CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — Champaign school district officials want another shot at American Rescue Plan Act money from the city.
Earlier this month, some parents and students were upset when they found out they hadn’t yet used the money they got last year. The Champaign Unit 4 School District got $526,620 last year to help fix the root causes of gun violence in the city, but things didn’t go according to plan. The money was left sitting after the district’s plan fell through, which included hiring more staff to focus on the issue. Officials said they didn’t get enough suitable applicants.
Now, district officials said they resubmitted a request to the city — a plan they’re calling “Mission Possible.” They talked about their new proposal to spend the money at Monday night’s board meeting. As soon as it gets approved by the city council, they said they will be ready to roll out the seven-part plan.
“We didn’t just come up with this, right? This is a lot of talking with people and listening and looking at our data,” Unit 4 Executive Director of Family and Community Engagement, James Harden, said. “And I’m not saying that anybody said differently, I’m just saying that it’s a lot of work and a longer process. So, we are at the point now where, since we heard from the city, we’re ready to start moving some of these programs.”
Harden said some of the areas that will alleviate the root causes of gun violence include an ad campaign that puts antitruancy billboards and public bus signs in targeted areas. They also plan to add two security vehicles with flashing lights to be used mainly as deterrents, and to build onto their services to find mental health support for students and families.