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February 26, 2013

Legislators, citizens sound off at legislative breakfast

(Continued)

DANVILLE —

Behning’s HB 1004 would provide the creation of a pre-kindergarten voucher pilot program, including facilities, eligible students, program administration, funding, and an early learning advisory committee.

He said a lack of parental involvement is part of the problem.

“I think we’re all looking at trying to find ways to get parental involvement, but it’s not easily done and especially not something you can easily legislate,” Behning said.

Also shortly after the breakfast, legislation authored by Miller that would allow schools to apply for two-year matching grants of $50,000 to allow specially trained police officers in schools passed the Senate by a 43-7 vote.

“This bill is about protecting our school children,” Miller said.

He said the legislative breakfasts are a good opportunity to hear differing views on proposed legislation.

Several attendees took issue with HB 1381, which would prevent schools from ‘cherry picking’ only the best students to transfer in open school enrollment. Some parents expressed concerns, but Miller said through talking it out with them, a potential solution came.

“Someone may be against a bill, but talking to them, there might be a decent amendment to alleviate her concerns,” he said. “We could grandfather people that are already in the schools. If you tell schools they’re not allowed to cherry pick specific students, some might say ‘forget it, we just won’t allow any transfers at all,’ but they have students that are already enrolled who would have to go back to a different school midstream.”

Steuerwald discussed HB 1006, which passed out of the House shortly after the breakfast as well. That bill would, among other things, result in criminal offenders serving at least 75 percent of their sentences, as opposed to the 50 percent that many now serve, and also allow for criminals with minor offenses to be dealt with locally.

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