Far Rockaway, Queens – Building on their continued advocacy in support of Jewish educational institutions in Queens and Nassau Counties, Assembly Members Phil Goldfeder (D – Far Rockaway) and Todd Kaminsky (D – Lawrence) secured in the 2016 state budget millions in funding for non-public schools, Jewish day schools and yeshivos to improve academic excellence and support needed security measures.
“As a father of two young children attending local yeshivos, I know how important it is to ensure all our families have access to a quality education,” said Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder. “The funding increases we’ve achieved in this state budget guarantees that school children across the state will have the resources they need. It will also keep them safe at a time of rising hatred and violence both at home and abroad. I’m proud to have led this effort in the Assembly and I look forward to fighting even harder next year.”
“With this budget, we were successful in ensuring both our public and non-public school children will receive a record investment in their educations. This will have an especially positive impact on the schools and yeshivas in our Jewish communities,” said Assemblyman Todd Kaminsky. “By increasing funding and creating the Office of Religious and Independent Schools, we have also laid the groundwork for a brighter future of support and smart investments to ensure all children on Long Island are receiving a world-class education. I believe successful budgets are those that represent the needs of everyone and I am proud of what we’ve accomplished.”
This year’s budget, which was approved last Friday following marathon sessions in both houses, included a number of new and increased benefits for non-public schools and Jewish day schools. Over the next two years, the Comprehensive Attendance Policy (CAP) program is set to receive a $60 million increase, with $30 million to be disbursed this year. CAP provides non-public schools with reimbursements for tracking and enforcing student attendance, one of the state’s many mandated educational programs.
To ensure increased student security at religious schools, Albany has also increased security grants to $30 million over the next two years, with $15 million expected to be doled out in 2016-17. The funds will help schools finance protective measures like security personnel. The move mirrors the recent approval by the New York City Council of funding for additional security guards at non-public schools in the five boroughs. This comes at a time of increased attacks against Jews in Israel and Europe, as well the threat of terrorist attacks mounted by Islamic groups like ISIS.
In an historic move for the state, the approved budget also green-lights the creation of a new office within the State Education Department. The New York State Office of Religious and Independent Schools will be tasked with providing and coordinating state and federal programs and appropriations aimed at benefiting religious and independent schools. The budget devotes $2 million towards resources and grants to aid in this effort. This new office will help ensure that the state pays adequate attention to the unique needs of non-public schools in the years to come.