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Letters: Education tax credit improves schooling

Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos (R-Rockville Centre), left,

Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos (R-Rockville Centre), left, stands with Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie (D-Bronx) before a ceremony at the New York State Police Officers Memorial on Tuesday, May 5, 2015, in Albany. Credit: AP / Mike Groll

The education tax credit would probably pass if Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie (D-Bronx) let it come to a vote ["LI Dems targets in tax credit vote," News, May 29].

This proposal, which is strongly supported by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, most Republicans and many Democrats, would save taxpayers tremendous sums. As private schools close, their students enroll in public schools. The average spending per student statewide is nearly $20,000.

As a former member of the Lynbrook Public Schools board, I can tell you that anything that helps keep private schools open and increases their enrollment would reduce property taxes. The relatively paltry sums in the tax incentives bill would not subtract from the increase in state aid of $1.4 billion just granted public schools for the 2015-16 school year.

It's only fair and fiscally sensible to provide a modicum of support to families that pay both property taxes and private school tuition. To the poor, mostly minority, students struggling to escape failing schools, it's a small measure of justice.

The big question here is why so many legislators representing minority districts sell out their constituents. Is it in exchange for contributions from the teachers unions?

Dennis J. Duffy, Lynbrook

The education tax credit bill being denied a vote in the Democrat-controlled Assembly is one of the few ways to help both low-income students and taxpayers.

Contrary to claims by opponents of the bill, the "wealthy" would not be the beneficiaries. That's a claim by the teachers unions, which want to preserve their education monopoly.

The bill would give tax credits for donations to scholarship funds to help low-income kids go to private schools, which educate students for a fraction of the cost of our public schools.

Competition would improve education for all, and the billions in savings could reduce school taxes and provide public schools with even more money per pupil. Everyone wins with school choice, but our powerful unions want to keep their monopoly, and sadly, the Democrats put the unions' interests above those of the urban poor and taxpayers.

Frank J. Russo Jr., Port Washington

Editor's note: The writer serves on the executive committee of Long Islanders for Educational Reform, a taxpayer group concerned about educational quality and cost.