Maricela Arias-Cantu, Daniel Jackson, Representative Raja Krishnamoorthi, Matthew John Rodriguez, Lisa Garbaty, Vanessa Richardson, and Deb Strauss

We were blessed to meet with quite a few Representatives in the House and both of our Illinois Senator’s offices.

Everyone we met with was SO passionate about kids and families. They were very informative as well as reinforcing that they NEED PTA’s voice to be loud, front, and center, as it has been these 120 years.

HB 899 at the federal level is written to get rid of the Federal Department of Education as of Dec 31, 2018.

HB 610 is written to get rid of the school breakfast and lunch programs, the nutrition requirements (despite Illinois’s 30.6% obesity rate in our kids entering Kindergarten), vouchers, and more.

There are at least 3 bills scaling back on teacher preparation rules. Making it easier for non licensed or appropriately trained teachers to be in charge of our children’s education.

The devastating cuts to Medicaid would lose funding for our school nurses, our aids helping our most vulnerable special needs students, and much more that we do not realize is affected.

Lakeisha Steele, Matthew John Rodriguez, Lisa Garbaty, Deb Strauss, Maricela Arias-Cantu, and Vanessa Richardson

At the state level we are also watching many dangerous bills but one example is HB 443 the voucher bill. (Committee hearing is March 29th at 10am in Springfield) Making it so that the Illinois School Board of Education provide vouchers to fund private and non public schools. Taking away dollars away from already very grossly underfunded public schools. (Note: Families that spend more than $250 a year on non public schools are able to have that expenditure as a tax deduction) in addition to that they are asking to acquire these additional funds from ISBE. What tax incentives do families with public school students get? Right now the bill has 255 opponents and 3 proponents. This is how we can fight. Our voices count!!

I can go on and on but the bottom line is we are under attack and our children and families at the end of the day have everything to lose and nothing to gain.

With our 115th year anniversary underway, I want to tell you we are fighting as fiercely as ever! Sometimes the right thing is not the popular thing but our children and families deserve to be defended and be provided with the best possible future they can have. Our entire team is dedicated to you. You may ask why does your membership matter? The answer is because we all need a champion in our corner to fight when we are down and we all need people around us to fight the good fight even when we are up. Your membership matter because it’s your voice in all these crucial matters that we carry with us at every meeting across the state and country. That’s why it matters. United together we provide a stronger impact. Your voice matters, EVERY voice matters. EVERY CHILD ONE VOICE!!!

Don’t forget to come to our annual convention April 7, 8 at the Hilton in Lisle. Our guest speaker will be The Illinois Secretary of Education, Beth Purvis.

Here to serve,

Matthew John Rodriguez
Illinois PTA President