Teach NYS Applauds Smart Schools Bond Review Board’s New Guidance for School Districts

New guidance will allow for more equitable allocation of funds to nonpublic schools

New York, NY – Four years ago Teach NYS led a comprehensive voter outreach campaign to help pass the Smart Schools Bond Act of 2014. The ballot referendum proposed by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo set out to create a $2 billion bond sale to fund procurement of technology and connectivity equipment in schools across New York.

Following the overwhelming passage of the Bond Act, Teach NYS Staff began analyzing the exact impact the bond would have on our nonpublic schools. According to the bond bill, which was passed by voters, nonpublic schools were eligible to receive an equitable share of classroom technology. This meant that nonpublic schools were, by law, entitled to a percentage of all dollars spent on classroom technology in any district. Unfortunately, the State Education Department erroneously narrowed the specifics of “classroom technology” which resulted in less funding being subject to the equitable funding formula and nonpublic schools losing millions of dollars of funds for which they were eligible under the act.

Since early 2015, Teach NYS has worked to correct this error both with the administration, the State Education Department and our allies in the NY legislature. Last year, as part of a coalition effort, we were able to secure $25 million additional funding to help correct the problem. Despite this additional funding, Teach NYS continued to press its case that the guidance to districts on fund administration was fundamentally flawed. As a result of Teach NYS’ continued efforts and the work of our coalition partners Agudath Israel of America, the Catholic Conference and UJA Federation of New York, the Smart Schools Review Board met today, June 4th, and approved new, more equitable guidance for fund allocations to nonpublic schools. Teach NYS will continue to work with all stakeholders to ensure that nonpublic schools receive the equitable funding from this program.

“We are extremely gratified that years of effort has helped reverse the original guidance issued on the Smart Schools Bond Act,” said Jake Adler, Policy Director for Teach NYS. “Today’s approval of new guidance will help bring millions of dollars in equitable funding to nonpublic schools.”

For more information please contact Yosef Kanofsky, Teach NYS Director of Government Programs at KanofskyY@ou.org.

About Teach NYS: Teach NYS is part of Teach Advocacy Network, a nonpartisan organization advocating for equitable funding in nonpublic schools. Since launching in 2013, Teach NYS has successfully advocated for significant policy breakthroughs to benefit nonpublic schools. Teach Advocacy Network operates in New York, New Jersey, Florida, Pennsylvania, Maryland and California, covering 186,000 children. Teach Advocacy Network is a project of the Orthodox Union. For more information, visit: www.teachadvocacy.org