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of public assistance to private schools. The committee is to be commended for its willingness to consider this most urgent problem at this time. From the standpoint of your pressing schedules, I will make my remarks as brief as possible.
In addition, I would like to submit a written statement from the Kansas Association of Nonpublic Schools.
Mr. BURKE. Without objection, it is so ordered. (The statement follows:)
STATEMENT OF THE KANSAS ASSOCIATION OF Non-Public Schools
The Kansas Association of Non-Public Schools extends its thanks to the House Ways and Means Committee and to Kansas Congressman Larry Winn for the opportunity to submit testimony in support of tax credits for tuition paid by children attending non-public school.
The Catholic, Lutheran, Episcopalian, Jewish, Christian and other independent schools of Kansas several years ago formed the Kansas Association of Non-Public Schools at the suggestion of a special committee of the Kansas Legislature in order to present the problems and the opportunities facing the 97% of nonpublic schools in Kansas which it represents.
We come before this Committee fully endorsing the concept of tax credits, which we feel to be the most effective way for government to lend its support to the citizen who constitutionally elects to send his child to non-public school.
Most certainly we do not imply a lack of quality in the fine public schools of our state. We feel we are partners with them in the education of all the children of Kansas. Through the years there has been a tradition of mutual help and respect between the public and non-public sectors of education, and we confidently expect this relationship to continue.
What the parents whose children attend non-public schools are asking is an education for their young boys and girls which is God-centered, in which a system of moral and religious values is an integral part of the learning process. Generations of Kansas parents and dedicated teachers and administrators have sacrificed their means and abilities to insure this realization.
But now inflation and high cost have severely limited the financial abilities of our people to adequately carry out their educational programs. We cannot overlook the compulsory nature of education-a child is required to attend school to age 16. That a parent elects to enroll his child in a non-public school is a constitutional right, and a right that satisfies the compulsory attendance laws of the state. But a constitutional right that is economically impossible has a certain hollowness.
We believe our schools do a great public service in addition to achieving our objectives. Our children will become citizens and leaders firmly holding to the moral values and the disciplines that have made this country great. It would be a public tragedy, not merely a personal one, if non-public education were allowed to founder because of failure of government to provide some limited measure of assistance.
We repeat our thanks to Congressman Winn and the Committee for the privilege of submitting this statement. That Kansas Representatives Roy, a Democrat, and Winn, à Republican, have spoken for the concept for tax credits is indicative of the non-partisan, honest concern for the well being of the nonpublic system of education. Most earnestly we urge the Congress to speedily enact this legislation.
Mr. Winn. This organization was formed several years ago and represents 97 percent of the nonpublic schools in Kansas. The association represents Catholic, Lutheran, Episcopalian, Jewish, Christian, and other independent schools.
For a number of years, private schools have faced increasingly critical financial problems which are forcing some of them to close their doors. Enrollment in nonpublic schools has declined from 14.3 percent in 1965 to 10.4 percent in the fall of 1971.
The Catholic archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas reports, for example, that in my district, nine of their schools have closed within the last 5 years. These closings, coupled with other reductions, have reduced elementary school enrollment by 30 percent and secondary school enrollment by 20 percent in our archdiocese schools alone.
Nationwide, this means that in the fall of 1971 about 5 million boys and girls attended nonpublic elementary and secondary schools. During the same period, enrollment in the public schools increased by 5 million.
President Nixon has estimated that if most or all of the remaining private schools were to close or turn public, the cost to the public would be devastating. In 1970, he estimated that the cost to us would be $4 billion more per year in operations and an initial $5 billion more needed for facilities.
It is particularly important to note that most of this increase, if not all, would be borne by the most unfair, archaic, and overworked tax in this Nation, the property tax. One only needs to look briefly at the effect education has on the property tax to understand fully the severity of the problem.
The property tax is the major source of revenue for the support of public elementary and secondary education in this country. In many sections of this country, the cost of elementary and secondary education accounts for 80 percent of the revenue collected by the property tax.
