.- The New York Catholic Conference is supporting a bill in the state Senate that would provide income-tax credits of up to $3,000 for families that send children to private schools, reported the Ottaway News Service.
At a meeting in Albany, Edward Cardinal Egan, archbishop of New York, said the tax credits would give parents greater choice, strengthen public schools and keep parochial schools from closing.
The pressure on Catholic schools to close in recent years has been great. New York State’s nearly 1,400 Catholic schools have been reduced to 750. On average, 10 schools close per year in New York. This year, about 40 schools are slated for closure. There are currently 295,000 students.
The bill, sponsored by Sen. Martin Golden, R-Manhattan, would make parents eligible for tax credits of between $500 and $1,500 each for up to two children, depending on income. Families with incomes of $100,000 or more would not be eligible.
Tuition is about $4,700 a year for Catholic high schools in the state and just under $4,000 a year for elementary schools.
The archbishop also argued that the tax credit would enable the state to spend more on public school students, but the bill is strongly opposed by teachers and the National Education Association of New York.