Teach PA Responds to Governor’s Budget Announcement

Teach PA Applauds Gov. Wolf’s Budget Announcement Doubling Security Support for Groups at Risk of Hate Crimes;

Rabbis and Leaders Penned Letter, Desired Outcome Met

Harrisburg, Penn., Feb. 8, 2022 — Teach PA, a project of the Orthodox Union and a leading advocate for equitable funding for Pennsylvania’s nonpublic schools welcomed Gov. Tom Wolf’s proposed 2022-23 budget unveiled today, applauding the Governor’s commitment to the safety of vulnerable groups at risk of hate crimes.

The Governor has included $10 million, an increase from last year’s $5 million, in the Nonprofit Security Grant Fund, administered by the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency. The state program, established in 2019 by the passage of Act 83, provides grants so that nonprofits statewide – including synagogues, Jewish and other religious day schools, camps and other nonprofit institutions – can better protect themselves against terror attacks. It was created in the wake of the mass shooting at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life synagogue in October 2018, the deadliest attack ever against America’s Jewish community.

Last month, dozens of rabbis and Jewish educational institution leaders joined Teach PA in making a plea to the governor, following recent attacks on the Jewish community nationwide, such as the hostage-taking last month at a Colleyville, Texas synagogue.

“We are proud to live in a state like Pennsylvania, where lawmakers have worked to understand this terrifying reality [of proliferating antisemitism] and have supported programs that can be lifesaving,” the leaders wrote in their letter. “Unfortunately, at current funding levels, many Jewish schools and synagogues as well as other vulnerable nonprofits still lack the costly security measures that have been recommended to them by law enforcement and security experts. We hope you will consider increasing the PCCD Nonprofit Security Fund to $10 million, so at-risk nonprofits can bolster security at this scary time.”

They closed with gratitude. “We thank you for understanding the gravity of the situation and the growing need for resources. We look forward to continued dialogue about stemming the spread of hate.”

“The threats haven’t subsided and we are so grateful to Governor Wolf for recognizing that,” said Arielle Frankston-Morris, Teach PA Executive Director. “We will continue working with community leaders, coalition partners and champions in the legislature to ensure communities can remain safe.”

About Teach PA
Teach PA, a division of the Teach Coalition, was founded in 2013 to advocate for equitable funding for Pennsylvania nonpublic schools. It has helped secure over $70 million in scholarships for Jewish day school students and spearheaded the creation and maintenance of a school safety program that has delivered much-need safety grants to 15 nonpublic schools. Currently, 23 day-schools and yeshivas receive support through Teach PA’s efforts. For more information, visit https://teachcoalition.org/pa/.