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Civics program cuts staff

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The staff of the civics education program of the Indiana Bar Foundation will be restructured due to decreases in IOLTA funding available for next year, the IBF announced today.

Overall, Interest on Lawyer Trust Account funds, which have been accumulated from July 1, 2009 to June 30, 2010, and will be distributed for budgets that will cover Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, 2011, are down 55 percent in Indiana compared to IOLTA funds available for programs for the 2010 budget year. It has not yet been announced how the funds will be distributed to Indiana’s 14 pro bono districts.

Starting Jan. 1, 2011, the three-person civics education staff will be restructured to be run by one person who will receive additional support from other members of the IBF staff, including IBF executive director Chuck Dunlap.

In the last two years, the program has seen its IOLTA funds go from $160,000 to $90,000 to $0 for 2011, he wrote in a memo to educators in the civics program.

The current staff of Erin Braun, Eric Steele, and Kyle Burson has run the program as a team for the last two years. In that time, the We The People mock congressional hearing team representing Indiana has consistently placed in the top 10 in the country. Since the program moved to the IBF six years ago, it has placed in the top 10 five times.

The organization has also enjoyed a strong reputation among We The People programs around the country.

Because of this loss of funding, the program will also no longer organize institutes for teachers from Indiana and bordering states to teach educators about how to bring civics education programs to their classrooms, including We The People and Project Citizen programs.

As for the three team members, as of Sept. 10, Steele will begin a position with the We The People program in Washington, D.C.

While memos from Braun and Dunlap to educators involved with the IBF’s civics education program said it was not an easy decision, Braun and Burson have decided to leave rather than continue in the newly restructured program.

While Braun and Burson were unsure where they’ll be after Dec. 31, both have expressed an interest in continuing work with civics education. For instance, earlier this week, Braun started a graduate program at the Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis School for Public and Environmental Affairs and has already started work on a project about civics education.

Educators will have a chance to weigh in on how the program can be restructured during a conference call with the IBF civics education staff Sept. 7.

How the decrease in IOLTA funds for 2011 will affect other programs, including pro bono districts, is not yet known but will be reported in a future issue of Indiana Lawyer.


Rehearing "IBF provides classes for educational programs" IL Aug. 4-17, 2010

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  1. Thank you, John Smith, for pointing out a needed correction. The article has been revised.

  2. The "National institute for Justice" is an agency for the Dept of Justice. That is not the law firm you are talking about in this article. The "institute for justice" is a public interest law firm. http://ij.org/ thanks for interesting article however

  3. I would like to try to find a lawyer as soon possible I've had my money stolen off of my bank card driver pressed charges and I try to get the information they need it and a Social Security board is just give me a hold up a run around for no reason and now it think it might be too late cuz its been over a year I believe and I can't get the right information they need because they keep giving me the runaroundwhat should I do about that

  4. It is wonderful that Indiana DOC is making some truly admirable and positive changes. People with serious mental illness, intellectual disability or developmental disability will benefit from these changes. It will be much better if people can get some help and resources that promote their health and growth than if they suffer alone. If people experience positive growth or healing of their health issues, they may be less likely to do the things that caused them to come to prison in the first place. This will be of benefit for everyone. I am also so happy that Indiana DOC added correctional personnel and mental health staffing. These are tough issues to work with. There should be adequate staffing in prisons so correctional officers and other staff are able to do the kind of work they really want to do-helping people grow and change-rather than just trying to manage chaos. Correctional officers and other staff deserve this. It would be great to see increased mental health services and services for people with intellectual or developmental disabilities in the community so that fewer people will have to receive help and support in prisons. Community services would like be less expensive, inherently less demeaning and just a whole lot better for everyone.

  5. Can I get this form on line,if not where can I obtain one. I am eligible.

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