Gov. J.B. Pritzker is pushing a multibillion-dollar state building plan. Educators have an idea for how to use it: long-dormant school construction grants.
The 20-year-old program provides a state funding match for adding classrooms or replacing obsolete buildings.
But it hasn't been funded for a decade and 285 school districts have been waiting as long as 15 years for grants. An Associated Press analysis estimates there's nearly $6 billion in needed construction just among those on the list.
New Berlin (BUR'-lihn) District 16 didn't wait for the state grant when it built a $14 million elementary school in 2009. But Superintendent Adam Ehrman (UR'-mihn) says waiting for about $5 million promised from the state has hampered planning for dealing with the district's outmoded junior-senior high school.