Therefore, it is in the public interest to find some system that will help nonpublic schools survive. If we do not provide some relief, there is no doubt in my mind that a large majority of private schools will close during the 1970's. Private education will again become the exclusive preserve of the rich, and for all practical purposes, a healthy competitive school system will be eliminated. What I am proposing today is a system of tax credits to the parents
a of children attending private, nonprofit elementary and secondary schools on a full-time basis. I hasten to add that this may not be the best
way to assist these schools or even the most desirable, but it does appear to be the only constitutional method by which the Federal Government can provide assistance within the confines of recent court decisions.
My recommendations are embodied in H.R. 15689, which I introduced on June 26 and which is currently pending before this committee. The bill provides that a tax credit would be allowed for each dependent that qualifies not to exceed the lesser of $400 or 50 percent of the tuition paid.
I feel that tuition should be the only allowable expense because it is distinctive and easily identifiable for tax purposes. Most other out-ofpocket costs of sending children to nonpublic schools are in many cases out-of-pocket expenses of sending children to public schools.
The tax credit is preferable to granting a tax deduction. Since income tax rates impose higher tax rates in the upper income brackets, the benefits of a deduction are greater for higher income persons.
My proposal is designed basically to help those in the lower and middle tax brackets. Persons in upper income categories would receive credits on a sliding scale so that those persons least able to afford nonpublic education would receive the largest tax benefits.
Some may argue that a tax benefit for tuition paid to private schools would discriminate against the parents of children attending public
schools because they pay no tuition and thus would be unable to utilize these deductions.
I submit to you that a major principle in our tax law is that a tax benefit is often granted to a taxpayer who is shouldered with or assumes a special burden. Medical expenses over certain limits are deductible, as are contributions. If a person buys a car or a house, the majority of his taxes and interest on his mortgage payments are deductible. We receive a personal exemption for each child or other dependent we support.
The number of examples could be multiplied, but the lesson should be clear: This approach does not discriminate against an individual who bears no such burden and therefore gets no benefit.
Experts have estimated that such a plan would cost the public less than one-tenth of the amount that would result if most of our nonpublic schools are forced to close their doors. While the benefits to families in nonpublic schools are obvious, we must not overlook the benefits to the Nation as a whole that would result from the passage of such legislation.
I want to thank the committee for hearing my presentation.
Mr. PETTIS. I have no questions, but I wish to commend my colleague not only for his testimony but also for the legislation he has introduced to the Congress. I think he makes a very good point by focusing our attention on the fact that we would really be in a dilemma if all the private and parochial schoolchildren were placed in the public schools. We would have a national crisis; there is no question about it.
Mr. Winn. I thank my colleague.
Mr. DUNCAN. I would like to join in welcoming you to the committee and ask what would be your view on income limitations for those who would receive benefits from this legislation.
Mr. Winn. I really have not given too much study to that phase of it. I think there are several formulas that have been submitted to the committee, and I would have to say that I have faith in the committee to reach a fair decision.
Mr. DUNCAN. Thank you very much for your contribution to these hearings.
Mr. BURKE. Mr. Brotzman?
Mr. BROTZMAN. I just want to welcome our distinguished colleague to the committee, and I well recall that in the not-too-distant past that I visited his district, and he was calling this problem to my attention and pointing out how much damage it would do to the educational process in his district. I want to congratulate him on his efforts and on the legislation he has introduced and thank him for his testimony.
Mr. Winn. Thank you. Two of the schools I pointed out to you in the low-income areas have since then closed.
Mr. BROTZMAN. I recall you mentioned they might close at that time.
Mr. Winn. They have closed. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. BURKE. Congressman, we appreciate your appearance here today and thank you very much.
Our next witness is the Honorable Louise Day Hicks, Congresswoman from Massachusetts.
On behalf of the committee, I welcome you as a colleague of mine from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. You may identify yourself and proceed.
STATEMENT OF HON. LOUISE DAY HICKS, A REPRESENTATIVE IN
CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF MASSACHUSETTS
Mrs. Hicks. I am Congresswoman Louise Day Hicks from the Ninth Congressional District in Massachusetts.
I would like to commend the committee for holding these hearings which I think are of prime importance to all the children and their parents across the country.
I should like to speak today in support of the Public and Private Education Assistance Act of 1972, H.R. 16141. I support this bill because it seems to me to represent a balanced, well-thought-out, and legal means of solving the pressing financial problems confronting our Nation's public and private schools.
