Parents, educators and taxpayers are all urging their legislators to reject tax credits as nothing more than a private school voucher scheme. These legislative proposals have been called education tax credits but are merely a “callous and reckless slap at the state’s neediest students.” As stated by the NYS League of Women Voters, “public funds should go to public education. Every child should receive equal access to an excellent education. The money raised by taxes should be used to close gaps in education, not widen them. Student achievement should be funded for all students in our state and not just for some.”
Gov. Pataki has proposed tax credits vouchers for parents with family incomes under $90,000 in districts with at least one school in need of improvement, with the biggest beneficiaries of these funds being the parents who already have the money and send their children to private or religious schools.
NYSUT president Dick Ianuzzi has stated that these vouchers, under the guise of tuition tax credits, would drain millions of funds from public education that serves all children in the state. The funds that the voucher system would drain could be better used to increase the number of Pre-K programs, provide inflation adjustments to the STAR program, hire more teaching assistants and close the spending gap between high-need districts and their wealthier peers.
Tuition tax credits are not a new idea. They have been proposed in state and federal legislatures as far back as the late 1970’s. President Carter strictly vetoed any idea of tax credits for private education. But as far back as 1982, an article appeared in the New York Times, written by the late Al Shanker, who at the time was president of the AFT. He stated, “ There is no more reason to pay for private education than there is to pay for a private swimming pool or a private automobile for those who do not use public facilities.” Tax credits would mean more and more students in private or religious schools and less and less for public education which public taxes should fund.
We all MUST send a message to our legislators that tax credits and tuition voucher credits should not be enacted as law as they are bad for our state, bad for our country and bad for public education and the children of this state.
Below is a link to the members of the NYS legislature for you to express your opinions against tuition tax credits and public school vouchers. We, as members of the teaching profession, must work at letting those in power know the serious effect this legislation would bring to public education and the children that we teach each and every day.