Illinois, Federal Proposals Would Give Parents Of Virtual Students More Than $20,000

ILLINOIS — Proposals at the federal level and in Springfield would net the average Illinois parent of a student learning remotely more than $20,000 in cash and tax breaks.

A dozen Illinois House Republicans are backing legislation filed earlier this month would provide parents with a child enrolled in virtual learning $5,500 in tax credits for the extra costs associated with the change, daycare, tablets, school supplies, etc.

“There has to be some relief for parents that are spending considerably more than they were in their child’s last year of education,” said Rep. Grant Wehrli, R-Naperville. “If parents are forced to pay, in many cases, thousands of dollars more, we certainly need to look at how we can help them from a tax standpoint.”

The bill has no Democratic support, possibly because the tax credits could be spent on a non-public education. Democrats largely opposed the Invest in Kids private school scholarship program, which gave tax credits for donations that went to tuition for an Illinois resident to attend private school.

U.S. Sen Josh Hawley, R-Missouri, wants a larger aid package.

Hawley has yet to file the legislation but said in an announcement that it would grant parents of virtual learners “$1,200 in direct cash assistance per month every month through June 2021 to help cover lost work shifts or wages.”

“I have been calling for assistance for working families since day one and the return of the school year only makes the issue that much more urgent,” Hawley said. “School closures, disruption of the standard academic calendar, hybrid and distance-learning models, and other changes have forced parents to seek alternative work arrangements or leave the workforce altogether. Since the government has asked them to deal with these realities, it falls on us to help them through it. Working families need relief as soon as possible.”

The shift to virtual learning across the country has become a massive economic drain.

A study from BankRate found 3 out of 5 parents nationwide said remote learning will negatively impact their finances, with more than a third saying they would have to either reduce their hours at work or quit altogether.

A study by Baron’s estimates the number of single-parent or dual-income families forced to either reduce hours or quit a job altogether could sap $700 billion in productivity and lost revenue from the American economy.

The Illinois bill also provides tax breaks for employers providing education care and teachers of virtual learners.

The Center Square – Cole Lauterbach

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