According to Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s office, the city’s new budget, agreed to today, now includes the restoration of full funding for Priority 7 after-school vouchers for the next six months. Agudath Israel of America had spearheaded a campaign to see that the approximately $15 million per annum funding for the vouchers, which had been eliminated in an earlier budget proposal – and whose elimination would have hit the Orthodox Jewish community disproportionately hard – would be reinstated. Last week, Agudath Israel delivered 30,000 letters from parents of students in Jewish schools to City Hall.”This happy development,” said Rabbi Chaim Dovid Zwiebel, executive vice president of Agudath Israel, “shows that the concerns of our community were taken seriously by our elected officials.
“This is heartening news for the approximately two thousand parents who, thanks to Mayor Bloomberg’s leadership, will now be able to continue to benefit from these vouchers, at least for the next half year. But it is also a lesson to us all that, when we identify a community need and work together, our voices count.”
At the end of six months, sources in the Mayor’s office say, the issue will be revisited and a decision made about further extending funding for the vouchers.