Centralia, Mount Vernon and other southwest Illinois students to be eligible for private school scholarships in new state program
A new public school funding bill recently passed by the Illinois Legislature and signed by Gov. Bruce Rauner, SB1947, includes a scholarship program that awards donated funds to students in lower-income families – up to 300 percent of the federal poverty level – to provide them the opportunity to attend private schools.
A provision within the bill allows for scholarship eligibility to students in select “focus districts” in the state, including several in southwest Illinois.
In southwest Illinois, students who meet income criteria in the following school districts are eligible for the scholarships:
• Centralia High School District 200
• Mount Vernon School District 80
• Coulterville Unit School District 1
• Sparta Community Unit School District 140
• Christopher Unit School District 99
• Anna Jonesboro Community High School District 81
• Cairo Unit School District 1
• Dongola Unit School District 66
A breakdown from the Illinois Policy Institute reveals the criteria for eligibility: A district must include at least one school ranking in the bottom 10 percent in terms of student performance or a school with a graduation rate of less than 60 percent.