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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 2, 2000

Ryan Proclaims March 2 at "Read Across America Day"

PEORIA -- Governor George H. Ryan proclaimed today as "Read Across America Day" in an effort to improve student reading skills throughout Illinois.

"Reading is a basic tool for literacy, opportunity and lifelong learning," Ryan said. "If we are going to follow through on our commitment to children throughout Illinois, we need to improve their reading skills."

Ryan visited the Valeska Hinton Early Childhood Education Center in Peoria to engage students, parents, teachers and others, to renew Illinois' commitment to literacy and re-establish the importance of reading.

Governor Ryan proposed $528 million more for education and workforce development that will raise state government's commitment for schools to a record level of $8.45 billion.

As part of First Lady Lura Lynn Ryan's Futures for Kids, funding for Early Childhood programs will increase $32.5 million. Elementary and secondary education funding also includes $20 million for Summer Bridge programs, $5 million for family literacy programs, and another $6.5 million increase in other reading programs.

"Children are our most precious resource, the governor said." "It is imperative that our children are properly taught how to read."

In his FY 2001 budget, Ryan earmarked $53 million dollars for childhood programs, reading grants and the "Summer Bridge" program. For two years in a row, the governor has devoted at least 51 percent of all new general revenue dollars to our school system and job training programs.


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