With the New York State government finalizing its 2023 budget, yeshiva administrators and Agudath Israel traveled to state capitol Albany on Wednesday to lobby for increased funding for Jewish schools, Hamodia reported.
Agudath said its primary goal was to expand the money available in the Non-Public School Safety and Equipment (NPSE) Security Grant, which can be accessed by private school to purchase security equipment. The budget proposed by New York Governor Kathy Hochul keeps the funding at 2022’s level of $45 million. The Assembly’s proposed budget increases it to $60 million.
Agudath Israel Executive Vice President Rabbi Chaim Dovid Zwiebel pressed for increased funding during a meeting with staffers from the office of Brooklyn Assemblyman William Colton.
“There has been not just a spike but an explosion in incidents of hate crimes directed against Jewish people and Jewish institutions, Jewish buildings, synagogues, schools,” Rabbi Zwiebel said, according to Hamodia. “To the Legislature we say, ‘Help us at least secure our institutions.”
Agudath also urged members of the Assembly to increase the reimbursements that private schools are entitled to for services the schools are required to offer under state regulations.
The budget allocated $193 million for the mandated services but the State Education Department estimated that costs will soar to over $210 million this year, the report said.
Agudath also partnered with 300 other organizations representing public schools, Catholic schools, Jewish schools and charities to lobby for the state to cover the cost of school meals for all students.
In New York, the governor releases an “executive budget” every January, after which the Assembly and the Senate release their own “one house budgets.” Negotiations follow that result in a completed budget for the state.