Do you support opportunity scholarships included in the funding reform bill? Or will you try, if elected, to eliminate that program?

Education

I support this program and it is such a tiny portion of our state budget that eliminating it would have no impact on our taxes.

I support them and have less than zero plans to eliminate

Before state government directs resources to these types of programs, I believe it is important to ensure that our public pre-K through 12th grade education institutions are adequately and fully funded so as to ensure a good education for all children. I would not support the scholarships as written, however, I would not work to eliminate them if elected.

I do support the opportunity scholarships part of the legislation. I was availed of a strong education attending the local public schools in my district, but throughout the state not every student and school is the same. There are students in our state that do not have access to high quality public schools and we should work with them and their parents to find a school that fulfills their needs. As a former educator, I know that children learn in many different ways and in many different settings. Although the public school system educates many, it cannot educate them all and there should be other schools to compliment public school systems. As a legislator in Springfield, I will take the many lessons learned as a teacher and apply them to my work.

I oppose the opportunity scholarships mentioned in SB0668 because the bill encourages transfer of public school funds to private schools. I would try to eliminate any program that transfers funds from public to non-public schools without an elected board of education having agreed upon the need for the expense to take place.

I am not in favor of programs that take money from the public education system. Private schools are free to choose which students to take, and the result will be that the public schools will be left with the hardest-to-educate students decreasing funding. That's a bad combination for a society that feels everyone should be given a real chance to succeed and become productive members.

Probably not if it funnels money away from schools and/or undercuts staff. I would not necessarily try to eliminate it, as I need much more information on this to make an informed decision.

I do not support the opportunity scholarship ONLY because I desire to see as much funding to be given to our public schools. That is Illinois' priority. However, before trying eliminate the program - I'm willing to bring certain people to the table for a discussion on bargaining. I will share how I feel, they will share what they feel. At the end of the day, they will know why I vote the way I do.

I do not support the opportunity scholarship ONLY because I desire to see as much funding to be given to our public schools. That is Illinois' priority. However, before trying eliminate the program - I'm willing to bring certain people to the table for a discussion on bargaining. I will share how I feel, they will share what they feel. At the end of the day, they will know why I vote the way I do.

I would have to research the Illinois Gateways to Opportunity Scholarship program further before making a decision whether to support or oppose.

If we properly manage public schools, parents will not want to send their children to nonpublic schools. However, given our current reality, giving parents a choice (e.g., vouchers for charter schools) would be a significant improvement to ensuring our students are getting the education they need and deserve. I would qualify my support for opportunity scholarships as long as the funding is essentially a wash and hopefully even would result in a net savings. Our ultimate goal should be to fix our public schools and promote access to charter schools to teach us best practices in educating our children.

I do support opportunity scholarships and charter schools. I believe not every child learns the same way and we need to give every child the best opportunity to succeed. That may be at a public school, private school, magnet, or charter school.

Yes, but it's just a start. Children should not be forced to attend failing schools and parents should be able to choose a better school. This is especially true of lower income students who can't afford private school and who don't have the mobility to transfer into a different district. Also, if education funding followed the student, the school administrators and teachers in failing schools would be forced to improve to compete for students or risk school closure and loss of jobs.

Yes. Everyone pays for public education whether they their kids are enrolled in public schools or not. People who want to send their children to a private school are paying twice for the same service. Many families cannot afford to pay twice for education services. The opportunity grants will help families who want to send their children to private schools, but up until now have never been able to afford it

I would continue to support the program. The public schools still keep there tax base.

I'm open to learning more about opportunity scholarships. I support a parent's ability to choose the best form of education that they feel is necessary for their children. However, I am not comfortable, at this point, supporting or opposing opportunity scholarships.

I support opportunity scholarships and fought to put them in the negotiated bill signed into law. Students in Illinois deserve the best educational opportunities regardless of family income status, and the new tax credit scholarship program opens those doors for families across our state.

Yes, that was one bright spot in the legislation. It is the first step toward providing a competitive environment in education.

