The New York State budget for the 2016-17 fiscal year was finalized on Friday, and some $72 million was allocated as additional funding for nonpublic schools, a third of which is expected to be made available to Jewish institutions.
The haredi organization Agudath Israel of America welcomed the decision and said it included funding that Aguda and other advocates for the nonpublic school community have wanted, such as for mandated services and safety equipment, and to support the establishment of the State Office of Religious and Independent Schools within the State Education Department.
Agudath Israel of America’s executive vice president Rabbi Chaim Dovid Zwiebel said the organization is very grateful for the significant funding, which will “make a real difference.”
He expressed AIA’s disappointment, however, that the state budget leaves out any funding for education tax credits, which would help offset the costs of tuition for students.
“The outcome of this year’s budget process must be considered a mixed bag,” Zwiebel said.
“Agudath Israel will continue to battle for the interests of yeshivos, the most precious communal asset we have.”
The newly passed New York State budget increases total school funding by 6.5 percent to $24.8 billion, freezes tuition at the state university system, SUNY, and aims to gradually increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour.