FILE - Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker

Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker

Illinois’ private school scholarship program appears to have been spared the budget axe of Democrats that don’t agree with it.

A spokesman for Gov. J.B. Pritzker confirmed Friday to WCIA 3 in Champaign-Urbana, that the Invest in Kids program, a private school scholarship program that gives donors a 75 percent state tax credit for helping pay tuition for students to attend a private school, would not be phased out.

Empower Illinois is one of the Scholarship Granting Organizations that matches students with their tuition assistance. Executive Director Anthony Holter credits the parents who spent days in Springfield talking to lawmakers about how they benefit from the program.

“The children and so many who advocate for them and the dozens and dozens who made the trip to Springfield to let their elected officials know face-to-face how important this program, really, all the credit goes to them,” he said.

Holter and Empower made a strong case, showing the thousands of children that took advantage of the program being largely minorities whose families lived well below the poverty line.

He says the announcement of the program’s survival sends a message to donors that they’re safe to give to the program without worrying whether or not they’ll get the tax break.

Pritzker’s office said that the program would remain through its five-year pilot lifespan as long as the state continues to increase their investment in public schools by $375 million every year.

Lawmakers had pushed for legislation that would have tied the giving out of tax credits to fully funding Illinois’ public schools to what the new funding formula deemed “adequate,” a figure that was seen as unattainable with the state’s current revenue situation.


Cole Lauterbach reports on Illinois government and statewide issues for The Center Square. He has produced radio shows for stations in Bloomington/Normal and Peoria, and created award-winning programs for Comcast SportsNet Chicago.