GSWNH_InvestInKidsProtest_112423

Catholic schools dilemma

Spread the love

.

After loss in Springfield, advocates search for a Plan B

.

By Tim Hadac

After a clear defeat in Springfield earlier this month, supporters of the state’s Invest in Kids scholarship program—which includes a number of Catholic school parents on the Southwest Side—are searching for a Plan B.

“What we do at this point remains to be seen,” said one Southwest Side Catholic-school teacher who asked not to be identified. “I do know this. I hope that when Catholic Schools Week comes up in January, our local state senators and state representatives stay away. I, for one, have no interest in taking part in their annual photo opps where they lie about their support for Catholic education.”

The bitterness stems from the decision by state lawmakers to adjourn on the final day of fall veto session without a vote on extending the state’s Invest in Kids scholarship program.

The program will end on Dec. 31, terminating scholarships for more than 9,600 low-income students at private schools statewide.

GSWNH InvestInKidsProtest 112423

Catholic school students from across the state, including pupils from St. Nicholas of Tolentine
School in West Lawn, rode to Springfield earlier this month to rally in the Capitol and demand
that lawmakers save the Invest in Kids initiative. – Supplied photo

Illinois enacted the Invest in Kids Scholarship Tax Credit Program in 2017. The program offers a 75% income tax credit to individuals and businesses contributing to qualified Scholarship Granting Organizations. The SGOs then provide scholarships for students whose families meet the income requirements to attend qualified, non-public schools and technical academies in Illinois.

When it was debated more than five years ago, opponents predicted the program would harm public education across the state by siphoning funds away. Earlier this month, that prediction was disputed by Jim Long, Vice President of Government Affairs at Illinois Policy Institute, a non-profit conservative advocacy organization.

The program died when Illinois House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch refused to call it for a vote this month. Through a spokesman, Welch later said he declined to call the bill because it did not have enough to votes to pass—which some critics said was a way to protect his fellow Democrats by preventing them from voting “no” on a bill popular among their Catholic constituents.

As for a Plan B, Rockford-area Republican State Senator Dave Syverson said, “[Invest in Kids] is something that had bipartisan support just a few years ago…This is a program that hasn’t taken away from the public schools. That’s been clear in the in the budgeting, we know that it’s worked. And there’s really no reason why this shouldn’t continue to help the families in Illinois. So we’re going to continue to push for this. If they do not allow a vote, we’ll start again in January (when the General Assembly begins its spring session).”

Adding to that was Rockford-area Republican State Rep. Joe Sosnowski, who said Invest in Kids is popular with parents across the state.

“[In addition to the 9,600 currently served], there’s 20,000 to 30,000 other students who are on a waiting list…families that want to try to get into the program and so what we really should be talking about is how do we expand this? How do we create more opportunities for more families because we know the demand is out there?

“You know, we have wealthy folks, elites, you know, like the governor, the speaker, heads of the teachers unions and even public school teachers themselves,” Sosnowski continued. “For whatever reason, they decided and they looked at it for their student that it was important for them to have an alternative to the public school that they were in. And that’s fine. That’s great that they decided to do that. They have the opportunity and the financial means to do that. But why wouldn’t we give that same opportunity to families with financial need?”

Peter Romagnolo, a retired teacher who has raised funds for various Catholic schools in the area, said he places “little confidence” in trying to resurrect Invest in Kids.

“The politicians have spoken by their silence,” he said. “Even [Cardinal Blase Cupich] has spoken, by his failure to head down to Springfield with those schoolkids. What’s best now is for Catholic schools—and by that I mean the laity led by the parents and local business communities—to simply get about doing grassroots work to bring in more donations, more revenue, to keep schools afloat and beyond that, generate scholarships for parents who need help sending their boys and girls to Catholic schools.”

Observers credited the political muscle of the Chicago Teachers Union with killing Invest in Kids. (Editor’s note: Please see “Pols fail private-school kids,” page 5.) CTU officials spiked the ball in the end zone, refusing to use the term “Invest in Kids” and instead refer to it as an unnamed “voucher scheme.”

In a statement, CTU officials said, “Illinois lawmakers made history by being the first state in the nation to eliminate a school voucher program, a ‘reform’ effort started in 1956 by white parents in North Carolina seeking to stop public school integration. The dedicated efforts of organizers and advocates made this triumph for public education possible, marking a significant milestone in the fight for anti-racist, gender affirming, pro-immigrant, equitable and fully funded public schools.

“This achievement…strikes an incredible blow to a movement that is dead set on destroying public education and destabilizing black, brown and working class communities. Willing to demonize educators and their families, defund their classrooms and attack their unions, those behind the push for the voucher program in this state have made it clear that their agenda came before the well-being of children and their families.

