Philadelphia families are desperate for quality education for their children. This has never been more apparent than today, with talk of more public school closures and charter schools at capacity or closing for failing to “make the grade.” Philadelphia children are left with little alternative, as the schools they are then forced to attend are often within the lowest of performing schools in the state.
Demand for alternatives, especially from low-income Philadelphia families who do not have the financial access to alternatives, is great. In fact, since November, the Children’s Scholarship Fund Philadelphia (CSFP) has received over 6,000 student applications from families desperate for a quality school for their children.
CSFP scholarships are need-based and awarded by random lottery. But, families must act now to be considered, because completed applications must be received by CSFP no later than March 1, 2013. Only the first 7,000 applications received will be processed and entered into the lottery.
Scholarship award selections will be made in mid-March (Lottery Day) when CSFP supporters call families chosen with the good news that their child or children will receive a scholarship to attend a tuition-based school of their choosing. Applications are available online at www.csfphiladelphia.org, as well as at all branches of The Free Library of Philadelphia, YMCAs, Police Athletic League, and Philadelphia Park and Recreation Centers.
This year, for the first time, CSFP will also be issuing Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit (OSTC) scholarships for eligible families whose designated public school is in the lowest performing 15 percent of public schools in Pennsylvania. These OSTC scholarships are made possible through a new state tax credit program (OSTC) that allows businesses that pay PA corporate net income tax to impact the life of a child today.
OSTC has more than $35 million in tax credits available right now, and allows businesses to reallocate their tax liability by donating to eligible scholarship organizations, like CSFP. CSFP calls on local business leaders to step up and spread the word in an effort to keep these tax credit dollars local and help alleviate the pressures on the district and provide more families a choice for a quality education for their children.
This year, thanks to generous corporate donors and the continued support of CSFP’s lead Campaign for 10,000 Children partners including: The Maguire Foundation, Mrs. Dorrance Hamilton, Marguerite and H.F. “Gerry” Lenfest, and Business Leadership Organized for Catholic School (BLOCS), CSFP is on track to give out 2,000 new four-year scholarships to children from low-income Philadelphia families to attend quality, safe K-8th grade tuition-based schools.