New York State Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan visited Jewish day schools in the Five Towns with the Orthodox Union – Teach NYS to speak with community leaders about the new state budget’s impact on Long Island’s nonpublic schools on Wednesday. The Majority Leader’s schedule included visits to Hebrew Academy of the Five Towns and Rockaway in Lawrence and Shulamith School for Girls in Cedarhurst, where he met with students and parents; and the Hebrew Academy of Long Beach Executive Offices in Cedarhurst, where he met with school leaders. Majority Leader Flanagan also met with local rabbis.
During each of these meetings, the Majority Leader discussed the 2016-2017 state budget as a win for nonpublic schools in and beyond the Five Towns. Majority Leader Flanagan also commended OU – Teach NYS for its role in the budget process, praising the advocacy organization’s commitment to New York’s Jewish school community and congratulating them on a highly effective grassroots campaign.
The 2016-2017 New York State Budget, passed by Governor Cuomo and the State Legislature on March 31st, included significant wins for New York’s nonpublic schools, including Jewish day schools and yeshivas. In recognition of the critical role religious and secular nonpublic schools play in New York State’s communities, Albany allocated $2 million to create an Office of Religious and Independent Schools.
Governor Cuomo and the State Legislature also boosted funding to programs that sustain Jewish day schools and yeshivas across the state, including the Comprehensive Attendance Policy, or CAP, and Mandated Services Aid. Both CAP and Mandated Services Aid were increased this year, with an additional $60 million set aside for further increases to the CAP program for the next two years. The new funding allocated in this year’s budget comes on top of a $250 million reimbursement awarded last year, $125 million of which nonpublic schools will receive in the upcoming school year. This aid puts funding for these programs at historic levels.
The new budget also includes a major increase in security funding to New York’s nonpublic schools, with $15 million allocated for personnel and equipment.
All of these victories were the result of dedicated advocacy by OU – Teach NYS, which orchestrated a months-long campaign to ensure that Albany would recognize the needs of nonpublic school students across the state.
Majority Leader Flanagan expressed staunch support for New York’s nonpublic schools during this year’s budget negotiations. On Sunday, he took his commitment to Long Island’s Jewish students one step further, announcing the allocation of an additional $600,000 to Five Towns yeshivas.
“Thanks to Senator Flanagan, this year’s budget agreement will make a world of difference for our community,” said Rabbi Perry Tirschwell, Executive Director of Shulamith School for Girls. “As our school continues to grow and thrive, new state funds will help us provide students and teachers with the resources they need, and will help us keep them safe. Thank you to OU – Teach NYS for bringing our voices to Albany, and thank you to Majority Leader Flanagan for recognizing our value.”
“We’re proud that Senator Flanagan stood with our community this year, and we’re thankful that OU – Teach NYS helped make sure Albany heard our voice,” saidJason Bokor, President of Hebrew Academy of the Five Towns and Rockaway. “Every year, nonpublic schools in the Five Towns and across the state educate New York’s future leaders. We take pride in cultivating a nurturing and safe environment for these students, and continued support from Albany makes this possible.”
“OU – Teach NYS has been honored to work with Senator Flanagan throughout the budget process, and we look forward to continuing this partnership,” said Jake Adler, Policy Director for OU – Teach NYS. “Together, we can sustain New York’s diverse faith communities by supporting our nonpublic schools.”