(JNS) Hundreds of more students at Jewish day schools and yeshivahs in New York City may be eligible for Title I educational assistance after a deal reached between the New York City Department of Education and the New York City Committee on Religious and Independent Schools led to increased allocations of federal educational dollars to nonpublic schools in the city.
Under the agreement, the religious and independent private schools will receive at least $83 million in Title I funds for the 2020 Fiscal Year, which covers the 2019-20 academic year, an increase of 24 percent over the previous school year.
Spearheading advocacy on behalf of the Jewish day schools and yeshivahs was the Jewish Education Project, a partner agency of UJA-Federation of New York.
“We had alleged for many years that New York City was not counting the number of students in nonpublic schools in a way that represented the true level of poverty in nonpublic schools,” said Sara Seligson, managing director of day schools and yeshivah services at the Jewish Education Project and chair of the New York State Education Department’s commissioner’s advisory council for religious and independent schools. “Now, more students will be able to receive the benefit of additional support via the Title I funds that they are entitled to.”
Title I services, which include tutoring, pull-out programs, counseling and other resources, are mandated by the federal government. Only students who live in a designated poverty zone and are struggling academically are eligible for services through this program.
Much, but not all, of New York City is designated a poverty zone per the guidelines, said Seligson.
As part of the arrangement, New York City will be revamping the way it counts students in nonpublic schools to ensure, what advocates say, is a more accurate count of students eligible for Title I services.