In light of New York Governor David Paterson’s proposed cuts to nonpublic school aid – including mandated services and Comprehensive Assessment Program (CAP) reimbursement – Agudath Israel of America sent the following memorandum to members of the State legislature, urging them to recognize the unfairness of burdening the state’s nonpublic schools with disproportionate program cuts.Agudath Israel has also asked principals and administrators of yeshivos across the state to call their assemblymembers and senators, as well as Speaker Sheldon Silver and Senate Democratic Leader John Sampson, to impress upon them that, if cuts in education need to be made, they should be made in a fair manner.
TO: The Distinguished Members of the New York State Senate
The Distinguished Members of the New York State Assembly
FROM: David Zwiebel, Esq., Executive Vice President
SUBJECT: Disproportionate Cuts Directed At Nonpublic Schools
cc: Honorable David Paterson
Included in the Governor’s budgetary proposals are proposed cuts in education aid. As advocates for the approximately 375 Jewish day schools across the state, Agudath Israel of America is deeply concerned about the glaring discrepancy between the
cuts the Governor proposes to make in public school aid and the cuts he proposes to impose on the nonpublic schools. Respectfully, we urge you to ensure that the pain of whatever cuts need to be made be spread equitably across the board through all education sectors.
Stated simply, the Governor is proposing a 4.5% cut in public school aid and a 10% cut in nonpublic school aid. That 10% would be taken from the amounts allotted to reimburse nonpublic schools under the Mandates Services law, including both basic mandated services and the Comprehensive Attendance Program (CAP). These cuts would cost the nonpublic school community approximately $11 million at a time when they can least afford it.
While we understand that the fiscal realities are what they are, and that it is sometimes necessary to make painful cuts, we would respectfully request that the cuts in education be spread out proportionately among public and nonpublic schools. Furthermore, the state must not eliminate its statutory obligation to eventually pay back at a future time whatever amount is cut from mandated services and CAP reimbursement.
Thank you for your consideration of our views on this important issue.