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June 12, 2012


As the 2011-2012 legislative session draws to a close, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia urges the state legislature in Harrisburg to pass this vital bill, which provides school choice to parents and students in need of quality education.

The Archdiocese of Philadelphia announced today its full support of the Christiana bill (HB 2468), which was introduced this afternoon in Harrisburg by State Representative Jim Christiana (R-Beaver). This bill aims to expand the traditional Educational Improvement Tax Credit Program (EITC) by $25 million but more importantly, it aims to create the Educational Improvement Scholarship Credit (EISC). This new program would create a second pot of "opportunity scholarship" funds - beyond traditional EITC - that would infuse a new $100 million into school choice for September 2012. This new, second pot of funding would be particularly available to students within the bottom 15 percent of "failing schools" in the state and would be funded by tax-credited contributions targeted to designated opportunity scholarship organizations. This is critical as it will not take funds away from public schools in Pennsylvania.

"The Christiana bill is a just and necessary piece of legislation that targets the very real educational needs of so many students in the state of Pennsylvania," said Archbishop Charles Chaput, O.F.M. Cap. "This bill is the right thing for our children, and we have a duty to protect and enhance their future. Education is a key way of doing that, and this bill can bring so many students out of 'failing' schools and into environments -- including but not limited to Catholic schools -- that prepare students for lifelong success. The Archdiocese strongly supports this legislation and urges the Pennsylvania state legislature to pass this bill and to fund it fully at the proposed levels."

The Christiana bill includes elements of legislation that have already passed one or the other legislative chamber (Senate Bill 1 and House Bill 1330) and draw bi-partisan support. Some of the strongest opponents to school vouchers - a program that the Archdiocese also backs - are willing to support the Christiana bill.

The support of the Archdiocese comes at the close of an academic year that saw Archbishop Chaput honor appeals from hundreds of students and families, and choose to keep four financially distressed Archdiocesan high schools open. But in making this hard decision, the Archbishop urged legislators to enact school choice legislation to prevent future closings of Archdiocesan schools - a setback that would add to the financial burden of the general public. In recent months, the Archbishop's call to legislators has been joined by Catholics across the Philadelphia region through Voucher Sunday, which had more than 500 Archdiocesan high school students passionately advocating for their education in local parishes, rallies at City Hall and at local high schools as well as a grassroots effort that resulted in thousands of phone calls, e-mails and letters sent to local legislators. These efforts continue in full as the state legislature approaches the close of its session on June 30.

For a brief overview, including a list of co-sponsors for HB2468 please visit:

For more information about school choice legislation and to learn how to contact legislators regarding this important issue please visit

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Donna Farrell
Director of Communications

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