This Week: Gov. Signs Education Bill

This week the two chambers and the Governor provided cloture to the years-long debate over revamping how Illinois funds public education.

House amendment #5 to SB 1947 (Manar/Davis) represents a new evidence-based funding formula that was agreed upon between all four legislative leaders and the Governor.

The new law, which was signed yesterday (Aug. 31, 2017) by Gov. Rauner, includes several of the originating provisions of SB 1.  Most notably under the new law and at the request of the Governor and the leader of the Archdiocese of Chicago, is the creation of a new tax credit for scholarship donations.

The new tax credit created under the new law would incentivize donations for private school scholarships by allowing individuals or businesses to receive a 75 percent tax credit for each dollar donated.  The program is expected to cover roughly 6,000 scholarships and would only operate as a five-year pilot program.

In order to obtain the tax credit, K-12 students must meet a certain income threshold to be eligible to receive the scholarship and there is a priority given to certain students in underserved areas with low household incomes.

Other modifications under the new law include physical education mandate relief and the ability for schools to use third party providers for drivers’ education.

Given that the budget, revenue increases and education funding reform kept legislators in a continuous impasse for the last several years; it is expected that the legislature will not return until veto session.

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