Both tax credit and voucher programs are school choice options for Illinois. In the most recent cases, Illinois’ tax credit program was upheld from challenges under both the Establishment Clause and Illinois’ Religion Clauses. Two state appellate courts upheld the program in Toney v. Bower and Griffith v. Bower, and the Illinois Supreme Court let those decisions stand without reviewing them.
The Illinois Constitution contains both a Compelled Support Clause and a Blaine Amendment, but the Illinois Supreme Court has found only direct, unrestricted payments of public funds to religious schools unconstitutional. It approved the transportation of private school students at public expense and the use of public funds to pay for childcare services at religious institutions. In Board of Educationv. Bakalis and Trost v. Ketteler Manual Training School, the Illinois Supreme Court permitted some public support for children attending religious schools, which suggests the Court understands that such aid supports children, not schools.
Model Legislation: Education Savings Account, Parental Choice Scholarship Program (Universal Eligibility), Parental Choice Scholarship Program (Means-Tested Eligibility), Special Needs Scholarship Program, Foster Child Scholarship Program, Autism Scholarship, Great Schools Tax Credit Program, Family Education Tax Credit Program
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