Scholarship-granting organizations accredited by the Illinois Children’s Investment Program are prepared to give students money to go to an accredited private school of their choice.
Members of the Illinois congressional delegation want there to be more school options amid the COVID-19 closures in some areas.
Illinois Invest in children The program was created in 2017.
Empower Illinois is an accredited awarding organization for the entire state. President Anthony Holter said Wednesday night that students and parents can queue to apply for the EmpowerIllinois.org Starting at 6:30 pm
“One advantage of this act and program is that we are required to award scholarships on a first-come-first-served basis,” Holter told WMAY. “So this place in line is really important.”
Once in line after 6:30 PM, parents can click to apply at 7 PM
There are six other state-accredited scholarship awarding organizations. Together, they help manage up to $75 million annually in donations from Illinois income tax officials that can take a tax credit of up to 75%.
Some in the statehouse have sought to limit the tax credit program, but Holter said it has had great success. All of the organizations involved, he said, have provided more than $200 million in scholarships from donations.
“This is something that shouldn’t be cut back, and it shouldn’t be cut back,” Holter said. “In fact, it’s just the opposite. More stability, more certainty, more continuity for children and families.”
The program is open to families under a certain income limit with up to $15,000 in individual scholarships available.
With schools across the state and nation closed due to rising numbers of COVID-19 cases, many members of Congress from Illinois are looking to give parents and students more school choices.
US Representative Rodney Davis, a Republican from Taylorville, said that the coronavirus is not a threat to most children, but all children are harmed by distance learning. Along with other Republican members of Congress, Davis hopes to pass the Open Schools Act to repurpose already approved U.S. Bailout Act dollars to give a $10,000 grant to parents to send their children to an open school.
“It will give children and parents giving rather than wasting like as much as the $200 billion that has been sent to our schools across the country for the sole purpose of keeping them open,” Davis said.
He said he can’t stand it while some areas, such as Chicago Public Schools, are run by teacher unions.
“I’ve seen a push to keep putting our kids in a situation where they won’t be able to succeed and I’m not going to advocate for that,” Davis said.
The union in Chicago has stopped operating, saying high case rates make it unsafe to return. But late Monday, they reached terms for returning to class starting Wednesday.
CTU’s five-day hiatus was the third in three years.
Other schools across the state have decided to either postpone returns from winter recess, or start over under an “adaptive pause” in coordination with local health departments and school officials.
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