Illinois schools to get $7B in federal funding to address COVID impact as kids return to classrooms

CHICAGO (WLS) -- There's more money coming to school districts across Illinois, as students head back into the classrooms. The $7 billion in federal funding will go to the state's 4,000 public schools.

It is still spring break for the students of South Elgin High School, where hallways will remain empty until April 7. But like much of the state, only a limited number of children here have returned to in-person learning. And there is a realization that making a full comeback will take time and resources, as students have fallen behind.

"Many of our students feel isolated. They don't have the connections that they had with peers, with teachers, with support staff personnel," said Dr. Suzanne Johnson, District U-46.

Hoping to address some academic and social-emotional impact of this past year, Gov. JB Pritzker announced a $7 billion dollar investment Wednesday to assist K-12 public schools across the state.

"All of it focused on learning renewal," Pritzker said. "That's the purpose of it and all of it focused on things like what kinds of summer programs are necessary, what kinds of tutoring are necessary."

Along with the cash, the state also released a 180-page guide aimed at outlining strategies and guidance for schools now trying to make up for lost time, but with a firm realization that there is not a one-size-fits all solution.

"What works for a rural school district does not work for an urban school district," Illinois State Board of Education Superintendent Dr. Carmen Ayala said.

Gov. Pritzker said Wednesday the additional funding all comes from the federal government and will be disbursed over the next three years.
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