“Here is the truth, you cannot improve schools while ignoring the community. Ending this ‘school choice’ voucher program that had siphoned more than $75 million a year away from public education now codifies that into law.”

Local News

GSWNH_HolidayInnRear_070524

Migrants coming to Ford City

Spread the love

Spread the love. Nearly a thousand coming this month to Holiday Inn . By Tim Hadac The Pritzker Administration is converting a vacant hotel in the Midway area to a shelter expected to house as many as 950 migrants. The action is occurring quickly, with migrants expected to move in this month. In a press…

CTAlogo

CTA hiring means more rail service

Spread the love

Spread the love. Orange Line sees 11% jump . From staff reports The Chicago Transit Authority has announced that because of what they described as continued, aggressive recruiting, hiring and training efforts, it has added 8.5% more scheduled rail service in recent weeks for a total of 9% more scheduled service added since April 2024.…

The Mariano’s store in Frankfort would be among the stores transferred to a new owner if the Kroger-Albertson’s merger is approved. (Photo by Bob Bong)

Comings & Goings: Palos Jewel, Oak Lawn Mariano’s to be sold in merger deal

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Bob Bong Kroger and Albertson’s this week released the list of stores the companies plan to sell, should a merger between the grocery giants be approved by regulators. Jewel Food Stores in Alsip and Palos Heights are among the stores listed for sale as well as Mariano’s locations in Oak Lawn, Orland Park, and…

Houston's Natalie Jacobs (left) and Red Star Ally Schlegel jostle to get to the ball on June 6 at SeatGeek Stadium in Bridgeview. Photo by Jeff Vorva

Swanson scores again, Naeher has clean sheet as Fire edge Dash

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Jeff Vorva Correspondent Mallory Swanson is Olympics-ready after scoring her fourth goal in four games. Swanson’s left-footed shot in extra time in the first half was the difference in the Chicago Red Stars’ 1-0 win over Houston on July 6 in an NWSL battle before an announced crowd of 5,566 at SeatGeek…

Orland Park's Krysta Stanko (in sunglasses) has won the women's division of the Veterans Liberty run three straight years. Photo by Jeff Vorva

Orland Park woman wins third straight Veterans Liberty Run

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Jeff Vorva Correspondent She did it again. Three for three. Orland Park resident Krysta Stanko won her third straight women’s division championship at the Veterans Liberty Run, held July 3 at Centennial Park in Orland Park. Stanko, an Andrew graduate who will be a sophomore at Governors State, ran the 2-mile course…

Worth resident Calista Stefaniak won the Tinley Park Stars and Stripes 5K run for the second year in a row. Photo by Jeff Vorva

Worth resident Calista Stefaniak wins Stars and Stripes 5K

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Jeff Vorva Correspondent Calista Stefaniak won her second straight women’s title in the Tinley Park Stars and Stripes 5K, held June 29 at the village’s McCarthy Park. Stefaniak, 25, of Worth, ran the course in 20:22.6. She also won the event in 2023 and was runner-up in 2022. “I love how it…

Sandburg junior Jackson Canellis has made hundreds of sandwiches for BEDS Plus. He plans to run 12 miles from Wrigley Field to Guaranteed Rate Field to raise money for the organization. Photo supplied

Sandburg junior to run from Wrigley Field to Sox Park

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Jeff Vorva Correspondent Sandburg junior Jackson Canellis isn’t sure if he will be wearing a Cubs or White Sox jersey on Aug. 10 during a 12-mile run. That decision will be up to those who donate to his cause. Canellis, a volunteer at BEDS Plus, is organizing a unique 12-mile run from…

Kathy Headley

Liths to honor 1933 Darius-Girenas flight

Spread the love

Spread the love. Kathy Headley Your correspondent in Chicago Lawn and Marquette Manor 6610 S. Francisco • (773) 776-7778 . This coming week marks the 91st anniversary of the transatlantic flight of Captain Steponas Darius and Lieutenant Stasys Girenas. Both were born in Lithuania and immigrated to the United States at a young age. Both…

Jose Reyes (center) learning at an F.H. Paschen construction site at a suburban housing development. --Supplied photo

From high schooler to civil engineer

Spread the love

Spread the love. West Lawn man’s 8-year path leads to job with top company . It’s a daunting question for any high schooler: what do you want to be when you grow up? Had anyone asked West Lawn resident Jose Reyes in 2016 when he was in high school, he might not have had a…

Peggy Zabicki

Help is available for crime victims

Spread the love

Spread the love. By Peggy Zabicki Your correspondent in West Lawn 3633 W. 60th Place •  (773) 504-9327 . The Chicago Police Department will present a program called Crime Victim Services on Wednesday, July 10 from 2 to 6 p.m. at the West Lawn Branch Library, 4020 W. 63rd St. The police will provide support…

