Scholarships overwhelmingly benefit Latino, African-American students

Thousands more can be helped by Education Tax Credit
NY Daily News endorses, Bronx legislator articulates need in NY Post op-ed
NYC Sanitation Workers Union joins growing list of supporters

For Immediate Release: March 24, 2014
Media Contact: Bob Bellafiore,, 518-928-8471

Lower-income Latino, Black and African-American children make up the overwhelming majority of students who receive scholarships from non-profit scholarship funds, and a tremendous unmet need can be addressed if the Education Investment Tax Credit is enacted in the new state budget, according to data released today.

In addition, one of New York City’s largest municipal unions today endorsed the legislation. The Uniformed Sanitationmen’s Association (Local 831 Teamsters), representing sanitation workers in New York City, joins 32BJ/SEIU and some 20 other labor unions in supporting the Education Investment Tax Credit.

“The Education Investment Tax Credit would help the children of working families get the quality education they need to prepare for their future, regardless of the school setting that best meets their needs and values.  I stand with my colleagues in the labor movement to do the best we can for the children of working families,” said President Harry Nespoli, who also chairs the Municipal Labor Committee, an umbrella group representing 99 unions covering more than 300,000 New York City employees.

Some 78 labor unions, community groups, scholarship funds, educational organizations, Cardinal Dolan, Jewish and other faith leaders, and more have signed on to the bill (complete list at bottom).

Also, Assembly Member Marcos A. Crespo, a Democrat from the 85Th A.D. in the Bronx, urged passage of the education tax credit in an op-ed published in today’s New York Post.

“I don’t believe in picking sides when it comes to children. I am for all of them. I believe options should be available to all children, and not just those with resources,” Assembly Member Crespo said.

“New York state provides billions of dollars in tax credits for all kinds of things — to for-profit businesses who create jobs, to Hollywood companies who film movies or TV shows, to sports teams, even to beer makers. But not for education? Not for the one cause that matters to all of us? That makes no sense to me as a matter of public policy, as a statement of our priorities and as a matter of equity,” he said.

And the New York Daily News today threw its editorial support behind the Education Investment Tax Credit, calling it “a much-needed shot in the arm” for both public school and private schools.

“It’s a promising and creative way to boost charitable giving for a critically important cause that Gov. Cuomo and lawmakers should back,” the Daily News said, adding later, “In fact, the credit would mean more state money for all schools, not less — while potentially leveraging millions in additional private funds.”

Nonprofit scholarships that would be strengthened by the bill overwhelmingly support needy, inner-city children.

At the Inner-City Scholarship Fund (Archdiocese of New York)

  • 7,027 students with scholarships this year
  • 70% are eligible for Free/Reduced Price Lunch
  • 92% are members of minority groups
  • Average income: $30,399
  • Another 14,479 students qualify for but do not receive scholarships

At the Children’s Scholarship Fund

  •  7,930 students in New York City receiving scholarships this year
  •  93% are Hispanic, Black or African-American
  • Average family income: $27,980

At Futures in Education (Brooklyn Diocese):

  • 6,159 students with scholarships 2012-13
  • Average family income: under $27,000
  • Last year, the Diocese saw $11 million in unfulfilled need in Brooklyn and Queens, consisting of applications partially fulfilled and more than 2,000 applications completely unfulfilled.

The initiative is sponsored by two-thirds of the Assembly Democratic majority, including leaders of the Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic & Asian Legislative Caucus. It has passed previously in the Senate with overwhelming support from Democrats and Republicans, and has been included in the Senate’s budget resolution.

The Education Investment Tax Credit will increase funds in two areas critical to our state’s educational future – donations to public schools, school districts and teacher-driven projects; and scholarships to help low- and middle-income students attend religious and other tuition-based schools. The total increase on donations from this bill would grow to $300 million per year, divided evenly between public school needs and scholarships for students to attend parochial or other private schools.

It would accomplish this by creating a new tax credit for those who make a charitable donation for educational purposes. New York State already provides tax credits for many other purposes, including film and TV production, job creation, economic development and domestic beer brewing.

