The Orthodox Union, the nation's largest Orthodox Jewish umbrella organization joined 50 communal and day school leaders from across New York to press the State Legislature and Governor Paterson to restore $62 million cut from mandated services reimbursement in the Governor's Executive Budget.
The all-day mission, coordinated by the OU's partner, TEACH NYS (a statewide coalition dedicated to fairness for all of New York's schoolchildren and their families) included representatives of other Jewish groups, such as the Sephardic Community Federation and Yeshiva University joining school and community leadership from across the Orthodox Jewish spectrum, including modern Orthodox, chareidi and chasidic yeshivas and day schools to meet with over 40 members of the Assembly and State Senate, including key leadership, as well as with crucial staff in the Paterson administration.
Howie Beigelman, Deputy Director of Public Policy at the OU stated:
"The governor and Legislature heard one unified message from a united Orthodox community: restore CAP funding, and make good on your promise. We understand the tough economic times we're in and like all New Yorker's we will pay our fair share. But with the Federal stimulus infusing the state of New York with nearly 25 billion dollars, including millions in education aid, now is the time to help our struggling families and our strained schools."
The Executive Budget cuts public school funding by 3.3%, while cutting CAP and other mandated services reimbursements is a 44% cut to nonpublic schools.
Rabbi Saul Zucker, OU Director of Day School & Educational Services, which helped coordinate participation in the mission stated:
"We are proud to partner with so many other concerned Jewish leaders to fight for Jewish education. Nonpublic schools, including Jewish day schools, educate approximately 500,000 students statewide, saving the state $8.5 billion yearly and these approximately 15% of students receive less than 1% of funding. To cut that now in these times is both tragic and terribly unwise."