May 17, 2015
Governor Andrew Cuomo went into several churches and a synagogue on Sunday, to talk about his legislation, the Parental Choice In Education Act.
“This is about fairness and this is about parents choosing the school that is right for their children,” Governor Cuomo said. “We must reward donations to support public schools, give tax credits to teachers who pay for classroom supplies out of pocket, and ease the financial burden on families who exercise choice in sending their children to a nonpublic school. I am pleased to join with local leaders who support these critical issues and understand how we need to get this done.”
The governor says that the bill provides for $150 million in education tax credits annually that will provide:
1. Tax credits to low-income families who send their children to nonpublic schools,
2. Scholarships to low- and middle-income students to attend either a public school outside of their district or a nonpublic school,
3. Incentives to public schools for enhanced educational programming (like after school programs); and,
4. Tax credits to public school teachers for the purchase of supplies
400,000 students, or approximately 15 percent of all students in New York State attend nonpublic schools which provide an important educational alternative in virtually every corner of New York State – and especially so in communities where the existing public schools are failing. There are currently 178 failing public schools in New York State – many of which have been failing for ten years or more.
Despite their importance as alternative options for parents and students in failing schools, many parochial schools in New York State are experiencing financial hardship, and parents can face steep costs to enroll their children in such schools. Statewide, more than 75 parochial schools have closed in just the last five years, and average tuition can reach as high as $8,500 per student annually.
Therefore, the Parental Choice in Education Act will support important alternatives for parents across the state – especially important for low-income families.
Family Choice Education Credit
This $70 million portion of the Parental Choice in Education Act will provide credits to families of nonpublic school students. Families with incomes below $60,000 per year would qualify for up to $500 per student for tuition expenses to nonpublic schools. This will benefit approximately 140,000 children and approximately 82,000 families across the state.
Education Scholarship and Program Tax Credit
This portion of the Parental Choice in Education Act includes two components. The first provides $50 million in credits to support scholarships for low-income and other students in grades P-12 who attend nonpublic schools. The second provides $20 million in credits to fund educational programs at public schools and supporting not-for-profit organizations.
$67 Million in Scholarships for Low-Income Students Attending Private Schools in Grades P-12: This tax credit totaling $50 million will expand access to nonpublic schools for families who may not be able to afford tuition by funding $67 million in scholarships to help low-income and other students attend private or out-of-district public schools. Individuals and businesses can receive a tax credit for up to 75 percent of their donations made to not-for-profit organizations that award scholarships to students in grades P-12. Those organizations will award scholarships to private and out-of-district public schools based on financial need of the students’ families.
$27 Million for Public School Programs: Under this portion of the Education Scholarship and Program Tax Credit, public school students and educators will benefit from $27 million in new funds for education improvement programs. Individuals and businesses will be able to receive a total of $20 million in tax credits for up to 75 percent of their donations made to public schools and not-for-profits that support public schools’ educational programs, including Pre-Kindergarten and extended-day programs.
Instructional Materials and Supplies Credit
This $10 million component of the Parental Choice in Education Act provides a tax credit of up to $200 per public school educator to support the purchase of instructional materials and supplies for use in teachers’ classrooms. This credit will benefit educators and students throughout the state, and will be administered on a first come, first served basis.