Senator Jones2CHICAGO– State Senator Emil Jones III is announcing that school districts in the 14th District will receive over $37 million in additional funding to help address the many challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I am confident that this additional funding will greatly assist our students and schools in moving forward, with the end of the pandemic in sight,” Jones said. “I want to thank all the teachers, parents, and students for putting in so much hard work during this pandemic.”

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.

Local school districts are set to receive the following amounts:
• Atwood Heights School District - over $1.5 million
• Alsip-Hazlgrn-Oaklwn School District - over $4 million
• Cook County School District - over $12 million
• Calumet Public School District - over $7 million
• General George Patton School District - over $2.8 million
• Kirby School District - over $4.7 million
• Forest Ridge School District - over $3.5 million
• Palos Heights School District - over $1.2 million

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 ½ years. At least 20% 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.

“I encourage schools to use this funding to help at-risk students” Jones said. “It is important that all of our students continue to be taken care of.

In total, Illinois received nearly $7 billion to support local school districts.