With just one week until the end of the New York Legislative Session on June 17, leaders of the Orthodox Union, UJA-Federation of New York and Agudath Israel of America joined together on Tuesday in Albany to urge state lawmakers to pass the Parental Choice in Education Act.
The delegation met with State Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan and with 20 Members of the Assembly, including Phil Goldfeder, Michael Simanowitz, David Weprin, Sean Ryan, Anthony Brindisi, Jeffrey Dinowitz, Shelley Mayer, and Latrice Walker.
Each of the elected officials noted the importance of the group’s presence in Albany for pushing the bill forward and elevating the bill’s status among legislators. Senate Majority Leader Flanagan encouraged the group to keep up the phone calls and emails until the end of the Legislative Session. “It’s crucial that you continue to fight for this bill and express how important the bill is to your community.” said Senate Majority Leader Flanagan
To date, the New York Jewish community has sent more than 9,000 letters to state legislators urging them to support education tax credits.
“Our three organizations are united to push for passage of the Parental Choice in Education Act because we agree that Jewish education is important to the future of the Jewish people and because this bill is good for all schoolchildren in New York, public, private and parochial,” said Jake Adler, New York Director of Policy for the Orthodox Union. “We are mobilizing the Jewish day school and yeshiva community throughout New York State to help pass this bill and we will continue to fight for this bill until it becomes law.”
“By creating incentives for individual, foundation and business philanthropy and thereby increasing the scholarship dollars available for non-public schools to use, the Parental Choice in Education Act provides much-needed relief to tuition-paying families,” said Jeff Leb, Managing Director for Government and External Relations at UJA-Federation of New York.
“We are here in Albany to make sure our legislators hear our voice and see that we are united as a community behind the Parental Choice in Education Act,” said Rabbi Shai Markowitz, Director of the Lefkowitz Leadership Initiative of Agudath Israel of America. “We call on our legislators to pass this critical funding bill.”
By encouraging individuals and corporations to make charitable contributions to public schools or scholarship-making organizations for tuition-paying families, and allocating funds for a $500 per child tax credit for low-income families who send their children to non-public schools, the Parental Choice in Education Act could generate an unprecedented amount of support to tuition-paying families and ensure that the program benefits the broadest swath of New York’s schoolchildren.