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August 23, 2002

Reading Grant Application Reduces Paperwork for Schools

The first steps toward a new and simplified grant application process for local school districts are now in place, state education officials said.

Starting immediately, using the Illinois Reading First grant as a pilot, local districts will have an alternative to submitting traditional paper proposals. Illinois Reading First Request for Proposals were e-mailed to qualifying districts today, with interested districts able to return completed applications via e-mail.

“The transitional application process will ease the paperwork burden on local districts,” said State Superintendent of Education Robert E. Schiller. “This is the first step toward technological improvements the agency plans to make to ensure the best possible service for districts and students.”

By the fall of 2003, grant applicants will login to an e-grant system located on the State Board’s website and use a common password to enter, access, and track information on all grant proposals. The e-grant system will enable the State Board to evaluate grants and award funds online for more than 100 competitive and formulaic grants for educational programs and services.

Illinois Reading First funds are part of the federal No Child Left Behind Act and will total nearly $33 million this year. Districts with low reading scores will receive the grants to implement scientifically based reading programs in kindergarten through grade 3. This year, 54 districts are eligible to apply to receive from $50,000 to $175,000. The deadline for the first application round is September 23, 2002, with the second round due January 3, 2003.

Illinois State Board of Education
100 North First Street
Springfield, IL 62777