Durbin Announces Illinois to Receive $415 Million Through Education Jobs Bill

[CHICAGO, IL] – A projected 5,700 education jobs in Illinois will be saved as a result of legislation passed by the Congress and signed into law by the President last night, U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) announced today at Robeson High School in Chicago. The Education Jobs and Medicaid Assistance Act delivers federal assistance to state governments, many of which are facing record budget deficits for the upcoming fiscal year, in order to protect teacher and support personnel jobs in local school districts. Illinois will receive $415 million in funding from the $10 billion Education Jobs Fund created in the bill.


“As students prepare for the upcoming school year, many of their parents are reading news reports about budget deficits and wondering whether art, music, or foreign language classes will be cut, whether some teachers will be gone, and how many students will be crowded into one classroom,” Durbin said. “This legislation will save more than 130,000 jobs in schools across America and 5,700 in Illinois. It will help school districts keep class sizes manageable. It will help teachers provide the quality education our students need. And it will help schools ensure that students growing up in this recession do not see their education suffer as a result.”


Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley joined Durbin for the announcement. “I want to thank Senator Durbin for his hard work in helping move this legislation through the Senate and all the members of the Illinois delegation who supported it. The kind of federal support we are talking about today plays a big role in moving us closer to our goal of making Chicago’s schools the best in America,” Daley said.


Without this funding, Illinois’ current shortfall means a projected 17,000 lost education jobs for the upcoming school year. Chicago Public Schools currently faces a $600 million deficit. In addition to cutting teachers, schools are considering increasing class size to 33 students, eliminating non-varsity sports, and reducing magnet and gifted programs in order to close the budget gap.


“Creating and saving education jobs is exactly what we need to do to get our economy back on track. This funding will not be able to save every teacher job, but it will save a bunch of them. And it will help the State of Illinois and our school districts as they struggle with this challenging economy,” Durbin said.