Congressional Action Means DC Students are One Step Closer to New Educational Opportunities
Wednesday, May 25, 2016
WASHINGTON – Today the Archdiocese of Washington welcomed approval by voice vote of the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations for Fiscal Year 2017 by the Financial Services and General Government Subcommittee in the U.S. House of Representatives. The bill reauthorizes the Scholarships for Opportunity and Results (SOAR) program through 2021, and includes $20 million for the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program next year.
The D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program is a popular and effective program that benefits all families with students in public, charter and private schools in Washington, D.C. Since it began in the 2004-2005 school year, Opportunity Scholarships have provided a quality private-school education to nearly 6,400 disadvantaged children within the District of Columbia. The majority of children who are recipients of Opportunity Scholarships come from single-parent families with an average household income of about $22,000 per year. Nearly half of the children enrolled in the program live in Wards 7 and 8 of the nation’s capital, the most economically challenged areas, and 97 percent of the children who receive the scholarships are African-American or Hispanic. About 87 percent of the children come from zones with public schools classified as “in need of improvement.”
Reauthorization of the scholarship program would mean parents in the nation’s capital would continue to have the option of selecting a school that best fits the educational needs of their children. The Archdiocese of Washington gratefully welcomes the passage of the bill in the subcommittee and is in full support of the reauthorization of this highly successful and popular program for families in the nation’s capital.
The Archdiocese of Washington is home to over 620,000 Catholics, 139 parishes and 95 Catholic schools, located in Washington, DC, and five Maryland counties: Calvert, Charles, Montgomery, Prince George’s and St. Mary’s.
Chieko Noguchi or Lindsey Frechou