ALTON, IL - State Rep. Dan Beiser (D-Alton) was the Chief House sponsor of a new law which gives underfunded school districts the ability to compete for state grants which, prior to the passage of this legislation, denied the local districts from applying for the funding for repairs and rehabilitation.

“This is an important measure for our community and for the local school districts. We have school buildings that need to be rehabbed, but not entirely replaced,” said Beiser. “Under this new law, when funding is available then school districts with older buildings will be able to compete for dollars to rehab aging buildings as opposed to replace them.”

SB 639 amends the School Construction Law to add “rehabilitation” of aging buildings as an allowable funding request.  The bill gives school districts who cannot afford to build new or prefer to retain an older or historic school building the opportunity to apply for grants in order to rehabilitate rather than replace them.  Prior to the passage of this law, school districts could only apply for state grants if they intended to ‘replace’ their current structure and build a brand school building.

Landmarks Illinois and AIA Illinois were proponents of the bill.  Landmarks Illinois president Bonnie McDonald stated, “This amendment will help school districts throughout the state retain historic schools that are often considered architecturally significant to their communities.  We thank Rep. Beiser for taking a leadership role in this effort.”

Beiser has championed making sure that local schools receive the funding they need. He was one of the legislators who voted against the Education budget for FY 2013 that short-changed local school districts.

SB 639 passed both Houses in May and was signed by Gov. Quinn on August 2, 2012. For more information please contact Rep. Dan Beiser’s district office at (618) 465-5900.

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