TEACH PA APPLAUDS GENERAL ASSEMBLY ON PASSAGE OF BILL EXPANDING STATE TAX CREDIT SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM, URGES GOV. WOLF TO SIGN
HB800 WOULD ENABLE TENS OF THOUSANDS MORE STUDENTS TO ATTEND SCHOOLS THEY CHOOSE
HARRISBURG, Pennsylvania – Teach PA, a project of the Orthodox Union and a leading advocate for equitable funding for Pennsylvania’s nonpublic schools, urges Gov. Tom Wolf to sign legislation that would expand the Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) program to $210 million so that tens of thousands more children from low-and-middle income families across the state can attend Jewish and other nonpublic day schools.
The governor’s approval of HB800 would increase the existing $110 million cap on the tax credit scholarship program by 90 percent. The bill also raises family-income eligibility to $95,000 and allows students receiving scholarships to remain in the program regardless of changes in family income. Additionally, the legislation would allow the cap on EITC funding to increase automatically by 10 percent whenever the program reaches 90 percent usage.
Teach PA has been on the forefront of advocating both for the EITC program as well as the Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit (OSTC) program in Harrisburg and in communities across the commonwealth by building support among legislators and sending a delegation of hundreds of students, parents, educators and other community leaders on annual missions to the capital. This week, Teach PA issued an action alert to encourage citizens to write to Gov. Wolf to urge him to sign the expansion bill.
Pennsylvania is one of 18 states that offers state-sponsored tax credit scholarship programs, and its EITC program is one of the largest in the country: Last year, combined with the Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit Program, it helped nearly 50,000 students attend schools of their choice. In the same year, almost 53,000 eligible students were denied tax credit scholarships primarily due to a lack of funding.
Such initiatives give families greater access to high-quality nonpublic schools by allowing individuals and businesses to receive tax credits in exchange for contributing to nonprofit organizations that provide scholarships to students.
“This legislation is a lifeline for families, particularly those in low-income brackets across Pennsylvania seeking the best education for their children,” said Teach PA Executive Director Arielle Frankston-Morris. “We recognize the leadership of Speaker of the House Mike Turzai who has championed this program and tirelessly fights for students.”
The Pennsylvania Senate passed the bill on June 11; the House of Representatives approved it last month.
Teach PA, a division of Teach Coalition, was founded in 2013 to advocate for equitable government funding for Pennsylvania nonpublic schools. It has helped secure over $70 million in scholarships for Jewish day school students and spearheaded the creation and maintenance of a school safety program that has delivered $700,000 to nine nonpublic schools. Currently, 20 day-schools and yeshivas receive support through Teach PA’s efforts. For more information, visit https://teachcoalition.org/pa/.