Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit Program
This week, the PA Department of Education released its current list of low-achieving schools in the state.
Students who reside in the attendance boundary of one of these schools may be eligible for an Opportunity Scholarship for the 2013-14 school year:
CHESTER HS, CHESTER UPLAND SCHOOL OF ARTS, COLUMBUS ELEM, MAIN STREET SCH, STETSER EL ELEM
SOUTHEAST DELCO SD
ACADEMY PARK HS, DARBY TWP ELEM, DELCROFT, SHARON HILL
UPPER DARBY SD
BYWOOD ELEM, CHARLES KELLY ELEM, STONEHURST HILLS ELEM, UPPER DARBY HS, WESTBROOK PARK ELEM
WILLIAM PENN SD
ALDAN, ARDMORE AVENUE, BELL AVENUE SCHOOL, COLWYN ELEM, EAST LANSDOWNE, PARK LANE ELEM, PENN WOOD MS, PENN WOOD HS, W B EVANS ELEM, WALNUT STREET ELEM
ADAIRE, ALCORN, ALLEN ETHEL, ALLEN ETHAN, ANDERSON ADD B, BACHE-MARTIN, COMM BARRY, BEEBER DIMNER MS, BETHUNE MARY MCLEOD, BLAINE JAMES G, BLANKENBURG,Establishment:The Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit Program provides scholarships to eligible students to attend a participating public or nonpublic school of their choice.
BREGY F. AMADEE ELEM, BROWN HENRY A, BROWN JOSEPH H, BRYANT WILLIAM C, CARNELL LAURA H, CARROLL CHARLES, CASSIDY LEWIS, CATHARINE JOSEPH, COOKE JAY MS, CRAMP WILLIAM SCHOOL, D NEWLIN FELL SCHOOL, DAY ANNA B, DEBURGOS BILINGUAL, DICK WILLIAM, DISSTON HAMILTON, DOUGLAS STEPHEN A, DUCKREY TANNER SCH, DUNBAR PAUL L, EDMONDS FRANKLIN S, ELKIN LEWIS , ELLWOOD, EMLEN ELEANOR COPE, FAIRHILL, FELS SAMUEL HS, FELTONVILLE INTERMEDIATE, FELTONVILLE SCH ARTS & SCIENCE, FERGUSON JOSEPH C, FINLETTER THOMAS K, FITLER ACADEMICS PLUS, FORREST EDWIN, FRANKFORD HS, FRANKLIN BENJAMIN, FRANKLIN BENJAMIN HS, FULTON ROBERT, FURNESS HORACE HS, GEN GEORGE C MEADE, GEORGE WASHINGTON HS, GERMANTOWN HS, GIDEON EDWARD, GIRARD STEPHEN, GOMPERS SAMUEL, GROVER WASHINGTON MS, HAMILTON ANDREW, HARDING WARREN G MS, HARRINGTON AVERY D, HARTRANFT JOHN F, HESTON EDWARD ELEMENTARY, HILL LESLIE P, HOPKINSON FRANCIS, HOUSTON HENRY E, HOWE JULIA WARD, HUEY SAMUEL B, HUNTER WILLIAM, JOHN BARTRAM HS, JUNIATA PARK ACADEMY, KEARNY GEN PHILIP, KELLEY WILLIAM D, KELLY JOHN B, KENDERTON, KENSINGTON CREATIVE & PERF ART, KENSINGTON CULINARY ARTS, KENSINGTON INTL BUSINESS FINANCE, KING MARTIN LUTHER HS, KINSEY JOHN L, LAMBERTON ROBERT E, LAMBERTON ROBERT HS, LANKENAU HS, LAWTON HENRY W, LEA HENRY C, LEARNING ACAD NORTH, LEARNING ACAD SOUTH, LEEDS MILITARY ACAD, LEEDS MORRIS E MS, LEIDY JOSEPH, LINCOLN ABRAHAM HS, LINGELBACH ANNA L, LOCKE ALAIN, LOGAN, LONGSTRETH WILLIAM C, LOWELL JAMES R, LUDLOW JAMES R, MARSHALL JOHN, MARSHALL THURGOOD, MCCLOSKEY JOHN F, MCCLURE ALEXANDER K, MCDANIEL DELAPLAINE, MCKINLEY WILLIAM, MCMICHAEL MORTON, MEEHAN AUSTIN MS, MIFFLIN THOMAS, MITCHELL ELEM, MOORE J HAMPTON, MORRIS ROBERT, MORRISON ANDREW J, MORTON THOMAS G, MUNOZ-MARIN ELEM, NEBINGER GEORGE W, NORTHEAST HS, OLNEY ELEM, OVERBROOK ELEM, OVERBROOK HS, PASTORIUS FRANCIS P, PATTERSON JOHN, PAUL ROBESON HS FOR HUMAN SERV, , PEIRCE THOMAS M, PENN TREATY MS, PENNELL, JOSEPH, PENNYPACKER SAMUEL, PENROSE ELEM, PEPPER GEORGE MS,PHILA MILITARY ACADEMY AT ELVERSON, POTTER-THOMAS, PRATT ANNA B, PRINCE HALL, REYNOLDS GEN JOHN F, RHAWNHURST, RHOADS JAMES, RHODES E W ACADEMY, RICHMOND, ROWEN WILLIAM, ROXBOROUGH HS, SAYRE WILLIAM L HS, SCHOOL OF THE FUTURE, SHARSWOOD GEORGE, SHAW ANNA H MS, SHEPPARD ISAAC, SHERIDAN PHILIP H, SHERIDAN WEST, SOLIS-COHEN SOLOMON, SOUTH PHILADELPHIA HS, SOUTHWARK, SPRING GARDEN, SPRUANCE GILBERT, STANTON EDWIN M, STANTON M HALL, STEARNE ALLEN M, STEEL EDWARD, STRAWBERRY MANSION HS, SULLIVAN JAMES J, TAGGART JOHN H, TAYLOR BAYARD,THEODORE ROOSEVELT MS, TILDEN WILLIAM T MS, UNIVERSITY CITY HS, VARE ABIGAIL, VAUX ROBERTS HS, WAGNER GEN LOUIS MS, WALTER G SMITH, WARING LAURA, WASHINGTON GEORGE, WASHINGTON MARTHA, WEBSTER JOHN H, WELSH JOHN, WEST PHILADELPHIA HS, WHITTIER JOHN G, WILLARD FRANCES E, WILSON ALEXANDER, WILSON WOODROW MS, WISTER JOHN, WRIGHT RICHARD R, ZIEGLER WILLIAM H
Eligibility:The Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit Program allows businesses to contribute to an opportunity scholarship organization to provide funding to eligible students who reside within the attendance boundaries of a low-achieving school. A“low-achieving school” is defined as a public elementary or secondary school in Pennsylvania ranking in the bottom 15 percent of their designation as elementary or secondary school based on combined math and reading scores on the most recent PSSA results available on the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s website. This term does not include a brick-and-mortar charter school, cyber charter school or area vocational-technical school. Beginning in the 2012-13 school year, students residing within the boundaries of a low-achieving school as of the first day of classes will be eligible to apply for an opportunity scholarship, including a student entering kindergarten. Eligible students may include children residing within the boundaries of a low-achieving school who:
