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The new state budget and education funding: still waiting

Written by John Gordon

K-12 Education Funding Left Hanging in the Balance for Upcoming School Year

Illinois has a state budget for Fiscal Year 2018 (FY18) that began on July 1st but not the means for appropriating the dollars for K-12 education. While the legislature overrode Governor Rauner’s vetoes of the state budget and revenue bills, the budget bill (Senate Bill 6) contained language stipulating that the majority of the dollars set aside for elementary and secondary education were to be allocated according to an “evidence-based formula.” The result of this decision is that public schools in Illinois remain in jeopardy of not opening on time or only being able to stay open for a short period of time.

The amount appropriated for evidence-based funding is approximately $6.7 billion in general funds and reflects a consolidation of five prior education line items (General State Aid, bilingual education, transportation for special education students, special education personnel, and services for extraordinary special education pupils). This is an increase of $776 million from the FY 17 funds. The formula incorporates $5.9 billion in general funds into the new formula as part of a “hold-harmless” provision, which ensures no school district receives less funding from the state than they received in the 2016-2017 school year.

The evidence-based formula, by which this pool of dollars is to be allocated, is outlined in SB 1.  That bill combines 27 weighted elements into the current school aid formula including the number of low income students, special education students, students for whom English is not their first language, and up-to-date text books. The amount of money the district received in the last academic year (a district’s “Base Funding Minimum”) is then combined with the district’s local available resources. Match that against the adequacy level and the difference determines the additional state funding for the district under SB 1 -with more money going to those districts further away from their adequacy level.

The formula then separates school districts into four tiers based on their adequacy targets, with districts in Tier 1 being the furthest away from their adequacy target and districts in Tier 4 being at or above their targeted level. There is a little over $353 million in funding allocated to help districts make gains towards their targets, with 99% of the funds going to districts in tiers 1 and 2.

The main point of contention between the proponents of SB 1 and the Governor is that the FY 18 normal pensions costs for Chicago Public Schools (CPS) is incorporated into CPS’ Base Funding Minimum (approximately $221 million). The Governor believes this is equivalent to a “bailout” for CPS, while CPS and the advocates of SB 1 argue that Chicago is placed at a disadvantage because the state picks up the pension costs for every other school district.

As a consequence of the Governor’s threat, one of the Senate sponsors of the bill placed a procedural motion on it that holds the bill in the Senate and prevents the chamber from sending it to the Governor. Absent SB 1, or any similar bill, there’s no way for the State Board of Education to send the $6.7 billion to local school districts. Without the dollars, some Illinois schools may not open in August.  Others might be able to open the doors but depending on the district’s finances could not keep them open through the school year.

Therefore, either the legislature could send the Governor SB 1 and, if he vetoes it, attempt to override the veto, send a new piece of legislation, or the legislature could send SB 1 to the Governor as a part of a compromise that includes a package of other bills that he would sign into law.

Higher Education

While elementary and secondary school administrators are left wondering what will happen with their state dollars, SB 6 provides funding for FY18 (as well as funds appropriated for costs incurred in FY17) but that funding generally represents a 10% cut from FY15.

The state’s public university system suffered enormously due to the budget impasse. Five universities saw their credit rating lowered to junk status, enrollment dropped at a majority of the state universities, and Monetary Award Program (MAP) grant recipients were left with uncertainty on if their awards would be honored. (MAP provides college grants to low-income students.) Area economies that rely on a healthy university saw a downturn. With a full budget in place, these institutions and their students can begin to take stock and plan for a future with some stability.

During the last two fiscal years, Illinois funded its universities in stopgap appropriation bills. Averaging the funding for the last two years, you can see the comparison to FY15 (the last prior year Illinois had a full-year budget). The numbers show the real damage sustained by the state’s higher education system from the two-year impasse.


