SPRINGFIELD – State Representative Mike Marron represents Illinois’ 104th district, which includes all or parts of Vermillion and Champaign Counties in central Illinois.
Rep. Marron recently sounded the alarm on a mistake by the Illinois State Board of Education and the Pritzker Administration that is threatening the very existence of critical after-school programs in his district.
“The recent news that after-school programs in the State of Illinois are at risk of being shuttered due to an administrative error made by the Pritzker Administration and the Illinois State Board of Education is unacceptable,” Marron said. “These critical programs are all some kids have after school and during the summer.”
Marron met two weeks ago in his Springfield office with officials from Project Success. Marron says the professional and caring employees of Project Success dedicate themselves to ensuring students have a safe, welcoming, and positive environment both after school during the school year and during the summer months when school is out of session.
“Project Success provides intervention services, mental health services, educational tutoring services, and activities for young people to engage in that help them thrive and keep them out of trouble,” Marron said. “Project Success and programs like it across the state are programs that demonstrate great value and are worth investing in.”
On April 10th, just a little over a month before most schools in the 104th district will be dismissed for the summer, the Illinois State Board of Education notified Project Success that they would no longer be receiving promised grant funding to continue their programs. Due to the overspending of funds to the tune of $27 million, Project Success has now announced it will be ending 1/3 of the programs it offers.
“This going to hurt more than 500 students in Vermilion County and more than 12,000 students statewide,” Marron said. This leaves students without the support and structure that they need when school isn’t in session. ISBE and the Pritzker administration need to take immediate action. They need to admit they screwed up, that they dropped the ball, and that they made a terrible mistake. They should apologize and then take action. Restore this critical funding for the long-term.”
Marron says the funding request being made to shore up after-school programs for the long term is around $15 million of what will likely be close to a $50 billion budget.
I cannot stand idly by while funding that could go to critical intervention and after-school programs for our youth get decimated by administrative errors. We can afford to fund these critical programs if we set the proper spending priorities in this budget,” Marron said. “We have a little over two weeks left in this Session to get this right. The education and mental health and well-being of our students were badly harmed by school lockdowns and forced remote learning. As State Representative, it is my duty to stand up for those who cannot stand up for themselves, and I will continue to demand ISBE make this situation right and restore this badly needed funding. Let’s get the job done.”