Perhaps this will be the year that the Illinois General Assembly approves money for a homeless education program.

 “The superintendent’s recommending $3 million,” chief financial officer Robert Wolfe told the Illinois State Board of Education. “This is a request that the board’s put in for the last two or three fiscal years, and it hasn’t been funded.”


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One board member said all you have to do is learn a little about the problem to want to get involved. “They put faces on those boys and girls,” said Melinda LaBarre, remembering a presentation by the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless. “They had them there, and they talked to us and told us about the challenges that they have. And if there was one person without tears in their eyes when they met those children, I don’t know who it would be.”

The board’s financial committee chairman, Jim Baumann, said there are perhaps 60,000 school-age children among Illinois’ homeless.

(Copyright WBGZ Radio /