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National PTA Alert Let us know
 
 
 
From: OGR Special Alert
Sent: Wednesday, October 22, 1997 7:06 AM

voucher, tax subsidy alert

October 22, 1997

IMMEDIATE ACTION REQUESTED

ISSUE: Pro voucher forces are pushing to enact several voucher bills and the education tax subsidy proposal before Congress adjourns in early November.

The Leadership in both the House and the Senate want to pass private school funding proposals within the next two weeks.

*A House vote on the education tax subsidy in H.R. 2373 is set for Oct 23.

*A House vote on a new (to be introduced on Oct.24) voucher bill, the Helping Empower Low-Income Parents (HELP) Scholarship Act is slated for Oct 29.

*Pending in the Senate is the voucher amendment to the DC appropriations bills and the Senate version of the education tax subsidy legislation, S. 1133. The date for Senate floor action on these items will be announced.

National PTA Position:

National PTA supports public funds for public schools and opposes vouchers and tax benefits to pay for the costs of attending private and religious schools.

ACTION NEEDED:

Call your senators and representative and ask them to oppose any voucher proposals or tax credit scheme that would benefit private and religious schools. Ask House members to vote NO on any voucher plan or education tax subsidy proposal, like H.R. 2373. Ask senators to oppose any voucher plan or education tax subsidy (see below) by voting NO on these bills and to vote NO on a motion to invoke cloture, which would allow for a filibuster of these private and religious school funding schemes.

Talking Points education Tax Subsidies

* The Gingrich-Coverdell education tax subsidy, H.R. 2373 and S. 1133, would provide tax subsidies for people who enroll their children in private and religious schools, who home school their children, and who pay for private tutoring. This measure would amend the higher education IRA provisions passed as part of P.L. 105-34 to allow parents, relatives, and corporate entities to deposit up to $2,500 into an education IRA and make tax-free withdrawals on the interest and principal to pay for elementary and secondary education expenses. The projected cost of expanding this measure is more than $2.5 billion over five years and $4.1 billion over 10 years.

* This tax plan disproportionately favors wealthier families, who are more likely to have the money to save than are families with lower incomes. Therefore, low- and middle-income families would get little benefit from the compounding tax-free earnings in an education IRA. Federal policies should help and improve America's public schools, which educate more than 89 percent of children in grades K-12.

* These federally-created tax-free savings accounts fail to move society forward on what parents, teachers, and concerned citizens say can improve the education of all children. These accounts don't help create more effective schools, improve school safety, provide teacher training, or increase parent involvement.

* Instead of diverting scarce resources into tax shelters for the wealthy, Congress should fully fund programs that are proven to be successful in helping students learn, such as the Individual with Disabilities Education Act and Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.

Vouchers

*Benefit private and religious schools, not the students.

*Do not ensure parental choice. Schools accepting vouchers do not have to admit every student seeking admission. Schools select the students they will not admit.

*Fail to contribute to the overall improvement of public schools.DC Voucher Plan

*Diverts over $7 million for FY 1998 in limited federal resources to private and religious schools, thereby hurting the majority of children, who attend public schools in DC.

*Abandons nearly 76,000 students in DC public schools. There are about 78,000 students enrolled in DC public schools. The voucher amendment would provide about 2,000 students with vouchers. What happens to the vast majority of youth left behind in schools that get fewer resources?

*Distracts from the real needs of DC public school children. Public schools are underfunded. Policy makers should be improving these educational institutions by putting funds into teacher training, smaller class sizes, and building improvements.