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July 10, 2014

A $400,000 study in lost credibility

These days, $400,000 doesn't buy that much. Illinois is spending that much on a no-bid contract to find out, among other things, how satisfied residents of the now closed Jacksonville Developmental Center are with their new living arrangements. It's information the state could use to help justify the closure of the Murray Developmental Center in Centralia.

For that sort of money we'd expect 100 percent of the 178 Jacksonville families to be surveyed, or close to it. But the preliminary report has responses from just 14 residents and 65 guardians -- not even half.

Of even greater concern than the small sample is the credentials of the lead researcher -- Amie Lulinski, a former board member of Arc of Illinois, a group that wants all state developmental centers closed. She is leaving the university to work for Arc on its national policy team.

Maybe Lulinski is capable of being 100 percent objective, but why involve someone who is sure to be controversial and seen as tainting the results? Many of the families of Murray Center residents don't think they can trust the state already; this study confirms it.

Illinois might as well have thrown that $400,000 out the window. The research the state just bought is not only expensive, but worthless.

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