Last week, voucher supporters, including Empower IL—the largest of the middlemen orgs that process vouchers and skim millions of taxpayer dollars off the top as they do so—launched a public relations campaign to “save” the Invest in Kids voucher program from sunsetting. Unfortunately, their PR push is rife with misinformation.
Here’s some facts you need to know about the program that voucher cheerleaders aren’t sharing:Read more
The Illinois Legislature has (finally!) passed a budget for the 2024 fiscal year, the Senate late on Thursday, and the House very early this morning.
Thankfully, there was NO language to extend the Invest in Kids voucher program or remove its sunset clause in any budget bills.Read more
Quick update on what's happening in Springfield...
The Governor, Senate President and Speaker of the House announced a budget agreement yesterday that did not include an extension of the Invest in Kids voucher program.Read more
May 19th has come…and gone, but the General Assembly has not adjourned to end the spring session There’s no budget for FY 2024 yet, and we don’t yet know whether the Invest in Kids voucher program will be extended past the current sunset date.
Legislators will be back in Springfield next Wednesday. The real hard deadline to pass bills is May 31st, after which bills need a ⅗ majority to pass.Read more
The Illinois General Assembly’s spring session is scheduled to end May 19th, and there is a deadline of July 1, 2023 to have a map dividing the city into districts to elect members to the Chicago Board of Education starting next year.
The first elections of ten members of a 21-member in total board are to be held in November 2024; the remaining members would initially be appointed, and then those seats too would be elected in November 2026. From what we understand, the two chambers are each drawing up maps and then resolving their differences and disagreements to create a single map that will need to pass both bodies.
The Senate created a special committee and held five hearings earlier this month. The hearings in the House will be subject-matter hearings of the House Executive Committee.Read more
In November 2024, Chicago’s first (ever) election for the Board of Education will be held. Ten of twenty-one seats will be elected; the remaining eleven appointed by the Mayor. The board will be fully elected starting in November 2026.
As you know, a large coalition, including IL-FPS, worked for over a decade to bring an elected representative school board to the city of Chicago. In the spring of 2021, the General Assembly finally passed a bill granting Chicagoans an elected school board, albeit with a four-year delayed start, followed by two years of a hybrid board still under mayoral control.
The General Assembly initially set a deadline of February 2022 to draw the district map, but only began the work of laying out this map very recently to meet a revised deadline of July 1, 2023 . As part of the process, the Illinois Senate has established a special committee about the elected board and is holding a series of subject-matter hearings on districting.Read more
Update: This bill was not heard on March 28th, and no vote was taken. It has a deadline extension through the end of spring session. We'll be keeping an eye on it.
Illinois Families for Public Schools is in Springfield today talking to legislators about our legislative agenda, including urging them to ensure that the existing Invest in Kids voucher program ends. Unfortunately, a bill to create an even larger, less regulated voucher scheme is in hearing this afternoon, HB 1573, the Education Savings Account Act.Read more
More than 50 local, state and national organizations are calling for the Illinois General Assembly to ensure Illinois’ Invest in Kids voucher program ends as intended after the coming school year. Full press release below.Read more
As we've been sharing, the General Assembly has one more short “lame duck” session this week before new legislators are seated on Jan 11th. We’re concerned that legislation extending or even expanding the Invest in Kids voucher program could get traction. Keep reading for what you can do to make sure that doesn’t happen!Read more
In 2017, the IL General Assembly passed the Invest in Kids Act and created what was supposed to be a temporary school voucher program that could divert up to $75 million per year in public dollars to fund private schools in Illinois. Voucher programs siphon funds from public schools, they don’t promote education equity and they don’t improve outcomes for the students who receive them. You can read our FAQ about problems with the Illinois’ voucher program here.
Now supporters want to make this program permanent and expand it. This would be extremely damaging for Illinois’ public education system, and that’s why Illinois Families for Public Schools is working with many other state and local orgs, including the League of Women Voters of IL, IL’s teachers unions, the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability and many others, to call for ending this program for good.Read more