Pennsylvania State Senator Joe Scarnati (R-25) is a great ally to have in support of Senate Bill 1, according to DuBois Area Catholic School President Fr. Rick Tomasone. Currently under consideration, S.B. 1 is legislation that would both increase funding for the state's Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) scholarship program and create Opportunity Scholarship Grants for students who meet specific income requirements to help offset the cost of tuition at the school of their choice. Scarnati is a co-sponsor of the bill.
During a news conference regarding S.B. 1 held at DuBois Area Catholic School (DACS) on Friday afternoon, Tomasone remarked that he had the opportunity to briefly discuss the bill with Scarnati when he visited the school during Catholic Schools Week earlier this year.
"In the limited conversation that I had the opportunity to have with him, he not only stated his support for Senate Bill 1 as a sponsor, but he also spoke about the background and reason for that. His extensive background knowledge was very impressive," Tomasone said. "I think it's what really fires his passion, to have Senate Bill 1 passed in some format."
Even without the passage of the bill, Tomasone explained that he and others associated with DACS are very grateful to even have the current EITC program in place.
"About 50 percent, maybe a little more, of our students receive funding from the EITC. Because we have graduated tuition rates, the elementary receives a little less than the high school because the high school tuition is a little bit higher. But the number [of students] who receive and benefit from it and probably would not be able to come here without the benefit of the EITC is very impressive, and it certainly is very helpful to us," Tomasone said.
According to Tomasone, the school currently receives around $300,000 in EITC scholarship money annually.