Senator Villa at the Pickerill Estate House, located in the Pickerill-Pigott Forest PreserveYORKVILLE – In an effort to allow all Kendall County residents to enjoy the natural resources the area has to offer, State Senator Karina Villa (D-West Chicago) has secured more than $800,000 for the Kendall County Forest Preserve District through the Illinois Department of Natural Resources Park and Recreational Facility Construction (PARC) grant program, which will be used to renovate and update the Pickerill Estate House.

“I’m elated to hear that Kendall County has been selected to receive a PARC grant to improve accessibility and provide more recreational opportunities for our community at the Kendall County Forest Preserve,” said Senator Villa. “Illinois continues to show its commitment to investing in public spaces to help maintain the health and wellness of families across our state.”

The Kendall County Forest Preserve District will use the PARC grant funding to renovate and update the Pickerill Estate House, located in the Pickerill-Pigott Forest Preserve, by making the building ADA accessible and constructing an adjoining open-air pavilion.

The PARC grant program provides up to 90% of project costs to help build, renovate and improve recreational buildings used by the public or purchase land to be used for public access and recreational purposes, with local governments matching the value of the grants awarded. The grant to the Kendall County Forest Preserve District was one of 17 grants awarded across the state.

A full list of grantees is available on IDNR’s website.

Category: Press Releases

TrucksGENEVA – The Illinois Department of Transportation announced Monday that $7 million in local infrastructure funding will be distributed to local governments as part of the Rebuild Illinois Program, and State Senator Karina Villa (D-West Chicago) is pleased to announce that the Village of Geneva, partnering with the City of St. Charles, will receive a portion of the funds.

“Upgrading our roads will help accommodate local truck traffic in Geneva and ensure a safer driving experience for residents and visitors,” Villa said. “This critical infrastructure project will give our community the resources it needs to attract business, manage growth and improve local quality of life.”

This grant is made possible through IDOT’s Truck Access Route Program, which allows counties, municipalities and townships to apply for assistance in upgrading roads to accommodate 80,000-pound trucks and become designated truck routes. IDOT will provide the Village of Geneva with $320,600, which will be used for connecting Illinois Route 38 truck routes.

“Illinois is the country’s transportation hub, with freight activity a cornerstone of the state’s economy,” said Acting Transportation Secretary Omer Osman. “At IDOT, we want our local partners to have the necessary tools to manage traffic safely and spur even more job creation and economic growth.”

A complete list of projects can be viewed here.

Category: Press Releases

Students in their classroomWEST CHICAGO – State Senator Karina Villa (D-West Chicago) is announcing that school districts in the 25th District will receive $173,730,885 in additional funding to help address the many challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Our local teachers, parents and students have learned so much during this pandemic –they’ve learned how to be resilient and have found new tricks and ways to engage classrooms,” Villa said. “The end of the pandemic is in sight, and this funding will help our students and schools move forward.”

The funding comes as part of the most recent federal COVID-19 relief packages. Schools, students and parents have overcome challenges that no one could have imagined before the pandemic began, including remote and hybrid learning, digital connection issues, new processes for receiving state and federal aid that normally flow through schools, and more.

Local school districts are set to receive the following amounts:
• West Chicago Elementary School District - $9,867,839
• Community High School District 94 - $3,930,792
• Yorkville Community Unit School District 115 - $3,184,923
• Batavia Public School District 101 - $3,672,413
• School District U-46 - $95,027,296
• St. Charles Community Unit School District 303 - $5,782,524
• Geneva Community Unit School District 304 - $3,829,821
• Kaneland Community Unit School District 302 - $1,684,262
• Indian Prairie School District 204 - $12,261,096
• West Aurora School District 129 - $34,489,919

The majority of the funding comes from the American Rescue Plan, which gives local schools a great deal of flexibility in how they can use the money over the next 3 ½ years. At least 20% of the funding must be used to address learning loss, but beyond that, school districts can use the money to address many different issues and costs. For example, it can be used to better equip schools for safe learning, to prevent layoffs, to address students’ social and emotional needs, to fund summer programs, or to ensure all students have access to reliable Wi-Fi and technology.

The State Board of Education, in collaboration with other state agencies that address education, has produced a guide for local school districts to help them decide how to best use their resources. While the guide and other state-sponsored services are completely voluntary, the state aims to support local districts during this difficult time.

“The Biden Administration’s American Rescue Plan will provide schools the resources they need to reopen safely as soon as possible,” Villa said. “I urge our local school districts to use this state-produced guide to help us move forward and provide assistance for students and professional development for teachers who have gone through so much in this last year. I’m excited to see how our champions and heroes, our educators, bring our students out of this dark time into a new age.”

In total, Illinois received nearly $7 billion to support local school districts.

Category: Press Releases

Students in a classroomWEST CHICAGO – In an effort to diversify local educators, the Illinois State Board of Education has awarded multiple Career and Technical Education (CTE) Education Career Pathways Grants to schools in the district State Senator Karina Villa (D-West Chicago) represents, including Batavia High School.

“As a former school social worker, I know firsthand the importance of a diverse workforce in our schools,” Villa said. “Investing in our students’ education is the first step in investing in our society, and I’m thrilled to see Batavia High School receive an important grant to fund Career and Technical Education development.”

The CTE Education Career Pathways Grants were awarded to 62 schools and vocational centers across the state, totaling more than $1.5 million. Among those schools are Batavia High School, Metea Valley High School, South Elgin High School, West Aurora High School and Yorkville High School. Currently, only 18% of teachers identify as people of color, but ISBE’s CTE Education Career Pathways Grants will help increase the diversity of the CTE teaching profession in Illinois.

Applicants to the CTE Education Pathways Grant program submitted an implementation plan outlining how they would recruit underrepresented students into education careers. The grant also requires a partnership between grantees and institutions of higher education to ensure students can earn dual credit or other certifications while in high school.

“Our schools now have the funding to focus on recruiting and supporting future educators in the Career and Technical Education field, while ensuring they are well equipped to succeed in the classroom,” Villa said. “It’s important for students to have teachers and mentors who look like them and who can help prepare them for future job and education opportunities.”

A full list of the grant recipients is available on the ISBE website.

Category: Press Releases


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