Friday, March 12, 2010

Public Service Annoucement for Maryland Readers

I received notification of this annoucement from a Maryland reader who, until she found the link, she was unaware that this legislation existed. The first annoucement is from a Maryland school and the second from from the Orthodox Union.

I found the website for the BOAST MD Tax Credit issue for interested readers here. I don't have time to read through the entire website before putting up this post or the post will be irrelevant, but it looks like scholarship funds would have to go through an separate 501(c)(3) and that 501(c)(3) will need to provide scholarships for students attending at least 4 different schools, amongst other requirements. Perhaps the passage would create some consolidation? If anyone has time to read through the BOAST MD website and leave comments, it would be much appreciated. I have a lot to do in the next few hours.

Dear Friends,
Please read the following Action Alert from the OU, who has been very involved in the BOAST MD Tax Credit issue. This is a tremendous opportunity to offset the rising cost of Jewish day school tuition that may not come our way again. This can directly impact YOUR tuition in the future, and action is required immediately. Please forward to others as well. The money you save will be your own.

In addition to this link (CLICK HERE), you can also use the following web site to identify your specific MD State Senators if you do not know your district number. Just go to and put your zip code in the “Get Involved” search bar in the top center of the page. Certainly contact Senators from your district, and others depending on your time availability.

Daniel Ely
Executive Director
Yeshiva of Greater Washington

Dear Friends,
Help for Jewish Day School tuition could be on the way. But we need you to act NOW!
Take Action Now to Urge Your Senator to Vote YES for Scholarship-Building Tax Credit
The BOAST Maryland Tax Credit, which could potentially generate thousands of dollars in scholarship money for private school students, passed the Maryland Senate Budget and Taxation Committee last week by a vote of 10 to 5. The Orthodox Union was on hand in Annapolis to advocate for BOAST passage last week and submitted testimony in support of the tax credit. The tax credit will come before the full Senate in the next several days and YOUR help is needed to push it to passage.

In other states, these programs have raised millions of dollars for yeshivas and day schools: In Rhode Island, with under 100 students, they’ve raised over $700,000 in two years. Over $12 million in scholarships has been distributed in Pennsylvania to almost 5,000 students. In Arizona, scholarships totaling nearly $9 million were awarded to private school students.
BOAST would grant businesses a state income tax credit in exchange for their donations to scholarship programs for nonpublic school students or enrichment programs for public school students. Donations can also be used to provide continuing education grants to public and nonpublic school teachers.

Remember, the 127,000 students in Maryland’s nonpublic schools save state taxpayers more than $1.5 billion annually in public school costs.

Call your state senator now and urge them to vote YES on BOAST.
Click here to find the name of your senator.

Howie Beigelman
Deputy Director, Public Policy
Orthodox Union (Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America)


Anonymous said...

Are tuitions in the states with BOAST like programs such as Rhode Island, Pennsylvania and Arizona lower than states such as New Jersey and New York with out it ????? my guess is no. Bergen County Yeshivas and other overpriced yeshivas must cut spending now

Anonymous said...

Stern High School in Philadelphia, PA - Tuition for 2010-2011 will be $18,500 + junk fees. "Other fees will apply." - doesn't look like its helping much in Pennsylvania.

Orthonomics said...

Anon-I also thought the comment that these tax credits will lower the cost of Yeshiva to be inane. Lowering the cost of yeshiva (not tuition) has to be a function of cost cutting.

From time to time, I have placed an ad in Yeshiva journals. Because I don't place a personal note, but an ad, I'm able to deduct 100% of the cost, no credit needed. I'm not particularly certain that such tax credits will make a large difference as plenty of people with businesses within each community already do advertising through journals.

Miami Al said...

Agreed, tax credits increase the demand, so they drive tuition up. Now, it lets us put more after tax dollars into the Yeshiva system for the same number of pre-tax dollars, which is a good thing, but it will NOT lower tuition.

The only thing that will lower tuition is cost cutting (increasing supply) or alternative programs existing (decreasing demand).

miriamp said...

Tuition in RI at the only Orthodox Day School (Providence Hebrew Day School) for the current school year is $11,160 for Kindergarten; $11,995 for Elementary (grades 1 - 5); $12,730 for
Middle School (grades 6-8). In addition, there is a $600 registration fee per child, and a $1500 family fundraising requirement. No idea what tuition is for High School (Girls only) as I don't yet have a high schooler.

So is that lower? It's not necessarily lower because of the tax credit, though -- what the tax credit does is give the school "scholarship dollars" to distribute that don't have to come through the standard fund-raising channels. Families that qualify (and it's not very hard to reach the RI cutoff for these funds, which is 250% of the poverty level, when you have a whole bunch of kids) are granted scholarships from that fund, freeing up other monies for running the school, giving scholarships to the next tier of families, etc.

Providence Hebrew Day and the Jewish Community Day School (a Schechter-style school) are members in a joint SGO -- a Scholarship Granting Organization -- for this purpose. I think PHDS gets more actual money out of the deal, but that's probably because the Providence Orthodox community includes many more "big" families than the non-Orthodox.

I'm a fan of the RI program -- tuition assistance or scholarships given to families through this program is actually replaced for the school instead of disappearing into the ether or "coming out of the pockets of the full tuition paying parents."

miriamp said...

Also, at least in RI, we're talking about corporations like Bank of America and individuals who have thousands of dollars available for donations, not random people who would place an ad in the ad journal.

Not just for Jewish students, in RI there are a lot of low income students benefiting from the same tax credit law.

Anonymous said...

Please send the following letter (or something to this effect) to your State Senator. To locate your State Senator's contact information go to:
For example, if you live in the 10th District of MD, please send the below letter to Senator Delores Kelley: or call the Senator's office: (410) 841-3606. Otherwise, replace your local senator's name and district as appropriate.

Dear Senator Kelley,

As a constituent of the 10th District, I would like to convey my true appreciation for your continuous efforts on behalf of the citizens of our district and the great state of Maryland.

An item of high importance for members of our district is how and in what setting we educate our children. Members of our community have chosen nonpublic education as the best way to impart knowledge to their children despite the staggering costs endured.

Right now there is a great opportunity to help provide reprieve for nonpublic schools families by supporting Senate Bill 385, the BOAST Tax Credit. This bill seeks to provide tax credits to businesses and corporations who contribute to educational initiatives – both public and nonpublic.

Due to the economic difficulties facing our state, the current legislation requests no funding. Rather, it aims to authorize the program and for funding to be included when the governor sees it fiscally fitting.

We all know of the emphasis you place on competent education and your value of the very future of our society. We therefore implore you to support this legislation and help make our great state, that much greater.