FY16-FY17 Average % change from FY 15 FY 18 % change from FY 15
Chicago State University $29,805,700 -18.0% $32,697,400 -10.0%
Eastern Illinois University $30,507,100 -29.0% $38,678,100 -10.0%
Governors State University $18,409,050 -23.5% $21,656,000 -10.0%
Illinois State University $55,258,850 -23.5% $65,004,000 -10.0%
Northeastern Illinois University $28,230,300 -23.5% $33,209,000 -10.0%
Northern Illinois University $58,747,950 -35.5% $81,983,500 -10.0%
Southern Illinois University $128,554,550 -35.6% $180,912,800 -9.3%
University of Illinois $415,221,800 -35.8% $583,005,900 -9.9%
Western Illinois University $37,377,400 -27.3% $46,300,700 -10.0%
Community Colleges $176,316,400 -36.0% $248,030,500 -10.0%


Not only did students face uncertainty with courses, staff, and programs cut, but there was no appropriation for Monetary Award Grants until this budget passed. Not only does SB 6 provide funding for the recently ended fiscal year ($365 million) but the program receives $401 million in funding, a 10% increase from FY 15.

While funding is in place for FY18, state university administrators still have difficult choices to make with a 10% cut from FY15. It is unclear whether faculty and staff let go by the universities during the last two years will return. In some cases, students facing the uncertainty of not having a MAP grant curtailed their academic careers. Certain university faculty, watching the financial uncertainty of the state and its universities, left the state. A state budget is in place but it may take time for our universities to recover.

2017 Kids Count Report: Illinois Investments Matter

Written by Anna Rowan

Data from the beginning of the state’s budget crisis show that smart investments in children lead to progress. Illinois is currently 19th in the nation in the latest rankings for child well-being, according to the 2017 KIDS COUNT Data Book from the Annie E. Casey Foundation. Yet, the lack of a full state budget for the past two years (and no foreseeable end to the impasse) puts Illinois in danger of undermining its own investments and progress.


Source: Annie E. Casey Foundation

The 2017 KIDS COUNT Data Book uses 16 indicators to rank each state across four domains — health, education, economic well-being, and family and community — that represent what children need most to thrive. Illinois ranks:

  • 10th in health. Illinois has been a national leader in providing children with access to health insurance. From 2010 to 2015, Illinois cut the uninsured rates for African-American and Latino children in half, from 6 percent to 3 percent, for both groups.
  • 13th in education. Early childhood education has been a bright spot for Illinois. Less than half of 3- and 4-year olds do not attend school, ranking the state fifth in this indicator. However, the state still has significant work to do to close the achievement and attainment gaps that exist between low-income and minority students from their white and more affluent peers.
  • 25th in economic well-being. Illinois families continue to struggle with economic security. Although more kids’ parents are now working full-time, year-round jobs than in 2010, the percentage of children living in poverty has not changed when comparing the height of the Great Recession in 2010 to 2015 data.
  • 28th in the family and community domain. Illinois has made great strides in reducing the teen birth rate. There were more than 6,000 fewer teen births in 2015 than in 2010. But there are still far too many children living in high-poverty areas and in single-parent families.

The data show that key investments in health and early education have reduced racial disparities among children. Although Latino children still lag behind in preschool attendance, there is little difference between the percentage of African-American and white children who aren’t attending preschool. Additionally, all groups of kids are accessing health insurance at roughly the same rate. However, there is still work to do to lessen other disparities. For example, more than two-thirds of the half a million Illinois children living in poverty are children of color. If Illinois elected officials fail to enact a budget for a third year, we run the very real risk of causing disparities to grow and wiping out the progress we’ve made.

The 2017 KIDS COUNT Data Book with state-by-state rankings and supplemental data can be viewed at http://www.aecf.org/resources/2017-kids-count-data-book/.


Illinois Must End the Budget Crisis and Target Investments for Low-income Parents of Color and their Children

With only three scheduled veto session days remaining and money from the state’s “stopgap” budget set to run out at the end of December, Illinois lawmakers need to act urgently to restore critical programs that strengthen young parents and their children. This week, Voices for Illinois Children released a new report highlighting the damage the ongoing budget crisis is having on the economic security of Illinois’ children and families and makes recommendations to raise the necessary revenue to balance the budget and fully restore programs that help communities thrive.

The first five years of life are the most important period of growth for a child, but persistent poverty can harm young children and set back their likelihood of success in school and in their adult life. With one in 10 Illinois children under six living in deep poverty (50 percent of the poverty level, or roughly $12,125 for a family of four) and four in ten living below twice the poverty rate ($48,500 for a family of four), the urgency of investing in programs that counter the negative effects of poverty are paramount.

