This week, the New York State Education Department announced that $4.5 million allocated for security funding for non-public schools in last year’s budget is now available. The deadline to receive funding is March 31, 2014.
This security funding was not originally available to private schools. When Governor Cuomo and the New York State legislature passed the SAFE Act last year, the legislation granted security funding for public schools only, excluding private schools. OU Advocacy, together with its coalition of Jewish day schools and advocacy partners in Albany, convinced the leadership that security funding should be made available for every child—regardless of the type of school he/she attends.
“This security funding will allow Jewish day schools to be reimbursed for any safety equipment they purchased between April 1, 2013 and March 31, 2014. Each school will receive approximately $9.70 per child attending the school—which translates to several thousands of dollars, depending on a school’s enrollment,” said Jeff Leb, New York Director of Political Affairs for OU Advocacy. “We urge every Jewish day school to apply for this funding as soon as possible because of the quickly-approaching deadline.”
Maury Litwack, Director of State Political Affairs and Outreach, said, “OU Advocacy is committed to working with Jewish day schools to ensure they maximize every dollar of government funding available to them. While this funding may appear small, it is an important part of the OU’s comprehensive effort to identify creative, viable and constitutionally-sound government programs and opportunities that help Jewish day schools address the tuition affordability challenge.”
The OU Advocacy Center has long worked on the issue of safety and security for our schools and communities and regularly engages with Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security and other senior officials to ensure the timely and practical flow of information important to our constituents’ safety. In addition, OU Advocacy joined with other major national organizations and Congressional allies to create the Nonprofit Security Grant Program (NGSP) in 2005, which has secured more than $100 million for nonprofit organizations, including synagogues and day schools.
* * *
The Orthodox Union is the nation’s largest Orthodox Jewish umbrella organization; the OU Advocacy Center, formerly the Institute for Public Affairs, is the non-partisan public policy arm of the OU and leads its advocacy efforts in Washington, DC and state capitals.