District 191 budget provides stability, recovery
The District 191 Board of Education officially adopted the 2021-22 budget at its meeting on June 17, with spending targeted to provide stability in programs and services, and provide recovery from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“In the past 15 months, learning has been interrupted, school-family connections have been difficult, and students’ emotional, mental and physical health has been affected,” Superintendent Dr. Theresa Battle said. “I’m incredibly proud of how we responded over those 15 months, and I’m proud of how we will move forward both to build on what we’ve learned and address the needs that we know are there.”
Early in this year’s budget development process, the district identified providing stability during uncertain times as a priority. With that in mind, the adopted budget uses about $3.9 million in federal and state pandemic relief funds to ensure current programming, services and staffing levels will remain in place.
That decision means programs and services won’t be reduced and class sizes will be within the district’s pre-COVID ranges, except where the district plans to lower them as part of pandemic recovery plans.
Investing in recovery
The district will use about $3.3 million of federal and state relief funding to support recovery from the pandemic, with spending falling into three categories:
- Enhancing academic support
- Providing health and safety measures
- Building connections with families
More complete details of recovery investments are included in the district’s Safe Return to In-Person Learning Plan, which was also presented on June 17.
Among the programs and services in the district recovery plan are:
- Enhanced and expanded summer school programming,
- Lower class sizes in early elementary,
- Supporting the launch of One91 Virtual Academy,
- Expanded access to tutors and after-school enrichment in grades K-8,
- Additional staff to support credit recovery for high school students, and math intervention for middle school students,
- Enhanced back-to-school activities specifically supporting incoming students in kindergarten and grades 1, 6 and 9,
- Expanded “FIRE Academy” program that helps parents understand and connect with their students’ school system.
Multi-year approach, temporary funding
As part of the American Rescue Plan, District 191 will receive an additional $16.1 million in pandemic relief funds, which must be used by the end of 2023-24 school year. The district is developing its multi-year plan for using that funding to address the ongoing needs resulting from the pandemic.
“The relief funding we’re receiving is significant and essential, but it’s temporary,” Superintendent Battle said. “It reflects that these needs will be there for the next few years at least, but we know we have to be thoughtful about how we use it.”
- Board of Education