Ill. K-12 school districts receive $7 billion in federal funding to support students returning to classrooms

Gov. Pritzker announces money to support Ill. schools

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (KFVS) - Governor Pritzker announced 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.

With this unprecedented level of funding, Governor Pritzker asked education experts to share best practices and recommendations to best 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.

“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,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “My administration is taking a little bit of that worry off your plates. I’m committed to making sure that Illinois leads the nation in assisting schools to make this new $7 billion count over the next several years to overcome the pandemic’s effects on our students, parents and educators.”

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 percent 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.

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 (IBHE), Illinois Community College Board (ICCB), Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC), and the Governor’s Office of Early Childhood Development (GOECD) 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.

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.

The complete guide is available here.

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