NEWS

For Immediate Release
December 2, 2008

ISBE announces $7.5 million to support fast-growing districts


36 districts receiving additional funds to cover needs of growing student populations

Springfield – The Illinois State Board of Education announced that for the second year in a row it will distribute $7.5 million in grants to some of Illinois’ fastest growing school districts. Unique accommodations must be made in districts with populations on the rise, such as broom closets becoming offices, gymnasiums doubling as cafeterias and administrators scrambling to hire new staff. The fast growth grants will go to 36 school districts to help offset demands.

“Fast-growing districts must meet all the usual needs of a district while also trying to hire more staff and get additional supplies and materials for new students,” said Christopher A. Koch, State Superintendent of Education. “The grants offer districts much-needed assistance as they respond to their growing enrollment.”

Public school enrollment in Illinois increased steadily from 1,951,998 in 1998 to 2,074,167 in 2008. In the last decade, student enrollment increased by 122,169 students, or 6.2 percent.  During the same time, the number of school districts has dropped from 900 to 868.

“In some situations, enrollment growth comes so quickly and the lag in funding from the local tax base as well as state and federal sources can cause significant financial strain,” said Michael Jacoby, Executive Director of the Illinois Association of School Business Officials. “Given the timing of the tax cycle, a district can be serving students for 18 to 24 months before they see any resources of a commensurate nature. So any assistance that can come to districts, specifically related to the growth issue, is extremely helpful.”

Fast growing districts face many challenges. They may not have enough classroom space, faculty, or teaching materials. The grants may be used to pay for salaries, books, computers, supplies and classroom materials.

School districts are eligible if during the two most recent school years, their enrollment has increased by greater than 1.5 percent for districts with more than 10,000 students or greater than 7.5 percent or more for districts with an enrollment under 10,000.

The 36 districts are:

Plainfield School District 202 – $2,185,156
Oswego Community Unit School District – $829,755
Community Unit School District 300 – $723,959
Yorkville Community Unit School District 115 – $468,686
Aurora West Unit School District 129 – $374,629
Aurora East Unit School District 131 – $348,847
McLean County Unit School District 5 - $331,622
Plano Community Unit School District 88 - $271,068
Oak Park and River Forest School District 200 – $249,091
Skokie School District 69 - $202,510
Minooka Community High School District 111 - $195,312
Elementary School District 159 - $178,973
Posen-Robbins Elementary School District 143-5 - $176,416
Hononegah Community High School District 207 - $151,319  
Arbor Park School District 145 - $106,530
Morris School District 54 - $98,285
Galena Unit School District 120 - $88,419
Western CUSD 12 - $53,939
Nashville Community High School District 99 - $44,557
Salt Creek School District 48 - $43,258
Central School District 104 - $42,473
Illini West High School District 307 - $38,718
Norwood Elementary School District 63 - $35,567
Smithton CC School District 130 - $34,560
Steeleville CU School District 138 - $31,057
St. George CC School District 258 - $28, 701
Century Community Unit School District 100 - $28,389
Fairmont School District 89 - $28,369
Dongola School Unit District 66 - $26,426
Hampton School District 29 - $22, 167
Rondout School District 72 - $14,204
Tamaroa School District 5 - $13,177
Eswood CC District 269 - $9,362
Malden Community Consolidated School District 84 - $9,312
Damiansville School District 62 - $8,476
Chester N High School District 122 - $6,694

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