About our Policy Positions
The Federation for Community Schools prioritizes advocacy that sustains and expands community schools. We endorse legislation that promotes innovative collaborations and strengthens partnerships between community-based organizations, school administration, educators, parents and students. We endorse efforts that seek to empower parents and guardians as advocates for their children and as partners in decisions about their children’s education. Lastly, we believe that responsibility for student success extends beyond education agencies and school districts, and we will work to break down silos that exist at all levels of government.
Find Your Legislator - Legislator Lookup
Many Challenges, Take ONE Action
Social Media Toolkit - Support Afterschool in IL
Help Preserve 21st CCLC Funding for Afterschool
Illinois' State Budget: A Work in Progress
Advocacy Day 2015
Many Challeges, 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!
Over the next few weeks we will roll out additional tools 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.
Tweet about it
Host a site-visit
Write an Op-Ed
|Tweet about it
Download this social media toolkit that includes sample Facebook posts and tweets as well as the contact information for the Senate and House Leadership.
Here are some sample tweets that you can copy, paste, and make your own.
Be sure to insert your Representative's handle into your message before tweeting. Not sure who your Representative is?
Use this sample sign-on letter to collect signatures from parents of students in your Teen REACH programs who are negatively impacted by Governor Rauner's cuts. It's important that Governor Rauner and our state legislators know how these cuts impact families -- and especially important that they hear from voters in their districts. Please email copies of your completed sign-on letters to Melissa Mitchell, and we will send them to our elected officials. Be sure to modify the header (by double clicking on it) and insert your school / program name and address.
Host a Site Visit
Inviting policy makers to visit your community school is a powerful way to help them understand the value your program brings to the community. The future of community schools lies in the level of commitment that public officials make to fund programs. By hosting a site visit, advocates can help raise awareness of the importance of community schools in your community and the need to keep this work strong in Illinois.
Elected officials spend time in their districts frequently, including when Congress or the General Assembly is in session. In Illinois, for example, General Assembly members are often in their districts on Mondays and Fridays, and on breaks in the session. Times when elected officials are in-district provide great opportunities to organize a site visit.
Our Advocacy Toolkit has resources and a guide to help you plan an effective legislative site visit.
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.
Prefer to Tweet about it?
Use one of these sample messages to ask for Sen. Kirk's support.
Sample Tweet 1
#21CCLC provides #afterschool vital programs to low-income students & families in #IL. @SenatorKirk, support #communityschools #Invest3to6!
Sample Tweet 2
@SenatorKirk -1M kids in #IL could benefit from #afterschool programs. Restore #21CCLC funding so #communityschools can meet this demand!
Sample Tweet 3
@SenatorKirk, #Invest3to6 to keep kids safe and engaged in #afterschool programs. #Communityschools can't afford #21CCLC cuts. #ESEA
Sample Tweet 4
In #IL, 65,000 students & 11,000 adults count on #communityschools each day. @SenatorKirk restore #21CCLC funding! #Invest3to6 #ESEA
Sample Tweet 5
84% of parents support public funding for #afterschool programs. @SenatorKirk, keep #communityschools strong in #IL! Restore #21CCLC!
Sample Tweet 6
#21CCLC allows #communityschools to [personalize this Tweet!], @SenatorKirk #Invest3to6 #ESEA