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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 7, 2000

Ryan Concerned About Education Opportunities For Troubled Students

SPRINGFIELD - Governor George H. Ryan today vetoed legislation regulating the way school districts deal with expelled or suspended students entering an alternative education program or seeking admission to a new school.

Ryan's main concern was that the legislation does not mandate alternative education programs for expelled or suspended students.

Under the provisions of Senate Bill 1426, an expelled or suspended student would not automatically be required to attend an educational program at a facility other than the school where the offense occurred.

In vetoing the legislation, Ryan said that he agrees that school districts should have options to protect the children enrolled in their school from problem students. However, he raised concerns that affected students may not be required to attend alternative schools.

"I am deeply concerned that alternative education is not assured for students who are suspended or expelled," Ryan said. "I believe alternative education should be a mandatory condition of any suspension or expulsion from a public or private school in Illinois. I believe signing this legislation would send the wrong message that problem students are better off on the streets than in an alternative school environment."

A copy of the governor's veto message is attached.

July 7, 2000

To the Honorable Members of the

Illinois State Senate

91st General Assembly

Pursuant to Article IV, Section 9(b) of the Illinois Constitution of 1970, I hereby veto and return Senate Bill 1426 entitled "AN ACT in relation to education."

Senate Bill 1426 makes a number of changes to the Juvenile Court Act of 1987, the Unified Code of Corrections and the School Code. Included in the bill is a provision that a minor who is placed on probation or supervision may be required to attend an educational program at a facility other than the school where the offense occurred. The bill also provides an option for individual school districts to implement a policy that would assure that a child serve the full term of a suspension or expulsion from school, with an option for alternative education.

I agree that school districts should have options to protect the children enrolled in their schools. I am concerned, however, that Senate Bill 1426 would allow a school district to implement a policy that would force an expelled student to serve the full term of an expulsion without allowing the district to admit the student to the school before the full term of the expulsion is completed. I am also deeply concerned that alternative education is not assured for students who are suspended or expelled. I believe alternative education should be a mandatory condition of any suspension or expulsion from a public or private school in Illinois.

Even though Senate Bill 1426 only speaks to an expelled or suspended student transferring in from another school, I believe that signing this bill would send an inappropriate message that problem students are better off on the streets than in an alternative school environment. I have considered making a specific recommendation for change to Senate Bill 1426; however, I believe there are too many issues to address through the limited amendatory veto powers granted to me by the Illinois State Constitution. Therefore, I believe my only recourse is to veto this legislation.

For this reason, I hereby veto and return Senate Bill 1426.

Sincerely,
GEORGE H. RYAN
Governor


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