A new partnership between the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations, Teach-NYS and a group of New York’s Jewish Day Schools representing more than 5,000 students will consolidate community resources, conserve money and expand a sophisticated advocacy effort, the OU announced today.
Schools participating in the new venture include Manhattan Day School, SAR, Westchester Day School, Solomon Schechter School of Westchester, Schechter School of Long Island, North Shore Hebrew Academy, Barkai Yeshiva, Yeshivat Darche Eretz and Yeshiva of Flatbush. The partnership was forged under the leadership of communal leaders Jack Bendheim and Sam Sutton, who will serve as co-chairs of the joint initiative. The OU’s New York State Director of Political Affairs Jeff Leb, recognized as one of New York State’s premier Jewish political strategists, will serve as political director.
Teach-NYS successfully advocates for New York State’s non-public school community. It has won increased reimbursement to private schools under the CAP (Comprehensive Attendance Policy) and MSR (Mandated Services Reimbursement) programs; fostered the creation of the Empire State Child Credit for parents with school age children, which brings an annual $32 million in tax savings to Jewish parents; and spurred an overhaul of New York City’s system for administering federal No Child Left Behind funds.
The OU advocates throughout the nation for the establishment of policies that would ease the financial burden on private school parents. In Pennsylvania, the OU was responsible for expanding the state’s Educational Improvement Tax Credit and created the Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit program — which provides a further $50 million for scholarships to students near failing schools. In New Jersey the OU worked to restore student funding in technology aid for private schools and fought to maintain free busing for day school students in Teaneck and Lakewood. The OU also led the fight to establish new educational tax credit programs in Florida, Louisiana and Texas.
“We have ambitious goals for this merger which go beyond what Jewish education has seen in New York, home of the majority of Jewish day school families in the United States,” said Dr. Simcha Katz, President of the Orthodox Union. “This partnership is designed to not just symbolically unify Jewish day schools and major Jewish organizations such as the OU, but to pursue a comprehensive policy to deliver resources to children, relief to parents and funding to Jewish day schools.”
“I am confident that the advocacy and developed relationships of Teach-NYS combined with the expertise of the Orthodox Union and passion of partnering schools will come together to make a significant impact on the world of Jewish education,” said Jack Bendheim.
“The OU/Teach-NYS team will work with school leadership to engage community members to ensure real cost-savings for all Jewish schools,” said Sam Sutton. “Members of the initiative will work towards of the crafting and implementation of effective legislation that will benefit the private-school community.”