ALBANY, NEW YORK - March 27, 2012 - TEACH-NYS, The Educational Alliance for Children in New YorkState, has released the following statement:
TEACH-NYS greatly appreciates the leadership of numerous elected officials, resulting in the just-completed 2012-13 "Aid to Localities" Budget appropriation bill that restores the cost-based formula for calculating reimbursement to non-public schools, including an additional $7 million for the 2010-11 school year. Since Governor Cuomo submitted his Executive Budget a few months ago, we have been in ongoing contact with Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, each of whom has shown sensitivity and support for the needs of the yeshiva and day school community.
TEACH-NYS President Elliot Gibber said: "We appreciate what our State leaders have done today for non-public schools in a tight fiscal situation. Our personal thanks go to Senators Marty Golden and Jack Martins, and to Assembly Members Michael Cusick and Steven Cymbrowitz, who made sure the Comprehensive Attendance Policy (CAP) issue remained on the front burner for their colleagues and for the leadership. We also look forward to working with the New York State Education Department to achieve a fair plan for recouping funds from previous years, as authorized in the same budget language."
TEACH-NYS Co-Chairman Sam Sutton said: "As soon as the Budget is enacted later this week, we will resume our broader efforts on behalf of yeshivas, including increased tax incentives for donations to scholarship funds. In the past six months, we have achieved fairness for yeshivas and all non-public schools, through the $8 million MTA Payroll Tax Exemption, the $90 million in full funding for Mandated Services Reimbursement, and now $33 million and a fair formula for CAP."
Shai Franklin, Executive Director of TEACH-NYS, noted that the Educational Alliance has worked alongside other Jewish organizations in this effort, and with representatives of the Catholic and Independent schools: "This has been a case study in teamwork, grassroots organizing, and legislative strategy. In the trenches, we were also indebted to dozens of concerned Assembly Members, including Dov Hikind, Vito Lopez, Phil Goldfeder, and Michael Simanowitz."
Through grassroots missions and ongoing outreach in Albany, TEACH-NYS had appealed to lawmakers to correct the formula for calculating reimbursement to non-public schools under the Comprehensive Attendance Policy (CAP). The final budget bill being printed today restores the original formula, which was based on the actual costs incurred by the schools, and adds $7 million to the Governor's $26 million request. The $33 million appropriated under the new budget is still short of the $42 million calculated by the current reimbursement formula, and farther still from the $58 million schools would be owed under the now-restored original formula. The State will now be required to use this original formula going forward, and the State will now address the issue of at least $160 million in underpayments from past years.