New York News

Time Running Out for Education Tax Credit

A protest by parents and students from Catholic schools in Flushing was held outside Assemblyman Ron Kim’s office protesting his withdrawal of support for the Education Tax Credit bill in Albany.

Furious over the fact that their Assemblyman withdrew his support of the Education Tax Credit bill in Albany, parents, students and administrators of schools in Flushing demonstrated outside his office to voice their protest.

Principals Maureen Rogone of Most Holy Redeemer Catholic Academy and Christopher Stein of St. Mel’s School, both in Flushing, brought their students to the rally outside Assemblyman Ron Kim’s district office.

Father Jun Hee Lee, who serves as parochial vicar at St. Mel’s, also attended the rally.

“I’m here because we need to get this passed for the future of our children,” said Father Lee. “The Catholic schools provide not just education but tradition and moral support for families and children, and to lose this would be a shame. “

Rogone said that the proposal also would allow parents the right to send their children to the schools of their choice.

“It’s our right. Parents have a right to choose. Education shouldn’t be pushed aside,” said Rogone. “The priorities of new parents should be in the right place and with the children and accessibility to education.”

Principal Stein added, “I believe that families should have the right to have options for their children’s education. This is not just an issue for Flushing, but this also extends statewide. It impacts more than the Catholic schools. This also trickles down to funding education in all the school systems, from public to charter to private school education.”

The Catholic bishops of New York State have put all their support behind the proposals, which would offer tax relief to anyone who donates to a scholarship funds for private schools.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo fully supports the measure and has even spoken from church pulpits, including St. Jude’s, Canarsie, in a campaign-style tour to encourage people to contact their local Assembly representatives to get behind the bill.

But strong opposition from the state’s teachers’ union continues to urge office holders to resist.

Even several members of the Assembly from Brooklyn and Queens who benefitted from a Catholic education themselves oppose the tax credit.

While some maintain that the proposal would only help the rich, Catholic leaders have pointed out that the families who would benefit the most are those who earn less than $60,000 a year.

To encourage support from legislators, Gov. Cuomo has linked the bill to his support for a continuation of rent regulations laws in New York City.