The current “stopgap” budget fails to provide adequate funding for many important programs that support young parents to pursue their education and provide their children with high-quality childcare and programs that support their well-being. As a result, several programs, including the Monetary Award Program which provides grants for low-income college students, Adult Basic Education and Literacy programs, and home visiting programs that support child well-being will not have any funding available at the start of 2017.

To fully support young parents in Illinois and create opportunities for their children and families, Illinois must:

• Restore eligibility for the Child Care Assistance Program to 185 percent of the poverty level and to parents pursuing a college degree full time.
• Restore state investments in higher education and MAP grants.
• Target funding to areas that improve educational outcomes for low-income parents of color.
• Restore Safe from the Start funding and increase investments in children’s mental health.

Undoing Child Care Restrictions Good for Illinois

Voices for Illinois Children joined ten other organizations today in releasing a memo to members of the General Assembly and Governor Rauner on the need to undo the severe child care eligibility restrictions put in place by Governor Rauner. These restrictions have resulted in 9 in 10 families who were previously eligible being shut out of the program. The text of the memo is below.


From:    Children’s Home + Aid, Fight Crime: Invest in Kids, Illinois Action for Children, Latino Policy Forum, Metropolitan Family Services, Ounce of Prevention Fund, Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law, ReadyNation, SEIU Healthcare, Voices for Illinois Children, YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago
  Members of the General Assembly, Office of the Governor
November 4, 2015
Re:         Positive Impact of SB570 on Illinois Economy, Working Families

Next week the General Assembly has the opportunity to restore Illinois’ commitment to working families by voting yes on SB570, a bill that reverses dangerous cuts implemented unilaterally by the Rauner Administration on July 1, 2015.

The unprecedented use of the Administration’s emergency rulemaking authority to restrict eligibility for child care assistance has resulted in the denial of 90 percent of applicants who would have otherwise been eligible for child care services through CCAP. That means approximately 20,000 children have been rejected from the program since the drastic restrictions took effect July 1.

Access to affordable, quality child care allows low and middle-income parents to enter and remain in the workforce, and gives them the opportunity to provide for their families.

The Illinois economy benefits from the Child Care Assistance Program in the following ways each year:

  • 80,000 Illinois families are able to enter and remain in the work force
  • 69,000 skilled early childhood education workers are employed in early learning facilities
  • 46,450 employers in Illinois rely on CCAP to ensure their employees have a safe place to leave their children and  are able to come to work every day
  • CCAP generated $2.6 billion in revenue in 2014. For every 100 jobs created in child care, 56 are created in other industries.  For every $100 spent on child care, $213 is spent in the economy

But the Administration’s restrictions mean that a single mom of one child entering the work force can only access child care assistance in Illinois if she makes less than 50% of the federal poverty level, or $664 per month ($8.25 per hour for 20 hours per week.) Before the cuts, a single mom of one who earned up to 185% of the federal poverty level, or $2,456 per month (about $15 an hour working 40 hours per week), had access to child care assistance.

The bottom line is that a vote for SB 570 is a vote to restore self-sufficiency for the hard-working families in Illinois who are doing everything we as a society and as a government have asked them to do as they support their children and better their lives. It is a vote in favor of the economic value that thousands of working parents – able to go to their jobs every day because of child care assistance – contribute to both their family’s economic stability and the state’s fiscal well-being. It is a vote for the future of the more than 150,000 children who will have access to child care if SB 570 is passed and CCAP is restored.

We believe that Illinois needs adequate and sustainable revenue that supports the hard-working families in Illinois with the services and supports they need to thrive.  Advocates stand at the ready to work with Governor Rauner and the members of the ILGA on revenue – but we need leadership to get us across the finish line. Until then, voting for SB 570 is the most responsible policy decision lawmakers can make.

Press Statement on Failure to Suspend Governor Rauner’s Irresponsible Child Care Cuts

Voices for Illinois Children released the following statement in response to the failure of the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR) to suspend Governor Rauner’s irresponsible child care cuts. In a complaint filed with JCAR, Voices and four other organizations assert that Governor Rauner improperly used emergency rulemaking to severely restrict access to the state’s Child Care Assistance Program.

Voices for Illinois Children is deeply disappointed by the decision not to suspend the Governor’s cuts to child care reached today by the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR).

