East Peoria, Lewistown, Centralia, and more west central 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, SB1947, includes a scholarship program that would award 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 west central Illinois.
In west Central Illinois, students who meet income criteria in the following school districts are eligible for the scholarships:
• East Peoria Community High School District 309
• Lewistown Community Unit School District 97
• South Pekin Community Unit School District 137
• Beardstown Community Unit School District 15
• Quincy School District 172
• South Fork School District 14
• Meredosia-Chambersburg Community Unit School District 11
• Western Community Unit School District 12
• North Greene Community Unit School District 3
• Centralia High School District 200
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.