I support the opportunity scholarships included in the new school funding reform bill. While my first priority is to increase education funding for all schools and ensure that those schools receive adequate funding, I recognize that some underprivileged students will have greater opportunity if they can move out of chronically underperforming schools. The recently-created opportunity scholarships give parents true school choice and allow them to determine the best education for their children, allowing them to receive a potentially life-changing education. The program ought to be preserved, and if proven successful, as I believe it will be, expanded.

Yes, I support the opportunity scholarship program that puts the power in the hands of parents to access the best education for their children.

I take issue with a few of the aspects of the opportunity scholarships. First, as mentioned above, if they are truly about school choice for low-income families, then the eligibility should be set to a lower level of income. Second, it allows only certain taxpayers to say exactly where a portion of their tax dollars will go. What makes people who support private education more valuable philanthropists than others to our community? Third (I am saying "third" but this is really an iteration of the second point), our public schools need money and resources desperately, but this diverts state revenue that could support public programs toward private programs. Eliminating that program would not help anyone.

The bill was crafted such that removing the scholarships would eliminate all of the good aspects of the legislation. The benefit to the public schools of over three hundred million dollars outweighs its detrimental effect. I begrudge the legislators who insisted on the tax credit/scholarship before doing what was right for the poorest among us. I am hopeful that the opportunity scholarships will truly benefit children who receive them.

I support increasing educational options for low income families across the state of Illinois. A zip code should not determine a child's future.

I'm open to looking at any program that promotes excellence within our state's education system.

I support the opportunity scholarships included in the funding reform bill. It is important that there are Opportunities for families to have options where their children attend school. The opportunity scholarship promotes a great education where the focus is on the student, not on tenure. We owe it to our community to give our children the best opportunity to succeed and the best investment that can be made is in a solid foundation. As a former administrator of a Christian school, I had the opportunity to see firsthand how well a child develops when they have the education and commitment from educators that are focused on the whole child - body, mind, and soul.

The best way to get a balanced budget is to promote more programs like the opportunity scholarship. People enjoy sponsoring a system that is bringing rewards, they don't enjoy being forced by bureaucrats to pay for excessive waste.

Yes, school choice is important and these scholarships will help many families throughout Illinois.

I support the opportunity scholarship included in the funding reform bill

I am opposed to the "opportunity scholarships" in the school funding reform bill. It is a backdoor voucher program that creates both constitutional and policy problems. Illinois has a school-funding crisis - the state is massively underfunding its public schools and failing to meet its constitutional obligations. The scholarship program does nothing to address this challenge, rather it redirects money that could, and should, be used for public schools.

As long as the Illinois government is not subsidizing costs beyond what would be spending already on education, I do not think I would try to eliminate that program. Again, I support our government passing bipartisan bills that keep children on schedule with their education, provide options for education and encourage all education structures to provide the best education for our children.

Yes, I am a long-time supporter of allowing as wide a range of educational opportunities in Illinois as possible.

No. If elected I would support eliminating the program.

I would support de-funding or eliminating this tax break for the rich. It takes the tax money of regular, hardworking citizens, and instead of using it to fund public schools, gives it away to private schools and their wealthy donors.

I will try to eliminate this waiver program. There is nothing that a private school does that a public school can't do if properly funded. This program is taking $75 million away from the public school system at a time when that system is already underfunded.

I support the concept of opportunity scholarships and/or vouchers, but do not support the tax credits as currently drafted. Low income families are going to benefit from this new law but middle class families are not going to see much of a benefit. My preference would have been to do something for families on the lower end of the income spectrum but also to help middle income families too. In the end, I would have probably voted for the proposal, because it is a step in the right direction.

Yes, I support the opportunity scholarship program.

Again, I am not actively aware on all the criteria of that bill. If elecyed I will give it my utmost attention, but as I have said, I will not make a vote until I poll the people of the 57th district. I want everyone to remember I will represent everyone in the district and I will not represent either party any day in office. Party politics put us here and public servants will have to get us out.

