Today, Governor Cuomo and New York State legislative leaders announced a framework agreement that will allocate an unprecedented $250 million of new funding to the state’s non-public schools for mandated services—the largest amount ever allocated to this program. OU Advocacy-Teach NYS, the nonpartisan public policy arm of the Orthodox Union, has historically fought for funding increases to the mandated services program.
The agreement, if passed, will replace Governor Cuomo’s Parental Choice in Education Act, which would have provided $150 million in education tax credits and scholarships annually. OU Advocacy-Teach NYS, the nonpartisan public policy arm of the Orthodox Union, actively campaigned—together with UJA-Federation of New York and Agudath Israel of America and many other coalition partners—to support the education tax credit bill.
OU Advocacy-Teach NYS joined Gov. Cuomo at a rally in mid-May in support of increasing funding for non-public schools; since then, OU Advocacy-Teach NYS participated in district rallies, met with state legislators in Albany, brought state legislators to Jewish day schools and yeshivas in their districts, hosted press conferences, and mobilized the Jewish community through robo-calls, emails, and direct mail to support the education tax credit bill. The OU’s efforts also focused on specific members of the state legislature, some of whom represented districts with significant Jewish day school/yeshiva populations. Through OU Advocacy-Teach NYS’ community outreach efforts, New Yorkers from across the state sent thousands of letters and emails to state legislators in support of education tax credits.
In his announcement about the deal, Governor Cuomo said that the state must “keep the private education system and public education system strong.”
“While we are disappointed that our lawmakers turned down the education tax credit bill, which would have incentivized hundreds of millions in donations to our schools, we are grateful for this historic level of funding for non-public school education. The mandated services program is a key funding source that helps non-public schools meet their bottom lines. We welcome this new funding,” said Allen Fagin, Executive Vice President and CEO of the Orthodox Union.
“Today’s agreement to fund the mandated services program with $250 million is reflective of the advocacy efforts of the entire non-public school community, including New York’s Jewish day schools and yeshivas. We united together and made our voice heard loud and clear in Albany,” said Maury Litwack, Director of State Public Affairs for the Orthodox Union. “We call on the New York State Assembly and Senate to approve this crucial funding bill as quickly as possible.”
“We congratulate Governor Cuomo, Senate Majority Leader Flanagan and Assembly Speaker Heastie on reaching this deal and thank our allies in state government who were steadfast in their support of the non-public school community. We are grateful to the UJA-Federation of New York, the Agudath Israel of America, our other coalition partners and Cardinal Dolan for joining us in the effort to push for passage of the Parental Choice in Education Act. We will continue to fight for programs, funding and legislation that support the non-public school community,” said Fagin.
OU Advocacy-Teach NYS is already gearing up for the next legislative session and is preparing its agenda to fight for Jewish day school and yeshiva families across the state.