* Beware of this lede from the Illinois News Network…
Gov. J.B. Pritzker is formally asking lawmakers to shut down Illinois’ private school scholarship program and pour more into public schools.
In his budget proposal Wednesday, Pritzker proposes taking the $100 million cap on donations to the Invest in Kids private school scholarship program and cutting it down to $50 million, $11 million less than what was donated in the program’s first year. He proposed to phase it out over the next three years.
As part of the overhaul of Illinois’ education funding formula in 2017, lawmakers added the five-year Invest in Kids pilot program, which grants a 75 percent income tax credit to those who donate scholarship funds for private schools. Officials with the program said most of the donations were for less than $1,000 and from individual donors.
“The governor is proposing to phase out the program over the next three years so that the state can direct its limited revenues to funding its commitments to public schools first,” according to the proposal. […]
More than 40,000 students applied for scholarship funds through the program in 2018. The program raised $61 million statewide that year, a national record for the first year of this kind of program, and paid the private school tuition for more than 6,700 students. Pritzker’s administration estimated that ending the pilot program would put $6 million into the state’s coffers.
Pritzker said he opposed using tax revenue to subsidize private schools when he said Illinois does such a poor job of funding public schools, the Sun-Times reported. […]
Holter said Pritzker’s assertion that the funding for the scholarships could be put into public schools is misleading.
“It’s not like there’s a big $100 million or $75 million pool of money out there that we’ve taken from some other pot of money,” he said. “We work hard to make sure that the story of [this program’s] importance and impact is out there so that these private citizens feel inspired to give.”
It’s a five-year pilot program. It began midway through Fiscal Year 2018. It’ll expire in three more years unless action is taken.
What he’s doing is starting the process of phasing it out by lowering the limit on tax credits for next fiscal year.
Also, money has to come from somewhere.