Children studying
Children studyingFlash 90

New York State voters will vote on the Smart Schools Bond Act next week. If passed, Jewish day schools and yeshivot can receive up to $32 million – out of $2 billion of state allocations.


Proposal 3 would authorize New York State to borrow up to $2 billion for school technology, including interactive whiteboards, computers and tablets, high-speed broadband or wireless connectivity, and the like. School districts could also use the money for high-tech security for school buildings and campuses, and/or for constructing and modernizing pre-kindergarten facilities.


For the more than 100,000 yeshiva and Jewish day school students in New York State, this could add some $250 per student.


The OU Advocacy Center, the non-partisan public policy arm of the Orthodox Union, has come out in favor of the proposition, known as Proposal 3 on next week's ballot. The OU is working with the Teach NYS (New York State) initiative – focusing on the needs of the non-public school community – on the issue.


As one Jewish day school told its parents, "Jewish education affordability is our ultimate goal. A 'yes' vote [on Proposal 3] takes us one step closer."


Opponents of the bill say that adding $2 billion worth of state debt is not a good idea, even for the worthy goal of enhancing students' hi-tech education.


Nearly 40% of the money is earmarked for the New York City school district; $56 million is to go to Buffalo, $47 to Rochester, $27 million to Syracuse, and almost $10 million will go to Hempstead school district.


School districts will have to submit proposals for review and approval by a Smart Schools Review Committee established for this purpose.