Don't fix budget by hurting disabled
To the editor: On July 26, many citizens rightfully celebrated the 20th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act and how it has transformed the lives of people with disabilities, especially in the workplace.
However, it's difficult to celebrate when our most vulnerable citizens continue to be presented by our state and its legislators as a liability, not an asset, as our state wrestles with financial solvency.
Illinois ranks among the last 10 states in every category linked to supporting people with disabilities, and dead last (51st, counting the District of Columbia) for community residential services.
Year after year, support for our most vulnerable citizens is jeopardized. Last summer, Gov. Quinn threatened 50 percent cutbacks to disability programs, which fortunately didn't happen.
Today, however, the budget ax threatens tens of thousands of innocent lives when it should cut fatty, wasteful and less productive state expenditures and focus on identifying new streams of revenue.
We know there is at least $94 million in community services (from the Department of Human Services) on the chopping block. Little City stands to lose more than $1.4 million for the hundreds of children and adults and their families we serve in Chicago's surrounding counties.
Yes, the state is in financial crisis. Yes, cutbacks need to be made. However, when this ongoing "crisis" affects an already underfunded group of Illinois' most vulnerable citizens, there is little to celebrate.
Twenty years after establishing such a significant national milestone, we should be celebrating significant progress. Instead, service agencies are looking at ways to do less with less or close their doors, thus turning back the clock on all the gains that have been made.
The ADA was a major step in promoting opportunity and fairness while preventing discrimination in the workplace. Progress has been made, but we still have a long way to go when it comes to providing these protections and promoting other quality of life aspects for people with disabilities.
I pray Illinois lawmakers will take their roles mindfully when they return to Springfield; a responsible budget does not have to exclude the people who need funding the most.
Shawn E. Jeffers
Little City Foundation
Millar is leading District 15 into ruin
To the editor: If you remember when Dr. Lukich was hired, like I do, the board president was Mr. Millar.aMr. Millar and his minions ran on the platform that the district needs to save money and clean up their act. They voted for everything Dr. Lukich received in his contract.
Now, we the people are left holding the bag for paying his contract off.aEveryone that knows about contracts knows they are legal papers and must be followed to the letter of the law.
Mr. Millar and his minions were against the referendum that would have helped this district. They worked very hard so it wouldn't pass. District 211 got their referendum and they are in fine shape financially. No one is being riffed and class sizes are not getting bigger!a
Under his regime good experienced teachers and principals moved to other districts in the area.aThey saw what was coming in our future.
Monies coming from the state of Illinois and Cook County are very slow in arriving, and the board knows this.aOur district was top in the state and many families moved here because of it.aWe knew the taxes were going to be higher to get our children a good education.
This board, under Dr. Chapman, is working to get it back. Remember, a good high school system comes from what is taught in grade school. The basics and experiences must be taught first …