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Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Agudah to Control NYC Grant to Yeshivas

Check this out:
The City Council is allocating $1 million of taxpayer money in this year's budget to purchase school buses for Jewish schools. Last year, the City Council paid $2.5 million to put computers in Jewish and Catholic schools.
To me, a supporter of State aid to Yeshivas, this would seem like good news. The State has being paying for yeshiva transportation for years, and every extra little bit helps. However, this part of the article gave me pause:
Under state law, the city is obligated to provide the same transportation for parochial school students as for public school students. The city this year is giving an Orthodox Jewish group, Agudath Israel of America, $1 million to distribute to Jewish schools to buy their own buses.

...The bus money will be given directly to Agudath Israel of America to distribute to Jewish schools.
Why does this have to controlled by any organization? Shouldn't these types of funds be granted directly to parochial schools on a case-by-case basis? One has to wonder how the Agudah plans to distribute the funds. Will they only distribute to the Yeshivas that they represent, or will they actually "stoop" to the level of deeming a school like Ramaz or SAR (two of the city's more Modern Orthodox day schools) eligible for the services? I think putting the Agudah in control of the funds was a blooper on the part of the City Council. Maybe they don't understand how fractious New York City's Orthodox Jewish community can be.

Time will tell how equitably the Agudah distributes the funds among the City's Yeshivas - and I'd like to think it will be done fairly, to all Jewish schools, regardless of their level of Orthodoxy. Even if they do, however, I don't think giving them the purse strings is a good idea.

18 Comments:

Anonymous mycroft said...

I don't understand-I thought that it is the students who are entitled to busing. What is Agudah doing anyway? It is in reality just another pork barrel spending-.
BTW when Muslim schools ask for money for their transportation-why not? If given to schools run into Blaine amendment problems. Ask M. Stern-he is probably the expert.

6:52 AM  
Blogger orthomom said...

mycroft, this might explain your question re the additional busing costs (from the NY Sun article):

Jewish schools have long complained that because their school day starts earlier and finishes later than public schools they need additional transportation.

6:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A million dollars is not going to buy you that many buses, so therefore it is absolutely going to be given to "Agudah" type schools.

7:16 AM  
Blogger orthomom said...

Anonymous said...

A million dollars is not going to buy you that many buses, so therefore it is absolutely going to be given to "Agudah" type schools.


If you're saying that they're not going to share, then that's exactly my point. Listen, if they were the only ones lobbying for this funding, and they plan to give it directly to their Yeshivas of choice, then it's a coup for Agudah. But it isn't really a coup for Jewish education.

7:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lol about the agudah giving $ to Ramaz

7:37 AM  
Blogger Somewhat Anonymous said...

OM - I agree that having the Agudah as the intermediary (assuming that the money is actually intended for all Jewish schools) needlessly complicates matters. But what do you think the Agudah should do with the money if they do indeed have full discretion over who it goes to (i.e. the money was not given to them to distribute to all Jewish schools) - do you think they should still distribute the (minimal) funds equally to all Jewish schools? What if non-orthodox day schools wanted a piece?

I think that as discussed above, there are important facts about this grant that we do not have (who it's for, whether its merely supplemental, etc.) that are important for forming any firm opinion of it.

10:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

AGUDAH=CORRUPT

12:08 PM  
Anonymous al said...

"version of Orthodoxy" not "level of Orthodoxy". Is one group "more" Orthodox than the others? They're all acceptable hashkafot.

12:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

and will agudah give to the chassidim?

2:27 PM  
Blogger Charlie Hall said...

'They're all acceptable hashkafot.'

I sure hope so! I often daven shacharit at SAR High School during the school year. Since the end of the school year, I've mostly been going to a Chasidic steibel in the morning.

6:21 PM  
Blogger SephardiLady said...

This should be really, really interesting to see develop. I saw SIW had some posts on the subject too.

I don't know how much $1 million can buy in bussing, and I have to wonder who provides the bus drivers for these busses?

I doubt the city is providing the drivers since the union schedules don't provide for that.

I also wonder how much oversight the city will render over this program?

In addition, assuming that $1 million buys 10-20 busses (just an assumption), who will be responsible for the mainteance and safety of each bus? Who will pay for it?

Will busses be shared amongst schools and will schools agree to share services even if it means adjusting schedules somewhat?

Oh, so many questions.
Please keep us up to date.

6:57 PM  
Blogger NetureiKartanik said...

Brooklyn, NY - Ruling From Court in Satmar Case
Brooklyn, NY - In the bitter 7 year long battle for the leadership of the Satmar Chasidim, the NY State Supreme Court Appellate dismissed 4-0 the decision from up-state former Justice Rosenwasser, and the transfer of some property's in Orange County was illegal, and they also left 3-1 the ruling from former Supreme Court Judge Melvin S. Barasch. Leaving the younger son of the late grand Rabbi Moses Teitelbaum - Rabbi Zalman - In Control of the Satmar Hasidic Sect.

8:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You guys are missing the point.
First of all, I don't think Agudah will be adminstering this grant, and from what I've been told, Catholic and other private schools will also be entitled to apply for this funding. But the main issue is that this is a start to breaking the barriers for yeshivas. To wit, the advocating of tuition tax credits, and now funding for buses. Its not the amount of money, its the beginning of a process.

11:21 PM  
Anonymous mycroft said...

momof4 said...
mycroft, this might explain your question re the additional busing costs (from the NY Sun article):

Jewish schools have long complained that because their school day starts earlier and finishes later than public schools they need additional transportation.

It might be easier to get drivers with a different schedule than public schools-since the runs might not conflict-see a local SD that uses Independent-you see the same equipment with a run for day schools and public schoools. Only problem was a few years ago-when one district and day schools tried an early dismissal because of weather. Of course, an early dismissal should never happen parents aren't around anyway.

5:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

See http://www.canonist.com/?p=1029
for an interview with R' C.D. Zwiebel of the Agudah.

3:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What if a Solomon Schecter school wants to share in the bus money? Should be interesting to see the Agudah's response!

3:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oy.
Folks, the Charedi group is simply getting some pork. Although that sounds not kosher, it is. Everyone gets this kind of money. This does NOTHING to advance the cause of Jewish education. It simply advances the cause of a couple of charedi lobbyists.

2:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Best regards from NY!
» »

6:58 AM  

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