web analytics
September 2, 2014 / 7 Elul, 5774
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat (L) visits the JewishPress.com booth at The Event. And the Winners of the JewishPress.com Raffle Are…

Congratulations to all the winners of the JewishPress.com raffle at The Event



Home » InDepth » Op-Eds »

The Most Important Jewish School-Funding You’ve Never Heard Of


Leb-032213

The challenge of day school affordability is not just an economic but an existential one; it is about the continuity and vitality of the next generation of Jews. While enrollments are at an all-time high, so are tuition bills.

That is why securing greater government support for our schools is an absolute priority focus for communal organizations. This is done by both advocating for greater support for our schools in Albany and establishing relationships with our elected officials who represent the areas where we live and work.

Groups like the OU-Teach NYS Initiative, UJA-Federation of New York, Agudath Israel of America, the Board of Jewish Education and Torah Umesorah have proven to be great advocates for schools in need. For years we have proposed or supported bold proposals that would deliver new aid to day schools and their families. But in today’s tough economic times, new initiatives are merely academic discussions.

Thus, we have turned our advocacy efforts to the resources and funding streams that currently exist in New York State and, in particular, to expanding support from a government program you probably have never heard of. There are approximately 400,000 students attending private schools in New York State and private-school students account for 13 percent of all students throughout New York. However, the private school community receives only 1 percent of the funding that goes toward education. This seems patently unfair, and it is.

Since 1974, New York law has imposed several requirements on our schools, including, among other responsibilities: reporting student enrollment and faculty employment numbers each year; administering tests to students in elementary school and high school; reporting which students graduate each year; and verifying that all students are vaccinated.

These Mandated Services Reimbursements (MSR) were accompanied by a promise to reimburse private schools for the cost of compliance, estimated at $90.4 million for this school year. For thirty-three years this promise was kept. Then, faced with a budget shortfall in 2007, the state abandoned the idea of full reimbursement and cut MSR by a hefty amount. Although we have collectively managed to get MSR restored to its full funding level, the state still owes the private school community over $30 million for the years that our schools were underpaid.

Another type of service mandated by the state is the Comprehensive Attendance Policy (CAP), which requires private schools to report student attendance for every grade by every class period. CAP requirements first took effect in the 2003-04 school year and cost private schools $38 million that year alone. Unfortunately though, New York State wasn’t nearly as accommodating in its payments of CAP as it was with MSR.

From the start, the state ignored its obligations to reimburse private schools for CAP. For the 2003-2005 school years, the Education Department did not allocate any CAP funding, claiming the schools failed to submit student attendance data. In fact, the Education Department could have gathered attendance data from the private schools’ Mandate Services Reimbursement forms. Since then, the state has continuously under-funded CAP. Currently, the private school community should be receiving $58 million in CAP funding – but received $33 million last year.

In addition, the continued underpayment for CAP has resulted in a deficit of over $210 million. That’s a lot of money that would go a long way if it were allocated to the private schools. MSR and CAP are real funding streams that go directly to each school that complies with the reporting, which includes most private schools. They go straight to the school’s bottom line and relieve a large part of the financial burden every school faces.

Last October I was privileged to have been hired by the Orthodox Union, in anticipation of its merger with Teach-NYS. This merger combined the resources of two organizations with long records of accomplishment in the field of education, one across the nation and the other in New York. To further the reach and impact of these two organizations, we partnered with many different Jewish schools across the religious spectrum. No private school is immune from the issue of rising payrolls and tuition costs and this was one issue that could unite schools of all religious philosophies. What we established was a tremendous partnership with many schools, representing thousands of children across New York State.

About the Author: Jeff Leb is the New York State director of political affairs for the Orthodox Union and the OU-Teach NYS Initiative.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “The Most Important Jewish School-Funding You’ve Never Heard Of”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Hamas' Ismail Haniyeh would replace Abbas chairman of the Palestinian Authority if elections were held today.
Poll: Hamas Would Rule Judea and Samaria in New Elections
Latest Indepth Stories
0.5-Shekel-hatasham-RJP

The War projects to lower Israel’s 2014 GDP 0.5% but will have little influence on foreign investors

The_United_Nations_Building

It is in the nature of the Nations of the World to be hostile towards the Jewish People.

champions

Hamas and Islamic Jihad are actually fighting to “liberate Jerusalem and all Palestine.”

IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz reviewing maps on the Golan Heights.

The bad news is that ISIS and Al Qaeda are on the Syrian Golan. The good news is that every terrorist in Syria is killing each other.

The congregants, Ethiopians spanning generations, were beaming with joy and pride.

The withdrawal from the Gaza Strip nine years ago did not enhance Israel’s security.

How does a soldier from a religious home fall in love with a soldier from a non- religious kibbutz?

In 19th century entire ancient Jewish communities fled Palestine to escape brutal Muslim authorities

Responsibility lies with both the UN and Hamas, and better commitments should have been demanded from both parties in the ceasefire.

But the world is forever challenging our Jewish principle and our practices.

If this is how we play the game, we will lose. By that I mean we will lose everything.

Reportedly, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates have formed a bloc that seeks to counter Islamist influence in the Middle East.

One wonders how the IDF could be expected to so quickly determine the facts.

While there is no formula that will work for everyone, there are some strategies that if followed carefully and consistently can help our children – and us – gain the most from the upcoming school year.

More Articles from Jeff Leb
Yachad-Logo

“a groundbreaking shift toward equitable and efficient treatment of our most vulnerable children”

Make no mistake: the potential here is enormous. If all of these budget items are approved, they could be a game changer for Jewish day schools and their budgets.

The challenge of day school affordability is not just an economic but an existential one; it is about the continuity and vitality of the next generation of Jews. While enrollments are at an all-time high, so are tuition bills.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/the-most-important-jewish-school-funding-youve-never-heard-of/2013/03/20/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: