State Representative Deanne Mazzochi (R-Elmhurst) filed legislation to help families with schoolchildren where in-person learning was disrupted because of COVID-19.
Rep. Mazzochi explained, “our parents need at least some relief, and compensation from the state, for the many varied, unexpected and unanticipated costs they incurred because of schools shutting that shut down; or which had to switch from in-person to online learning.”
On August 15th, the Illinois Department of Public Health released new COVID guidelines for schools that were much stricter than their original June guidelines that schools relied on to craft their original re-opening plans. “These changes resulted in a number of school districts in my district, and I’m sure others, making the unexpected determination to move completely online to start the school year, leaving a lot of families scrambling to make adjustments,” Rep. Mazzochi continued.
House Bill 5834 creates an income tax credit for parents and legal guardians of school-age students for educational expenses that resulted from schools failing to offer full in-person learning. Eligible expenses include additional computers, printers, internet routers, tutors, learning facilitators and certain child care expenses. Because many teachers are also parents whose children could not be in school; to ensure those teachers commit to teaching rather than leaving the school system, additional tax credits are available. The bill also creates a tax credit for employers who help their employees pay for their child’s online learning expenditures.
Rep. Mazzochi explained, “not only are many families still paying the full weight of their property taxes, but they now have myriad costs because students cannot be in school full-time. That is not their fault, particularly when it was the state’s actions that contributed to disruptions in the school schedule that families didn’t ask for, or have time to prepare for.”
HB 5834 was filed on September 10th and has already garnered a number of co-sponsors. Rep. Mazzochi plans to move the bill forward during the fall veto session.