Flunk day

Enjoy this beautiful spring day. You get a two-day repreive on Deadbeat Illinois reporting and rewrites until Wednesday.

Have fun.

Wednesday, April 28 class agenda

Project updates

Due today: Original reported story(ies), a Web rewrite.

Reporting progress: What did you learn? What new questions do you have?

Next content: stories and videos.

Site development: What’s missing?

Site promotion: Reaching out to other sites. Launching our interactivity plans.

Monday, May 3

We will not meet. Regular story deadlines still apply, and you’ll begin our study of the interactive reading experience.


5 Responses

  1. Health care provider Angie Hunter owns a therapist office in Naperville, which employs 70 therapists for infants and toddlers with conditions that cause developmental delays. Illinois delayed payment is forcing Hunter to take out a second mortgage to make payroll. The Daily Herald reported that the state reimburses Hunter for 85 percent of her caseload. What makes matters worse is there is no payment plan between Hunter and the state. “The payments she’s waiting on are just a small portion of backlog that now has grown to nearly $9 billion,” according to the state comptroller’s office. Occupational therapist, Ronda Dible, an employee of Hunter’s appreciates Hunter’s dedication to her business and employees but suspects if the state continues to no pay their bills she will have find work elsewhere.

  2. Housing Action Illinois report: homelessness to increase due to delayed payments

    1,292 homeless people in Illinois have been turned away from social service agencies this year due to Illinois’ delayed payments. On March 24, Housing Action Illinois, [http://www.housingactionil.org/index.html] a housing advocacy group, released a report [http://www.housingactionil.org/downloads/RBC_Survey_Report_Final.pdf] written by four social service agencies, which asserted that homelessness is increasing due to the state’s delay in funds, and the trend is likely to continue if the problem is not remedied. The services these agencies provide include, but are not limited to: emergency and transitional housing, prevention programs, homeless youth programs, and support services. In addition to turning people away, the quality of the services these agencies are offering is suffering as well. One agency staffer responded anonymously to the survey: “Clients have had less contact with staff due to cutting positions down to bare bones. We have not been able to provide the same intensity and quality of services to the people we serve.” Of 66 agencies surveyed, 61 had already turned people away due to a lack of funds. In total, 54 of the surveyed agencies are owed $10.2 million by the state of Illinois for services already provided, and some of those payments have been delayed up to nine months.

  3. Galesburg’s Bright Futures preschool at risk

    This year, 450 at-risk or developmentally delayed children in Knox County attend preschools funded by the state of Illinois, and 260 of those children attend Bright Futures Preschool in Galesburg. There is a distinct possibility, however, that that number may shrink considerably next year. Maury Lyon, director of Bright Futures, has yet to receive any funding from the state of Illinois in this fiscal year. That adds up to over $900,000 that the Galesburg school district has paid since October from its reserve funds to keep the preschool running. Lyon has worked in Illinois for 24 years, and the state has always been a little later than expected, but the state has never simply not paid at all. He fully expects that the money will come by the end of this fiscal year in June, but worries about next year’s budget cuts. He fears that next year will bring yet another reduction in funding, forcing the district to eliminate at least one classroom in Galesburg, and up to three elsewhere in the county. “We intend to serve as many children as possible,” said Lyon, and “we will maintain the programs here in Galesburg through some mix of local and state funding.” How many children it is possible to serve, however, will be determined by the state budget.

  4. As of March 19th, 2010 the state of Illinois owned the Knoxville, Illinois School district $85,000. Superintendent, Larry Carlton expects that number to grow by June 30th. A few weeks ago Illinois owned $165 thousand. Carlton said, “the state of Illinois is still behind in transportation cost and special education funding,” which includes private facilities for disabled students who need to be accommodated outside of Knoxville district. Carlton is unclear when the state of Illinois going to be able to fully pay Knoxville back. Thankfully, Knoxville hasn’t had to cut any of the 76 teachers because six teachers are retiring. Those retiring taught 2nd, 4th, 5th, and jr. high science. Carton doesn’t believe the students will be affected since the school districts plans to keep the classroom sizes between 20-21 students. The district did lay off eleven teacher aids, but expects to hire them back in the fall. The teachers payroll was reduced this year as well. However, no coaches have been laid off, and no programs have been shut down. Knoxville can only afford to go one more year using the reserve.

  5. Budget concerns leaking into private sector

    With all the news about funding cuts and missed payments affecting public sector programs, now for-profit private enterprise is feeling the squeeze as well

    “It has an effect on everybody, as well as the negative connotations nationwide. When people ask where you’re from, and you say ‘Illinois,’ you get that, ‘Oh,'” Sheryl Daugherty, co-owner of Arizona Title Co. in Springfield told the State Journal-Register.

    Two-thirds of businesses based in Sangamon County, home to Springfield and the state capitol, believe that the budget problems are damaging their earnings. Trust is on the chopping block as well.

    “There’s a great reluctance on people’s part to do business with the state, where once that was a very attractive place to be,” Kevin Lust, director of the Small Business Development Center at Lincoln Land Community College told the State Journal-Register.

    -Andrew Polk


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