Stacy Davis Gates’ income is 483% more than families she wants denied scholarships

Mailee Smith

Senior Director of Labor Policy and Staff Attorney

Mailee Smith
September 20, 2023

Stacy Davis Gates’ income is 483% more than families she wants denied scholarships

Chicago Teachers Union President Stacy Davis Gates makes over $262,000 a year. The average household income of the families receiving Invest in Kids scholarships is just $45,046. She chose a private school for her child, but wants to kill the option for 9,600 low-income students.

At least 9,600 children receiving scholarships through Illinois’ Invest in Kids tax credit scholarship program come from families whose incomes average $45,046.

Compare that to the salary of Chicago Teachers Union President Stacy Davis Gates: over $262,000 a year.

Davis Gates is paying for her son to attend a private school, which costs $18,000 per student to operate. She is also leading the charge to deny that same choice to those 9,600 low-income students, including 11 of them at her son’s private high school.

Illinois’ only school choice program, Invest in Kids, offers those low-income students a chance to attend a private school when public schools don’t meet their needs. Davis Gates is trying to ensure the program dies at the end of 2023 while she chose to place her own son in private school so he can “live out his dream” of playing soccer and find more academic offerings. The hope for those 9,600 students is that state lawmakers save their scholarships during the fall veto session starting Oct. 24.

Families struggle to pay for private school while still paying taxes to support public schools, but Davis Gates’ income makes the choice relatively easy.

According to the most recent records of her multiple employers, Davis Gates makes more than $262,000 a year. Her annual salary includes at least three income streams:

  • $149,916 as president of the CTU, according to CTU’s 2022 federal filing with the U.S. Department of Labor
  • $71,646 as executive vice president of the Illinois Federation of Teachers, according to IFT’s 2022 federal filing with the U.S. Department of Labor
  • $40,867 as vice president of the Chicago Teachers Union Foundation, according to the foundation’s 2021 990 filed with the Internal Revenue Service.

That doesn’t count any income earned by her husband.

On the other hand, the average family receiving an Invest in Kids scholarship makes just $45,046 a year.

According to the state, students are eligible for scholarships in the program if their household adjusted gross income the year before does not exceed 300% of the federal poverty level.  For a family of four, that’s $51,337. Once the child receives a scholarship, household income cannot exceed 400% of the federal poverty level.

But records show most recipients come from households earning much less. The Year Five Impact Report of Empower Illinois, one of the organizations processing and granting scholarship applications under the program, shows the average family income of scholarship recipients is $45,046. That’s just 170% of the federal poverty level.

Davis Gates’ opposition to the Invest in Kids scholarship program, while choosing private school for her own family, is a stunning show of tone-deaf elitism.

With an annual income topping $262,000, Davis Gates can afford her choice. Those receiving the scholarships she wants to kill can’t afford theirs.

If you want to make sure low-income families have a choice about their children’s schools, contact your state lawmakers and ask where they stand on saving Invest in Kids.

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