school busesROCKFORD – State Senator Steve Stadelman (D-Rockford) is announcing that Rockford area school districts will receive $229.8 in additional funding to help address the many challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“For more than a year now, our teachers have put in countless hours to adapt their classrooms to remote learning,” Stadelman said. “This funding gives schools, students and their parents the relief they need to get back on track for this upcoming school year.”

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:

  • Harlem Unit School District 122 - $21,300,984
  • Rockford School District 205 - $208,505,504

The districts also received a total of $12,897,380 in CARES Act funding last year.

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.

“Rockford area schools know what they need to get back to a new normal,” Stadelman said. “But, this guide can help them with that planning moving forward.”

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