In recent times, non-public school parents have been financially struggling to keep their children in their preferred schools while public school taxes have continued to skyrocket. The strain of paying public school taxes as well as their own tuition costs has left them little choice other than to return to the local public school. This problem has caused many non-public schools around NY to close and local school budgets to rise dramatically.
This very real problem has Albany politicians overwhelmingly supporting the Parental Choice Act. This act provides non-public school students roughly $120 million in tax credits and tuition offsets with another $30 million to be spent in public schools through direct donations and tax credits for teachers. These numbers will probably change before the act is passed.
Rhetoric from the opposition does not add up.
All proposals have their detractors and the Parental Choice Act has a small and vocal selection. Mainly, it is the teacher’s unions and their non-profit supporters who have been aggressively promoting their perception of the bill. A common claim is that the bill is a “giveaway for the wealthy” – when in reality anyone can donate.
Another claim is that this bill takes money away from public schools.
“A group of public education advocates quickly released a statement calling the tax credit a scheme to divert millions of dollars away from public education.”
This is an astounding claim since NY schools are enjoying a massive 16.5% increase in funding for this year… the claim is so devoid of rational thought that an investigation into the claim was required.
NY and MD, two peas in a pod.
While looking, we discovered similar claims from similar groups fighting a version of the Education Tax Credit in Maryland. We also found their opposition who put a price tag of $1.5 billion in tax savings non-public school parents provide all MD residents. They boiled that number down to a claim that for every 68 students who leave non-public schools and enter public school it would costs MD taxpayers an additional $1 million. With that baseline, we wondered what NY’s tax increase would look like.
The numbers below are based on information obtained from the NY Department Of Education website regarding non-public enrollments and reported school budgets in NY for 2013-2014:
- NY non-public school enrollment – 507,825
- Median per student expense for public school education – $22,500
- Value of education entitled to but not rendered to non public school students- $11,452,469,400 (That’s billions)
- Proposed assistance for non-public parents = 1.0% return for unclaimed services.
While the numbers above are shocking, they don’t paint a very clear picture. Below are the public school districts that enjoy accepting non-public school parent tax money (tax increase offsets) while their children receive no educational services. Bluntly stated, non-public parents are subsidizing your local and state taxes.
Projected local school budget increases for NY residents if non-public schools in their district close and students return to a local public school.
Every child in NY is guaranteed a seat in a public school and whether a student is placed in or out of public school is a parental choice. However, paying the taxes to support the public school system is not. Once you understand that the non-public school down near you may be holding back 1,000 or more students from entering your local district… a $500 tuition credit to help their parents afford this tax discount may seem very reasonable. Some would call the Education Tax Credit a grand bargain. Call your representatives and ask them where they stand. They either support an $11.4 billion education budget increase or they support an attempt to stop a massive increase in taxes from becoming a reality.