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.

Advocacy Toolkit for Community Schools
Illinois' State Budget: A Work in Progress
Tell Congress How 21st CCLC Funding Supports Community Schools in Illinois
Advocacy Day 2015
2014 Policy Priorities
3 Questions For...

Illinois' State Budget: A Work in Progress
Illinois is in the middle of determining its FY16 budget. As many of you already know, Governor Rauner proposed a budget that included significant cuts to funding that community schools and the students and families you serve rely on, including eliminating Teen REACH, limiting Child Care Assistance Program funding to children 5 and under, eliminating some services for homeless youth, and changes to medical coverage. All of these proposed changes are designed to alleviate the state's fiscal crisis, but will have significant negative impacts on children, families, and vulnerable residents.
 
Lisa Christensen Gee, policy analyst for the Fiscal Policy Center at Voices for Illinois Children, joined us earlier this week to provide a breakdown of the Governor's budget proposal, our state budget structure, and how we ended up in this situation
 
So here's the deal.  We are in this situation, in part, because the state does not generate enough revenue to enable it to live up to the obligations it has to residents. We don't just need a budget with fewer cuts to supports for children and families-we also need a tax structure that generates the revenue the state needs in a fair and equitable way.
 
Without these changes, children and families will face significant challenges, and so will community schools. Even if you do not rely on state-funded programs in your community schools, it's safe to say that many of the families you support do, and many of your partners may, too. The impact on your work could be direct - your agency loses state funding it depends on, a partner facing the same situation can't continue to provide supports - and it could be indirect, in the form of increased demand for services and supports from students and families who have lost access to resources because of the state's budget cuts.
 
The good news is that Governor Rauner's budget proposal is not set in stone. The General Assembly is currently developing its own set of budget recommendations - and it is critical that they hear directly from people impacted by their decisions.
 
What can you do?
  • Join us for Advocacy Day: Spend April 29th in Springfield, sharing with elected officials why it's critical for the state to have adequate revenue, and a budget that doesn't unfairly impact children, families and vulnerable residents
  • Tweet about your work using the hashtags #communityschools, #twill, #nocuts, #teenREACH.
  • Schedule a site visit when elected officials are on break - meet them in their offices, or invite them to visit your schools. This site visit toolkit will show you how!
For more information about our policy agenda and activities, please contact Melissa Mitchell

Make your voice count!  Tell your Senator and Representative how 21st CCLC supports Community Schools in Illinois
 
As Congress moves to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), also known as No Child Left Behind, it is critical to students, families and communities in Illinois that the 21st Century Community Learning Center (CCLC) program is maintained as a separate and specific federal funding stream for school and community partnerships that provide vital afterschool and out-of-school time programs.
 
Rep. John Kline (R-MN), who leads the House Education and the Workforce Committee, is moving towards a vote on the House rewrite of ESEA soon. This debate provides the perfect opportunity for community school advocates to take action and support funding for afterschool programs. With significant cuts being proposed to dedicated afterschool and 21st CCLC funding in both the House and Senate, community schools are expected to respond to increasing needs with fewer resources; affecting thousands of low-income students and their families in urban, suburban, and rural communities in Illinois and across the country.
 
What can you do?
We are asking community school stakeholders to use social media to share with their Senators and Representatives why 21st CCLC is important for students and families in our state. You can make an even greater impact by sharing this action with your friends and family too!  It's simple, and only takes 140 characters!
 
What can I tweet about?  
We've created a toolkit that includes sample tweets for you to customize along with the contact information for your Senate and House leadership. 
 
Not sure how to use Twitter?  No problem! 
As part of our "Building Community through Twitter" training series, we are offering a 1-hour Twitter webinar on March 25 at 9:30am to get you up to speed. This webinar will provide you with the basics to get started on Twitter - from setting up an account to understanding the mechanics of a tweet. Register now!
Federation for Community Schools • 33 West Grand • Suite 300 • Chicago • IL 60654 • 312.836.0854