Proposed legislation to benefit Catholic schools, prospective families in need

(January 26, 2017 – The Catholic Spirit – Matthew Davidson)

A bill that can help middle and low-income families afford a Catholic or private school education made headway among Minnesota Senate and House committees Jan. 24.

The proposed Equity and Opportunity Scholarship Act, H.F. 386 and S.F. 258, would enable middle- and low-income families to receive scholarships to attend the schools of their choice. The bill would give a 70 percent tax credit to corporations and individuals who donate to Minnesota Department of Revenue-approved non-profits that fund the scholarships. The bill would also expand on the current tax programs in Minnesota that help with education expenses but don’t include assist with private school tuition.

In two of the three Jan. 24 hearing sessions at the State Capitol, a Senate committee voted 5-4 in favor of the bill, while a House committee voted 9-7 in favor. Sen. Roger Chamberlain, a Republican from Lino Lakes, and Rep. Ron Kesha, a Republican from Little Falls, co-authored the bill.

“Too many families throughout Minnesota have little or no options when it comes to a good K-12 school,” said Chas Anderson, Executive Director of Opportunity for All Kids, in a statement. “A child’s future should not be determined by the ZIP code they live in or by a parent’s economic situation. All Minnesota parents should have the opportunity to access the best education option for their children. We need to remove financial barriers that prevent children from being able to attend schools that meet their needs.”

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