During a Feb. 14 visit to Sacred Heart School in Allentown, U.S. Senator for Pennsylvania Pat Toomey promoted a bill he has co-sponsored that would help Sacred Heart students – and tens of thousands more throughout Pennsylvania – attend the schools of their choice.
“I’ll never be convinced that there’s anyone who cares more about a child than the parent of that child,” said the senator. “They’ll make a good decision for their child if they have the opportunity to do so.”
The Education Freedom Scholarships and Opportunity Act would expand elementary, secondary and vocational education options available to students, especially the most vulnerable.
It would provide a federal tax credit that encourages individuals and businesses to donate to nonprofit scholarships for individual students’ education, according to a handout the senator’s staff distributed at the event.
The Eastern Pennsylvania Scholarship Fund, which provides financial assistance to families within the Diocese of Allentown who desire a Catholic school education for their children, could be a recipient of those funds.
Sacred Heart Principal James Krupka told the senator, “We serve a student population that is 84% Hispanic and 11% African-American. All of the students received scholarship assistance, but what we receive only funds part of the family financial costs.”
Diocese of Allentown Superintendent of Catholic Education Dr. Philip Fromuth said the need is great.
“We provide $3.4 million in scholarships to about 2,800 families through two Pennsylvania scholarship programs (the Educational Improvement Tax Credit Program and the Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit Program),” he said.
“The true need is in the area of $12 million for those in our system and those who would like to attend.”
Fromuth said that is why “we are both excited and supportive of the Education Freedom Scholarships.”
Before speaking to the media and Sacred Heart School supporters in the school’s preschool classroom, Toomey toured the school and visited several classrooms where he interacted with the students.