Neighbors

National Committeeman Richard Porter looks ahead to GOP convention as party names new state chair

National Committeeman Richard Porter looks ahead to GOP convention as party names new state chair

By PETER HANCOCK Capitol News Illinois phancock@capitolnewsillinois.com SPRINGFIELD – Republicans will gather in Milwaukee next week for what promises to be a historic national convention. Former President Donald Trump will be nominated for the third consecutive time as the party’s presidential nominee, the first major party candidate to win nomination that many times since Franklin…

Speaker Welch rebuffs lawsuit from would-be staff union as ‘forum shopping’

Speaker Welch rebuffs lawsuit from would-be staff union as ‘forum shopping’

By HANNAH MEISEL Capitol News Illinois hmeisel@capitolnewsillinois.com Illinois House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch is urging a Cook County judge to dismiss a lawsuit members of his staff filed against him last month seeking to force recognition of their union. In a new filing Monday, attorneys for Welch argued the Illinois Legislative Staff Association has no…

The U.N. calls restraint chairs torture. Illinois jails use them every day.

The U.N. calls restraint chairs torture. Illinois jails use them every day.

by GRACE HAUCK ILLINOIS ANSWERS PROJECT Warning: The following article includes mentions of self-harm and profanity. This is the first in a series of stories. McHENRY, Ill. – Vernon L. Brooks Jr. was distraught. Forced into a chair in a jail cell with a black mesh hood over his head, he panicked as he felt…

Pritzker signs health insurance reform measures

Pritzker signs health insurance reform measures

By PETER HANCOCK Capitol News Illinois phancock@capitolnewsillinois.com SPRINGFIELD – Gov. JB Pritzker signed legislation Wednesday that puts new controls on the state’s health insurance industry, including bans on certain practices companies have used to reduce costs by controlling the amount of health care services a patient receives. The Health Care Protection Act, House Bill 5395,…

Transit heads again ask state for funding help, reject proposals for oversight reform

Transit heads again ask state for funding help, reject proposals for oversight reform

By ANDREW ADAMS Capitol News Illinois aadams@capitolnewsillinois.com CHICAGO – It was standing room only in a downtown Chicago committee hearing Tuesday as activists, transit experts and lobbyists hung on the words of the region’s transit agency chiefs.  Public transit has become an increasingly contentious issue in Chicagoland as the Regional Transportation Authority – the funding…

SCOTUS ruling could upend federal corruption cases for Madigan, allies

SCOTUS ruling could upend federal corruption cases for Madigan, allies

By HANNAH MEISEL Capitol News Illinois hmeisel@capitolnewsillinois.com The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday narrowed the scope of a federal bribery law prosecutors have relied on in their cases against former Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan and several of his allies convicted of bribing him. A jury last spring found those allies – former lobbyists and…

Former GOP state lawmaker, candidate for governor sentenced to 42 months in prison

Former GOP state lawmaker, candidate for governor sentenced to 42 months in prison

By HANNAH MEISEL Capitol News Illinois hmeisel@capitolnewsillinois.com SPRINGFIELD – Former Republican State Sen. Sam McCann on Tuesday was sentenced to 42 months in federal prison for stealing nearly $700,000 in campaign funds and attempting to conceal his theft with false reports to state election authorities. In February, McCann pleaded guilty to seven counts of wire…

Menard prison staff picket, citing unsafe working conditions

Menard prison staff picket, citing unsafe working conditions

By MOLLY PARKER Capitol News Illinois   mparker@capitolnewsillinois.com Hundreds of Menard Correctional Center employees and their supporters staged a rally alongside a busy street in Chester on Monday, highlighting what they described as perilous working conditions at the state’s largest maximum-security prison.   The problems at the southern Illinois facility stem from low staffing levels, said…

Pritzker ‘all in’ for Biden following visit to White House last week

Pritzker ‘all in’ for Biden following visit to White House last week

By JERRY NOWICKI Capitol News Illinois jnowicki@capitolnewsillinois.com Gov. JB Pritzker said Tuesday he is “all in” for President Joe Biden after visiting the White House last week with other Democratic governors.  He headed to Washington, D.C., to meet with the president and members of the Democratic Governors Association last Wednesday on the heels of Biden’s…

Illinois switching to ACT exams for state assessments

Illinois switching to ACT exams for state assessments

By PETER HANCOCK Capitol News Illinois phancock@capitolnewsillinois.com SPRINGFIELD – When Illinois high school students sit down to take their annual state assessments next year, they will take a different exam than in recent years. The Illinois State Board of Education recently announced that starting next spring, it will use the ACT exam rather than the…