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Low-interest loans to boost technology in schools across the state

SPRINGFIELD, IL — The Illinois State Board of Education today announced the selection of 22 school districts from across Illinois to receive more than $3.5 million from the School Technology Revolving Loan Program. The low-interest loans allow schools to use technology for classroom instruction and staff development.

“We’re very grateful to be able to offer districts these loans,” said State Superintendent of Education Christopher A. Koch. ”It’s essential we ensure students gain experience working with the technology and tools that will help build 21st-century skills. Today’s students are tomorrow’s workers in an economy driven by technology.’’

The School Technology Revolving Loan Program is a 3-year loan with a 2 percent interest rate. Districts repay the loan in six payments (due two times a year). Districts that meet criteria set in law are selected on a first-come, first-serve basis contingent upon the balance of the fund, which fluctuates based on repayment schedules. A formula dictates the maximum amount districts can receive based on enrollment. Some districts request less than the maximum claimable.

The loans can be used for a variety of technology investments, including:

· Equipment and wiring for installing and upgrading local- and wide-area networks and for network hardware.

· Supplies and labor costs for electrical work directly related to technology.

· Computer hardware used for classroom instruction and/or staff development.

· Other technology hardware investments that directly relate to staff development and classroom instruction.

· Staff development directly related to the integration of technology into the learning environment.

· Computer furniture (not to exceed 10 percent of the loan).

The districts receiving the loans and the amounts, which total $3,514,625, are:

SCHOOL DISTRICT

AMOUNT REQUESTED

River Trails School District 26

$219,400

Lemont-Bromberek Combined School District 113A

$366,350

Woodstock Community Unit School District 200

$325,000

Bluford CCSD 114

$50,000

Clay City CUSD 10

$56,650

Waterloo Community Unit School District 5

$300,100

Mundelein ESD 75

$265,450

Lockport Elementary School District 91

$125,800

Peoria Heights CUSD 325

$100,000

Sycamore Community Unit School District 427

$402,700

Sangamon Valley Community Unit School District 9

$36,000

Forrestville Valley School District 221

$112,750

Rockdale School District 84

$64,450

Pawnee Community Unit School District 11

$30,000

La Moille CUSD 303

$53,200

Winnebago CUSD 323

$165,100

Hinckley-Big Rock CUSD 429

$97,600

Casey-Westfield CUSD 4C

$117,700

Robinson CUSD 2

$178,900

Sandwich CUSD 430

$238,750

Marengo Union Elementary CSD 165

$159,275

Kansas Community Unit 3

$49,450

“The funding source made available to our district assists us greatly in implementing our strategic plan, which focuses on teaching and learning initiatives for 21st century learners,” said Dane A. Delli, Superintendent of River Trails School District 26 in Mount Prospect. “A speedy and reliable network infrastructure is the cornerstone of a high tech learning environment.”

The school district in Mount Prospect, a northwest Chicago suburb, plans to use the funds primarily to improve its wireless infrastructure in order to provide additional and more reliable access to the internet for students and staff. Remaining loan funds will be used to purchase additional student devices and to provide professional development for teachers on technology integration.

Since the inception of the program in fiscal year 1999, more than $76 million (545 loans) has been loaned to qualified or approved school districts. Loan applications are received from June 1 to Dec. 1 every year. Districts awarded a loan may decline or request a lesser amount. Additional School Technology Revolving Loan Program funds may become available this fiscal year for eligible districts serving kindergarten through eighth grades. (The program alternates between grades 9-12 and K-8 each year.) The deadline to apply for the loans was Dec. 1. For more information, visit http://www.isbe.net/spec-ed/elearning/html/revolving_loan.htm.

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