Rep. Wilhour Proposes Bill to Fund Students Directly When Local Schools Refuse In-person Learning

Effingham, IL – Many school districts across the state are not providing in-person learning for students forcing parents to seek education alternatives which incur costs, State Representative Blaine Wilhour (R-Beecher City) says should be reimbursed.
“The lack of full-time, in-person learning is a choice that is being made and it is a choice not based on science,” Wilhour said. “Just yesterday, the CDC stated that ‘there has been little evidence that schools have contributed meaningfully to increased community transmission.’ Parents frustrated with the lack of in-person learning at their local public school have no recourse but to enroll their children in a private school or home school them. These parents should not have to pay extra money to educate their kids just because their local school refuses to hold in-person classes.”
House Bill 273 requires the State Board of Education to issue vouchers to the parents or guardians of a student who previously was enrolled in a public school but was taken out of school to be either home schooled or enrolled in a private school as a result of no full-time, in-person instruction being offered at the school they were previously enrolled. The amount paid to the parents or legal guardians would be the equivalent to what the state pays the local school for per pupil enrollment for the entire school year.
“The public schools can’t have it both ways,” Wilhour said. “Our public school system does not give parents a choice in which public school they enroll their children. For better or worse, parents and students are stuck with the schools that serve their particular neighborhoods. So, if a student is enrolled in a school that does not have in-person learning, the parent should have the choice to enroll the student in a nearby school that does offer in-person learning. Our system has given parents no choice but to seek private sector options and so it is only fair for the state to reimburse these parents for the additional educational cost. If teachers’ unions and broken education bureaucracies are going to thwart established science and the best interests of the students, the least they should do is to reimburse parents for the cost of seeking private school alternatives to get the in-person learning their children need.”
Wilhour noted that this week is National School Choice Week. House Bill 273 has been introduced and awaits assignment to a legislative committee.