River Trails Elementary District 26 is among 22 schools benefiting from technology loans awarded by the Illinois State Board of Education.
The state board has more than $3.5 million to issue as revolving low-interest loans, which allows schools to use technology for classroom instruction and staff development.
District 26, in Mount Prospect, requested $219,400. Primarily it will use the money to improve its wireless infrastructure, to provide additional and more reliable access to the Internet for students and staff. The remainder of the loan will buy additional student devices and to provide professional development for teachers on technology integration.
"The funding source made available to our district assists us greatly in implementing our strategic plan, which focuses on teaching and learning initiatives for 21st century learners," said Superintendent Dane A. Delli. "A speedy and reliable network infrastructure is the cornerstone of a high tech learning environment."
Other suburban school districts to get loans are Mundelein Elementary District 75, Woodstock Unit District 200 and Marengo Union Elementary District 165.
"We're very grateful to be able to offer districts these loans," said State Superintendent of Education Christopher A. Koch. "It's essential we ensure students gain experience working with the technology and tools that will help build 21st-century skills. Today's students are tomorrow's workers in an economy driven by technology."
The School Technology Revolving Loan Program is a 3-year loan with a 2 percent interest rate. Districts repay the loan in six payments (due two times a year). Loans can be used for a variety of technology investments, including:
• Equipment and wiring for installing and upgrading local- and wide-area networks and for network hardware.
• Supplies and labor costs for electrical work directly related to technology.
• Computer hardware used for classroom instruction and/or staff development.
• Other technology hardware investments that directly relate to staff development and classroom instruction.
• Staff development directly related to the integration of technology into the learning environment.
•Computer furniture (not to exceed 10 percent of the loan).
Since the inception of the program in fiscal year 1999, more than $76 million (545 loans) has been loaned to qualified or approved school districts.