BELLEVILLE – October 22, 2010. Governor Pat Quinn today visited Belleville to highlight a nearly $4.3 million state grant to help build a new elementary school to replace one condemned due to mine subsidence damage. The funding was provided through the Illinois Jobs Now! capital construction plan and will provide nine new classrooms and create approximately 40 construction jobs.
“It is important that school districts have the resources to help schools recover from unexpected natural damage,” said Governor Quinn. “As a result of this capital funding, students in the Belle Valley School District can focus their attention on the business of learning, and not the condition of their school.”
The new Belle Valley North School will serve 252 elementary students. The state grant of nearly $4.3 million will be matched by the local share of $1.6 million, and will cover a portion of the cost to construct the new building. Governor Quinn announced this week that Belle Valley School District 119 is among 18 Illinois school districts that will receive a total of more than $270 million from Illinois Jobs Now!. This capital funding will provide vital classroom space while creating approximately 3,700 construction jobs statewide.
The 18 districts statewide were approved for fiscal year 2010 funding after their projects were certified by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) and the Illinois Capital Development Board (CDB). The funding will allow districts to build new schools and classroom additions. Other improvements will include renovations to existing classrooms and upgrades to aging facilities. It will also allow several districts to recover from damage resulting from natural disasters, including flooding. The capital funding, combined with local dollars, will help school districts to start with projects totaling more than $527.7 million.
“These grants provide a better environment for our children’s education and create badly needed construction jobs at the same time,” said Jim Riemer, Executive Director of CDB, which manages all non-road, state-funded construction projects.
“This funding will provide much-needed improvements, which the local districts would not otherwise be able to afford,” said State Superintendent of Education Christopher A. Koch. “Most of these districts have waited years for the funds, and hopefully now they’ll be able to get these projects underway and have students learning in new schools soon.”
Governor Quinn also highlighted that Illinois’ unemployment rate fell again in September, countering the national trend. The seasonally adjusted rate fell 0.2 points to 9.9 percent in September, while the national unemployment rate remained unchanged. Illinois has added 50,700 jobs this year and the state’s economy has grown at a rate of 0.9 percent, nearly twice the rate of the national economy.