Durbin says $255,170 coming to Alton schools

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Illinois, says  the U.S. Department of Education has $791,108 in funding for three Illinois school districts and the Illinois State Board of Education to improve safety in the classroom and help prevent students from entering the school-to-prison pipeline.

The funding is through the Now is the Time Grant program, which supports comprehensive efforts to improve school safety by increasing mental-health services and reducing violence.

“Today’s announcement is an investment in the safety of students in Illinois classrooms,” Durbin said late Wednesday. “Ensuring that our classrooms are safe, inclusive spaces will help prevent our youth from turning away from their studies and toward drugs and violence. We must also ensure that these efforts include reforms to better discipline our students without forcing them out of the classroom and into a courtroom.”

The Illinois State Board of Education will receive $1,098,250 in funding through the School Emergency Management Grant Program to expand their capacity to assist school districts in developing and implementing high-quality school emergency operations plans. The School Emergency Management Grant Program helps states expand their capacity to assist school districts in developing and implementing school emergency operations plans.

The following Illinois school districts will receive funding through the School Climate Transformation Grant Program to improve classroom climate and learning experience:

– Alton Community Unit School District 11, awarded $255,170 in funding;

– Zion Elementary School District 6 in Zion, awarded $214,973 in funding; and

– Sandoval Community Unit School District 501: awarded $320,965 in funding.

The School Climate Transformation Grant Program is designed to help school districts develop, enhance, or expand systems of support for implementing evidence-based, multi-tiered behavioral frameworks for improving behavioral outcomes and learning conditions for students. The program also seeks to connect students and families to support services that can help improve conditions for learning and behavioral outcomes and increase awareness of mental-health issues.

School districts will use funding through this program to implement models for reform that address the school-to-prison pipeline—the unfortunate and often unintentional policies and practices that push our nation’s schoolchildren, especially those who are most at-risk, out of classrooms and into the juvenile and criminal justice systems, Durbin’s office said.

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