For Immediate Release: Nov. 6, 2017
Harrisburg, Penn. – Governor Tom Wolf has allowed a school code bill to become law today, bringing Pennsylvania’s 2017-2018 budget process to a close. The budget provides for a stronger-than-ever educational tax credit program that will aid more students across the Commonwealth who need financial assistance, including those at Jewish schools.
Forty percent of Jewish day school students in Pennsylvania qualify for and receive scholarships through Pennsylvania’s educational tax credit programs. Teach PA successfully advocated for these programs through letter-writing campaigns, a community advocacy mission to Harrisburg, engagement with local legislators and other endeavors.
This year, Pennsylvania’s legislative leadership reaffirmed its commitment to all students by including a $10 million increase for the Educational Improvement Tax Credit program (EITC), for a total $135 million; $50 million for the Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit program (OSTC); and $8.5 million for school safety. The spending plan also included $88 million for services to nonpublic schools and $27 million for textbooks, materials and equipment for nonpublic schools.
Teach PA worked throughout the past year with coalition partners to grow Pennsylvania’s education scholarship tax credit programs, resulting in scholarships for more than 40,000 low- and middle-income families.
“This new funding, which marks a $10 million increase for scholarship tax credits over last year’s funding amount, will translate into greater educational opportunity for more children,” said Elliot Holtz, co-chairman of Teach PA, part of the Orthodox Union’s Teach Advocacy Network. “We at Teach PA commend and thank Governor Wolf and the Pennsylvania General Assembly for maintaining funding for school safety amid pressure to eliminate the program.”
Said Arielle Frankston-Morris, director of Teach PA, “The Teach Advocacy Network has been fighting relentlessly for the safety of all schoolchildren across the country. Our operation in Pennsylvania, Teach PA, has been no different, with our advocates working in Harrisburg and community members making their voices heard through letters, phone calls and meetings with legislators.”
Amir Goldman, co-chairman of Teach PA, said, “The passage of this budget, despite the tremendous deficit which faces our state, sends a clear message that our schools are an integral part of the state’s educational infrastructure.”