Voices continues to assert that on July 1, 2015, Governor Rauner improperly used emergency rulemaking to change the Child Care Assistance Program, or CCAP.  The purpose of CCAP is to ensure that low-income, working families have access so safe, quality early learning environments for their children.

“Lawmakers who did not vote to suspend the Governor’s cuts to child care are on the wrong side of this fight for the future of low- and middle-income families,” said Emily Miller, Director of Policy and Advocacy at Voices for Illinois Children. “Ensuring that parents can go to work and have a safe, enriching place to leave their children is not a partisan issue, and it’s unfortunate that some members of the committee chose politics over children and families.”

With the Governor’s cuts, 90 percent of new applicants who would have qualified are no longer eligible and will be denied child care services through CCAP. Only families that fall within one of four priority populations may now receive child care assistance:

  • families receiving TANF cash assistance
  • children with special needs
  • families earning below 50 percent of the federal poverty level (annual income of less than $10,045 for a family of three)
  • teen parents

Advocates will continue to ask lawmakers to examine the impact of the Governor’s cuts to child care. Members of JCAR have another opportunity to vote to suspend the Governor’s cuts to child care at their next hearing.

“Lawmakers on this panel will have another chance to make things right for children and families, and we hope they’ll take it,” said Miller.

Budget Crisis Puts Early Intervention Services At Risk

Without a state budget, Early Intervention services for infants and toddlers with developmental delays or disabilities are at risk. Though the program is jointly funded by the state and federal governments, the lack of a state budget means that therapists face great uncertainty about when they will be paid. Many say they will have to stop providing services.

Interrupting Early Intervention services will ultimately increase costs to the state. When children who need services don’t receive them, they are far more likely to require much more expensive special education services.

For more on how the budget crisis is threatening children who benefit from Early Intervention services, watch the video below.

More Than 10,000 Kids Would Lose Early Intervention Services Under Rauner Budget

Governor Rauner’s budget includes deep proposed cuts to Early Intervention, which provides a broad array of services and support for families with children under age 3 who have disabilities or developmental delays. If enacted, children with “moderate” disabilities or developmental delays would no longer receive services to help them catch up. 

From both a human and budget perspective, these cuts are deeply irresponsible. Denying services to the very children most likely not need much more costly services later on (e.g. special education services) if they receive help now is very short-sighted.  

Watch the CBS 2 Chicago story below for more on why these cuts are so irresponsible and harmful.

Governor Rauner Chooses Reckless Cuts

This week, Governor Rauner released a reckless, cuts-only budget that would do enormous harm to Illinois’ children, families, and communities. The Governor’s failure to propose any new revenues to address the current budget crisis — caused largely by the recent 25-percent cut to income tax rates — takes Illinois in the wrong direction. This failure is even more notable given that just last fall he supported more than $700 million in new revenues.

To make up for the loss of nearly $6 billion due to  the income tax cuts, Rauner proposed slashing large swaths of the state budget for fiscal year 2016, which begins July 1.

Cuts to Services for Children, Families, and Communities

The governor proposed deep cuts across a wide range of areas affecting kids, families, and communities. The following are selected areas that were cut in his proposal.

Child Care and Early Intervention Services

In a departure from longstanding practice, Governor Rauner did not include specifics about where he would spend money at the Department of Human Services (DHS), which serves some of the state’s most vulnerable residents. Rather, he requested lump sum amounts for DHS divisions — Development Disabilities, Family and Community Services, Mental Health, Rehabilitation Services, and Alcoholism and Substance Abuse. Despite the inadequate detail, Governor Rauner indicated the following broad cuts in his budget narrative and agency presentations:

  • Denying Families Child Care Assistance: The proposal would make it so that children over 5 years old could no longer begin receiving child care assistance. Over time, this change would result in potentially over 60,000 children losing access, making it much more difficult for working parents to stay employed.
  • Increasing Child Care Copayments: The proposal would increase family copayments for the third time in five years. This would make child care less affordable for families and make it harder for them to meet other critical needs.
  • Restricting Eligibility for Early Intervention Services: The proposal includes deep funding cuts to Early Intervention, which provides a broad array of services and support for families with children under age 3 who have disabilities or developmental delays.

Due to the lack of details, other cuts within DHS may well be hidden from public view. The Rauner Administration refused to distribute agency presentations on cuts when they released the budget. Instead, officials indicated they would delay the release of materials until next week.


