By Judith Dinowitz
Nonpublic schools across New York State welcomed the news that this week, the New York State Education Department will begin releasing the balance of the $125 million for this year’s payment of outstanding mandated services/Comprehensive Attendance Program (CAP) reimbursement.
The mandated services program reimburses nonpublic schools for the costs of a variety of government-mandated school functions. These include attendance reporting, maintaining immunization records, and testing and scoring students on core subjects. Under CAP, schools throughout the state take attendance multiple times during the day, and follow up on students’ poor attendance patterns.
For more than ten years, due to budget shortfalls and the use of a flawed formula to calculate the actual CAP reimbursement, the state accumulated a substantial debt to nonpublic schools. The $125 million payment comprises the first two installments of the $250 million appropriation enacted in June 2015 to pay down the debt to nonpublic schools. Over the next few weeks, nonpublic schools will be receiving the second installment of this year’s payments. This reimbursement will cover CAP expenses incurred during the 2010-11, 2011-12 and 2012-13 school years.
Retiring the debt owed to nonpublic schools for the mandated services and CAP programs has been a long-standing legislative priority for Agudath Israel of America, whose late president, Rabbi Moshe Sherer, was instrumental in getting the mandated services law enacted over 40 years ago.
Mrs. Deborah Zachai, Director of Education Affairs for Agudath Israel of America, said, “We are thrilled that the yeshivos will soon be receiving the second installment of outstanding CAP claims. We anticipate that this should bring in $20 million to yeshivos across the state, an infusion of much-needed cash and long-awaited funds.”