KENNESAW, Ga.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--At its recent GOALTenders Conference, the Georgia GOAL Program awarded its 2015 GOAL Advocacy Award to Jennifer New, Director of Development for Mount Paran Christian School, based in Kennesaw. New accepted the award from GOAL President, Lisa Kelly. Senator David Shafer (R-Duluth), who is President Pro Tempore of the Georgia State Senate and who spoke at the Conference, participated in the award presentation.
Georgia GOAL is the state’s largest student scholarship organization, or SSO, operating under a 2008 tax credit law. Under the Georgia Education Expense Credit law, taxpayers receive a Georgia income tax credit for contributing to SSOs that provide financial aid to low and middle income families who want to send their children to independent private schools from pre-kindergarten through grade 12. Throughout Georgia, 131 private schools participate in GOAL and, at each school, a “GOALTender” facilitates GOAL’s implementation of the contribution and financial aid award processes.
The GOAL Advocacy Award recognizes the individual who has displayed the most passion and perseverance when appealing to legislators to preserve, protect, and expand the popular state-wide financial aid program. In particular, GOAL recognized New for taking the time to educate and build a strong working relationship with a key legislator who has become one of the strongest advocates for the program.
“It is a pleasure to work on expanding this wonderful program for parents who desire educational options for their children. I look forward to working with all of Georgia’s SSOs, including Georgia GOAL, in the coming 2017 session,” commented Georgia State Representative John Carson.
“Since the creation of the GOAL program in 2008, Jennifer has been a strong believer in providing parents with options for the education of their children, and she has shared that belief during trips to the Capitol and local meetings with lawmakers,” said Kelly. “She has done so respectfully and successfully.”
According to New, “It is important to keep a constant line of communication open to busy lawmakers who support educational freedom, but who do not have time to closely follow how the program is being implemented and whether and how it should be expanded or improved.”
In recent years, the state-wide Education Expense Credit program has exploded in popularity, On the first business day of 2016, even though only $58 million of tax credits were available, taxpayers applied for $108.7 million worth of tax credits. As a result, taxpayers who applied for a tax credit were approved by the Department of Revenue for only 53.36 percent of their desired amount.
"The success of GOAL and the other student scholarship organizations shows that Georgians have embraced the idea that low and middle income families should have the same educational choices as high income families," said Senator Shafer. "Whether it is public school, public charter schools, private independent schools, private religious schools or home-based schooling, parents know what is best for their children."
“At Mount Paran Christian School, our focus is to enhance educational opportunities for students. The GOAL program has awarded financial assistance to more than 10,000 Georgia students,” said Dr. David Tilley, Headmaster of Mount Paran Christian School. “We welcome and appreciate all such programs that facilitate student learning and provide opportunities for those who might not otherwise have alternatives.”
One of Mount Paran Christian School’s 2016 graduates, Amber Jogie, who now attends Gordon College, shared that the GOAL award was, “God’s way of opening doors to provide me with opportunities that I would never have had otherwise.”
With the 2016-17 GOAL season underway, a total of $91.3 million in GOAL assistance has been awarded to date, with another $24.4 million earmarked for providing additional financial aid awards for current and future academic years. The average award is $3,684 and the average Adjusted Gross Income (adjusted for family size) of recipient families is $26,438. GOAL has awarded 44% of the financial aid dollars to minority recipients.
About Mount Paran Christian School
Mount Paran Christian School is a preschool age three through grade 12 private Christian, non-denominational, college preparatory day school committed to excellence in academics, athletics, and the arts. Founded in 1976, MPCS is fully accredited (SAIS/AdvancED) and located in Kennesaw, GA. Providing academic excellence in a Christ-centered environment, MPCS unites with home and church to prepare servant-leaders to honor God, love others, and walk in Truth. Students thrive through the process of becoming well-educated, responsible, Christian young people.