ILLINOIS (IRN/RFD) — Now that Illinois officials have unveiled a multi-billion dollar plan to support students’ return to the classroom after months of remote learning, school superintendents around the state must now figure out how to spend their windfall.
The Learning Renewal Resource Guide, sent out to school districts this week, is a reference on how school officials can utilize their share of the $7 billion earmarked for the state.
Dr. Carmen Ayala, State Superintendent of Education, said the guide features two main categories that deal with social and emotional learning and academic growth.
“The Learning Guide outlines twelve strategies that can help serve as a starting point for local conversations about spending decisions,” said Ayala.
Barry Reilly, Bloomington District 87 Schools Superintendent, said the funds would go a long way in addressing learning loss.
“It certainly gives districts like ours a great shot in the arm to address the learning needs of kids, like expanding our summer programs and adding additional staff,” said Reilly.
Reilly’s district stands to receive over $21 million from the American Rescue Plan Act. The largest total goes to Chicago public schools at $2.7 billion.
Governor J.B. Pritzker announced a four-pronged approach to supporting schools, including a focus on high-impact tutoring and increasing enrollment in early childhood programs and higher education.
Meghan Whitaker from the National Center for Learning Disabilities says summer school may be needed, especially for kids with attention issues.
“Students who can safely return to school and receive that in-person instruction, I think that the summer might be a really important time for them to receive the instruction that they lost,” said Whitaker.
Whitaker applauds that $3 billion from the American Rescue Plan Act is dedicated to special education.