AFC applauds Gov. Rauner for signing school choice expansion

This afternoon, Governor Bruce Rauner signed into law a bill which created a tax credit scholarship program and established charter funding equity, after the House and Senate passed the legislation on a bipartisan basis earlier this week. The American Federation for Children, the nation’s voice for educational choice, released the following statement.

Statement from Tommy Schultz, National Communications Director for the American Federation for Children:

“With Gov. Rauner’s signature, Illinois officially becomes the 26th state with private school choice and now enacts the 52nd private school choice program in the country. It is also now the 18th state to have a tax credit scholarship program. Families who desperately want options in education will now finally have access to high quality schools that families with means already benefit from today. The law also bolstered funding for charter students, so that there is a more level playing field in public school funding. Ultimately, this bill is a win for families and their children who want equal opportunity in education.

“We stand with families across Illinois in thanking Gov. Rauner for his leadership and the legislators that enacted this historic piece of legislation into law.”

Statement from Governor Bruce Rauner: 

“I would like to thank Senate President Cullerton, Senate Republican Leader Brady, Speaker Madigan, Leader Durkin and other members for working together to close the gap on school funding and making sure every child across the state will have access to the best education. For far too long, too many low-income students in our state have been trapped in underfunded, failing schools. The system needed to change. We have put aside our differences and put our kids first. I want Illinois to be the No. 1 state in the nation for education. Nothing is more important than educating our children.”

The legislation Gov. Rauner signed into law includes a tax credit scholarship program that will collect $100 million for scholarships, and provide $75 million in tax credits to donors. The legislation also includes funding equity for charter school students. Charter students who were not yet fully funded will see an increase of approximately $2,000 per student per year going towards their education.

The income limit for the tax credit scholarship recipients’ families will be 300 percent of the federal poverty line, and a recipient can stay in the program if the family income rises to 400 percent. Children from poorer families, or those in districts with a failing school will be first in line.