Illinois schools spend millions of dollars on technology even before federal rescue checks

Illinois schools spend millions of dollars on technology even before federal rescue checks

According to a report, Illinois school leaders spent millions of dollars within weeks to cope with the coronavirus outbreak. The abrupt closure of the schools forced the school leaders to spend huge amounts. The school officials purchased technology quickly to roll out remote learning plans.

According to the report, the larger school districts purchased thousands of laptops and tablets before the federal government promised to provide $678 million in emergency aid to Illinois schools. There are still hundreds of students who do not have reliable access to technology and the internet. The school officials are finding whether the investment in the technology is paying off.

In Peoria, fewer than two-third of the high school students are participating in remote learning. The largest school district of Illinois, Chicago Public Schools, is unable to track how many students are engaged in school work through internet technology. The community and parents are asking for transparency in terms of spending decisions made by the schools.

Jianan Shi, a member of the parent group Raise Your Hand for Illinois Public Education, said, “No one has a playbook on how to navigate this.” Shi demanded the participation of the parents in the spending decisions. Shi added, “We expect the district to be in partnership with its families for the solutions.” The officials of the Illinois administration said, “We do not know when we will receive federal dollars.”

According to the report, Chicago school district bought 53000 Chromebooks, iPads, and laptops since March. Elgin U-46 spent $1 million on Chromebooks, iPads, and laptops after the coronavirus outbreak. Tony Sanders, the superintendent of Elgin, said, “We placed an order for as many Chromebooks as we could.” In Rockford, every student has one device after buying 16000 new devices. Ehren Jarret, the superintendent of Rockford, said, “We took a risk as we do not know whether the federal funds will cover the device purchases.”

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