Low-income and middle-class students would benefit directly from up to $150 million in annual charitable contributions to nonprofit scholarship organizations providing tuition assistance. The new donations for scholarships would make private and parochial education a reality for families seeking new quality educational opportunities and assist those already enrolled who are struggling to afford tuition at schools that best meet their needs.

Additionally, donations to public schools and public school districts would be increased by the same amount – thus making it easier for public schools to enhance their programs without additional reliance on property tax payers or state aid. The bill would also give public school teachers a first-ever New York State income tax credit when they spend their own money on classroom supplies.

No government funds would flow to private or parochial schools.

The bill is being advanced in the wake of education budget cuts and as family economic pressures have led to closures of Catholic and other parochial schools around the state. In 2012, the Senate passed the tax credit 55-4 in an overwhelmingly bipartisan vote. The Assembly version is co-sponsored by two-thirds of the members and a majority of Democrats and Republicans, including leaders of the Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic & Asian Legislative Caucus.

Full list of supporters:

32BJ/SEIU — Agudath Israel of America — Albany African American Clergy United for Empowerment — Aprendes Foundation — Association of Christian Schools International — Association of Historic Black Independent Schools — Beacon of Hope Scholarship Fund — BISON Fund — Black Girl Project — Boys & Girls Club of Buffalo — Boys & Girls Club of Mount Vernon — Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce — Brooklyn Movement Center — Brooklyn Music School — Buffalo District Parent Coordinating Council — Buffalo ReformED — Buffalo Urban LeagueBusiness Council of Westchester — Calvary Baptist Church of White Plains — Camara Latinoamericana de Comercio (Latin American Chamber of Commerce of Brentwood) — Capital District YMCA — CAUSE–NYS — Centro Altagracia de Fe y Justicia — Children’s Scholarship Fund — Comite Civico Independiente Salvadoreno — — Enterprise Association of Steamfitters, UA Local 638 (Long Island & New York City) — Federation of Catholic Teachers, OPEIU Local 153 AFL-CIO — Foundation for Opportunity in Education — Friendship for Tots — Futures in Education — Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America — Groundswell — Inner City Foundation of New York — Inner-City Scholarship Fund — International Union of Operating Engineers, Local 30, AFL-CIO — Jewish Education Project — Kaleidoscope Theatre Productions — Lutheran Schools Association — Manhattan Chamber of Commerce — Masjid Darul Qu’ran Academy — Mount Olivet Baptist Church, Saratoga Springs — MusicalFare Theatre — N.A.A.C.P. Brooklyn Branch — Nazarene Congregational UCC Church — New York City Captains Endowment Association — New York City Detectives Endowment Association — New York City Hispanic Chamber of Commerce — New York City Outward Bound Schools — New York City Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association — New York State Association of P.B.A.’s — New York State Catholic Conference — New York State Coalition for Opportunity in Education — New York State Court Officers Association — New York State Public Employee Conference — New York State Supreme Court Officers Association, ILA, AFL-CIO — New York State Troopers PBA — New York State Coalition for Independent and Religious Schools — Northwest Buffalo Community Center — Orthodox Union of Jewish Congregations — Partnership for Inner-City Education — Plumbers and Steamfitters, UA Local 267 (Central New York) — Plumbers of New York City, UA Local 1 — Police Conference of New York — Rev. Dr. Bennett W. Smith Family Life Center — Rochester Business Alliance — Sergeants Benevolent Association, NYPD — Tomorrow’s Hope Foundation — UJA-Federation of New York — Uniformed EMTs, Paramedics & Fire Inspectors FDNY, Local 2507, DC 37, AFSCME, AFL-CIO — Uniformed Fire Officers Association, IFAA Local 854, AFL-CIO — Uniformed Firefighters Association of Greater New York, Local 94 IFAA AFL-CIO — Uniformed Sanitationmen’s Association (Local 831 Teamsters) – United Black Clergy of Westchester — Voces Latina Marcando la Diferencia — Wee Create BK — White Plains Housing Authority — YMCA of Greater Rochester