With in-person learning on hold indefinitely, State Representative Amy Grant (R-Wheaton) is championing legislation to assist families with unanticipated costs incurred as they do their best to educate their kids from home.
On August 15, the Illinois Department of Public Health released updated COVID-19 guidelines for schools that were much stricter than the original June rules that schools used to craft initial in-person learning plans for the fall start of school. Upon reviewing the updated regulations, most school districts decided to move to a fully remote learning schedule just weeks before school began. This, in turn, left parents and families scrambling to make arrangements for digital, off-site learning.
HB 5834 creates an income tax credit for parents and legal guardians of school-age students for educational expenses that result from remote learning during the COVID-19 pandemic. Eligible expenses include additional computers, printers, internet routers, tutors, learning facilitators and certain childcare expenses. Additional tax credits would be extended to teachers with children to incentivize teachers to work at their schools rather than stay home with their kids.
“Parents and guardians were left with very little notice to create a good home-learning environment for their kids,” said Grant. “For many, that meant purchasing additional computers or tablets, upgrading internet access, and even finding tutors. The decision to move learning to remote settings was out of their control, and they should not have to foot the bill for the equipment and resources they have had to purchase.”
Grant will be pushing for the bill’s passage during the upcoming fall veto session in November.