Pennsylvania Legislators Urged By Jewish Leaders to Restore Funding for Education Tax Credit


house-speaker-keith-mccallAt meetings in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania this week, arranged by the Pennsylvania affiliate of the Council for American Private Education (PACAPE), state legislators were urged to restore $15 million cut from last year’s allocation for the Education Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) and to prevent further reductions to the program.

Since its inception nine years ago, the EITC program has distributed roughly $300 million in scholarships to private school students, in addition to funds and resources it provided for public school students. Considered the most successful education tax credit in the nation, the EITC program is the model for private school groups in a host of other states seeking to assist their tuition burden-bearing families.

Present at the meetings with leading Pennsylvania legislators and staffers, including House Speaker Keith McCall, over May 3 and 4 were representatives of nonpublic school groups from across Pennsylvania, including Agudath Israel of America’s Mid-Atlantic director Rabbi Ariel Sadwin, representatives from the Orthodox Union and Jewish day school officials. Rabbi Akiva Males of Harrisburg’s Kesher Israel Congregation also joined in the meetings.

Tuesday’s meetings coincided with the ninth “birthday celebration” of the EITC program. An impressive crowd of nonpublic school students and teachers from across the Keystone State gathered on the steps of the State Capitol building to join in the festivities, and were addressed by several state lawmakers who have been strong advocates of the program since its inception.

“We were gratified,” remarked Rabbi Sadwin, “to hear legislators express a strong commitment to enabling the EITC program to continue to provide these invaluable resources to residents who choose nonpublic education. The consensus about the need to restore the funding to its record level of two years ago was particularly comforting.”

{Noam Newscenter}