Durbin Commends Education Department for Release of $415 Million for Illinois Education Jobs Bill

Legislation Projected to Save 5,700 Illinois Education Jobs

[WASHINGTON, DC] – U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) today commended the Department of Education for the release of $415 million in funding to save a projected 5,700 education jobs in Illinois. The funding was included in legislation – Education Jobs and Medicaid Assistance Act – passed by the Congress and signed into law by the President earlier this month. On August 11, Durbin and Mayor Richard M. Daley announced at Robeson High School in Chicago that the $415 million in funding would be made available. Today, Illinois may begin allocating that funding.


“Creating and saving education jobs is exactly what we need to do to get our economy back on track, said Durbin. “Earlier this month, we announced that Illinois would receive $415 million to save roughly 5,700 education jobs. Today, this funding has been made available to help keep class sizes manageable; provide the quality education our students need; and ensure that students growing up in this recession do not see their education suffer as a result.”


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. The $10 billion Education Fund created in the bill will support education jobs in the 2010-11 school year and be distributed to states by a formula based on population figures. Illinois and other states can distribute their funding to school districts based on their own primary funding formula or districts’ relative share of federal Title I funds.


“There is a huge sense of urgency to get these funds out the door. I commend Illinois for being one of the first states to submit their application and thank our team at the Department for making funds available within a matter of days,” said Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. “These education dollars will help Illinois keep thousands of teachers in the classroom working with our students this school year.”


Without this funding, Illinois’ current shortfall means a projected 17,000 lost education jobs for the upcoming school year. In particular, the 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.