$8 Million for Jewish Schools in NYS Budget


agudath-israel-emblem2Despite concerns that yeshivos and other nonpublic schools in New York State would be shut out of funding this coming year under the state’s Comprehensive Attendance Policy program, it now appears that significant CAP funding will be made available after all.
Reports indicate, says Rabbi Shmuel Lefkowitz, Agudath Israel of America’s vice president for community affairs, that the key parties to the soon-to-be-concluded budget egotiations in Albany – Governor David Paterson, Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver – have tentatively agreed to allocate $30 million to reimburse nonpublic schools for the costs they incurred in complying with the state’s CAP mandate.The $30 million – of which nearly 27%, or approximately $8 million, should be for Jewish schools across the state – is considerably less than the estimated actual costs of nonpublic school compliance with the CAP mandate. According to an objective formula developed by the State Education Department, the correct figure should be approximately $55 million. In a sense, therefore, the report that only $30 million will be allocated for these purposes is disappointing news for the nonpublic school community.

However, says Rabbi Lefkowitz, “given the harsh fiscal realities of the times, the latest news from Albany must be seen as a significant victory for our yeshivos and other nonpublic schools.”

Indeed, the Agudath Israel leader noted, the New York State Division of the Budget’s initial proposal for the coming fiscal year would have done away entirely with the CAP mandate and nullified the state’s obligation to make any reimbursement for the nonpublic schools’ costs of complying with the mandate. Subsequently, however, following intensive efforts by Agudath Israel and other nonpublic school advocacy groups, the Governor himself, who has shown concern for the non-public school community, in his revised budget proposal, acknowledged the need for the CAP mandate’s ongoing viability and the state’s obligation to provide reimbursement – but left the matter to Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith , who is also supportive of the non-public school community, and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, who has not only demonstrated commitment to nonpublic schools but was in fact was the first legislator to include funds in the budget for CAP several years ago.

Agudath Israel and the other nonpublic school advocates – including the New York State Catholic Conference and Teach NYS – spent the past several months pressing the legislature and the Governor’s office to include meaningful CAP funding in the final version of the budget. Despite protestations that there was simply no money available for such funding in this year’s budget, the advocates persisted – Rabbi Lefkowitz himself spent many days in Albany pressing the point – and it now appears that their efforts have paid off.

“True, $30 million is not $55 million,” says the Agudath Israel representative, “but it is still a meaningful amount and, without question, quite an achievement in these difficult economic times. We all owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to Governor Paterson, Majority Leader Smith and Speaker Silver for their foresight and leadership on this vital issue.”

{Elisha Ferber-Matzav.com Newscenter}


  1. Is the Head of Public School Teachers Union,main enemy of Torah chinuch and moisdos, HaRoitzeches “Randi” Weingarten, shem rishoim irkov,related to any chareidishe Weingartens?