Now!
Today, we are asking our members to use social media to contact their Illinois state legislators and speak out about why this funding is vital to our work.  To get you started, we have created this social media toolkit that includes sample Facebook posts and tweets as well as the contact information for the Senate and House Leadership. 

Over the next few weeks we roll out additional tools on our website to help you take a variety of actions, from collecting signatures from parents, to hosting a site visit and writing an Op-Ed to your local paper. 

Our collective actions will culminate with our Advocacy Day in Springfield on April 29th!

We encourage you to take ONE action and help make a powerful, collective stand against these unconscionable cuts. 

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Help Preserve 21st CCLC Funding for Afterschool

The Senate is currently crafting legislation to replace No Child Left Behind (or the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, ESEA). The draft legislation proposes moving programs into larger block grants - and the 21st Century Community Learning Center program (21st CCLC) is on this list. 21st CCLC funds would be rolled up with other funds and made accessible solely to school districts and state education agencies to use for purposes other than afterschool programs and community schools.
For us in Illinois, this change means that lead partner agencies could no longer access 21st CCLC funds as direct grantees. It also means that 21st CCLC funds would be able to be used for a wide range of activities and we would lose our biggest support for afterschool programs and community schools. This is especially alarming given the fact that the only other funding we have to support this work - Teen REACH - is on the chopping block. 
The good news is that Senator Mark Kirk is on the Senate HELP Committee, where a lot of these decisions are being made, so he can play a key role in preserving Federal funding for afterschool programs. But he needs to hear from YOU.
Make your voice heard in support of 21st CCLC funding and Federal support for afterschool programs.  Use this sample script and call Sen. Kirk's office today.

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State Announced Drastic Cuts to Human Services Effective Immediately

On Friday, April 3rd, the state announced cuts to the following human services programs:

  1. Funeral & Burial; (2) Immigrant Integration Services; (3) Welcoming Centers; (4) ARC Lifespan; (5) Best Buddies; (6) Autism; (7) Group Home Loans; (8) Compulsive Gambling; (9) Westside Health; (10) Addiction Prevention (GRF); (11) Addiction Prevention (Youth Alcohol & Substance Abuse); (12) Assistance for Homeless; (13) Community Services; (14) Teen REACH; (15) Coalition F/Tech Assist-Child; (16) For Children's Health Program; (17) Outreach to Individuals to Engage in Services; (18) Regions Special Consumer Support; (19) SMRF Training; (20) Transportation; (21) DD Latino Outreach; (22) Microboard Development and Outreach; and (23) Epilepsy.

These cuts mean that the programs that rely on this funding will cease operations, effective immediately. Even if you do not directly use this funding to support your community school work, these cuts will have detrimental impacts on the students and families you serve, and will damage the support system in your communities. We all need to work together to raise the alarm about the negative impacts of these cuts, and make our voices heard. We’ll be sharing additional information about how to take action against these cuts in the coming days, but in the meantime, here are three things you can do:
  • Share with us how these cuts will impact your community school, students, and families – we’re working with other coalitions to share impact stories with the media and decision makers. Share your story with Melissa Mitchell.
  • Tweet about it -- use the hashtag #SaveAfterSchool to tweet about Teen REACH, and don’t forget to use #communityschools, too.
  • Contact your legislators – it’s important that legislators hear directly from their constituents about the impact that these funding cuts and the immediate cessation of services on which families rely will have. Unsure how to proceed? Check out our advocacy toolkits for helpful hints.
And stay tuned – we’re working with a broad range of other coalitions to ensure that we can all be a part of a concerted response to the loss of funding and therefore supports on which families rely.
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Join Us for Advocacy Day in Springfield on April 29

Join the Federation for Community Schools and the ACT Now Coalition as we head to Springfield to educate elected officials and policy makers about community schools, and advocate for support for afterschool programs, a fair and equitable budget, and adequate state revenue....

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Participate in National Community School Directory

The Coalition for Community Schools has created an on-line directory that will include all types of community schools and will serve as a networking tool to connect you with others building community schools in your city, state, and across the country.  This directory will offer critical information to guide our collective advocacy efforts and strengthen our local and national community school movements. 

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Recap: Community Schools 101

On February 9th nearly 50 community school professionals gathered to learn strategies for laying a solid community school foundation that supports long-term success and sustainability.

If you were able to join us, please don't forget to complete this brief evaluation. Your feedback helps us continually refine and improve our workshops.
Those who were unable to attend can read more below to find some of the tools and resources that were shared.

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