Monday, August 10, 2020

New Mexicans Have a Chance to Improve the Future of Catholic Schools.

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Suzanne Hammons
Suzanne Hammons is the editor of the Voice of the Southwest and the media coordinator for the Diocese of Gallup. A graduate of Benedictine College in Kansas, she joined the Diocesan staff in 2012.

In 5 minutes and At No Cost, Catholics Can Support Catholic Education in New Mexico

Private schools and students in Arizona have for many years enjoyed direct tax benefits from the state which help to increase enrollment. Now many private school organizations in New Mexico are hoping to petition for tax benefits as well.

Since 2007, citizens of Arizona have been able to specifically donate to tuition organizations and receive deductions on their income tax. For many private schools which could not otherwise afford to offer scholarships to needy students, the donations not only affect the students’ tuitions, but also tend to increase the overall enrollment in private schools.

Superintendent of Catholic Schools for the Diocese of Gallup, Jeanette Suter, hopes to see New Mexico adopt a similar policy to the one already in effect in Arizona. She believes that in order for New Mexico to add the tax credit to the state budget, everyday citizens must add their voices to the issue.

“This supports the next generation,” Suter said. “Everybody, even people who don’t have kids or who have already raised their kids, can support this.”

The tax credit would allow donors to give to a 501(c)3 tuition organization, which would then accept applications from parents who would use the scholarship for the school of their choice. The scholarships would help with tuition for any private school – Catholic, Jewish, or otherwise – and be available to both religious and non-religious students wanting a private school education.

“At the very least the scholarships will tend to be more than our Catholic schools could give, because a lot of our schools don’t give scholarships. They simply don’t have the money,” said Suter. “This would be a way of giving those parents the assistance that they wouldn’t otherwise have.”

For Suter, a private school tax credit is a win-win.

“The benefit for families, Catholic and non-Catholic, is school choice. The benefit for our schools would be an increase in enrollment.”

In the long-term, an increase in private school enrollment could turn into a positive effect on education in general. By simply signing and mailing a form or contacting the Governor’s office online, Suter believes that New Mexico citizens – especially Catholics – will be investing in a better future.

“We’re the poorest Diocese in the nation, with some of the poorest counties in the nation. Our state has some of the lowest overall education scores. This is a chance for so many doors to be opened for kids, to go to better schools or religious-based schools if that’s what their parents want for them. This has the potential to really improve education, not only in our Diocese but in our state.

To download a form requiring a quick signature in support of the tax credit, click here. (Mail to Governor’s Office)

To contact the Governor’s office online directly, click here. You can use the following message:

“Dear Governor Martinez,

I write to you today to ask you to please add to the State budget a “Tuition Scholarship Tax Credit” which would allow individuals and corporations to make donations to scholarship granting organizations and be able to take a tax credit for the contribution. These organizations could make scholarships for children to attend a private school. This school choice would open up opportunities for New Mexico’s children. Many states have recently approved this type of tax credit and thousands of parents have taken advantage of this opportunity for their children to succeed. Thank you for your time and I hope you will support a tuition scholarship tax credit.”




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