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Lt. Gov. Simon to U.S. Reps: Ensure high-quality education at North Chicago schools 

Simon supports Impact Aid during tour of Naval Station Great Lakes  

GREAT LAKES – November 3, 2011. In her capacity as chair of a statewide military base retention committee, Lt. Governor Sheila Simon toured Naval Station Great Lakes today and urged Illinois Congressmen to maximize the financial assistance provided to the public school districts serving military families in the region. 

Simon supports a bill that would allow the five elementary and high school districts that serve Great Lakes families to continue pooling their students to qualify for a higher rate of federal Impact Aid. Impact Aid is designed to help cover the cost of educating students whose families live or work on federally owned, property tax-exempt land, such as military bases.

Sens. Dick Durbin and Mark Kirk support the legislation, which passed out of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee last month. Without this bill, North Chicago and neighboring school districts could lose millions of dollars in federal funding this year.

"All students deserve a high-quality education, and Impact Aid goes a long way toward making that a reality for every student in this community," Simon said. "We need to work together to make sure this essential funding is protected and that every student is given a chance to succeed." 

Simon is the Governor's point person on education reform and the chair of the state's Interagency Military Base Support and Economic Development Committee (IMBSEDC). She is visiting each of the state’s military installations to learn about the base’s operations, impact on the state economy and relationship with local communities. The committee was established in 2005 in response to nationwide base closures, and it continues to make recommendations to local, state and federal policymakers on retention, realignment and reuse efforts.  

The federal Impact Aid funding would benefit five public schools serving Great Lakes: Glenbrook High School District 225, Glenview School District 34, North Chicago District 187, North Shore District 112, and Township High School District 113.

More than 35,000 U.S. Navy recruits pass through Great Lakes’ doors each year, joining an additional 13,500 students who attend training schools on the base annually. About 2,000 children of Great Lakes personnel attend public schools in the area.