The Orthodox Union Advocacy Center expressed its appreciation to the New York State Assembly for passing budget resolutions that contain significant funding for the non-public school community and are beneficial for the New York Jewish day school community.
For the past six months, OU Advocacy-Teach NYS has been bringing legislators to Jewish day schools around the state to learn about the Jewish community and encourage greater funding for Jewish education. Throughout March, OU Advocacy-Teach NYS has further ramped up its efforts to include regional missions to Albany to bring our message to the halls of power – including delegations from Long Island, Brooklyn, Manhattan and the Bronx. These efforts have been well received and are reflected in the policy initiatives that the Assembly and Senate have proposed for America’s largest Jewish day school population.
The New York State Assembly, led by Speaker Sheldon Silver and Majority Leader Joe Morelle, also proposed a budget resolution that provides significant resources to the Jewish day school community. We are grateful for the assistance provided by Assembly Members Phil Goldfeder, Steven Cymbrowitz, Sean Ryan, Nily Rozic, Anthony Brindisi, Michael Simanowitz, Michael Cusick, and Helene Weinstein. The Assembly’s proposed funding allocations include:
- An allocation of an additional $317 million earmarked for non-public schools for the Governor’s $2 billion ‘Smart Schools’ bond referendum. If approved by the legislature and the voters of New York State, $317 million would be allocated to non-public schools for technology upgrades. OU Advocacy has repeatedly urged the legislature to include non-public schools in this funding and we are appreciative of this response by the Assembly leadership. If passed, this funding would amount to $770 per child.
- An additional $11 million to non-public school aid, which includes CAP (Comprehensive Attendance Policy) and MSR (Mandated Services Reimbursement) funding, bringing the Assembly total of non-public school aid to $153.8 million.
- A $5 million allocation designated towards CAP, with the intent of creating a multi-year plan to pay the arrears in CAP & MSR.
Jeff Leb, Director of OU Advocacy-Teach NYS, remarked on the proposed budgets, “The non-public school community is grateful to the leadership of the New York State Assembly. It is clear from their one-house budget resolution that non-public school students of New York State are a priority. We applaud the Assembly for taking positive steps to find different ways to ease the financial burden on non-public schools and their parent base. It is our hope that the negotiations between Governor Cuomo and the leadership of the New York State Senate and Assembly will result a final budget that will provide the maximum allocation of resources to the non-public school community. We encourage our community to continue to make its voice heard in Albany.”
OU Advocacy-Teach NYS has been working throughout the year with the New York State legislature to create and expand programs that are beneficial to the Jewish Day School community. These initiatives include the creation of an Education Investment Tax Credit, funding increases for MSR and CAP, the continuation of Security Funding for non-public schools and the inclusion of non-public schools in the Universal Pre-Kindergarten initiative and in the Smart Schools bond referendum.