Making Education Less Taxing

Across Pennsylvania, students are saying goodbye to their teachers and classmates during these final days of the school calendar. However, the promise of "See you in September" may be an empty one for some of the 44,000 children who currently attend private or parochial schools.

These students receive scholarship assistance from the Educational Improvement Tax Credit program. But EITC is one of the programs facing potential cuts as the administration of Gov. Ed Rendell works to balance the state budget by June 30.

Federation is one of the many organizations that is protesting these proposed cuts and urging legislators to restore funding for EITC to $75 million.

Federation campaign director Mark Fishman says the program is a "win-win" for business owners and corporations, which get significant tax credits for donating to state-approved scholarship organizations, such as the Federation-administered Foundation for Jewish Day Schools.

Yet the biggest "winners" were the 413 students enrolled in six Jewish day schools and 20 Jewish pre-schools throughout the Greater Philadelphia area who received more than $1 million in needs-based scholarships in 2009-10, thanks to this philanthropic initiative. Fishman, who participates in the program as an owner of Fishman & Tobin, Inc., emphasizes that "EITC is a rare opportunity to give our young people access to a great education, while realizing 10 times the return on the investment."

Corporations and business owners who elect to participate in the EITC program through the Foundation for Jewish Day Schools may receive a Pennsylvania tax credit of up to 75 percent of their contribution of up to $300,000 per taxable year. This credit can be increased to 90 percent of the contribution if the same amount is provided for two consecutive tax years. Participants in the pre-K EITC program may receive a tax credit equal to 100 percent of the first $10,000 contributed and up to 90 percent of the remaining amount contributed, up to a maximum credit of $150,000 a year.

Earned Income Tax Credits are available on a first come, first served basis as of July 1. Download an application at:

Philip J. Kendall, chairman of GCom2 Solutions, Inc. in Center City, has been involved in the Foundation for Jewish Day Schools since its inception.

"Education is a hot-button issue for me, particularly Jewish education," he says, adding that "Jewish schools secure the survival of our people."

Kendall provides scholarship assistance to five different Jewish schools, and plans to continue such support in 2010-11.

He encourages corporations and business owners to take advantage of this opportunity to "make a difference in the lives of hundreds of Jewish students from low- and moderate-income families."

For more information, call Brian Mono at 215-832-0812 (e-mail: [email protected]).


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