July 9 — SPRINGFIELD — The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) has distributed fiscal 2022 school maintenance grants totaling $30 million in state funds to more than 600 eligible applicants.
Local schools receiving funding: $50,000 each to Rossville-Alvin CUSD 7, Oakwood CUSD 76, Salt Fork CUSD 512, and Vermilion Association for Special Education; and Westville CUSD 2 received $48,819.
The grantees will use the money to improve and maintain educational infrastructure throughout the state of Illinois.
The School Maintenance Grant Program is a dollar-for-dollar matching government grant open to school districts, cooperative high schools, vocational centers and special education cooperatives. Eligible applicants can receive up to $50,000 to use toward completing proposed maintenance projects.
“By investing in our educational infrastructure, we are helping Illinois students thrive,” said Gov. JB Pritzker. “Our state’s youth spend much of their days inside school buildings. It is our duty to ensure that these facilities are safe, clean, well lit and adequately ventilated. With this funding, our children will learn and grow in sustainable and healthy environments – as they deserve.”
“Every single Illinois student deserves access to safe and healthy facilities that support their well-being and academic growth,” said State Superintendent of Education Dr. Carmen I. Ayala. “School districts across the state have significant facility needs. We have learned from the pandemic the importance of ventilation to prevent the spread of disease. These grants can help schools make the necessary upgrades to make buildings safer, healthier and more energy efficient, saving taxpayers’ money in the long run. We are grateful to the General Assembly and the Governor for funding these extremely important school maintenance grants.”
To be eligible for school maintenance grants, applicants must be able to raise all awarded government funds and commit to completing proposed projects within two years of the distribution of funding. Funds must be used exclusively for the upkeep or maintenance of educational buildings, but applicants are free to submit projects that include multiple types of work for a single building or a single type of improvement for multiple buildings.
There is compelling evidence that quality infrastructure enables better teaching, improves educational outcomes and protects student health. Simple improvements like better lighting, improved ventilation, updated heating and cooling, and better accessibility can help keep students happy, healthy, and engaged.
School maintenance grants are awarded in order of five priorities: emergency projects made necessary by a disaster; health/life safety projects to remodel or improve an existing structure; government priority projects needed to conserve energy or improve the care of students in an area where the applicant receives Illinois School Code funding; permanent improvement projects to modernize building systems (e.g. HVAC, plumbing); and other.