“Despite the challenges of COVID-19, I remain
committed to a fundamental principle about education: every student,
no matter where they live or the color of their skin or what their
income level is, deserves a high-quality education from cradle to
career,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “Using this funding to close the
digital divide, equip districts to navigate new learning models, and
bolster our students’ social-emotional health allows us to advance
that vision even in an extraordinary time. I have every faith that
as we look ahead to the fall, our teachers, professors and
administrators will continue to do what they do best – dedicating
their days to ensuring every student in this state receives the
education they deserve. I’m proud to support that work in every way
A total of $10 million will be allocated to support early childhood
programs across the state. Funding will support professional
development and Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation supports
to early childhood professionals to address the social-emotional
needs of young children, and an innovative text-messaging project
will be launched to help parents support their children’s learning
at home. Preschool for All and Prevention Initiative programs in
those areas most impacted by Covid-19 will receive flexible funding
to support home learning materials, personal protective equipment,
technology and/or additional staffing.
K-12 schools will receive $50 million in three areas: closing the
digital divide, training for educators and parents, and
social-emotional supports for students.
“Illinois is fortunate to have a governor who recognizes the true
needs of our students, our teachers, and our families and who
channels resources where they will do the most good,” said State
Superintendent of Education Dr. Carmen I. Ayala. “This funding will
help us keep students on track and address children’s needs
holistically, no matter what the upcoming school year brings. These
investments in technology and training will benefit our schools for
years to come."
Gov. Pritzker has announced he will invest $40 million to help close
the digital divide, so K-12 students can engage in robust and
meaningful learning opportunities, whether in-person or at home.
School districts will receive $32.5 million to purchase devices,
such as laptops and tablets, and $7.5 million to purchase WiFi
hotspots and increase internet connectivity for students and
Gov. Pritzker will invest $7.5 million in training for K-12
educators and families, so they can support students’ growth
holistically and strengthen their understanding of new technologies
and learning models.
Gov. Pritzker will direct $2.5 million for the Illinois State Board
of Education to create the Student Care Department. The Student Care
Department will lead the development of an inter-departmental
student health and safety team, will promote best practices for
social-emotional learning, will review and respond to constituent
concerns about student safety and wellbeing, and will provide
targeted assistance to school districts.
ISBE also received $569 million through the federal Elementary and
Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Fund.
ISBE has allocated $512 million from the ESSER Fund directly to
Illinois school districts to support their local response to the
COVID-19 pandemic and prepare for the unique challenges of the
upcoming school year. The application opened on May 18. ISBE has
received 861 and approved 818 of the 874 total applications. School
districts receive reimbursement on a rolling basis upon their
submission of expenditure reports.
ISBE will direct the remaining ESSER funds in the following seven
categories: $33.3 million for laptops and tablets; $7.1 million for
internet connectivity; $6.5 million for virtual coaching in support
of an estimated 4,000 new teachers who will be entering the teaching
profession this fall; $6.5 million for professional development;
$2.8 million for state administration; and $685,000 for entities
that are not eligible for the direct funds due to ineligibility for
the federal Title I program.
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The combined GEER and additional ESSER funds will
provide a total of $80.4 million to close the digital divide for
K-12 students and a total of $20.5 million for training for K-12
educators and families.
ISBE released today the application for the GEER and additional
ESSER funds, focused on supporting the school districts in the
greatest financial need. Public local education agencies, including
state-authorized charter schools, that have an Evidence-Based
Funding Final Percent of Adequacy of 70 percent or lower may apply.
The Illinois Board of Higher Education (IBHE) and the Illinois
Community College Board (ICCB) will receive nearly half of the GEER
Of the total $108 million GEER Fund, higher education will see $49
million, including $46 million directly to public universities and
community colleges. The funding targets institutions’ efforts to
overcome barriers facing students that have been created by the
COVID-19 pandemic. Uses could include access to laptops, wireless
hotspots, targeting advising, mentoring, tutoring, books, childcare,
transportation, all strategies to help with recruiting and
In addition to the $46 million, the fund will provide $3 million in
grants. This set-aside is designed to support targeted initiatives
to enroll and retain underrepresented, first-generation, and
high-need students at public and non-profit, independent four-year
institutions of higher education in Illinois.
“Eliminating barriers and closing digital equity gaps are priorities
for both Gov. Pritzker and IBHE,” said Ginger Ostro, Executive
Director of IBHE. “Illinois is home to so many high-quality
post-secondary education programs and they will be ready for
students in the fall with more resources because of this funding.
This comes after the governor championed two years of significant
increases to higher education funding and continues his commitment
“We applaud Gov. Pritzker for recognizing the significant challenges
brought on by this extraordinary health crisis,” said Brian Durham,
Executive Director of ICCB. “Releasing these funds will allow
community colleges throughout Illinois to continue effectively
educating students and give them more access to the essential tools
they need to continue learning and ultimately bettering their lives.
Every dollar the state is able to secure for community colleges
helps close the digital literacy gap and ensure equitable access for
The GEER funding supplements the CARES Act funds provided directly
to schools through the U.S. Department of Education. Most funding
was distributed based on a formula to all eligible schools.
Additional funds have been distributed to Minority Serving
Institutions and to schools deemed to have the greatest need.
U.S. Department of Education grantees shall clearly state the
percentage of the total costs of the program or project which will
be financed with federal money, the dollar amount of Federal funds
for the project or program, and the percentage and dollar amount of
the total costs of the project or program that will be financed by
non-governmental sources. Recipients must comply with these
conditions under Division B, Title V, Section 505 of Public Law
115-245, Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2019.
[Office of the Governor JB Pritzker]