Comments on the 2019 draft guidelines for the Education Improvement Scholarships Tax Credits Program
We have reviewed the draft guidelines for the Education Improvement Scholarships Tax Credits Program.
- Generally, we have noted the expanded and increased frequency of reporting requirements placed on the scholarship foundations, the non-public schools, and non-public pre-kindergarten programs. The preliminary reporting process implemented by the Department is not mandated in the Statute as we’ve previously pointed out to the Department in April, nor is the new requirement for providing student specific demographic data. We believe the Department should be cognizant of where information is requested for the convenience of the Department in meeting its requirements under the Statute vs. where the Statute actually compels requirements of participating schools and scholarship foundations (e.g. the penalties under the Code of Virginia are clear as they relate to annual scholarship foundation reports; not applicable to preliminary reports?). We also join with other commenters that are urging the department to adopt a mechanism to accept student specific data without compromising identity/privacy concerns; e.g. a scheme of using 4 character first/last name characters followed by numeric birthdates.
Specific comments follow:
- Page 5 – Because of the complexities of our investment pool and K-1 reporting, we obtain IRS approval for extending the due date of our Form 990 to May 15th every year (along with the VDACS Form 102). We cannot comply with the Department’s arbitrary request (new requirement not in the Statute) for a copy of our Form 990 by May 1st unless the report for the prior fiscal year (ending June 30) is accepted as the “most recent Federal Form 990."
- Page 13 - Will there be more specific guidance regarding the certification required from the pre-kindergarten child's parent or guardian that the child was unable to obtain services through the Virginia Preschool Initiative in the public school division in which the child resides?
- Page 15 - The draft guidelines stipulate that non-public kindergarten teachers "...at a minimum shall have earned a certificate from a nationally recognized early childhood education certificate program, including but not limited to any early childhood education program provided or sponsored by the Virginia Community College System." If a non-public pre-kindergarten teacher has already earned a bachelors degree, but does not have a "certificate," would the bachelors degree take precedence over the "certificate?"
- Page 16 - With respect to the reporting requirements for non-public pre-kindergarten students, could more explanation be given to the following sentence. What type of information? "Information required for the Department to conduct studies comparing the academic performance of such children while attending primary or secondary school with other children attending primary or secondary school who have attended a pre-kindergarten program, including programs funded under the Virginia Preschool Initiative will be required."
Thank you for the opportunity to comment.
James R. (Randy) Parrish, CPA, AEP®
Vice-President and Chief Financial Officer
Tidewater Jewish Foundation View our 2018 Annual Report!
5000 Corporate Woods Drive, Suite 200
Virginia Beach, VA 23462-4370