Southern Illinois Schools to Receive $40 Million in Capital Funds for Updates and Expansions

CARTERVILLE–(ENEWSPF)–October 22, 2010. Governor Pat Quinn today visited Carterville to highlight a state grant of more than $22.5 million to build a new high school. The Illinois Jobs Now!-funded project will create approximately 265 construction jobs and serve 1,600 students in grades nine through twelve.

“By giving districts the funding to build modern schools, we are giving our students the tools to succeed,” said Governor Quinn. “When we invest in our schools and students, we are supporting long-term economic growth in southern Illinois and throughout the state.”

The state grant of $22.5 million will be matched by a local share of $16.4 million. Governor Quinn announced this week that Carterville Community Unit School District is among 18 Illinois school districts statewide that will receive a total of more than $270 million from Illinois Jobs Now!. In southern Illinois, Pinckneyville Community High School District 101 will receive more than $14 million for a high school classroom addition and demolition work, and Cairo School District 1 will receive more than $3 million for an elementary school addition. 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. The grants will also allow several districts to recover from damage resulting from natural disasters, including flooding. The capital funding, combined with local dollars, will allow school districts to start 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 led the Midwest with 50,700 new jobs added this year.