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Bertino-Tarrant prioritizes children over private school tax credits

ed fundingPLAINFIELD - State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) filed legislation to ensure public schools are funded adequately before any state funding is diverted to pay for costly private school scholarship programs.

“Tax credits should not be given out at the expense of our children,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “The state should not start handing out tax rebates until we correct the disparities created by generations of systematic inequality in Illinois’ school system.”

Bertino-Tarrant’s measure, Senate Bill 2236, was filed in response to Senate Bill 1947, which includes a five year pilot program that would award a 75 percent tax credit to donors that contribute to scholarship funds for students to attend non-public schools. The credits are capped at of up to $1 million per taxpayer and $75 million statewide.

Bertino-Tarrant said this could take valuable taxpayer dollars away from Illinois’ public schools especially if the minimum funding level is not met.

“I’m proud that the General Assembly worked in a bipartisan manner to put our children first, now we need to take the next step,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “Since we embarked on this mission, our goal has remained funding our schools in a way that guarantees our children are provided an excellent education regardless of their zip code. This initiative solidifies our mission by keeping Illinois’ children our top priority.”

The new school funding mechanism outlined in Senate Bill 1947 established an evidence-based funding formula to dispense state dollars to public schools. The formula institutes a base funding minimum for school districts that serves as a hold harmless to ensure schools do not lose state dollars the next year.

Any additional funding the General Assembly appropriates is distributed through a tier-based system that prioritizes the state’s poorest and disadvantaged schools. The funding plan outlined in the new law includes a minimum funding level of $350 million in additional funding each year, with the goal of meeting the total statewide adequacy target over a period of time.

Bertino-Tarrant looks forward to discussions on Senate Bill 2236 in the coming months.

Sen. Bertino-Tarrant

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49th Senate District

Years served: 2013 - Present

Associated Representatives: Mark Batinick; Natalie A. Manley

Committee assignments: Appropriations II; Education (Chairperson); Labor; Licensed Activities and Pensions; Transportation.

Biography: Lifelong educator; former Will County superintendent and secretary of Will County Regional Board of School Trustees; B.A., Illinois State University; MS, University of St. Francis; EdD., Loyola.