The Governor’s proposal includes a modest increase to General State Aid (6%), which funds K-12 education, and the Early Childhood Block Grant (8%), which funds preschool programs as well as services for infants and toddlers. However, without adequate revenue, these increases are funded by cutting other programs. Thirteen State Board of Education service areas are simply eliminated, including funding for:

  • Advanced Placement programs that help kids get a head start on college and can save families money.
  • Agricultural education that is crucial to Illinois’ rural communities and agricultural economy.
  • Arts and foreign language education that is also important for admission to many colleges.
  • After School Matters, a Chicago-area afterschool program renowned for its success helping children learn more in a safe environment.


Funding for other services that help children learn and stay safe and healthy after school and at other times when school isn’t in session is decimated under the Governor’s proposal. In addition to cuts to After School Matters, funding for Teen REACH, which supports afterschool programs for disadvantaged youth across the state, would be eliminated. All 14,000 youth in Teen Reach would lose access to programs that promote graduation and college and career readiness, keep youth safe, and connect youth with mentors. These cuts will also make it more difficult for parents to work while ensuring that their children are safe, thereby weakening families’ economic security.

Child Protection and Child Welfare

The Department of Children and Family Services, which is already struggling to fulfill its mission and is facing new lawsuits, would see a 20-percent cut in general funds ($139 million). The agency’s general funds budget would be 36 percent below the FY 2009 level. These cuts would pose serious risks for the most vulnerable children and youth in Illinois.  

Beginning in July, 2,400 young adults aged 18 to 21 would no longer get any help making the difficult transition from foster care to independence. Already strapped for personnel to carry out its mission, DCFS staff would be slashed by over 400 positions (a 17% cut). The proposed budget does not specify how child protection services would be affected.  It is not yet clear how the state can carry out these cuts without once again violating federal law.

Public Health

Proposed cuts include:

  • 71% cut to breast and cervical cancer screenings.
  • 10% cuts to a range of areas including a reporting system to analyze and prevent violent child deaths, family planning, school health centers, infant care services, vision and hearing screening, and grants for immunizations and outreach activities at a time when the nation is facing an upsurge in measles and other childhood diseases.
  • 23% cut to HIV/AIDS education and related services.
  • Elimination of funding for multiple sclerosis, mobile health services, the Violence Prevention Task Force, and the University of Illinois Chicago’s Sickle Cell Clinic.

Higher Education

State funding to public universities is cut by over 30 percent (nearly $400 million), despite Governor Rauner’s earlier recognition that Illinois needs “top universities.” When state funding has declined in the past, universities have increased tuition rates for Illinois residents.

$1.5 Billion in Cuts to Health Care

Illinois Medicaid Spending Is Lowest in the Midwest

Despite the fact that Illinois already has the lowest Medicaid costs per enrollee in the Midwest, Governor Rauner proposed slashing the program. General funds resources for the Department of Healthcare and Family Services would be at the lowest level in more than 10 years.

The Governor’s proposal includes:

  • Cutting access to dental and podiatry services for low-income parents and pregnant women. These services were cut previously, but were restored last year after recognition of the harm to Medicaid patients and increased costs due to hospital emergency room care.
  • Denying kidney transplants to children who need them because they lack immigration authorization from the federal government.
  • Restricting access to prescription drugs for individuals with severe mental illness.
  • Decreasing payments to facilities that care for children on ventilators and to supportive living facilities for children with severe mental illness.
  • Reducing payments to hospitals serving Medicaid populations by $735 billion.
  • Ending assistance to people with hemophilia.

Most of these cuts would cause the loss of significant federal matching dollars to both the state and Illinois hospitals. To learn more about how Medicaid and related programs work and why they are so important, read this recent report from the Fiscal Policy Center.

Cuts to Programs Designed to Save Money on Costly Nursing Home Care

The proposed budget would limit eligibility for the Department on Aging’s Community Care Program, which provides services for seniors who might otherwise need much more expensive nursing home care. The proposal also increases the threshold for need, making it more difficult for seniors to qualify. Additionally, the proposal would decrease Community Care Program services to seniors by one hour per week. According to the Administration, these combined changes to limit program access and reduce services will allow the state to serve seniors “more efficiently.”