The schools of America are responsible for the education of over 50 million young people each year. Some 45 million of those children attend public elementary and secondary schools, but over 5 million—that is, about 10 percent-attend nonpublic schools. In my own State of Massachusetts in the fall of 1970, 205,000 children were enrolled in nonpublic schools-14.9 percent of all enrollments in elementary and secondary schools in the State.
In the city of Boston, which I represent, over 35,000 children, or 27.1 percent of all children enrolled in school, were enrolled in nonpublic schools. In Philadelphia, 33.6 percent of the children are enrolled in nonpublic schools; in Chicago, 27.3 percent. Clearly, the education of all of America's children cannot be assured without taking into consideration the needs of this large majority whose parents have chosen to enroll them in nonpublic schools. Just as clearly, the education of the children in our cities is especially dependent on an overall solution to the financial problems faced by public and private schools alike.
These financial problems of course, have multiplied enormously in the last decade. Expenditures on the public schools of the Nation have risen 168.8 percent in the last 10 years, while enrollments have risen only 24.6 percent. Higher teacher salaries, inflation, demands for better educational services, attempts to improve the educational opportunities available to the disadvantaged children in our cities and our rural areas—all these have contributed to a rapidly rising demand for money for the schools, a demand which the traditional sources of revenue have been unable to meet.
Local property taxes remain the source of over half the school revenues in the Nation, and in one community after another those property taxes have reached untenable levels. The increasing frequency of school budget and bond issue defeats shows that the voters will no longer tolerate the regressive, unfair property tax as the source of needed revenue for the schools.
Nonpublic schools have faced many of these same problems. They, too, have seen their costs rising faster than their sources in income.
At the same time, their enrollments have actually been falling. It is estimated that, by 1980, enrollments in all nonpublic schools will fall to only 54.2 percent of 1970 levels, and enrollments in Catholic schools will be less than half what they are now.
There are a number of reasons for this enrollment decline, but one is easy to see: schools have had to raise tuitions to meet increased costs, and this has made it increasingly difficult for many lower and middle income Americans to exercise their option of choosing an alternative to the public schools. I do not believe that the American people will tolerate the dismantling of the system of public schools which they have labored so hard to erect, even though we have allowed schools in many areas to come inexcusably close to bankruptcy, and have actually seen schools close days, and even weeks, early for lack of funds, to the detriment of thousands of children.
But unless some way is found to bring relief to our Nation's nonpublic schools, it is quite possible that they will cease to exist altogether, at least for the vast majority of Americans who cannot afford to pay high tuitions to nonpublic schools on top of their tax contributions to the public schools.
The closing of these private schools would deprive this Nation of any alternative to the public school system. It would eliminate the variety and competition which have been an important element of our success in education. And it would certainly place an intolerable, added burden on the finances of the public school systems which would have to absorb the children from closed nonpublic schools. These burdens would be heaviest precisely in the core city school systems which are already so near collapse.
The Public and Private Education Assistance Act of 1972 attacks both sides of our educational finance crisis, and promises to help assure the health and progress of public and nonpublic schools alike. Title I of this bill would provide, for the first time, general Federal aid for the Nation's public elementary and secondary schools. If this act were fully funded, the Federal Government would reimburse each State for 10 percent of all non-Federal expenditures in the State on public education in any year, provided the State was spending at least that amount in State aid designed to reduce the disparities in financial resources among local school districts and thereby to equalize the educational opportunities available to the children all over the State. This is new Federal money; it would be in addition to Federal funds now spent on categorical programs which amount to about 7 percent of all expenditures on the public schools.
The Federal Government would, at last, be assuming its responsibility for assuring that schools across the Nation have adequate funds to provide an excellent education to their children; at the same time, it would be helping each State to assure that each local school district had equal financial resources, in compliance with recent court rulings which began with Serrano in California.
Title II of this bill would provide a credit of up to $200 against an individual's income tax for tuition paid to a nonpublic school on behalf of a dependent child. This credit would be granted to the child's parent, and would not involve an unconstitutional intermingling of church and state. It would permit the Government to make a substantial financial contribution to further its legitimate interest in the