by Randy Pierce
GLEN CARBON — For the purpose of showing their support of a program that directly affects them, a group of students, accompanied by family members and staff from Father McGivney Catholic High School in Glen Carbon, recently visited the state legislature in Springfield.
Advocating the extension of the “Invest in Kids Act,” the local contingent experienced a first-hand view of how the democratic process works at the state level. The Invest in Kids Act allows income tax credits for taxpayers who make authorized contributions to a qualified scholarship granting organization which, in turn, provides scholarships for eligible Illinois students to attend qualified, non-public schools in this state.
Eligible students are members of a household whose federal adjusted gross income the year before he or she initially receives a scholarship under this program, as determined by the Illinois Department of Revenue, does not exceed 300 per cent of the federal poverty level and, once the recipient receives a scholarship, does not exceed 400 per cent of the federal poverty level.
The student must be eligible to attend a public elementary school or high school in Illinois the semester immediately preceding the semester for which he or she first receives a scholarship or is starting school in Illinois for the first time when he or she first receives a scholarship. Students must reside in Illinois while receiving a scholarship. For more information on federal poverty levels, visit the United States Department of Health and Human Services website
The state definition of a “qualified school,” like FMCHS, refers to a non-public school located in Illinois and recognized by the state school code or that is registered and becomes recognized by the Illinois State Board of Education pursuant to that same code prior to receiving the scholarship funds.
Cited by FMCHS officials as a major role player in the effort to educate those in the local area about the Invest in Kids Act and its benefits is Jill Beltramea who joined the staff there in 2017 as the business manager and is responsible for the day-to-day financial management of the school and its business operations.
Beltramea graduated from Indiana University with a bachelor of science in accounting and marketing from its school of business. She and her husband Stan are parishioners of St. Boniface in Edwardsville and have four children, Noah, Amelia, Maria and Allison.