The Year Jewish Education Makes The Grade In Albany

Posted on February 2, 2014 In Op-eds

By Jeff Leb

Governor Cuomo’s most recent budget held good news for Jewish day schools. The Comprehensive Attendance Policy (CAP) and Mandated Services Reimbursement (MSR) payments, long underfunded, are being increased. The governor has proposed the full funding of MSR and an additional $7 million toward the arrears. Work remains to get CAP to its full funding level, but this is a major step forward and means millions in aid to Jewish day schools. In addition, security funding—which includes private schools—has been pegged at $4.5 million this year, marking another critical piece of the budget pie for the day-school community. In total, $9 million in security funding has been allocated for this current year and the next fiscal year.

But the news may be getting even better. The governor’s signature universal pre‑K (UPK) legislation will, over five years, pump more than $2 billion into expanding pre‑K options across the state. Charter schools are included in the UPK proposal, and we believe that private schools, including Jewish and other religious schools, will be included as well. Other states, such as New Jersey, which has an expanded pre‑K program, and Maryland, which has proposed one this year, include non-public schools, JCCs, synagogues, and the like in their programs. New York should be no different.

In New York City, where Mayor de Blasio has continued his push for UPK, the administration is including a demand that the program should be truly universal, with no income limit for eligibility.

To read the rest of the article in the 5 Towns Jewish Times, click here.