$40 million could buy a lot of health care

But no, it's going to a new Chicago State West Side campus that the school didn't request and apparently doesn't need, but is going to get anyway because Gov. Pat Quinn and the Legislature approved it.

The school's president didn't even know about the money until reading about it in the newspaper.

Of all the idiotic things that Springfield does, this might not be the worst, but it sure ranks in the semifinals. The Tribune story that disclosed this outrage said state Sen. Rickey Hendon, a Chicago Democrat, pushed for the funding, saying that the West Side needed it. Offering no more specifics than saying it would bring more higher education and economic opportunities for the West Side, he couldn't answer any questions about the project's specifics, such as enrollment, curriculum and budget.

The Tribune quoted the honorable senator: "I appropriate the money. I don't tell the campus what they're going to
do," Hendon said. "The West Side has always been treated like the
stepchild. We're not going to accept second-class status."

Chicago State University has a graduation rate of just 16 percent after six years, and a controversial history, including questionable accounting practices. The school ought to turn down the money flat; if they take any, it should be to straighten out the school and improve the graduation rate.

Postscript: Hendon, appearing on WTTW's Chicago Tonight defended the $40 million by saying the Southern Illinois University spent $40 million for a gun range near Sparta, Illinois. Not quite. Here's what it is, according to the Illinois Government News Network:

$29 million for the World Shooting Complex in the Southwest
region to fund the purchase and development of the land in Sparta that
is expected to offer more than 100 trap stations, skeet stations,
sporting clays, a pistol range and a 3-D archery range, as well as
traditional outdoor recreation activities such as fishing, hiking and
camping.

If you ask me, that's an outrage too. One idiotic idea doesn't justify another one.

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