Schools receive maintenance grants

·2 min read

Jul. 9—SPRINGFIELD — The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE), has distributed the fiscal year 2022 School Maintenance Grants, totaling $30 million in state funding, 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.

Grantees will use the money to improve and maintain education infrastructure throughout the state of Illinois.

The School Maintenance Grant Program is a dollar-for-dollar state matching grant open to school districts, cooperative high schools, vocational centers and special education cooperatives. Eligible applicants can receive up to $50,000 to put toward completing proposed maintenance projects.

"By investing in our educational infrastructure, we set Illinois students up for success," said Gov. JB Pritzker. "Our state's youth spend a majority of their days inside school buildings. It is our duty to make sure those facilities are safe, clean, well-lit, and adequately ventilated. With this funding, our children will learn and grow in sustainable, healthy environments—as they deserve."

"Each and every student in Illinois 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 facilities' needs. We learned from the pandemic how important ventilation is to preventing the spread of disease. These grants can help schools make necessary upgrades to make buildings safer, healthier and more energy efficient, so they save taxpayer dollars in the long run. We are grateful to the General Assembly and the governor for the funding for these critically important School Maintenance Grants."

To be eligible for School Maintenance Grants, applicants must be capable of matching any awarded state funds and commit to completing proposed projects within two years of funding dispersal. Funds must be used exclusively for the maintenance or upkeep of educational buildings, but applicants are given the freedom to submit projects that involve multiple types of work for a single building or a single type of improvement for several buildings.

There is compelling evidence that high-quality infrastructure facilitates better instruction, improves educational outcomes, and protects student health. Simple improvements, such as better lighting, improved ventilation, updated heating and cooling and greater accessibility, can help keep students comfortable, 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; state priority projects necessary for energy conservation or to better serve students in an area where the applicant receives funding under Illinois School Code; permanent improvement projects designed to upgrade building systems (e.g., HVAC, plumbing); and other.