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June 27, 2002

STATEMENT OF CARDINAL BEVILACQUA REGARDING
SUPREME COURT DECISION ON CLEVELAND SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM

"I applaud the Supreme Court's decision upholding the constitutionality of the Cleveland Scholarship Program. This decision affirms that school choice is a matter of justice. For students suffering in underperforming schools, school choice is an imperative. Vouchers ensure that parents, especially poor parents, have a choice when it comes to the education of their children.

I am encouraged that the Cleveland Scholarship Program will continue and I am hopeful that even more children will benefit from newly developed tuition assistance programs in other states, including Pennsylvania.

I urge legislative leaders as well as the candidates for governor of Pennsylvania to review the Supreme Court decision and view it as a possible guide for implementing school choice in the Commonwealth as soon as possible."


The Cleveland Scholarship Program, established in 1995, provides scholarships of up to $2,250 to the families of more than 4,000 children. Parents may use the scholarship vouchers to send their children to public or non-public schools, including religious schools.

The Supreme Court decision is in the case of Zelman v. Simmons-Harris as well as two related cases, Hanna Perkins Schools v. Simmons-Harris and Taylor v. Simmons-Harris.

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Editor's Note: Nearly 10,000 of the 105,000 students in 242 Archdiocese of Philadelphia elementary, secondary and special education schools receive some form of tuition assistance. More than $10 million in tuition assistance to these students comes from the generosity of donors to Business Leadership Organized for Catholic Schools (BLOCS) as well as from private foundations and individuals. Pennsylvania's new Educational Improvement Tax Credit program allowed BLOCS to raise more than $1 million in additional funding for tuition assistance during the 2002-03 academic year.

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