Archdiocese Disappointed General Assembly Closes Session without Vote for BOAST

April 15, 2009

House Bill 1259 and Senate Bill 715, also known as the BOAST (Building Opportunities for All Students and Teachers) Maryland Tax Credit, died in committee during this year’s session of the Maryland General Assembly.

BOAST would have supported families, teachers and businesses in Maryland by allowing business to take tax credits for donations to scholarship organizations and educational enrichment programs. These funds would have provided lower- and moderate- income families in Maryland access to scholarships to send their children to non-public, including Catholic, schools; public school students with funding for enrichment programs; and teachers in public, non-public and Catholic schools with access to grants for professional development.

“We are disappointed that the Maryland General Assembly not allowed out of committee a creative initiative such as BOAST that would have benefitted Maryland families, teachers and businesses,” said Patricia Weitzel-O’Neill, Ph.D., superintendent of Catholic schools. “We are grateful to the members who voted to support the program and will renew our efforts next year to pass BOAST. This is an important program for our families.”

Catholic and other non-public schools in Maryland educate 131,000 students, and save taxpayers $1.5 billion annually in school funding. Nearly $300 million of those savings come from Catholic schools in the Maryland portion of the Archdiocese of Washington (Calvert, Charles, Montgomery, Prince George’s and St. Mary’s counties). The 77 Catholic schools in those counties educate 22,940 students in grades PreK-12.

BOAST was modeled on a highly successful initiative in Pennsylvania that has raised more than $360 million since 2001 for families and teachers.

Susan Gibbs or Chieko Noguchi
Office of Communications
[email protected]