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For Immediate Release
July 27, 2006

38 School Districts in Illinois to Receive State Funding to Strengthen Their Arts Education and Foreign Language Programs

Springfield, IL – The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE), in partnership with the Illinois Arts Council, recently awarded grants totaling more than $1.1 million to 38 school districts across Illinois to strengthen their arts education and foreign language programs.

The funding, appropriated in the State of Illinois FY06 budget, will assist school districts with engaging in a planning process to develop new or strengthen existing arts education and foreign language curricula. The grants ranged in size from $12,000 to $40,000 depending on the size of the district, the scope of the program and the level of planning required.

“This was a very competitive grant process and only school districts that met the criteria and demonstrated they had the ability to complete the planning and sustain their program were awarded funding. We hope this funding will jump start the arts education or foreign language program in those districts that receive funding. We also believe that through this process we will be able to identify model arts education or foreign language programs that can be replicated throughout the state,” said Illinois School Superintendent Randy Dunn.

The announcement of the $1.1 million in grants was made during the two-day (July 25 and 26) Illinois Alliance for Arts Education conference held at Princeton High School. IAAE is the principal arts education organization in Illinois whose main purpose is to ensure high quality comprehensive arts education for all children in the state.

In October 2005, Illinois Creates, a statewide arts education coalition led by the Illinois Arts Alliance, released the results of a groundbreaking study that revealed broad disparities in the amount of arts education students receive across the state. The study found that 20 percent of Illinois principals reported having no arts program of any kind in their school.

The Illinois Creates study was confirmed by new research released on March 28, 2006 by the Center on Education Policy in Washington, D.C. that found that since the passage of the federal No Child Left Behind law, 71 percent of the nation's 15,000 school districts had reduced the hours of instructional time spent on history, music and other subjects to open up more time for reading and math.

To demonstrate its commitment to the arts and foreign languages as core learning areas, the ISBE, in partnership with the Illinois Arts Council, developed the Arts and Foreign Language grant program. The Illinois Arts Alliance and the Illinois Council on Teaching Foreign Languages played significant roles in working with ISBE and the Illinois Arts Council to design the program to award this state funding.

In FY2006, Illinois passed a $2 million budget appropriation for arts education and foreign language. Then again in FY2007, ISBE proposed, the state legislature passed and Gov. Blagojevich approved an increase in the appropriation to $4 million.

“The arts are a powerful engine in developing students' creative faculties, dramatically increasing their desire and ability to learn,” said Terry A. Scrogum, Executive Director, Illinois Arts Council. “The Illinois Arts Council considers this new partnership with the Illinois State Board of Education a significant step toward ensuring the arts are an influential part of every Illinois student's education. We look forward to working together and empowering Illinoisans through arts and education to achieve their greatest potential – both in school and throughout their lives,” he said.

For three days in June a panel of 28 arts education and foreign language experts met in Springfield to review proposals received from 69 school districts (45 applied for arts funding, 21 for foreign language and 3 for both arts and foreign language). After thoroughly reviewing each application, the group of arts education and foreign language experts individually scored each applicant based on criteria outlined in the grant application.

School districts awarded grants demonstrated a great need for additional funding for their arts education and foreign language programs and the ability to successfully develop a comprehensive plan to strengthen their arts education or foreign language programs. Grant recipients also detailed plans to implement their plans in future years with local funds. Chicago Public Schools is the only district to be awarded two grants – one for arts education and one for foreign languages.

Funding in subsequent years will be contingent upon a sufficient appropriation for the program and satisfactory progress in the preceding grant period.

  • Chicago Public Schools District 299
  • Alton CUSD 11
  • Schaumburg CCSD 54
  • Warren THSD 121
  • Mount Vernon City Schools, District 80
  • Rockford Public Schools 205
  • Community Unit School District 300
  • Aurora West Unit School District 129
  • West Central CUSD 235 (Biggsville)
  • Community Consolidated School District 59
  • Sterling CUSD 5
  • Edwardsville Community Unit School District 7
  • Carbondale Elementary District 95
  • Champaign CUSD 4
  • Salem Community High School 600
  • Matteson SD 162
  • DeSoto CCSD 86
  • Midwest Central CUSD 191
  • Lincoln CUSD 404
  • Lewistown District 97
  • Riverton CUSD 14
  • Deerfield District 109
  • Palos CCSD 118
  • Trico Unit District 176
  • Woodstock CUSD 200
  • Blue Ridge CUSD 8
  • Kewanee CUSD 229
  • Moline School District 40
  • Wauconda CUSD 118
  • O'Fallon Community Consolidated District 90
  • Hononegah CHSD 207
  • Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville
  • Burbank School District 111
  • Raccoon CSD 1
  • Ridgeland School District 122
  • Kings Community School District 144
  • Egyptian CUSD 5
  • Bellwood School District 88

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