Lonegan Backs UEZ Tax Credits for Failing Urban Districts
Republican Gubernatorial candidate Steve Lonegan today backed up calls for corporate tax credits for scholarships to students in failing urban districts.
His comments came on the heels of a Trenton news conference held by urban clergy and civic leaders calling for passage of legislation that would allow students to "break free of the public school monopoly" in Lonegan's words.
Lonegan is the only candidate in the race for Governor who has endorsed overturning the Abbott decision to provide new educational opportunities for urban schoolchildren, including vouchers.
"Any one of these failing Abbott districts that cannot educate a student at the statewide average should be forced to give a voucher to the parents of these students so they can attend the district school of their choice," Lonegan said.
The Mayor endorsed the UEZ Tax Credit bill as the first step towards creation of a school voucher program that would insure educational excellence for all children.
"Children in urban school districts have been shortchanged by a system that holds them hostage in failing schools. By providing competition to a failing system, tax credits and school vouchers will improve all schools -- public and private," Lonegan said.
"Competition always improves services," noted Lonegan, a strong conservative who served three terms as Bogota Mayor. "There's no reason to believe that won't be true as well with public education," he added. "The only people who oppose this are the Teachers Unions who see private and parochial schools not as additional educational opportunities for children, but lost union members and the dues they pay."
"Education should be about the children, not the teachers unions or government bureaucrats," Lonegan added. "I am pleased to see that this effort crosses party lines and my greatest day as Governor is the day I sign a school voucher or tax credit scholarship bill into law. I applaud those standing in Trenton today for boldly coming forward and challenging the conventional wisdom that government education is by definition always the best education."