July 1, 2012
ON THE PASSAGE OF HOUSE BILL 761
(EXPANSION OF EITC AND CREATION OF EITC 2)
"Today is an important day for students across Pennsylvania and the hardworking parents and guardians who sacrifice so much to provide their children with an education that will prepare them for the future. Our state legislature has taken the first critical step in giving all students a chance for lifelong success by giving families a real educational choice with the passage of House Bill 761.
There are many legislative leaders to thank in helping to pass this piece of legislation. Specifically, I want to express my gratitude to Governor Tom Corbett, Lieutenant Governor Jim Cawley as well as Senator Tony Williams and Representative Mike Vereb, who championed school choice legislation throughout the spring. I also wish to thank Senators Dominic Pileggi, Jeffrey Piccola and Vincent Hughes, Representative Jim Christiana, Speaker Sam Smith, Majority Leader Mike Turzai as well as Representatives Mike Gerber, Brendan Boyle and Kevin Boyle for their ongoing support and efforts. The entire Pennsylvania State Legislature is to be commended for identifying and securing the funds that allowed House Bill 761 to pass both chambers late last night. This expansion of EITC by $25 million and the creation of EITC 2 at $50 million is a strong first step toward what we need to help secure Catholic education in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and to provide families across our Commonwealth with real choices in how to best educate their children.
I am also appreciative that our local legislators in the five-county Philadelphia region acted upon the unprecedented outpouring of support for this legislation by Catholics in the Archdiocese. Whether it was our youngest voters - in our high school students - passionately advocating for their education in our parishes or student rallies at our high schools or thousands of phone calls, e-mails and letters sent to local legislators, the Catholic voice was heard in Harrisburg and action was rightfully taken.
While there is still much more to be done legislatively on the issue of school choice, the passage of this legislation will immediately help our state's most vulnerable students - those within the bottom 15 percent of 'failing schools' as well as those with physical and learning disabilities - by providing additional funds to their families through 'opportunity scholarships.' With our four elementary schools for special education, the Bonaventure and Drexel Programs at the high school level to address learning disabilities and our strong elementary and secondary systems, we welcome the opportunity to serve even more students through EITC and now, EITC 2."
Kenneth A. Gavin
Associate Director of Communications