Illinois school districts have received more than $7 billion in Elementary and Secondary School Relief Funds to help address the academic and mental impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. State data showed individual districts received as little as $10,000 and as much as $200 million in funds. The city of Chicago received over $2 billion in ESSER funds — the highest amount granted of all districts.

A Chalkbeat Chicago and Illinois Answers Project investigation revealed that despite student needs, high poverty districts have spent smaller portions of their ESSER funds in comparison to low poverty districts. This has raised questions about the priorities of districts, their pace of spending and what districts are specifically spending their funds on. So far, Illinois has spent nearly $2.8 billion and has until September 2024 to spend remaining allocations.

Click on the map to learn how much districts received and have spent of their ESSER funds.

Note: This data is from September 2022 and may not reflect future changes

Jewél Jackson is a multimedia investigative reporter who focuses on K-12 and higher education for the Illinois Answers Project. She has covered higher education for El Paso Matters in El Paso, Texas and various social justice movements in her hometown of Louisville, Kentucky. Jackson has produced numerous radio segments for local National Public Radio stations and is an alumna of the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University.