CHICAGO — The school districts of Illinois will split $400 million for new construction, maintenance projects and renovations as part of the statewide Illinois Jobs Now capital fund.
The funds will be dispersed among 24 school districts with $306 million allotted to school construction, $50 million for maintenance projects, $25 million to alleviate overcrowded classrooms and $20 million will be dedicated to making the state’s schools more energy efficient. The fund may also provide reimbursement for school construction that has already completed.
“Our children cannot concentrate on learning if they’re sitting in a school that’s crumbling,” Illinois Governor Pat Quinn said in a statement. “When I became governor, I initiated the first capital construction program in a decade to elevate our schools and universities to world-class status. The quality of learning happening in our schools will drive tomorrow’s economy. These school construction projects will not only raise the standard of learning in our classrooms, they will bring much-needed jobs to workers around our state.”
The school construction is part of the larger $31 billion Illinois Jobs Now economic recovery initiative, which intends to produce jobs and replace aging infrastructure in Illinois. The initiative is expected to generate 439,000 jobs over the next six years.
With the funding, schools throughout the state will have the ability to construct new schools, classroom additions and renovate aging facilities while also creating thousands of construction jobs for a much-needed boost to the state’s economy. The state will also focus on projects to provide greater access to students with disabilities, repair roofing structures, and replace outdated energy systems.
Cook County schools will receive $23.3 million in funding, which will provide crucial funding to five area school districts. The projects now funded in Cook County include the construction or reimbursement for the construction of approximately 100 additional classrooms.
Clay, Marion and Wayne County school districts in southeastern Illinois will share $52.4 million in educational facility upgrade funds. The additional funds will assist the districts in the construction of pre-K to 5 school designed for 1,600 students in Clay County, the construction of an approximately 1,175-student pre-K to 12 school in Wayne County and an additional eight classrooms in Marion County.
Chicago Public Schools will receive the largest amount from the initiative with $89 million allotted to reviving aging school buildings and construct new facilities in the city. More than $59 million will be utilized for capital construction, approximately $10 million will go toward maintenance projects and $4 million will be dedicated to making Chicago schools more energy efficient.