The Rabbinical Alliance of America—Igud HaRabbonim, representing over 950 American rabbis—applauds Governor Kathy Hochul’s announcement in her first executive budget address regarding nonpublic school funding. Governor Hochul recommends an increase of approximately 18% in funding to support private schools, including Jewish day schools and yeshivot. This is one of the largest increases seen in the education portion of the governor’s budget.
Notably, Governor Hochul’s proposed budget includes a $15 million increase for the Science, Technology, Engineering & Math (STEM) reimbursement program for nonpublic schools. The governor has also proposed a dramatic expansion that triples funding for health, safety, and security projects in our schools through the Nonpublic School Safety Equipment (NSPE) Grant program. For the first time, this program will allow nonpublic schools to use the funds to support critical maintenance and repairs of our school facilities. This increase will greatly benefit the tens of thousands of students in New York State’s Jewish schools and their parents, who currently carry the enormous tuition burden required to educate their children according to their religious traditions.
Rabbi Mendy Mirocznik, executive vice-president of the Rabbinical Alliance of America stated, “Governor Kathy Hochul in her first executive budget addressed perhaps the single most important issue currently facing the Jewish community of New York State and that is strengthening Jewish education. From an equity perspective, Governor Kathy Hochul demonstrated that she believes in cultural sensitivity and diversity, especially when it comes to education. The increased funding to nonpublic schools gives the parents of these students the freedom and additional resources to educate their children in a proper environment that trains them to be good Americans and at the same time teaches them to remain true to their faith and traditions.
“The Yeshiva educational system has produced generations of productive, loyal, resourceful, and respectful New Yorkers who have contributed greatly to the growth of the state’s economic, civic, and cultural greatness. The vast and diverse Yeshiva system in New York State is currently thriving as it offers parents a spectrum of schools to fit each child’s unique needs. Never in history has a Jewish parent had so many school choices as in New York State today. We at the Rabbinical Alliance of America appreciate that, thanks to the support of Governor Hochul, Jewish parents will see more of their tuition burden shared by the state and the general public that benefits from the excellent education the children receive in nonpublic schools.
“Further, recognizing the sad and frightening rise in antisemitic hate crimes, the Rabbinical Alliance of America appreciates Governor Hochul’s increase in the Nonpublic School Safety Equipment (NSPE) Grant program to triple that of last year. This is needed now more than ever. It is a sad time in America when Jewish schools and houses of worship need protection. This new budget indicates that New York State is willing to rise to this challenge and protect its innocent civilians.
“May the Lord protect all New Yorkers from harm and give us the strength to prevent hatred and violence.”