Schools districts across Central Illinois will receive nearly $125 million in additional funding to help address the many challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, State Senator Doris Turner announced.
Among the school districts receiving funds are Panhandle CUSD 2, $1,366,902; Hillsboro CUSD 3, $4,608,564; Litchfield CUSD 12, $4,899,443; Nokomis CUSD 22, $3,533,859; and Morrisonville CUSD 1, $438,516.
“This is major news for Central Illinois, especially for our students and teachers now that the end of the pandemic is in sight,” said Turner. “I encourage local districts to use this funding to help the most at-risk students. When school districts spend money wisely, they have better outcomes, including higher test scores and increased graduation rates.”
The funding comes as part of the most recent federal COVID-19 relief packages. Schools, students and parents have overcome challenges that no one could have imagined before the pandemic began, including remote and hybrid learning, digital connection issues, new processes for receiving state and federal aid that normally flow through schools, and more.
The majority of the funding comes from the American Rescue Plan, which gives local schools a great deal of flexibility in how they can use the money over the next 3-and-a-half years. At least 20 percent of the funding must be used to address learning loss, but beyond that, school districts can use the money to address many different issues and costs.
For example, it can be used to better equip schools for safe learning, to prevent layoffs, to address students’ social and emotional needs, to fund summer programs, or to ensure all students have access to reliable Wi-Fi and technology.
The State Board of Education, in collaboration with other state agencies that address education, has produced a guide for local school districts to help them decide how to best use their resources. While the guide and other state-sponsored services are completely voluntary, the state aims to support local districts during this difficult time.
“The additional funding will help ensure that students have schools with better facilities and more curriculum options,” Turner said. “I would personally like to thank local teachers, parents, staff and students for all of their hard work during this unprecedented time.”
In total, Illinois received nearly $7 billion to support local school districts.