“The hot time is now” to contribute to an Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) scholarship organization, said Richard Bluis, partner in the accounting firm, Martin M. Sacks and Associates. He is a member of the school board and parent of a student at Saint Catherine Laboure School in Harrisburg. Bluis’s firm has received tax credits for contributing to the EITC program for many years and he encourages other businesses to take advantage of the program. “The Educational Improvement Tax Credits go fast,” said Bluis. “July 1 is the first day they are available, but it is also a deadline. The tax credits sell out fast, like concert tickets.”
Bluis joined others supporters at the Catholic school to rally support for House Bill 752 which would increase funding for the EITC and the Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit (OSTC) by $100 million, a similar program aimed at helping qualified students in continually low performing schools.
“About 30 percent of the families at Saint Catherine Laboure School benefit from EITC scholarships,” explained Kelly Rogers, advancement director. “But our need based on the qualifying income levels of our families far exceeds what is available for scholarships.” She said increasing funding for EITC and OSTC as proposed by HB 752 would be a “huge help … It would be amazing to be able to help more families.”
All parents should be able to select the school that best suits their children. The state should support parents in meeting their obligation to educate their children, not the other way around. Not every qualified student will choose a Catholic school, but as demonstrated by Saint Catherine Laboure School in Harrisburg, many do. The EITC and OSTC programs allow more families to choose Catholic school, without sacrificing our core mission and high standards.
Watch students from St. Catherine Laboure’s Bell Choir:
Catholic schools play a vital role in our communities. They provide an essential service that helps to create new generations of productive and engaged citizens, often for a fraction of the cost of educating the same student in a public school. If every nonpublic school student returned to public school, the costs would be unbearable. Given the average per pupil price tag, our Catholic schools saved the taxpayers more than $2.28 billion this year alone.
HB 752 passed the House of Representatives on May 11, and now it is time for the Senate to vote for it, so that even more parents can make a choice about the right school for their children. Click here to send a message to your elected officials urging support for this important legislation.