Illinois starts second year of private school scholarships

ROCKFORD, Ill. (AP) _ Illinois’ taxpayer-funded private school scholarship program is beginning its second year, though the new governor has criticized the initiative.

The Rockford Register Star reports that the second year of the Empower Illinois program began Tuesday. The program’s first year ran into technical issues after the online registration system shut down following high demand.

Empower Illinois is one of the organizations overseeing the Tax Credit Scholarship program, which was made available through the Invest in Kids Act.

Lawmakers approved the controversial $75 million tax credit program in 2017 as part of a school funding overhaul.

Critics say the program takes money away from public schools and benefits the wealthy. Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker, who took his oath of office on Monday , had said he would seek to end the program.

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