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Illinois schools receive more than $80 million to close digital divide

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WSIL) – Illinois Governor JB Pritzker and the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) announced Monday that 471 Local Education Agencies (LEAs) will receive more than $80 million to help close the digital divide among Illinois students.

Funding for the Digital Equity Formula Grant comes from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

The CARES Act directs federal funding to governors and State Education Agencies to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

More than 1.2 million students are starting the 2020-21 school year with remote learning in place and approximately 528,000 are learning in a blended or hybrid environment, comprising nearly 92 percent of all students in Illinois.

The Digital Equity Formula Grant allocates funding to the highest-need LEAs in the state.

Many school districts have already purchased devices and expanded connectivity since the pandemic began. LEAs may use the grant to purchase additional devices and connectivity or to cover purchases made since March 13, 2020. LEAs will receive reimbursement after submitting an approvable application and at least quarterly expenditure reports.

For a list of all the schools receiving funds from this grant, click here.

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