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Private School Scholarships Resurface in Funding Compromise

The Illinois Alliance of Administrators of Special Education is a nonprofit special education administrator organization that promotes educational opportunities for all students with an emphasis on students with disabilities.

Legislative leaders Thursday announced a tentative compromise on the thorny issue of school funding, but opposition is mounting to one part of that deal.

A program that would provide $75 million in tax credits for private school tuition scholarships is reportedly a key feature of the school funding compromise. It gets a big thumbs-down from Kevin Rubenstein, president-elect of the statewide Alliance of Special Education Administrators.

"Private schools across the country are looking to make money. And so they recruit kids and they tell them that they're able to serve them, and then they're not able to serve them, so they're returned to the public school," Rubenstein said.

Rubenstein said private schools don't have to follow the federal disabilities act, and can dismiss a student just because he or she needs extra services.

Teacher unions are also opposed to the program. Unit 5 Superintendent Mark Daniel said earlier this month that it was a dangerous step backward toward segregation.

Leaders are scheduled to continue negotiations Sunday, and the House is set to vote on school funding Monday.

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