Rose questions fiscal logic of bill to pay for housing of homeless students
Providing rent or mortgage money to homeless families to ensure their children can stay at a particular school is no way for Illinois to start saving money, Sen. Chapin Rose (R-Mahomet) during Senate debate on House Bill 0261.
"We've already got schools," he said. "Kids can go to the school closest to them. Let them go to the school closest to them. That is a perfectly reasonable option. To offer a school district now a second choice to pay for a housing voucher versus the transportation ignores the obvious reality that in a very real circumstance, a very real circumstance, actual circumstance, there's a school right down the street.", said Rose.
The measure would amend the Education for Homeless Children Act to allow school districts to reallocate funds earmarked for transporting homeless students to assist with their rent or mortgage payments instead if the district believes there will be cost savings involved. It would allow students to continue attending their original schools.
The bill was presented by Sens. Scott Bennett (D-Champaign), Jacqueline Collins (D-Chicago), and Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago).
"Few of us in this chamber can under or put themselves in the shoes of a student who's already in school, already difficult enough, and then your family loses their housing and you gotta figure out where you're going to go, and where all your toys are, and where your clothes are. Now, to require them to have to possibly move school districts in the middle of the school year I think is particularly cruel.", said Bennett.
"This bill spends no more money, all it does is give these local schools the power to move the money around for the best of their purposes.", Bennett continued.
Rose argued that the measure did not make much fiscal sense.
“At what point in time do we just say, cut the line and then say, ‘You know what, folks, we’re not paying our bills. Local property taxpayers are paying these bills, and we can no longer afford to be all things to all people,'" Rose said. "There are perfectly good schools down the road, but it seems to me the solution here is, 'Let’s have the government pay for everything.'"
The bill passed the Senate 39 to 15 and now goes to Gov. Bruce Rauner.