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The Illinois General Assembly passed the School Construction Law (Public Act 90-548) in December 1997, largely to address the shortage of classroom space due to population growth or aging buildings. The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) and the Capital Development Board (CDB) administer the program.

To date, the School Construction Grant Program has benefited 497 School districts in every region of the state and provided over $3.1 billion in state funds for building and renovating local public schools. The most recent round of funding in August of 2013 depleted all funds currently authorized for the program to date by the Illinois General Assembly and Governor. The Illinois General Assembly and Governor will need to approve additional appropriations and bond authorization before additional districts can be entitled from the 2004 through 2015 Application Cycle Listings.

For more information, please continue to visit links within this site, the Capital Development Board site.​​

 Eligibility

Eligibility is based on enrollment and needs of the district. To qualify for School Construction Program entitlement, school districts must meet minimum enrollment requirements and have available their local share of funds.

Minimum enrollments are 200 for elementary, 200 for high school, and 400 for unit districts. The state share of grants ranges from 35 to 75 percent eligible construction costs, determined by an index adjusted annually to reflect changes in the district's overall wealth. Districts with local property wealth at or above the 99th percentile are ineligible.

Before any funds are awarded, districts have to raise their local share, or matching funds. A referendum is not required to participate in the program. However, a referendum is required to obtain voter approval to construct a new building or to issue building bonds.

NOTE: Districts must submit an application and receive grant entitlement from ISBE before holding a referendum.

 Entitlement

Districts submitting applications for qualifying projects are awarded construction grant entitlements by ISBE. Entitlements qualify districts for the program; however, it is not a guarantee for funding.

Entitled district must secure their local share in order to be eligible for a school construction project grant award. Those entitled districts who do not secure their local share before the end of the fiscal year in which they are applying, can submit an update application in order to be merged with the new applications for the new fiscal year.

Carry over projects are those entitled projects for which the school district has arranged and approved local financing but has not received an award during the fiscal year in which the district has applied, due to lack of adequate appropriations.

​In accordance with Section 5-37 of School Construction Law, these carry over projects will be placed ahead of any new school construction projects within the same priority category that are approved for grant awards for the following year.

 Priority Ranking Process and Status

Due to limited Funding, only projects addressing emergency needs, crowded classrooms and aging buildings have been funded. Funding is prioritized in the following categories, and districts are ranked according to need within their categories:

  • manmade or natural disasters
  • overcrowding due to population growth or aging buildings
  • school district reorganization (consolidation or annexation)
  • severe and continuing health/life safety hazards
  • provide accessibility for qualified individuals with disabilities
  • other unique solutions to facility needs

For each priority other than priority five, accessibility for individuals with disabilities, districts are ranked based on the number of inadequately housed students which currently exists in the district. That number is calculated by subtracting the district's current available capacity from the current enrollment. A district's ranking within a level of priority is then determined by multiplying its current needed capacity by the ratio of its needed capacity to its enrollment. The higher the number, the higher the ranking.

For priority five, the district's needed capacity is the number of qualified individuals with disabilities who require a school construction project.​

School Construction Grant Status

 Capital Needs Assessment Survey

Public Act 93-0489 requires the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) and the Capital Development Board (CDB) to file a comprehensive assessment report of the capital needs of all school districts to the General Assembly every two years.

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