How Illinois lawmakers can give school choice to 9,000 low-income students

How Illinois lawmakers can give school choice to 9,000 low-income students

A scholarship program that has helped more than 9,000 low-income students choose to attend private schools will expire at the end of 2023 unless lawmakers expand the Invest in Kids Act.

As lawmakers return to Springfield, the clock is ticking to expand the Invest in Kids Tax Credit Scholarship program which helps more than 9,000 low-income students find the school that best fits their needs.

Bose Clodfelter and her family rely on the program as the only way to afford a private school where her children have found a better cultural and academic environment.

“It’s very important that politicians allow this tax credit to continue so my family can have the opportunity to be a part of a school system where our children and my family as a unit thrives,” Clodfelter said.

The Invest in Kids Act is set to expire at the end of 2023. Families such as the Clodfelters who have benefited from the scholarships are asking lawmakers to make the program permanent to give them and their kids a choice about their schooling.

“I think that it’s very important for people to have the ability to donate to the tax credit scholarship program because they care about the educational needs of the community and that people have the choice and a right to get the education that they want for their children,” she said.

Tax credit scholarships are funded by donations, with a $75 million cap. Donors then receive an income tax credit equal to 75% of their donation.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker recently changed his stance and now supports the program.

State lawmakers are in their lame duck session and have a chance to improve the program by getting rid of the 2023 sunset provision and making the program permanent. While that may be unlikely with gun control and abortion and other issues clouding the short agenda, it would be a great way for parting lawmakers to strengthen their legacy from the 102nd Illinois General Assembly.

If they do not act, state lawmakers of the 103rd General Assembly will have a new chance starting Jan. 11.

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