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January 27, 2005

Gov. Blagojevich calls on State Board of Education to continue funding for dropout programs
More than 400 youth could lose services if funding isn’t continued

SPRINGFIELD – Gov. Rod Blagojevich today called on the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) to renew funding for ten educational programs that serve more than 400 high school dropouts.  The consortium of providers, which received grants from the State Board for almost two decades, lost its funding for Fiscal Year 2005 when the former State Board failed to renew its grant.
The providers have demonstrated success in serving this student population, graduating more than 4,200 former dropouts.  These programs provide full-service education to high school dropouts, which typically include preparing for the GED exam as well as gaining skills for career and college readiness.  The failure to renew the grant, which occurred prior to the Governor’s appointment of seven new members to the State Board, is jeopardizing services to more than 400 dropouts in the Chicago area. 
“We need to give people a brighter future and a chance to reach their full potential, whether that’s landing a good job or going on to college,” said Gov. Blagojevich. “These programs can help people achieve these goals.  I call on the State Board of Education to take swift action to ensure that these kids don’t lose services this year.”
The consortium coordinator, City Colleges of Chicago, has worked with the providers to identify some local resources to keep the programs running through the middle of the year, but that funding is expected to run out soon.  Program costs in 2004 were $1.9 million.
The schools that make up the City Colleges of Chicago network are Austin Career Education Center, Antonia Pantelja High School, El Quatro Año High School, CCA Academy, ASA Academy, Sullivan House, Bronzeville Alternative High School, Truman College, Olive Harvey College and Prologue High School.


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