Durbin Urges Passage of Bill That Would Modernize Schools and Prevent Teacher Layoffs

MORTON GROVE, IL–(ENEWSPF)–September 26, 2011.  With schools across Illinois struggling to upgrade their facilities and prevent teacher layoffs, passage of legislation to invest in school modernization and help keep teachers is critically important, U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) said this morning after meeting with administrators and teachers at Golf Middle School in Morton Grove.

At Golf Middle School, Durbin met with the district superintendent, principals of the middle and elementary schools and the president of the local teachers association and spoke to a classroom of 8th grade students. Like schools across Illinois, Golf Middle School District has faced budget problems which have caused overdue infrastructure improvements to be postponed. The district has struggled with layoffs of teachers and educational support staff.  In addition, art classes, computer clubs, and other extracurricular activities have had to be eliminated.

The American Jobs Act, proposed by President Obama earlier this month, would provide $25 billion to modernize 35,000 public schools nationwide. In Illinois, the proposal would invest $1.1 billion in school modernization, supporting as many as 14,500 jobs, and providing schools with critical facility and technological upgrades. In addition, the legislation would invest $35 billion to prevent layoffs of up to 280,000 teachers, including 14,500 in Illinois.

β€œThe academic year has just started, and schools across Illinois and across the country are facing budget cuts that have forced them to postpone desperately needed upgrades to their facilities and consider painful teacher layoffs. The American Jobs Act will help modernize schools across the country, renovating old buildings and supporting new science labs and internet-ready classrooms so that our children are learning in the best possible environment. Not only will this legislation support as many as 14,500 jobs in Illinois, it will also help school districts keep class sizes manageable, help teachers provide the quality education our students need, and help schools ensure that students growing up in this difficult economy do not see their education suffer as a result,” Durbin said.

The American Jobs Act was designed to help create jobs and spur economic development by supporting small businesses, investing in education and infrastructure, creating pathways for the unemployed to get back to work, and offering tax relief for middle class families. The vast majority of the proposals included in the legislation – such as funding for school modernization and preventing teacher layoffs – have received previous bipartisan support.