NY bishops to lobby state leaders on education bill

by DENNIS POUST
Mon, Jun 1st 2015 08:00 am
New York State Catholic Conference
Bishop Richard J. Malone will join other NY Catholic leaders to meet with Albany legislators about the Parental Choice in Education Act Monday morning. (Patrick McPartland/Staff Photographer)
Bishop Richard J. Malone will join other NY Catholic leaders to meet with Albany legislators about the Parental Choice in Education Act Monday morning. (Patrick McPartland/Staff Photographer)

At the invitation of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, Cardinal Timothy  Dolan, Bishop Richard J. Malone and several other New York State Bishops and representatives from all eight dioceses will meet with members of the New York State Senate and Assembly today, June 1, at the Executive Mansion in Albany. The meetings will be at 11:30 a.m. with members of the Senate, and 1 p.m. with members of the Assembly.

The luncheon meetings continues the push for passage of the Governor's Parental Choice in Education Act, which is the top priority of Cardinal Dolan and the Bishops and is crucial to the future of Catholic schools and other religious and independent schools in New York State.

"Keeping our Catholic schools open and affordable is a colossal challenge for one simple reason - our schools operate on an extremely un-level playing field," Cardinal Dolan said.  "Public schools are completely and endlessly funded by taxpayer dollars while our schools operate largely on charity, good will, and great sacrifice - particularly the sacrifice of parents who struggle to pay tuition to send their children to our schools. Lawmakers created and perpetuate this un-level playing field, and only they can level it.

"This bill has the broad support of various faith traditions, labor unions, businesses and community organizations, because it makes so much sense.

"We are grateful to Governor Cuomo and the legislators who support parental choice and are fighting for it, but if they return home from Albany this month without enacting Education Tax Credits, principals, pastors and, especially, our parents will be very upset. We've had a lot of false hope in the past. Now is the time for them to put their money where their mouth is."

The Parental Choice in Education Act, which Gov. Cuomo has been promoting around the state, would provide a $500 tuition tax credit for families making $60,000 per year or less who send their children to a religious or independent school. It also provides an education investment tax credit to individuals and corporations who donate to public schools and scholarship-making organizations, and a $200 personal tax credit for public school teachers for their out of pocket classroom expenses.

In addition to Cardinal Dolan and Bishop Malone, Bishop Terry LaValley of Ogdensburg, Auxiliary Bishop Robert Brennan of Rockville Centre, and representatives from the Dioceses of Albany, Brooklyn, Syracuse and Rochester will be present at the meeting.  

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