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Help fund learning program, County Board urges Congress

Thursday, December 18, 2003
Pioneer Press

The Cook County Board passed a resolution Tuesday sponsored by Cook County Commissioner Larry Suffredin, D-13th, requesting Congress to continue financial support for the 21st Century Learning Center Program. All county commissioners co-sponsored the resolution.

"With this resolution, we are encouraging President Bush and Congress to fully fund the 21st Century Learning Center Program in fiscal year 2005, at the $2 billion funding level authorized by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001," Suffredin said, in a statement.

The grants provide much-needed support for after-school programs that provide academic assistance to struggling students and provide a safe place for children to go after school. Research shows that students have better academic performance, behavior and school attendance as well as greater expectations for the future, when they participate in quality after-school programs, Suffredin said.

Demand for funding, he said, "greatly exceeds current funding levels, and these are programs that have a proven record of success."

In 2001, only 10 of the 123 Illinois communities that applied for funding received grants, he said, and in 2003, only 35 of the 157 Illinois applications were funded.

"We must do all we can to support after-school programs that help children realize their full academic potential, keep kids safe, and help reduce incidents of juvenile crime," Suffredin said.



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