OU Applauds Texas Introduction of the Texas Equal Opportunity Scholarship Program

Posted on March 8, 2013 In Press Releases

For Immediate Release
Contact: Jesse Hervitz – hervitzj@ou.org

Today, the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America (Orthodox Union), the nation’s largest Orthodox Jewish umbrella organization, commended Texas Senate Education Chairman Dan Patrick and Dallas Senator Ken Paxton for introducing SB23, the Texas Equal Opportunity Scholarship Program and Lt. Governor Dewhurst for his steadfast support. The Texas Equal Opportunity Scholarship Program would create a tax credit scholarship program in Texas similar to existing ones in Pennsylvania, Arizona, and Florida. These programs work by allowing corporations to redirect some of their tax dollars to scholarship granting organizations, which in turn distribute scholarships to students.

These programs offer students a real choice in their education—whether it is a student whose needs are not being met by their public school or considerable relief to Jewish parents struggling to afford tuition.

Under SB 23, corporations receive a dollar for dollar tax credit on a maximum of 5% of their franchise or insurance tax liability when donating to a designated nonprofit scholarship organization. These credits will be used to fund scholarships of up to 80% of the state per-pupil expenditure (roughly $7000 a student per year) for students to attend the school of their choice. Priority will be given to those students attending “Academically Unacceptable” public schools.

Last year, the Orthodox Union began working with the Texas Jewish community leadership in advocating for government created programs that aid the affordability of Jewish day school in Texas. Since then the Orthodox Union has organized a Tuition Affordability rally in Houston, testified in committee in support of school choice, and led a leadership lobbing mission to Austin. At the mission, Jewish leaders from across the state had the opportunity to meet directly with Senator Patrick, Senator Paxton and Lt. Governor Dewhurst to advocate for the introduction of tax credit scholarship legislation.

Jesse Hervitz, Associate Director of Political Affairs for the Orthodox Union, stated:

“By introducing Texas Equal Opportunity Scholarship Program, Senator Patrick and Senator Paxton have demonstrated their commitment to ensuring that every child in Texas has the opportunity to receive a quality education regardless of their income or zip-code. We would also like to offer our gratitude to Lt. Governor David Dewhurst for his leadership on this important cause and look forward to working with the entire legislature to ensure its timely passage.”