Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn last week announced the award of $623 million in state funds for school district projects.

The funds, combined with local dollars, allow school districts to complete projects totaling more than $1.2 billion. The projects were approved as part of the state’s ongoing $31 billion, partially bond-financed public works program.

The state approved projects for 31 districts in the current fiscal year. They include new schools, classroom additions, renovations and upgrades.

“This capital funding will help school districts across the state update their facilities and make critical repairs to improve the educational experience for our students,” Quinn said in a statement.

In a separate announcement last week, the governor called for a constitutional amendment he dubbed the “Lincoln Amendment” that would allow Illinois voters to put local government and state ethics laws on the ballot.

“There is no greater force than everyday people banding together for a cause they believe in,” Quinn said last week, marking Abraham Lincoln’s birthday. “Our citizens must always have a role in keeping our government honest and ethical.”

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