18 Illinois school districts will get a more than $270 million funding boost to expand their schools and add much needed classroom space. Chicago Public Schools will also get more than $54 million for the same work. The funding comes from the “Illinois Jobs Now!” program which fosters job growth throughout the state. In total, the projects are expected to create nearly 5000 jobs.
Other improvements as part of the project will include classroom renovations, facilities upgrades and long awaited disaster recovery funds for some districts which experienced flooding due to storms in their area this year. The funds will further be combined with additional local matching dollars resulting in a total investment of $527.7 million.
The 18 school districts are primarily located in northern Illinois and each district received over $1 million dollars. One of the biggest awards – $20.6 million – went to DeKalb Community Unit School District 428 to create a new high school. The state hopes that the awards will take some of the pressure off of already crowded school districts and allow them to shrink class size and improve facilities and facility safety. Some of the projects funded through these awards have been on the to-do list for several years.
“This capital funding will help school districts in Chicago and across the state update their facilities and make critical repairs,” said Governor Quinn. “We must invest in schools that will allow Illinois’ students to thrive and create a better future for our state.”