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OP-ED
We Need Your Help To Pass the Education Tax Credit
By DR. TIMOTHY MCNIFF

Dr. Timothy McNiff

We need your help! In just a few weeks the New York State Assembly will vote on a bill that would substantially increase the amount of money we could raise for scholarships for children attending our schools.

Governor Andrew Cuomo has proposed the Parental Choice in Education Act that includes an Education Tax Credit to encourage donations to scholarship funds serving parents with children in Catholic and other schools. After Florida adopted a similar law, what began as a $50 million program now generates almost a half-billion dollars in scholarships for students in Catholic and other private schools in that state.

As part of the bill, the Governor has proposed a $500 tax credit for every child a parent has enrolled in a Catholic or other private school. The legislation also encourages donations to public schools and nonprofit organizations for after-school, music, arts, sports and tutoring programs. In addition, this bill would provide a direct tax credit to teachers to help offset the money spent out of their own pockets for classroom supplies.

This legislation is a top priority for His Eminence, Timothy Michael Cardinal Dolan, and could have a tremendous positive impact on the Catholic schools across the Archdiocese of New York. Governor Cuomo and the State Senate are already on board, but Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and the Assembly Majority are blocking this important bill.

We can win this, but only if you speak up on behalf of the children and families we seek to serve.

Please let your voice be heard by signing onto www.investined.org today. Simply typing in your street address and zip code, the website identifies your state legislator and gives you a sample email which you can customize, if you like. Then simply press “Submit Email” and you’re done.

All it takes is a few moments to let your legislator hear, loud and clear, our demand for action on this important legislation. This is too important to set this aside to do later. Go to www.investined.org. Help us help the children who most desperately need the benefits of a Catholic education.

Our Catholic school system serves nearly 70,000 students in over 200 schools in New York. These schools are special places where students receive what many children do not: a faith-based education centered on building character and virtue.

Students who attend our Catholic schools enjoy smaller class sizes and a family atmosphere where the principal knows every child’s name. Moreover, 98 percent of seniors graduate with diplomas and go on to college.

We all know how important these schools are for families with children, but they’re important to all of us. Catholic schools in New York save our state billions of dollars a year by privately educating children. Governor Cuomo is on record as saying the public cost of absorbing students from closed Catholic schools increases the burden on a public-school system without doing anything to improve it.

If you agree that Catholic education is worth fighting for, please share this article with your family and friends. This is a fight that will benefit all New Yorkers and we have also enlisted the help of our principals, teachers and staff to speak up and sign on.

Your support will help Catholic education remain a vibrant force for our families, our communities and our state for years to come.

Dr. Timothy McNiff is the superintendent of schools for the archdiocese.

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