CENTRAL ILLINOIS, Ill., (WCIA) — The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) wants to make sure students have access to teachers who are well-prepared to lead classrooms. To help with that, the Board is awarding grants to districts that need it the most.

WCIA has reported on teacher shortages in Champaign Schools; now we’re learning who else is impacted and how ISBE is helping. They said money is one puzzle piece to start solving the problem.

$45 million is in the newest state budget to address shortages. Jennifer Kirmes, the Executive Director of Teaching and Learning for ISBE, said that’s the biggest investment to date focusing on it.

The money will go to 170 school districts with the highest count of unfilled teaching positions. 60% are in rural areas, 40% in urban. Once the districts have the money, Kirmes said it’s up to each district to decide how they’ll use it.

“There isn’t a one size fits all solution that is going to work for every district in the state,” she explained. “There is a lot of flexibility for school districts who are receiving these funds for them to tell us what the real root of their challenges with staffing is.”

She said some districts will use it to help with teacher retention, and some for more education. Some may even put it toward child care, transportation and relocation costs to attract new teachers to a new community.

So, who is impacted? Check out this information on the ISBE website. It breaks down each school district in the state and shows how many roles they’re looking to fill.