With very little notice this summer, parents and guardians had to scramble to create an at-home learning environment for their kids. For many, that meant purchasing additional computers or tablets, improving internet access, and in some cases hiring tutors. In an effort to alleviate some of the costs families have had to absorb due to remote learning, State Representative Avery Bourne (R-Morrisonville) is championing legislation to provide a tax credit to parents who have had to spend money on educational equipment.
“Right before schools were ready to open for in-person learning this fall, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) updated COVID-19 guidelines for face-to-face learning,” said Bourne. “The new rules were much stricter than the original rules, and caused most school districts to fall back to remote learning. This left parents and families scrambling to arrange a suitable home learning environment for their kids.”
HB 5834 creates an income tax credit for parents and legal guardians of school-age students for educational expenses that result from remote learning during the COVID-19 pandemic. Eligible expenses include additional computers, printers, internet routers, tutors, learning facilitators and certain childcare expenses. Additional tax credits would be extended to teachers with children to incentivize teachers to work at their schools rather than stay home with their kids.
“There are schools throughout the state that don’t have one-to-one digital equipment for students, and for families with multiple school-aged kids, adults had to use their own money to purchase computers, tablets, or other equipment,” Bourne said. “The provisions of HB 5834 will provide these families, who were forced into a learning situation that was not of their own doing, with some relief.”
Bourne will be pushing for the bill’s passage during the fall veto session.