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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 21, 1999

Ryan Announces $116 Million In School Construction Grants

SPRINGFIELD -- Governor George H. Ryan today announced more than $116 million in state school construction grants to 22 school districts throughout Illinois. Ryan made stops in East St. Louis, Mt. Vernon, Sullivan, Paris and Tinley Park to announce the recipients of this round of the state's school construction grant program.

"As we approach a new century, we must work to make sure our schools provide quality educational environments that promote learning," the Governor said. "These grants will help provide 21st Century classrooms for 21st Century educations."

The school construction grant program helps local school districts relieve overcrowded classrooms and replace old and deteriorating facilities. The grant recipients had applied for the school construction program during Fiscal Year 1999 and have secured their required local matching funds.

Without Ryan's $12 billion Illinois FIRST infrastructure program, funding for the grants would have been delayed until Fiscal Year 2001. The Illinois FIRST program boosted the school construction program by more than $1 billion, including an additional $153 million in the fiscal year that began July 1.

"This program is a partnership with local schools that will enhance educational opportunities for thousands of children throughout Illinois, giving both the students and the state a brighter future," Ryan said.

Under the program, jointly administered by the State Board of Education and the Capital Development Board, school districts must receive a project entitlement and secure their local share of construction funds before receiving any state grant funds. The grants range from 35 to 75 percent of eligible construction costs. Enhancements such as swimming pools and auditoriums are not considered eligible project costs and are excluded from any grant calculations.

Currently, only those projects that address emergency needs, crowded classrooms and old buildings are being funded.

The school construction program, authorized by the General Assembly in 1997, is the first state building program to assist local school construction in more than two decades. Including the grants announced today, the program has benefited 182 school districts in every region of the state and provided more than $868 million in state funds for building and renovating local public schools.

The next deadline for grant applications to the State Board of Education is April 1, 2000. Attached is a complete list of grant recipients.


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