OU Advocacy-Teach NYS Testimony to NY Joint Committee on Executive Budget

In his testimony before the New York State Legislature Joint Committee on the Executive Budget, Jeff Leb, Director of OU Advocacy-Teach NYS, reiterated the organization’s position that all New York school children should be entitled to the same essential services to further their educational growth and ensure their safety—regardless of what type of school they attend.

During his oral testimony, Leb focused on the Education Investment Incentives Act, also known as the Education Investment Tax Credit, which benefits both private and public school students. If passed, the bill would provide a tax credit to businesses or individuals donating either to public school benefit foundations or to private school scholarship organizations. By changing the tax status of these donations from a tax exemption to a tax credit, the state will create millions of dollars for scholarships to private schools or public school activities and functions.

“More and more Catholic schools are forced to close their doors every year and Jewish schools and other faith-based schools are facing similar decisions. School districts across the state have been forced to cut programming and resources in order to make their annual budget. We believe that the Education Investment Tax Credit can reverse this unfortunate trend,” said Leb. “This bill has the potential to help children from all socio-economic levels and also help all New York schools, public or private.”

“The state already provides tax credits for everything from film production to energy efficiency. The Education Investment Tax Credit just adds the fundamental state interest of education to that list,” Leb added.

In addition to the Education Investment Incentives Act, Leb presented written testimony to the Joint Committee about several legislative items in Gov. Cuomo’s budget that could potentially provide millions of dollars to NY Jewish day schools, including full funding and repayment of the arrears for the Comprehensive Attendance Policy (CAP) and the Mandated Services Reimbursement (MSR) reporting requirements for private schools; security funding for private schools; universal pre-kindergarten; the smart schools bond initiative; nursing services; energy efficiency and capital improvements; academic intervention services; transportation; teacher training and mentoring; and learning technology grants.

“OU Advocacy-Teach NYS feels strongly that whatever school(s) parents choose as the best option for their children should not limit the services available to those children. Children’s safety and security, for example, is paramount, regardless of whether they attend private or public school. We will work with New York state legislators to ensure that any education funding includes Jewish day schools,” said Leb.