U.S. Rep. Dan Lipinski is backing legislation to ensure about 6 million grade school students who attend private schools would be eligible to receive federal COVID-19 aid.
Lipinski, D-Western Springs, joined two other members of Congress in introducing the School Choice Now Act, to go with companion legislation in the Senate, according to a news release.
“As a former teacher, I know how critical it is that students continue their education despite the pandemic,” Lipinski said in the release.
“I was proud to support emergency federal funding for K-12 students earlier this year, but more is now needed," he said in the release.
The bill aims to supplement funding for certified scholarship granting organizations and to make use of other mechanisms already in place in states like Illinois, according to the release. Lipinski argued aid from such organizations supports low-income families sending children to private school who were affected by the economic downturn amid the pandemic.
The bill would provide one-time supplemental funding to SGOs in each state for emergency assistance to struggling private school students. It would also establish a permanent dollar-for-dollar federal tax credit for contributions to SGOs capped at $5 billion per year.
"We must help all students, including the 6 million attending private schools, many of which are run by Catholic institutions in urban areas like Chicago and serve low-income and minority communities particularly hard hit by COVID," Lipinski said in the release.