Illinois K-12 school districts are receiving $7 billion in federal funding to support students as they return to the classroom after distance and hybrid learning due to COVID-19.
And state officials have sent a news release saying how they want that money spent.
Here’s a look at the funding earmarked for Kane County school districts, according to the spreadsheet provided by the state of Illinois.
- SD U-46 — $102,825,520
- Batavia USD 101 — $4,008,138
- Aurora West USD 129 — $37,345,947
- Aurora East USD 131 — $82,471,756
- CUSD 300 — $32,212,092
- Central CUSD 301 — $3,662,665
- Kaneland CUSD 302 — $1,838,234
- St Charles CUSD 303 — $6,311,150
- Geneva CUSD 304 — $4,179,935
- Funding Information for Every District Available Here
The total for Kane County districts is $274,855,437.
The highest amount goes to U-46 — the state’s second-largest school district — which will receive an estimated $102,825,520 in three funding allocations. The lowest is Kaneland School District 302, which is earmarked to receive 1,838,234, according to the chart.
Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker on Wednesday (March 31, 2021) asked education experts to share best practices and recommendations to support students, including academic and behavioral counseling; out-of-classroom experiences like high-value tutoring, after school programs and summer camps; and creating individualized student profiles to craft the best plans for all students.
Recommendations are available online through the P-20 Council’s Learning Renewal Resource Guide, which is being released to all school districts today. The 180-page guide is filled with ideas from experts and stakeholders from across the state to help school districts renew learning and provide ongoing feedback.
The guide is designed with input from more than 300 stakeholders, to support school districts as they develop their own local ideas and homegrown initiatives for the unprecedented federal funding they will be receiving.
“If you’re a parent, I know you’ve spent most of this pandemic worried about how your kids are learning — with all the screens and Zooms, sometimes you’re worried about whether they’re learning at all,” Pritzker said in the news release. “My administration is taking a little bit of that worry off your plates.”
The latest round of unprecedented federal funding for schools, through the American Rescue Plan, allocates more than $5 billion for pre-K through 12th grade education in Illinois, 90% of which will flow directly to school districts.
Illinois’ education system has been awarded more than $7.8 billion in federal pandemic relief funding in total over three rounds of the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund program, with $7 billion flowing directly to school districts over the next three years.
School districts can also leverage regular federal grants to support learning renewal for students in the greatest need, such as low-income students, English Learners, and students with disabilities.
Additionally, higher education institutions in Illinois will receive $1.3 billion from the third round of federal support, for a total of $2.5 billion across the three rounds of funding primarily from the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund.
“Black people have suffered from systemic racism for far too long, so I am proud that I led the effort to change Illinois’ educational system for our Black students,” Senate Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford (D-Maywood) said. “The law we passed required the state’s P-20 Council to make recommendations on how to address the impact of COVID-19, resulting in the Learning Renewal Guide. It will help our state’s schools and universities make the best use of the more than $7 billion they’re receiving in federal aid. This funding is especially important for schools in disproportionately affected Black communities.”
The P-20 Council developed the Learning Renewal Guide to provide school districts with reliable, proven ideas to develop solutions that work best for their communities. The guide was developed through extensive stakeholder engagement, in collaboration with the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE), Illinois Board of Higher Education, Illinois Community College Board (ICCB), Illinois Student Assistance Commission, and the Governor’s Office of Early Childhood Development and support from A Better Chicago and Advance Illinois.
The Learning Renewal Resource Guide details 12 strategies — each supported by research, stakeholder feedback, and case studies — that districts and higher education institutions should consider to equitably address the pandemic’s short- and long-term impacts.
Each of the 12 strategies contain underlying initiatives, implementation guidance, and estimated costs and impacts. Altogether, the guide envisions a road to renewal that starts with maximizing in-person learning opportunities for students through a reimagined school calendar and includes investments to identify and meet each student’s individual needs from preschool through college and career.
“We have an unprecedented opportunity through this federal funding to transform the quality of learning opportunities for all our students,” said State Superintendent of Education Dr. Carmen I. Ayala. “This guide provides a roadmap for how our education system can emerge from the pandemic stronger, with even greater capacity to close gaps and achieve equity. That journey begins with getting students back into the classroom as soon and as much as possible.”
P-20 Council’s 4 Major Goals
The P-20 Council convened working teams, representing over 300 different stakeholders, to develop the guide. The group also derived content for the guide from administrator, educator, student, and caregiver focus groups, as well as evidence-based research, survey responses, and feedback from agencies, teachers’ unions, and other education organizations.
The document will continue to evolve and includes a link to a feedback survey for anyone interested in providing input as well as additional resources and information on how to get involved in future focus groups.
In addition to the guide, Illinois state education agencies will focus on four major goals to support schools:
- High-impact tutoring, with a focus on aligning tutoring with classroom instruction throughout the school year and during the summer.
- Social and emotional learning community partnerships, including with the Center for Childhood Resilience (CCR), housed at Lurie Children’s Hospital.
- Interim assessment, intended solely for diagnostic purposes, to provide reliable measures for understanding the impact on student learning so educators can target their responses to students’ needs.
- Bridge/transition support, to encourage enrollment in both early childhood programs and higher education.
To support the administration’s work to expand quality early childhood education, the governor is pleased to receive the Illinois Commission on Equitable Early Childhood Education and Care Funding’s report of findings and recommendations. The administration looks forward to working closely with commission members and stakeholders across the state on a number of key initiatives in the coming years, including building out regional support systems for early childhood providers.
The complete guide is available online at the P-20 council’s website.
SOURCE: state of Illinois news release