· Currently attend a low-achieving school; or
· Are currently enrolled in a non-public school; or
· Were previously home schooled; or
· Were previously attending a charter or cyber charter
Eligible students are defined as those school-age children living in the attendance boundary of a low-achieving school as of the first day of classes and whose household income meets the following criteria:
· Through June 30, 2013: $60,000, plus $12,000 for each dependent member of the household
· After June 30, 2013: $75,000 plus $12,000 for each dependent member of the household
· For students with a disability, additional adjustments for the allowance will be made pursuant to the lawOpportunity Scholarship Amount: The maximum amount of an opportunity scholarship awarded to an eligible student is as follows:
· $8,500 for a student without a disability
· $15,000 for a student with a disabilityFunding: Opportunity scholarships are funded by businesses making contributions to scholarship organizations in exchange for a tax credit. The amount of scholarships cannot exceed the amount of business contributions made to scholarship organizations. Even if a student is eligible for a scholarship, that scholarship is contingent upon funds being available.
Requirements: The scholarship can only be used for tuition costs and school-related fees at the participating nonpublic school or nonresident public school district. A scholarship shall not be awarded for enrollment in a home education program. The combined amount of scholarship and additional financial aid may not exceed the tuition rate and school-related fees associated with the participating school. Scholarship funds received by a parent are not considered taxable income. A participating public or nonpublic school may not charge a higher tuition rate than its normal rates for non-participating students.
Transportation:A resident school district that provides transportation to its own students must provide transportation for a resident student attending a participating nonpublic school that is located within 10 miles of the resident school district’s boundaries. A resident school district that provides transportation to its own students may provide transportation for a resident student attending a nonresident public school that is located within 10 miles of the resident school district’s boundaries.
How to Apply for an Opportunity Scholarship: Opportunity scholarships will be awarded by approved opportunity scholarship organizations, not the Department of Community and Economic Development. The list of opportunity scholarship organizations is available on DCED’s website, www.newpa.com/ostc. This link provides specific instructions on how to contact approved opportunity scholarship organizations. Approved opportunity scholarship organizations will provide details regarding their application process. Parents should work through the approved opportunity scholarship organizations, not DCED, to participate in this program.
Awarding of Scholarships: In awarding an opportunity scholarship, a scholarship organization shall give preference to eligible applicants who:
· Received a scholarship for the prior school year,
· Who meet certain income limits, or
· Who meet certain income limits and who reside in a first class school district, a district with an average daily membership greater than 7,500 that has received an advance of its basic education subsidy, or a district that has received an advance of its basic education subsidy and is either subject to a declaration of financial distress under section 691 of the public school code or is engaged in litigation against the Commonwealth in which the school district seeks financial assistance from the Commonwealth to allow the school district to continue to operate.
Parental Responsibilities: Under the program, parents are responsible for contacting and enrolling their students in a participating public or nonpublic school
for a list of schools where your child may be able to use the scholarship credit.