Yesterday the New York State Senate and Assembly released their One House Budget Resolutions. These resolutions are a response to Governor Hochul’s Executive Budget which was released last month.
These budget resolutions contain some excellent news for our yeshivas. Here are some highlights:
Mandated Services Saved – The Mandated Services Program is the largest single source of funding for nonpublic schools across the state, which reimburses them for various services performed at the behest of the state. It was first passed in 1974 largely as a result of advocacy led by the legendary Agudah president, Rabbi Moshe Sherer Z’L. Historically the state has always been liable for the full cost of these services. However the executive budget contained language that would have capped the awards at amount allocated, meaning that if claims exceeded allocations schools would not get paid in full. Had it gone into effect schools were looking at cuts of possibly 8% on mandated services. Our top ask was the elimination of this language and it was the highlight of my testimony last month at the legislative budget hearings. Thankfully both houses of the legislature listened to us and our coalition partners and removed the harmful language thus preserving the Mandated Services Program.
Security Funding – The Assembly One House increased the Non Public School Safety and Security Grant (NPSE) from $45 million to $60 million, in large part due to Agudah Advocacy.
Immunization Reimbursement – The Senate One House added $1.9 million to reimburse schools in New York City, Rochester and Buffalo for the cost of collecting and transmitting student immunization data. This is an area that has long been underfunded and has been a major part of Agudah’s advocacy efforts
Universal School Lunch – Both Houses added $280 million to fund free meals for all schoolchildren in New York. Agudath Israel was part of the coalition supporting this effort and we are thrilled to see it in the One House
Of course, none of this is final yet as the budget still needs to be negotiated between the governor and the legislature with final passage expected by April 1. Up until that point our efforts will continue to ensure we are successful when the budget is finally enacted.
Rabbi Yeruchim Silber – Albany Testimony 2023