HIGHWOOD – Following more than a year of most Illinois schools being remote, State Senator Julie Morrison (D-Lake Forest) is announcing financial assistance to help districts address COVID-19 challenges.

“Teachers aren’t just educators to students – they are often friends, protectors and role models,” Morrison said. “During the pandemic, teachers stepped even further into these roles – and I can’t thank them enough.”

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:

  • Wheeling CCSD 21: $13,123,520
  • River Trails SD 26: $1,530,393
  • Northbrook ESD 27: $591,162
  • West Northfield SD 31: $1,741,183
  • Lake Bluff ESD 65: $372,211
  • Lake Forest SD 67: $1,022,503
  • Bannockburn SD 106: $301,669
  • Deerfield SD 109: $680,229
  • North Shore SD 112: $4,252,828
  • Twp HSD 113: $1,425,035
  • Lake Forest CHSD 115: $718,497

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.

“The thought of going back to full-time in-person learning, while exciting, can also seem daunting for some teachers and students,” Morrison said. “This additional funding will ensure educators have the resources they need to help students best transition back to the classroom.”

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