School Choice Momentum in Illinois

Illinois Governor JB Pritzker has signed into law two important improvements to the Invest in Kids Act, Illinois’ first and only private school choice program. The improvements would give first priority to students who previously received a scholarship and remain eligible, and provide flexibility for schools and SGOs to turn more donations into scholarships.

The Illinois General Assembly passed this bill with unanimous support in both the House and Senate during the 2022 Regular Session.

HB 4126 was sponsored by Rep. Curtis Tarver alongside House Assistant Majority Leader Lisa Hernandez, Rep. Mike Zalewski, and Deputy Majority Leader Mary Flowers. Senate sponsorship was led by President Pro Tem Bill Cunningham alongside Sen. Ram Villivalam and Sen. Jacqueline Collins.

Statement from Nathan Hoffman, Director of State Policy and Legislative Strategy for the American Federation for Children:

“With their support of HB 4126, Illinois lawmakers made clear they want this program to work better and for more students. We appreciate the Governor signing this legislation, which will benefit the thousands of families who seek the opportunities the Invest in Kids Act provides every year.

“This is the second straight legislative session where a strong contingent of bipartisan legislators has come together to support meaningful improvements to the program. With the continued advocacy of families and school leaders, this momentum will carry us into 2023 when we expect lawmakers will not turn their backs on these families and shutter the very program they just enhanced.

“We look forward to celebrating the removal of the Invest in Kids Act sunset provision in 2023. In the meantime, we will ensure the voices of these families are heard at the ballot box and that candidates understand school choice is a priority in Illinois.”

Details:

  • The Invest in Kids Act is tax credit scholarship program
  • The improvements codify scholarship super-priority status for returning eligible students and allow schools to set a lower maximum scholarship amount for students eligible for a 75% or 50% scholarship