News Local/State

Private Schools In Limbo As General Assembly And Governor Haggle Over School Funding Language

Dome of the Illinois Capitol Building in Springfield.

Dome of the Illinois Capitol Building in Springfield. WUIS

There’s a snag in implementing a new tax credit for private school scholarships in Illinois. The sticking point is how the state’s new school funding law defines what is a private school.

Governor Bruce Rauner signed the education funding bill last summer. It includes a tax credit for donors to private school scholarships. But the governor used his amendatory veto on a subsequent cleanup bill, which relaxes standards for private schools to qualify for the scholarships.

Heather Berhalter, Director of Community Development, with the Urban Prairie Waldorf Private School in Chicago, told Illinois Public Media’s daily talk show The 21st that the scholarship tax credits would help her school reach a more diverse population.

"We want to serve more students. But just like any other school we have wages and bills to pay and we can only offer a certain amount of tuition assistance," she said

The General Assembly has yet to act on Rauner’s changes. Berhalter believes the governor and lawmakers need to agree on which private schools are eligible under this new law.