“I want to speak about this now because I just won’t have the energy to do this with a clear head after midnight.
The Investing Kids Scholarship program is something that I really spent a lot of time talking about and working on these past few years. It is one of the rare pieces of legislation that came out of this body back in 2017, that portions of both parties could support. Unfortunately, this had a sunset, and I have a feeling I know why the sunset was used. We all know why, but I don’t want to talk about that now.
However, as we saw in the budget given to us last night, this program was not included. What was included was a 5.5% pay raise for legislators, on top of an extra 2.5% in cost of living adjustment. Oh, and free healthcare for undocumented immigrants.
So if I have this right, this body cares more about giving themselves pay raises, providing healthcare benefits to people who are not even citizens, than we care about helping Illinois children from disadvantaged backgrounds get a safe and quality education. I hope and pray that children and families who are about to have this program ripped away from them will one day forgive us.
The advocates are not going away. They’re not backing down. They’re going to work hard to secure this program. I still have optimism because we have time. We have time to fix this wrong.
Even though the Invest in Kids Scholarship program is not in the FY2024 budget, we cannot stop fighting for the disadvantaged children that benefit from this program.
As long as I’m your State Representative, I will continue pressing for the extension of this program.