Chicago: All Busing For Yeshiva Children Cancelled Through End Of Year

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abuFrum parents in Chicago were not happy to learn that all busing taking their children to school each day has been cancelled through the end of the school year.

The following is the text of a letter which was sent on Wednesday to all parents of the Agudath Israel Of Illinois Busing Program.

We regretfully must inform you that due to a statewide suspension of ALL legislative addons there will be a halt to busing service effective 4/1/2015.

As parents it is important for you to recognize that the “Busing Program” was not singled out. 300 agencies and non‐profits across the state are losing their funding. According to the State of Illinois in their own words: “Illinois is facing an unprecedented economic crisis. [The suspension of your grant] address[es] the massive budget shortfall and [will] ensure the availability of funding for essential government services, we are examining all expenditures.”

What this means is that there is still hope that our program will be reinstated next year. It is very important that if you happen to see Senator Ira Silverstein or Representative Lou Lang — you thank them. As Agudath Israel has informed you every year, this is a “grant” from the State of Illinois, this is not an “entitlement.” Senator Silverstein and Representative Lang are the ones who have made this happen for you year after year and will hopefully continue to do so. The decision to make these cuts was made by the Office of Management and Budget — an office where our legislative representatives have no direct impact.

We reiterate: there is no one to blame here. This is a macro problem the State of Illinois is facing and honestly, the new governor is doing all the right things to get us back in shape.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at any time.

(YWN World Headquarters – NYC)

9 COMMENTS

  1. Facts of this case:
    (1) The parents have paid for this bus service through June.
    (2) They also signed a written contract with Agudah to provide this service through June.
    (3) The Rav of the Illinois Agudah says he was NOT consulted on this matter.

    Shame on the “leadership” of Agudah for threatening to improperly prevent our children and grandchildren — Tinokos Shel Bais Rabban — from learning Torah, R”L!!!

  2. 1) What the parents likely paid for was the un-subsidized portion of the busing cost, which is likely a very small portion of the cost.

    2) If that is so, then perhaps Agudah is obligated to provide the SERVICE through June, but I am not sure whether they are obligated to provide the subsidy as it is no longer provided by the state.

    3. Perhaps it would have been nice to have been given a “head’s up” that this was going to occur, but there is requirement that the state “consult” with Rabbonim (or any beneficiary) prior to cancelling a subsidy unless it is somehow required by statute.

    “Shame”? “Threatening”? Don’t shoot the messenger. They are merely informing the community that there was a subsidy (a “grant”) that was previously provided by the state to underwrite a significant portion of the busing costs and now, due to the budget crisis and funding decisions being made at a state level to address the funding shortfall, certain subsidies are being cut (on admittedly short notice). I am sure Agudah is hard at work seeking some sort of stop-gap measure to address the situation and get services continued to finish out the school year.

  3. “but there is requirement that the state “consult” with Rabbonim (or any beneficiary) prior to cancelling a subsidy unless it is somehow required by statute.

    Meant to say “THERE IS NO REQUIREMENT”

  4. 1-since it’s pesach they have given 2 week notice
    2-it is clear to all and was clear at payment time that any bus service is based on continual funding. No funding no bus.the small sum paid may have worked for the first week or so.
    3-musing-is it possible to fundraise the sum within the community or would that not be allowed for a state funded project (or is it simply too great a sum)
    4-while it’s true the governor is not to blame and is trying to fix this. Earlier Villainois,crook county and windy city (originally named for it’s politics) could easily have caused this problem which effects all parochial schools.

  5. I spoke with Agudah: They did, indeed, send this letter.

    Based on an investigation of this matter, Commenter No. 1 is correct.

    What an outrage by Agudah against us and our children and grandchildren — the Tinokos Shel Bais Rabban — and the Torah they learn!

  6. It’s authentic. We live in the community and numerous separate emails have went out from the individual schools advising of the change.