I do not support public money for private school scholarships. However, the bill represents an agreeable compromise so I believe we need to honor that commitment. Right now, I would not work to eliminate that program.

No. The government should not directly or indirectly provide financial support private, charter or religious schools. If elected, I will vote to eliminate that program.

I am not at all opposed to these scholarships in principle. By that I mean that I do not believe that education should only be supplied by the public schools. I think that the fact private schools exist is a good thing because the competition is good for the public schools, and it often provides the religious or other component that is important to some people. Since the scholarships are to be awarded based upon need it seems like a worthy purpose to me.

However, if I were drafting the bill I would not have included it at this time for two reasons. The first is that given the dire financial situation that the CPS currently finds itself in, it is not the best time to be diverting potential resources away from it. The second is that I am not convinced that the tax credits were not more generous than they needed to be. I wonder given the many alumni from private schools that would love to support education at their school for the needy, if the tax credits could have been less generous (possibly 50 cents on the dollar) and therefore they would have been able to supply more scholarships. In summary, I would not work to eliminate the program though I would be very interested to see if it can be improved, and I will work to make sure that it is truly funding education for the less wealthy.

Yes, I support them.

I support the concept of opportunity scholarships and/or vouchers, but do not support the tax credits as currently drafted. Low income families are going to benefit from this new law but middle class families are not going to see much of a benefit. My preference would have been to do something for families on the lower end of the income spectrum but also to help middle income families too. In the end, I would have probably voted for the proposal, because it is a step in the right direction.

Yes, I support the opportunity scholarship program.

Yes, I support them.

No. The government should not directly or indirectly provide financial support private, charter or religious schools. If elected, I will vote to eliminate that program.

I would like to see that income tax credit eliminated. We are diverting $75 million from other services and programs to benefit not education, but those wealthy people who can fund scholarships that won't necessarily be available to all students.

I would like to see that income tax credit eliminated. We are diverting $75 million from other services and programs to benefit not education, but those wealthy people who can fund scholarships that won't necessarily be available to all students.

As noted above, I oppose the state-funded private school scholarship program, and would try, if elected, to eliminate that program in future years. All the children of the state of Illinois should have access to a quality, well-resourced public education in their own neighborhood. Initiatives veiled as school choice more often than not make already significant inequities in education funding much worse. Our public education system is a valuable asset in the fight against poverty and systemic racial injustice. We must do everything we can to ensure that public resources continue to be used for the public good and not for the benefit of a few individuals who can leverage their wealth to ensure that their children's private school will get a new football stadium while the public neighborhood school is struggling to pay for updated books.

I do not support so-called "opportunity scholarships" and would work to eliminate the program.

No, I do not support school vouchers.

As noted above, I oppose the state-funded private school scholarship program, and would try, if elected, to eliminate that program in future years. All the children of the state of Illinois should have access to a quality, well-resourced public education in their own neighborhood. Initiatives veiled as school choice more often than not make already significant inequities in education funding much worse. Our public education system is a valuable asset in the fight against poverty and systemic racial injustice. We must do everything we can to ensure that public resources continue to be used for the public good and not for the benefit of a few individuals who can leverage their wealth to ensure that their children's private school will get a new football stadium while the public neighborhood school is struggling to pay for updated books.

I do not support so-called "opportunity scholarships" and would work to eliminate the program.

No, I do not support school vouchers.

This is a voucher system and should hardly be looked at as a "scholarship." These tax credits are a system established to rapidly erode enrollment in CPS. We must focus on improving our neighborhood schools and their ability to teach our children effectively.

Public funds should not support private education or faith-based programs. I would eliminate this program because it takes more dollars away from public education that serves all students. There is no study that proves a opportunity scholarship benefits student learning.

As state previously the opportunity scholarship gives parents more say so and choice in what they believe is the best route for their kid's education.

No response provided.

