Illinois Law Enforcement: General Assembly’s Budget Shortsighted on Crime
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Monday, June 4
CONTACT: Sally Puleo, firstname.lastname@example.org, 630-677-8673 (cell)
New state budget includes significant cut to preschool, puts public safety at risk
CHICAGO- In the wake of the FY 2013 state budget passed by the General Assembly last week, Illinois law enforcement leaders reacted with concern that early childhood education funding was reduced again by $25 million.
“This budget continues to dismantle the early childhood education system in Illinois. It is a grave error that leaves a generation of children with significantly reduced access to one of the most effective crime-prevention strategies we know of,” said Channahon Director of Public Safety Joe Pena. Pena is co-chair of the statewide anti-crime organization Fight Crime: Invest in Kids Illinois.
This most recent funding reduction will result in a projected 8,000 additional children cut from preschools statewide. Including the steady erosion of funding for Illinois’ Preschool for All initiative over the past three years, well over 25,000 three- and four-year-olds have been cut from state preschool. To see how your county has been impacted by funding cuts up to FY 2012, visit: http://fightcrime.s3.
Rigorous research has shown high-quality early childhood education significantly reduces crime. In March, law enforcement leaders from across the state released a new research brief that detailed these cuts county-by-county and found that cutting the state preschool program costs the state far more than it saves, especially in crime costs. View that report here: http://fightcrime.s3.
The state preschool program, known as Preschool for All, has been cut by $55 million in the Illinois State Board of Education budget over the past three years. The FY 2013 cut brings this total to $80 million in four years. The impact of the previous cuts has already been widespread:
- In just the last two years, 38 counties faced cuts to preschool of 20 percent or greater.
- In that same time period, 54 counties have lost at least two classrooms of preschoolers (40 kids) and 26 counties have cut more than 100 children from preschool.
- Two counties have seen state-funded preschool virtually disappear with a 97 percent cut in Effingham County and an 89 percent cut in Massac County.
- Calhoun County saw a complete elimination of state-funded preschool with a loss of 80 funded slots.
- The Chicago Metropolitan Area (Cook, DuPage, Will, Kane, Lake and McHenry Counties) alone has seen a loss of 7,000 children from state-funded preschool.
For a complete regional and county-by-county breakdown of preschool cuts, and local press releases with statements from law enforcement across the state, please visit http://www.fightcrime.org/
The law enforcement leaders are members of Fight Crime: Invest in Kids, a national anti-crime organization of over 5,000 police chiefs, sheriffs, prosecutors, other law enforcement leaders and violence survivors. There are more than 300 members in Illinois.