Changes to the Home Services Program, which helps individuals with physical disabilities who might otherwise need much more expensive nursing home care, would similarly make it harder to receive needed care.

Cuts to Public Transportation

Governor Rauner proposed slashing funding for the Chicago area’s Regional Transportation Authority, as well as downstate public transit systems. The RTA would lose $127 million in funding, while other transit systems around the state would lose $75 million. This would severely crimp the budgets of public transit systems. Likely consequences would be increased fares and reduced services, both of which would make it more difficult for many state residents, particularly those with low incomes, to get to work.

Cuts to Pension Contributions for State-Funded Retirement Systems

Governor Rauner proposed further changes to pensions that he said would result in $2.2 billion in reduced contributions in FY 2016.  

With the constitutionality of the 2013 pension law in serious doubt, counting on unconfirmed, hypothetical savings from additional benefit reductions that have neither been enacted nor survived court challenges would be very irresponsible. Without the $2.2 billion cut in pension contributions, Governor Rauner would need to decimate additional essential services and investments — or, of course, raise new revenue. 

Cuts to Revenue-Sharing with Local Governments

The state shares responsibility for carrying out many essential services with local governments. Governor Rauner proposed reducing the amount of money shared with local governments by about $1.3 billion.

This proposal simply shifts the state’s budget problems onto local governments, which would then be handcuffed by Rauner’s proposed property tax freeze. Without the ability to replace lost revenue from the state, local governments would need to cut services and investments such as K-12 schools.

Statement on Governor Bruce Rauner’s State of the State Address

Gaylord Gieseke, president of Voices for Illinois Children, issued the statement below following Governor Bruce Rauner’s State of the State Address today:

In his State of the State speech today, Governor Bruce Rauner called for increasing investments in preschool and K-12 education. Voices for Illinois Children strongly supports increasing our currently-inadequate levels of state funding for education, but we also recognize that children live and develop in families and communities. Without significant new sources of revenue, other investments in children — such as access to health services, affordable child care, afterschool programs, and job training for youth — face devastating cuts. Children cannot be expected to thrive in school and beyond when working families and communities don’t have the resources needed to invest in children’s well-being and prepare them for a lifetime of success.

We look forward to working with Governor Rauner and legislators for a balanced approach that raises the resources our state needs to fund the range of investments necessary to promote children’s well-being.

You can watch the full video of Governor Rauner’s address here.

Revenue Collapse Jeopardizes Vital Work Support for Thousands of Illinois Families

An essential work support for thousands of Illinois families is in jeopardy because it has run out of money, just one of the many likely casualties from the state’s revenue collapse.

Working families across Illinois can afford quality child care thanks to the state’s Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP), which allows parents to go to work knowing that their children are being cared for in a safe, healthy, and enriching environment. With CCAP, families share in the cost for participation in child care programs through fees tied to their income.

However, this essential support service has $296 million less than it needs to cover its full costs through the end of June, thanks to the precipitous drop in revenue that lawmakers allowed recently. Providers have been notified that, beginning this month, payments will be delayed and families may lose access to the program.

Either outcome would be devastating to the ability of thousands of low-income families to afford child care. Payment delays threaten to put many providers out of business and service reductions put hard-working parents in a terrible dilemma. Leslie, a participating parent, explains: “Without child care, I would have to stay home with my daughter and would have to do my best to try to teach her, but how would I provide for her? If I don’t have CCAP and I don’t work, how am I going to have a roof over her head, put food in her mouth, or shoes on her feet?”

CCAP’s budget shortfall — and the consequences for children, families, and providers that will follow — are the result of the 25 percent plunge in income tax rates that occurred on January 1, 2015. Illinois is now losing billions of dollars, which threatens many critical investments in child well-being like CCAP. Without the revenue needed to pay its bills and make investments in the well-being of children and the future of our state, working parents and their children will have to suffer more disruptive and counterproductive cuts to vital services that directly aid Illinois’ economy.

We are a stronger Illinois when parents are able to afford child care that enables them to continue working and supports their children’s healthy development. A stronger Illinois supports access to affordable child care, and lawmakers should take the responsible path and provide the resources our state needs.

For more information on the importance of CCAP and threats to this important program, check out the “A Stronger Illinois” brief below and listen to this interview on WUIS with Voices’ Policy and Advocacy Director Emily Miller:


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