State Senator Simcha Felder had strong words for those who suggested the bill was specific to favor Yeshiva parents. “Do not believe any individual or organization that tries to convince you that we did well on this budget,” said Felder. “That is a lie. At the end of the day, we deserve the respect and consideration to be get both tuition scholarships and programs that we need. We should not accept any crumbs that Albany offers to pacify us.”
The bill was originally conceived at the New York State Catholic Schools conference and had the support of fellow Senator Martin Golden. Those familiar with the situation point the finger directly at Governor Cuomo and Speaker Sheldon Silver for shooting down the proposed bill.
The rejected bill would have provided funding for scholarships to middle and low income families in need of scholarships to keep their children in private schools. It would have also provided tax credits to teachers for out-of-pocket expenses and families who were unable to get scholarships.
Felder acknowledged the increased budget for 2014 did allow for one small victory, the passage of his transportation bill. Permanent funding is now provided for private school students to receive the same bussing benefits as public school students. Pickup distances will be shortened from 1400 feet to 600 feet.
Felder vowed to continue fighting to provide financial relief for private school parents. He vowed that little scraps thrown his way are not enough to stop his initiatives for a better representation in the state’s budget for the parents of children in private schools.