I believe that fully funded public education is the best way out of the cycle of poverty and violence that many of my constituents face. The pseudo-voucher provision in the funding reform bill represents an effort to strip support away from public education, and provide a backdoor to allowing public money to go to often-unaccountable private institutions. Studies from other states show that this scheme simply doesn't improve outcomes writ large. Most often, it is students already attending private schools who get to use these vouchers. At best a handful of public school students get a private education that may or may not be of higher quality, while most of their peers see incrementally less funding for their public school, whose enrollment has now decreased.

The only sustainable thing to do is uplift all children by funding every Illinois public school to a level of real adequacy. "Rescuing" a few kids while continuing to consign their peers to educational poverty is a short-sighted, cynical, and ultimately foolish idea.

I believe that fully funded public education is the best way out of the cycle of poverty and violence that many of my constituents face. The pseudo-voucher provision in the funding reform bill represents an effort to strip support away from public education, and provide a backdoor to allowing public money to go to often-unaccountable private institutions. Studies from other states show that this scheme simply doesn't improve outcomes writ large. Most often, it is students already attending private schools who get to use these vouchers. At best a handful of public school students get a private education that may or may not be of higher quality, while most of their peers see incrementally less funding for their public school, whose enrollment has now decreased.

The only sustainable thing to do is uplift all children by funding every Illinois public school to a level of real adequacy. "Rescuing" a few kids while continuing to consign their peers to educational poverty is a short-sighted, cynical, and ultimately foolish idea.

While I understand what the opportunity scholarship tax credit is trying to do I fear that it is a backhanded way to take away funds that could otherwise be used for public education. I think we should be doing everything we can to do to make our public schools the top priority.

While I understand what the opportunity scholarship tax credit is trying to do I fear that it is a backhanded way to take away funds that could otherwise be used for public education. I think we should be doing everything we can to do to make our public schools the top priority.

I support giving scholarships to private school students only if the parents only are below the poverty line and really need it.

I do not expect to try to eliminate that program.

One of the major issues with opportunity scholarships bills such as SB 0668 which Senator Connelly has introduced is that they single out specifically Cook County where the district students largely are Black and Hispanics? Surely downstate school districts and those in Naperville which the Senator represents could benefit from school choice as well. I take serious issue with black communities always being the target for these kinds of reforms that shake up public education and force parents to make educational choices between union led teacher classrooms (which are job creators in our communities) and these kinds of charter/voucher/school choice options?

With that being said, I am for excellence in education and believe strongly that public schools should be given opportunities to re-succeed so that our children have the opportunity to go to schools in their communities and receive the education that is equal to that being offered across the state, in many other counties, cities and neighborhoods.

One of the major issues with opportunity scholarships bills such as SB 0668 which Senator Connelly has introduced is that they single out specifically Cook County where the district students largely are Black and Hispanics? Surely downstate school districts and those in Naperville which the Senator represents could benefit from school choice as well. I take serious issue with black communities always being the target for these kinds of reforms that shake up public education and force parents to make educational choices between union led teacher classrooms (which are job creators in our communities) and these kinds of charter/voucher/school choice options?

With that being said, I am for excellence in education and believe strongly that public schools should be given opportunities to re-succeed so that our children have the opportunity to go to schools in their communities and receive the education that is equal to that being offered across the state, in many other counties, cities and neighborhoods.

I support the opportunity scholarship included in the funding reform bill

I do not support the opportunity scholarship in the funding reform bill. In my opinion it akin to a voucher program masked als a scholarship program. Yes, I will eliminate the program if elected.

I support educating all children in Illinois from the earliest possible age with adequately funded, schools with the proper resources to meet the needs of those students. My preference is that every student have the ability to look outside of his or her door and to be able to see and attend a great public, local, neighborhood school. For many students that is not an option. They do not get to choose where they live and for many parents their options for schools are limited due to their socioeconomic status.

The bill was part of a package which overhauled how schools are funded in Illinois and provides far more equity in funding. It was not a stand-alone bill. Therefore, I would have supported it. The program is a pilot program which automatically ends. Working to immediately eliminate the program might cause more uncertainty and unintended consequences. Would the state next try to eliminate its funding for low-income college students — some of whom attend private and parochial institutions?

