Governor Andrew Cuomo and New York State legislative leaders announced a framework agreement on Tuesday that will allocate an unprecedented $250 million of new funding to the state’s non-public schools for mandated services.
Critics faulted the state legislature for essentially taking a pass on providing tuition relieve to the parents of parochial school students. Critics also charged that in recent years the state has not made good on its full statutory obligation, allocating only a fraction of the mandated services funds to which nonpublic schools are entitled, thereby allowing a significant debt to accumulate.
The agreement, if passed, will replace Cuomo’s Parental Choice in Education Act, which would have provided $150 million in education tax credits and scholarships annually and benefited parents directly.
OU Advocacy-Teach NYS, the nonpartisan public policy arm of the Orthodox Union, actively campaigned-together with UJA-Federation of New York, Agudath Israel of America, and other coalition partners to support the education tax credit bill.
“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,” said Allen Fagin, executive vice president and CEO of the Orthodox Union.
“The mandated services program is a key funding source that helps non-public schools meet their bottom lines. We welcome this new funding.”
Added Maury Litwack, the Orthodox Union’s director of state public affairs, “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. We call on the New York State Assembly and Senate to approve this crucial funding bill as quickly as possible.