CHICAGO -- Illinois lawmakers are considering a proposal that would allow out-of-state students to enroll in a Chicago-area residential school.
Democratic Sen. Linda Holmes sponsored the bill to help the Illinois Math and Science Academy in Aurora reduce its reliance on state funds, The Beacon-News reported . The largely state-funded public high school went through financial difficulties from 2015-17 when the state went without a budget, she said.
"They were dangerously close to not being able to continue staying in business," Holmes said. "That was terrifying when you think of how bright these kids are."
The proposal would also allow ninth-grade students to enroll in the currently three-year academy. The measure would expose students to different backgrounds and give the school access to money for capital projects, said Tami Armstrong, the director of the school's office of public affairs.
"We think it will be of value to collaborate on somewhat of a long-term basis with students of different cultures," she said.
Out-of-state and international students wouldn't be allowed to account for more than 25 percent of the student body.
The school could add 150 slots for non-Illinois students if the proposal is approved, Armstrong said. Tuition would be about $50,000, which would go toward building a new residence hall on campus, she said.
About 650 students are currently enrolled in the school. Illinois residents pay for activities but aren't charged tuition, Armstrong said. That policy won't change under the proposal.
The measure passed the state Senate and is now under consideration in the House.
Information from: The Beacon-News, http://beaconnews.chicagotribune.com/