Despite threats from some legislators, Illinois’ recently introduced $100 million tax credit scholarship program is no longer facing any imminent danger after the recent passage of the state budget. Benefitting low- and middle-income families who choose to send their children to private schools, the program has, to date, distributed over $1 million in scholarships to Jewish day school students.
In the waning days of session, Agudah advocacy was instrumental in protecting the tax credit scholarship program, which provides up to $13,000 per child to private school parents. Senate Bill 2236 sponsored by Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Plainfield) would have prohibited donors from receiving tax credits and prevented students from receiving scholarships if the state did not fully fund public education. Along with its allies, Agudath Israel of Illinois was able to prevent this bill from ever being called for a vote and since no negative legislative action was taken before the deadline, this threat to program has been effectively eliminated with the passage of a budget that fully funds public education,
“We can breathe a collective sigh of relief,” said Rabbi Shlomo Soroka, Agudath Israel of Illinois’ director of government affairs. “While much work remains to be done to sustain the program and ensure its success, we are pleased that this cloud has been lifted and anticipate an uptick in contributions by donors whose concerns have been alleviated.”