Stop Vouchers in Illinois

Thank you for your help! Because of you we successfully kept a voucher extension out of the budget! This is a huge win for public education and our students. It means vouchers are on track to sunset at the end of the year. While we have won this battle, there may be another brewing. It is possible there could be an attempt to extend the Invest in Kids voucher program during Veto Session this fall. Stay tuned! Together we cannot be ignored!

One of the country’s biggest school voucher schemes is operating right here in Illinois. It began as a temporary five-year program under the guise of helping low-income and students of color to have a choice.

However, the data shows:

  • More white students are helped than any other;
  • Students at these schools are not subject to the same testing standards, nor are teachers held to the same professional standards, as those in public schools;
  • There is no data to show how many students actually switched from public schools to private schools, or whether public money is now funding students who have been in private schools all along.

And, these schools can discriminate based on physical or emotional special needs, gender identity issues, moral values or religion.

The Invest in Kids program, intentionally deceitfully named, has lasted longer and helped fewer students than promised. And now, special interests want it to continue indefinitely.

Through the program, businesses or individuals can donate money to scholarship granting organizations and, in turn, get as much as 75 percent of their donation back in tax credits. Then parents at private schools, mostly religious, apply for that $75 million in scholarship money to send their children to private institutions.

That’s public money funding private schools. That’s $75 million a year that could be being used to ease the burden on property taxes and help fully fund the evidence-based funding formula, which will help the more than 80 percent of public schools in Illinois that are currently underfunded.