ROE26 Welcomes Sen. Mike Halpin for Tour of State Investments in School-Family Support Services

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With the new state budget taking effect in July, leaders at Regional Office of Education No. 26 invited State Sen. Mike Halpin to show how state funding he has secured is helping provide high-quality educational support to families in west-central Illinois.

Sen. Halpin, D-Rock Island, on June 25 visited the Family Resource Center and the ROYALS Academy alternative school building in Macomb where ROE26 helps dozens of students and families each year. The Senator has helped secure nearly $3 million in state funds in recent years for the ROE26 building and programs, and his support for increased education funding in the state budget has helped the regional office expand and help more local families. The ROE received nearly $600,000 in state dollars from the evidence-based funding formula last year.

Programs and services offered by ROE26 that have received state funding with Sen. Halpin’s support include:

·         The ROYALS Alternative Education program that served 111 students from 19 school districts this past school year. The program helps students address issues from their school districts, such as attendance, academic progress, or behavior, and puts them on the right track for junior high promotion or high school graduation. Sen. Halpin learned about the programs offered by ROYALS in Macomb to ensure students have the academic support and better physical fitness to reach their potential.

·         The Project Stay in Truancy Intervention Program helps students facing chronic truancy – absences from school without valid cause for 5 percent of the 180-school-day calendar. Project Stay helps students develop better habits for regular school attendance and academic success by identifying the challenges they face and helping remove barriers, such as housing, clothing, school supplies and more. Sen. Halpin discussed with ROE26 leadership ways the Family Resource Center helps students meet basic needs so they can focus on their educational goals.

·         LEAP (Leading, Educating and Partnering in the Community) is a new partnership between ROE26 and local school districts to put six full-time student advocates in schools to help students who struggle with attendance, academics, or behavior issues. Initially, the program will serve three schools and nearly 200 students and state funding allows ROE26 to purchase classroom supplies for supporting student development.

·         Early Beginnings is a parent support program supported by the state’s Early Childhood Block Grant. By targeting infants and children up to age 3, 52 families and 65 children receive home visits, group programming, and parent education. The program also has used state funding to purchase educational toys for the parent/child group center, where Sen. Halpin held a realistic newborn doll used in Parent 101 and childbirth classes.

Sen. Halpin also discussed his work this legislative session in Springfield on House Bill 5418, now on the Governor’s desk. The bill allows ROE26 and other Regional Offices of Education to apply for school maintenance and construction grants for publicly owned buildings where they run school programming. ROE26 told Sen. Halpin additional funds could allow them to further expand services at their Macomb location.

Leaders used the tour to illustrate the basic local needs now being met because of the Senator’s support – and emphasized how additional funds will go a long way to help students and families overcome day-to-day challenges that can prevent them from getting an education and preparing for future success.

Sen. Halpin said the tour provided encouragement that state dollars are making a difference for local families, yet also motivated him to do more.

“We can see firsthand at the ROE26 Family Resource Center and ROYALS program how investing in kids pays huge dividends,” Sen. Halpin said. “Seeing the large racks of clothing and other basic supplies also reminds me of how many challenges families in west-central Illinois face every day, and we must continue to devote state resources to help people meet their needs. The success of our next generation depends on it.”

“We greatly appreciate Sen. Halpin for visiting our Macomb center to see how we are putting state dollars back into Championing Our Community and helping students get on the right path,” said Regional Superintendent of Schools John Meixner. “We know as the state budget picture tightens, we will have a strong voice in Springfield in Sen. Halpin who has seen the difference we are making to help students and families. We have made great progress but we must do more to support our school districts and communities.”

The Regional Office of Education #26 serves Fulton, Hancock, McDonough and Schuyler counties.  

***Courtesy of the Regional Office of Education #26***

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