Friday, August 3, 2012

More Legislative Solutions

The Jewish Standard reported on more legislative solutions from the OU to the tuition crisis, a topic we covered back in January.  We should support their efforts and get involved in politics so maybe we can actually help ourselves a little.  Kudos to Dr.Simcha Katz for pushing this.

Of course we need to push schools to cut costs as well but that doesn't mean that other avenues shouldn't be explored.

One thing under consideration that I didn't know about until I saw this article is the Opportunity Scholarship Act.  Click on the link to learn more about it & support it.

Here are some excerpts from the Jewish Standard article:


Last month, Pruzansky heralded the inclusion of a $20 per capita technology grant for the state’s private schools in the state budget. But another measure, the Opportunity Scholarship Act, now seems dormant until after the November election, following Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver’s refusal to advance it for a vote.

As the bill now is drafted, it would provide scholarships for private schools to up to 20,000 students, a quarter of them now enrolled in private schools, in specified school districts that include the heavily Orthodox districts of Lakewood and Passaic, but not the richer Jewish communities in Bergen County.

Elsewhere across the country, the OU has been involved in successful legislative efforts that are bringing money into day school coffers.

In April, the OU joined in helping to pass what has been described as the nation’s largest voucher program, in Louisiana. It was introduced and promoted by the state’s Republican governor, Bobby Jindal. The measure gained the support of the state’s non-Orthodox Jewish community, including the Jewish Community Relations Council of the Jewish Federation of New Orleans.

The OU also has set up offices in Florida, Texas, and Pennsylvania in the last six months. According to Litwak, this reflects the priorities of the OU’s president, Dr. Simcha Katz of Teaneck.

“This is a primary part of his presidency,” Litwak said.

While the OU is making this a signature issue, Pruzansky said that state aid to day schools, and the increased voter participation that would make it happen, is not “simply an Orthodox issue. Every community that has a day school should feel the need to get out and vote. Achieving our goals will help all non-public schools and their families better afford an education that we feel best suits the needs of our children.”
In March, the community federation convened a meeting of representatives of day schools statewide to discuss political action. Subsequently, at least some area schools sent out emails to their parent bodies highlighting the importance of voting in local elections.
Also this summer, the OU has launched another effort touching on day school affordability. In conjunction with the Partnership for Excellence in Jewish Education, it has started the Day School Affordability Knowledge Center to spread information about existing affordability initiatives.