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Governor Rauner’s budget threats force closure of Lincoln’s Challenge Academy

Today, it was announced that due to the budget stalemate created by Governor Bruce Rauner’s extreme proposed cuts, Lincoln’s Challenge Academy, a school in Rantoul for at-risk youth, will be forced to shut down — effective immeadiately.

According to the News-Gazette, a new class of at-risk youth were set to enroll at Lincoln’s Challenge on July 15th, but due to the threat of cuts, the induction of more than 400 students has been put off until funding is secured for the staff, which are considered “vendors of the state” as opposed to employees

The academy also is a mecca of employment, providing jobs to around 90 staff members who are now not allowed to work.

Lincoln’s Challenge, which is located on the former Chanute Air Force Base, has been teaching students the eight core values of “Academic excellence, job skills, physical fitness, leadership/followership, health, life coping skills, responsible citizenship and community service” for more than 21 years.  The list of success stories to come from this place is amazing.  In fact, you can even read all about it here.

So thanks, Governor Rauner. Thanks for everything. Thanks for cutting funding nearly across the board and threatening those who need funding with a shutdown, thanks for taking jobs away from the hard working people of Rantoul, and thanks for taking an opportunity away from those who truly need it. You’re sure looking out for the citizens of Illinois, aren’t you?

The good news is that once the budget is restored, Lincoln’s Challenge will be able to re-open, and students allowed to attend classes. Until then, however, many people will not get to go to work or school — showing that Governor Rauner legitimately does not have the best interest of the community at heart, especially those who rely most on the state’s services.

Photo of Lincoln’s Challenge graduates in 2013 by Jason Dorsey, 139th Mobile Public Affairs Detatchment

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