YORKVILLE – Yorkville School District 115 has received an additional six-figure grant that would allow the district to provide an electronic learning device for each child this school year, according to state and local school officials.
According to an Illinois School Board of Education news release sent Monday, Sept. 21, Yorkville schools received $372,063 in Digital Equity Formula Grant funds as of this month. The state grant is meant to help close the digital divide among Illinois students as many are participating in hybrid or fully remote learning, state officials said in the news release.
Mike Vargas, business services director for the school district, said Wednesday the money received from the state's digital equity grant fund is on top of the nearly $300,000 in CARES Act funding the district already has received so far. He said it's difficult to say exactly how many devices the new grant funding would allow the district to purchase and district officials still need to meet with the technology department about that.
“The plan is to meet with them and figure out how we can be very efficient and effective with the use of these funds,” Vargas said.
Vargas said the initial nearly $300,000 CARES Act funding the district received was meant for all COVID-19 related expenses dating back to mid-March. He said the new funding would be effective dating back to that point in time as well.
Vargas said the additional funding will not only help with COVID-19 expenses and provide needed technology and mobile hot spots for students and families, but it will provide much-needed revenue for the district's budget that is set to be adopted during the Monday, Sept. 28 Board of Education meeting.
“It is definitely something that is going to be put to good use for many of our students and families that obviously need this assistance during these times,” Vargas said.
Yorkville schools had their first day of school on Aug. 20 for fully in-person, hybrid and fully remote students.
Sandwich School District 430 received $139,094 in those grant funds, according to state officials. Plano School District 88 received $159,314 and Oswego School District 308 received $1,024,992, per state data.