SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod Blagojevich today signed House Bill 766, establishing Fast Growth Grants for Illinois schools. This new grant program helps school districts meet the expense of educating quickly growing student populations.
“School districts seeing rapid enrollment increases need access to state funding to deal with unique challenges,” Gov. Blagojevich said. “When a school’s enrollment grows rapidly, so does the need for books, supplies and teachers. This law allows schools to quickly respond to those needs.”
Sponsored by Rep. Ruth Munson (R-Elgin) and Sen. Larry Walsh (D-Joliet), the new law supports the Governor’s pledge to increase funding for elementary and secondary education. The $10 million appropriated for Fast Growth Grants is a portion of the $389 million increase in targeted education programs in the FY 2005 budget.
Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) data shows 44 school districts in Illinois are currently eligible for the grant funds. School districts are eligible to apply if during the two most recent school years their enrollments have increased by greater than 1.5% for districts with over 10,000 students or greater than 7.5% or more for districts with enrollment under 10,000.
"I was proud to be able to sponsor this bill in the Senate," said Sen. Walsh. "As a senator representing Will County, the fastest growing county in the State of Illinois, we have seen unprecedented growth in many of our school districts. Some of these school districts will receive grants from the $10 million allotted for this program. These dollars will have a substantial impact on the ability of the school districts to provide a better education to our children."
“The funding provided by this bill will provide significant financial relief for District 300 and many other local school districts that are experiencing mounting debt due to high rates of growth in student enrollment,” said Rep. Munson.
The law is effective immediately. Grant funds will be distributed on a per pupil basis to qualifying districts.