I am not thrilled with the opportunity scholarship program but compromises have to be made and if this compromise enabled the education funding reform bill to pass then I can live with it.

Forcing a tax loophole into a bill meant to fairly fund our public schools was not something I agreed with. Nor do I agree with the diversion of $75M from our already diminished revenues in Illinois.

I do not support the opportunity scholarships included in the funding reform bill. They create another tax break for wealthy individuals, allowing them to support private, mostly religious, institutions. I believe those scholarships violate the First Amendment requirement of separation of church and state. While it would not be my highest priority, if elected, I would sign onto legislation eliminating the program.

I don't support the scholarship tax credit portion of the funding reform bill.

I do not support private school vouchers. We need to eliminate this program.

I am undecided about the opportunity grants included in the reform bill. While I don't have plans to eliminate the program, I will be watchful to see what impact it will have.

I do not support this and will work to eliminate this.

I do not support opportunity scholarships as outlined above and would work to eliminate or reduce the program if elected.

If elected, I would keep monitoring the program to be sure it does not grow any larger, and would work to phase-out the program over time. Creating any system in which public dollars is used to fund private education is problematic. Privates schools already have ample other resources to draw from, such as private donations and foundation grants, not to mention tuition dollars, while public schools continue to struggle for every dollar of funding they need.

I do not support the opportunity scholarships included in the funding reform bill. They create another tax break for wealthy individuals, allowing them to support private, mostly religious, institutions. I believe those scholarships violate the First Amendment requirement of separation of church and state. While it would not be my highest priority, if elected, I would sign onto legislation eliminating the program.

I don't support the scholarship tax credit portion of the funding reform bill.

I do not support private school vouchers. We need to eliminate this program.

I do not support this and will work to eliminate this.

I do not support opportunity scholarships as outlined above and would work to eliminate or reduce the program if elected.

I support the scholarship tax credit. In less than 48 hours, the Illinois Department of Revenue reported $36 million pledged for donation so it is obvious Illinoisans support the Tax Credit Scholarship program as well.

I do support opportunity scholarships.

I do not support the scholarship program, as it pays for the scholarships by allowing the wealthiest corporations and individuals the ability to avoid paying taxes. This tax avoidance directly takes money out of funding for public education at a time when we are already underfunding public education and when we are supposedly attempting to provide equity. The catch is that we cannot provide equity without additional funding and we just gave away $75 million.

I am product of private schools and I am happy to see a scholarship program that allows disadvantaged children the opportunity to attend good schools. However, these scholarships already exist and people already donate to this cause. We just gave them a huge tax break to do what they were already doing. This is the wrong priority for a state that is broke.

I do not support the scholarship program, as it pays for the scholarships by allowing the wealthiest corporations and individuals the ability to avoid paying taxes. This tax avoidance directly takes money out of funding for public education at a time when we are already underfunding public education and when we are supposedly attempting to provide equity. The catch is that we cannot provide equity without additional funding and we just gave away $75 million.

I am product of private schools and I am happy to see a scholarship program that allows disadvantaged children the opportunity to attend good schools. However, these scholarships already exist and people already donate to this cause. We just gave them a huge tax break to do what they were already doing. This is the wrong priority for a state that is broke.

I do support opportunity scholarships.

I would not have supported the opportunity scholarships as they were written into the new school funding reform bill. Before state government directs resources to those types of programs, I believe it is important to ensure that our public K-12 education institutions are adequately and fully funded so as to ensure a good education for all children. That being said, I would not eliminate the program. Doing so would unfairly take away the education of scholarship recipients and would unnecessary inflict hardship on the students.

Yes, I would have supported this bill. This bill gives students and families an opportunity to have a choice of schools no matter what zip code they live in. It attracted $36 million in pledges in one day and that was the first day the State began accepting applications. This bill shows that Illinois support their school children and their families.

Yes, I support opportunity scholarships.

Yes, I support opportunity scholarships. This program will help residents to help themselves. It will give those less fortunate an opportunity to succeed. It will shake up the failing status quo.

