For Immediate Release Contact:
March 20, 2014 Roslyn Singer, 212-613-8227
Noting the short time frame until the April 1st deadline to pass the New York state budget, Lt. Gov. Robert Duffy and several other legislators urged the OU Advocacy-Teach NYS delegations that came to Albany this week to “keep up the pressure” on elected officials and remind them to support the initiatives that help Jewish education with consistent and persistent lobbying until the budget is passed.
At the top of the 2014 legislative priorities for OU Advocacy-Teach NYS are the Education Investment Incentives Act, full funding of the Comprehensive Attendance Policy (CAP) and Mandated Services Reimbursement (MSR) programs—two state initiatives that provide funding for anti-truancy programs and mandated services required by private schools—and including non-public schools in the universal pre-K (UPK) legislation and the Smart Schools bond initiative.
The Brooklyn delegation and the joint delegation from Manhattan, Riverdale and Westchester came to Albany on Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively. Composed of lay leaders, day school and yeshiva leaders, as well as students, the two delegations included representatives from Yeshivat Darche Eres, Yeshivah of Flatbush, Magen David Yeshivah, and Barkai Yeshivah, as well as Ramaz, SAR, Manhattan Day School, Solomon Schechter School of Westchester and Westchester Day School.
In addition to the lieutenant governor, the delegations met with other members of the state leadership, including Senate Co-Leader Jeff Klein, Speaker of the Assembly Sheldon Silver, and Assistant Senate Majority Whip Martin Golden, who is the prime sponsor of the Education Investment Incentives Act. They also met with Senate Education Chairman John Flanagan, Senators George Latimer, Brad Hoylman and Kevin Parker and Assembly Members Peter Abbate, Jr., Anthony Brindisi, David Buchwald, Joseph Borelli, Edward Braunstein, Karim Camara, Steven Cymbrowitz, Jeffrey Dinowitz, Andrew Garbarino, Phillip Goldfeder, Peter Lopez, Nicole Malliotakis, Shelley Mayer, Amy Paulin, Gary Pretlow, Dan Quart, Nily Rozic, Sean Ryan, who is the prime sponsor of the Energy Parity Act, David Weprin and Keith Wright. In addition, they met with Michael Laskawy, Senior Policy Advisor to Governor Cuomo, and David Lobl, Jewish Liaison to the Governor.
Each delegation was officially recognized on the floor of the Assembly by Majority Leader Joseph Morelle and welcomed by Assembly Member Jeffrion Aubry, Speaker Pro Tempore.
“We have done more for private education in the last three years with CAP and MSR than we have in the last 20―that’s real money and we are proud of that accomplishment. However, the non-public school community has many more needs that deserve to be funded and we will work on getting those needs met,” said Assembly Member Phillip Goldfeder.
“We have a duty to make sure everyone gets a great education,” said Sen. Jeff Klein. He noted that he believes in public schools, but he also believes that private schools should thrive, adding “How will public schools accommodate students if private schools fail?” Sen. Klein also told the group that coming to Albany really makes a difference in “educating legislators about the role yeshivas and Jewish day schools play in the community.”
Mitch Vilinsky, a parent in the Yeshivah of Flatbush reflected on the impact government funding for non-public schools can have on the Jewish community. “Parents receiving tuition assistance get help from the school and nowhere else. Any additional government assistance to schools would relieve significant stress from both the parents and the schools―and will help our schools provide scholarships to many more students.”
The Orthodox Union is the nation’s largest Orthodox Jewish umbrella organization; the OU Advocacy Center, formerly the Institute for Public Affairs, is the non-partisan public policy arm of the OU and leads its advocacy efforts in Washington, DC and state capitals.