By: Diane Benjamin
Followup to this story: https://blnnews.com/2019/07/11/question-for-parents-of-high-school-kids-or-recent-grads/
The Federal deficit is closing in on $22.5 Trillion. That debt is unsustainable and will destroy future generations. With that in mind, besides providing funding for empty buses, here’s another questionable program from the Feds.
The Unit 5 FOIA officer told me the Feds reimburse expenses for this program, but she directed me to this State website: https://www.dhs.state.il.us/page.aspx?item=35174
The program is called STEP. It is intended to provide kids with disabilities job skills for after high school. A good number of local businesses and non-profits participate by employing students for what looks like a couple hours at a time. It appears the kids are paid not by the employer, but with gift cards purchased by Unit 5. It appears one employee administers this program, at least the gift card part – Jane Collins. Below is a recap of her gift card purchases:
August 2018 – Walmart $600
October 2018 – Walmart $3940
November 2018 – Walmart $3770
December 2018 – Walmart $3925
January 2019 – Walmart $3900
February 2019 – Walmart $3900
March 2019 – Walmart $3835
April 2019 – Walmart $3865
Most of the gift cards are either for $10 or $25.
It looks like students from NCHS, West, and Eugene Field participate.
The FOIA request included lists of participants names and evaluations. I’m not sure why that information was included, but I’m not going to post it.
I asked on Facebook if any Unit 5 parents had ever heard of this program. Normally within a couple of minutes of asking a question I get an answer. I received no responses to this question.
Whether this program is beneficial or not would take a lot more investigation and would probably involve confidential information I won’t get access to.
The real question is whether this program is a government job. By the time the bureaucracy is done shuffling paperwork, the real cost is MUCH higher.
Before you say: This will save money in the long run . . . Prove it.