Yes, I support opportunity scholarships. This program will help residents to help themselves. It will give those less fortunate an opportunity to succeed. It will shake up the failing status quo.

I would not have supported the opportunity scholarships as they were written into the new school funding reform bill. Before state government directs resources to those types of programs, I believe it is important to ensure that our public K-12 education institutions are adequately and fully funded so as to ensure a good education for all children. That being said, I would not eliminate the program. Doing so would unfairly take away the education of scholarship recipients and would unnecessary inflict hardship on the students.

I do not support this program. The State is not able to afford the million dollar tax breaks from this program.

Yes, I would have supported this bill. This bill gives students and families an opportunity to have a choice of schools no matter what zip code they live in. It attracted $36 million in pledges in one day and that was the first day the State began accepting applications. This bill shows that Illinois support their school children and their families.

Yes, I support opportunity scholarships.

I do not support this program. The State is not able to afford the million dollar tax breaks from this program.

I support efforts that increase the supply of quality education in the market. The Invest in Kids scholarship program - which provides additional options for low- to middle-income students and families to find schools that best suit their educational needs — attracted more than $36 million in pledged contributions on the first day that Illinois began accepting applications. This generosity shows the desire of Illinoisans to contribute to and support optimizing educational outcomes for our students. I attended private school and support parents having options of where to send their children.

I support efforts that increase the supply of quality education in the market. The Invest in Kids scholarship program - which provides additional options for low- to middle-income students and families to find schools that best suit their educational needs — attracted more than $36 million in pledged contributions on the first day that Illinois began accepting applications. This generosity shows the desire of Illinoisans to contribute to and support optimizing educational outcomes for our students. I attended private school and support parents having options of where to send their children.

I support the scholarship tax credit. In less than 48 hours, the Illinois Department of Revenue reported $36 million pledged for donation so it is obvious Illinoisans support the Tax Credit Scholarship program as well.

Yes, I support it.

In a perfect world, opportunity scholarships would be an asset to our educational systems, but the opportunity for inequity and the potential devastation to the public school system throughout our communities suggest to me that I could not support this program, as written, at this time.

The program helps parents make the best choice for their children, and it should be applauded. Every child is different and legislation that helps parents make the best decision for their children should be applauded.

The program helps parents make the best choice for their children, and it should be applauded. Every child is different and legislation that helps parents make the best decision for their children should be applauded.

The funding reform bill created a five-year pilot program known as a tax credit scholarship program. Before I pass judgment on the program, I will assess whether the tax credit is taking substantial funding from public schools.

Yes, I support it.

The funding reform bill created a five-year pilot program known as a tax credit scholarship program. Before I pass judgment on the program, I will assess whether the tax credit is taking substantial funding from public schools.

In a perfect world, opportunity scholarships would be an asset to our educational systems, but the opportunity for inequity and the potential devastation to the public school system throughout our communities suggest to me that I could not support this program, as written, at this time.

Yes I support opportunity scholarships. I have a sister-in-law in Ohio, she is a single mother. She is able to send her three children to a better school due to scholarships. Families should be able to make these decisions. I see schools that are failing too many of our children in districts across the state and for generation after generation without any accountability. Families should be able to rescue their children from schools where they don't have a shot a good education and send them to a school of their choice.

I did not support the opportunity scholarships in the funding reform bill, but will not try to eliminate the tax credit program because it was negotiated in good faith and it has a five-year sunset clause.

Yes I support opportunity scholarships. I have a sister-in-law in Ohio, she is a single mother. She is able to send her three children to a better school due to scholarships. Families should be able to make these decisions. I see schools that are failing too many of our children in districts across the state and for generation after generation without any accountability. Families should be able to rescue their children from schools where they don't have a shot a good education and send them to a school of their choice.

I do not support the so called opportunity scholarships in the funding reform bill, but I don't think I would try to eliminate the program, on the other hand, I don't think I would vote for anything else that smells of school voucher.