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  • Pennsylvania Approves Private School Tax Credit Program

    Public school students in poor performing Pennsylvania schools will now be eligible to receive scholarships to attend a private school of their choice.

    Late Saturday night, Governor Tom Corbett (R) signed into law a provision that will make private school scholarships available for students assigned to the lowest-performing 15 percent of the state’s public schools.

    While Pennsylvania has operated its Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) program—which provides tax credits to corporations that donate money to scholarship-granting organizations—since 2001, scholarships were limited to students already enrolled in private schools. The new law expands the current program by adding $50 million in tax credits for corporations that donate toward scholarship for students assigned to low-performing public schools.

    The Philadelphia Inquirer reported, “The budget provides for corporate donations to pay up to $8,500 in tuition for the students to attend private schools. Special-education students can get up to $15,000 in tuition.”

    Preference is given to low-income students as well as those attending Philadelphia public schools—about half of which fall into the lowest-performing 15 percent of the state’s schools. Students from a few other school districts will likewise be given preference.

    The tax credit scholarship program will allow students to escape not only the academic woes of poorly performing schools but also the violence that often plagues them. A June 2012 report from Pennsylvania’s Commonwealth Foundation notes that students in the state’s 5 percent of lowest-performing schools were fives times as likely to be a victim of violent crime or assault.

    The per-pupil amount awarded for each private school scholarship would also be significantly less than the public school per-pupil cost. As the Commonwealth Foundation report explains, public schools spent nearly $15,000 per student in the 2010–2011 school year, but “tax-credit scholarships could serve students for anywhere between $1,100 (the average EITC scholarship) and $8,500, the maximum opportunity scholarship for non-special needs students.”

    Pennsylvania’s broadened school choice program now provides a way for students to exchange a failing school for one that is suited to their individual needs. It opens doors to educational opportunity that would otherwise be unavailable, thus providing a path to a brighter academic future.

    Posted in Education, Featured [slideshow_deploy]

    4 Responses to Pennsylvania Approves Private School Tax Credit Program

    1. Nick says:

      If I am a business in Pennsylvania, and I dedicate $10,000 to the program, how much is my PA state corporate tax reduced by?

      • TClater says:

        Nick.
        1. A corporation applies for the opportunity to gain a tax credit. First come, first serve until the appropriation is exhausted.
        2. An applicant applies for a one-year donation @ 75% tax credit on a half-dozen specific PA business taxes; or two years of identical contribution @ 90%.
        3. #1 and #2 above apply to the traditional EITC program and to the new program.
        4. A separate tax credit/scholarship program is available for pre-K students and that tax credit is slightly different in details. Details of the two traditional programs are available on the websight of the REACH Foundation/REACH Alliance, the leader in educational choice endeavors in PA. Details of the Guidelines for the new program are being developed.

    2. TClater says:

      Pennsylvania's EITC program is now 11 years old and has benefitted tens of thousands of students. This program has NOT been limited to students previously attending private schools, and most of the 200 scholarship organizations are providing scholarships to kids transferring out of public schools (in addition to other options). Details on this PA program are available through the REACH Foundation at 717-238-1878 and http://www.paschoolchoice.org.

      The new program is targeted, throwing a lifeline to kids in the attendance area of the public schools that fall within the 15% worst-performing public school buildings. Clearly, these kids need an alternative to their currently assigned school.

    3. Blair Franconia, NH says:

      The liberals will sue.

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