Democratic leadership’s refusal to extend the popular Invest in Kids scholarship program is beginning to reverberate across the state. Recently, four private schools announced they would be closing their doors due in part to the loss of the Invest in Kids Scholarship program.
The four schools include Notre Dame Academy in Belleville, St. Odilo in Berwyn, St. Frances of Rome in Cicero, and St. Ann in Nashville.
The Invest in Kids scholarship fund was created as part of a bipartisan compromise that was part of a larger education funding reform law signed into law in 2017. The program was designed to help provide a choice to low-income families in struggling school districts by offering them a chance to find schools that better fit their children’s needs. The program encouraged donations to K-12 scholarships by offering a 75% Illinois income tax credit on the donations. Since the inception of the program in 2017, more than $308 million in private donations were made, providing more than 38,000 scholarships to help low-income K-12 students.
The original program was set to expire without legislative action at the end of 2023. Thousands of students and their families visited the Capitol throughout the year, pleading with legislators to extend the program so that they could continue the successes they were experiencing in their new schools.
Despite the bipartisan outpouring of support for the program, Democratic leadership refused to allow a vote on legislation to extend the program.