Lawmakers band together in attempted rescue of 'Invest in Kids' school scholarship program
A bipartisan group of lawmakers is attempting to rescue a private school scholarship program from being eliminated under Gov. J.B. Pritzker's proposed budget.
Invest in Kids is an education funding program that has helped underprivileged children since 2017. Talk of ending the program has been met with a great deal opposition from parents and lawmakers alike who fear that will make private education inaccessible for lower-income families living in school districts with subpar performance records.
“The governor’s budget proposed phasing out the scholarship tax credit program over the next three years so that the state can direct its limited revenues to funding its commitments to public schools first,” Pritzker’s spokeswoman said in a statement.
The funding for Invest in Kids comes from state-level tax credits to individuals and businesses that give to scholarships that make it possible for children from poor homes to attend private schools. Fearful parents are speaking out against the proposed cuts that will affect their children's lives.
“We just want our kids to have a fair shake to live better than we have, and just have a good life," one single mother told WCIA. "Or at least have a chance at it. This year they got full rides, so I was like super excited. But then literally like three days later, I hear that [Pritzker]'s trying to get rid of the program that made me so excited and caused so much joy. I'm like, 'Why would he want to do that?' There's so many more moms like me.”
There is, however, a bipartisan effort underway to save the program's funding. House Resolution 0289 is being sponsored by Reps. David McSweeney (R-Barrington Hills), Michael J. Zalewski (D-Riverside), Kelly M. Burke (D-Evergreen Park), Anthony DeLuca (D-Chicago Heights), Rita Mayfield (D-Waukegan), Elizabeth Hernandez (D-Cicero), Jonathan Carroll (D-Northbrook), Robert Rita (D-Blue Island), Allen Skillicorn (R-East Dundee) and Amy Grant (R-Wheaton).
Rep. Diane Pappas (D-Itasca) has not signed the resolution to support Invest in Kids. She is expected to side with the governor’s budget plan, as she has also supported anti-school choice bills in the past.