gillespie 033122SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Ann Gillespie (D-Arlington Heights) passed legislation in the Illinois Senate to waive school fees for students experiencing homelessness on Tuesday.

“A student’s ability to pay should not determine the learning resources they have available to them,” Gillespie said. “Students of all backgrounds deserve access to the tools they need for success.”

House Bill 5265 requires school districts to waive all school fees for homeless students, including fines for loss of school property such as textbooks. The measure further requires school districts to purchase enough textbooks for students whose families are unable to purchase them.

Currently, fee waivers are only offered to students who qualify for the federal free breakfast and lunch program. House Bill 5265 establishes a process for school districts to expand eligibility.

The measure is an initiative of the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless and is supported by the Illinois Federation of Teachers, Advance Illinois and Heartland Alliance.

House Bill 5265 passed the Illinois Senate and awaits the governor’s signature before becoming law.