Alternative School

School Desk
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Under Gov. Blagojevich's budget plan, a successful stateline education program would be eliminated to give more money to traditional schools.

That's why a Rockford student is in Springfield Tuesday, urging lawmakers not to cut funding for alternative school programs.

Fifteen-year-old Ashley Williams does volunteer work by day, and at night she comes to the Hoffman Regional Alternative School working towards her diploma.

But Ashley wasn't always this way. She said peer pressure and large class sizes made it extremely difficult for her to function at a regular high school.

But the program that turned around Ashley and hundreds of other teens could be axed under the governor's proposed budget.

If cut, the five-year-old program that serves Winnebago and Boone counties could be picked up in part by local school district if they have the money which seems unlikely in tight budget times.

Ashley will share her story with Illinois legislators to try and save a program she says turned her life around. The state funds about $3.5 million, or more than half of the Winnebago-Boone County Regional Education office’s budget, which supports the alternative school programs.