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Some low poverty IL school districts slow to spend billions in COVID relief, BGA, Chalkbeat finds

Illinois school districts received more than $7 billion in federal relief money to help reopen schools and deal with the academic and mental health fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.

An analysis by the Better Government Association and Chalkbeat found statewide, districts have spent nearly $3 billion dollars of the total received. But some districts have been slow to find the most beneficial way to use the money.

“We found that a slew of high poverty districts, notably in Chicago’s south suburbs, have been spending their money slower than low poverty districts,” said Jewel Jackson, BGA education reporter.

The money is non-renewable and they have until September 2024 to spend the funds. There have been some delays due to supply chain issues.

“We spoke with numerous superintendents and school communities,” said Jackson. “It seems that they’ve putting their money more into facilities, and that is upgrading the school buildings or being able to upgrade the stove so they can actually cook meals for their students.”

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