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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

They're Back

Mumps, that is, this time in the Talmudical Academy of Philadelphia (Hat Tip: VIN)

[11 months ago]

and the elimination of Priority 7 Vouchers.

Letters when out this week saying the program is on the cutting block. By all accounts, it looks like the Priority 7 vouchers are supporting more than after school programming in Brooklyn's Frum Schools, but providing a "voucher" of sorts.

15 comments:

Dave said...

The Priority 7 vouchers aren't the only backdoor subsidy to the Yeshivas.

There is also the money paid to the schools for "taking attendance".

DAG said...

Millions in CAP funding for attendance keeping. That will get cut too.

ProfK said...

Sorry, but keeping attendance records along with other types of records is not a backdoor funding for the yeshivas. All private schools in NY, religious and secular, receive this funding because of a state mandate. The nature of that funding was already changed by executive fiat of our last NY governor. He unilaterally changed the wording of the mandate so that it no longer reads required reimbursement but suggested reimbursement, and a lot of schools have yet to see these reimbursements or are getting only a small part of what is owed. There were huge rallies in the Catholic school system in protest of the cuts. So please, this is not a Brooklyn yeshiva shtick but a legitimate state program.

Dave said...

It was proposed that the requirement to take attendance be dropped completely, and that therefore the schools would not get any reimbursement for it.

The Yeshivas screamed bloody murder.

Now, if it were pure reimbursement for the actual cost of the service, there would be no difference between "no record keeping, no payment", and "record keeping, payment". So when the schools start claiming that this would be a financial hardship, that tells me the "reimbursement" is a profit center.

And that makes it a backdoor subsidy. The fact that other private schools are also taking advantage of it makes it no less of one.

ProfK said...

Dave,
Again, this is a requirement for all state schools, with no differentiation for public or private. You don't get to choose if you will follow PAR/CAP. The program is not optional nor voluntary. Schools that do not provide the attendance figures get in trouble with NYSED. For one thing, the data collected is used in compiling census figures, figures that are also required federally. It is also used by the state for qualifying for certain federally funded education initiatives.

Yes, the governor wanted to drop the program across the board, public and private schools, and he couldn't. Because of state budget shortfalls, the reimbursement to the schools, all the schools, is at far less than 100%, as calculated by the CAP formula, but it is still there.

Now, if it were pure reimbursement for the actual cost of the service, there would be no difference between "no record keeping, no payment", and "record keeping, payment". Sorry, but this means what? Schools not in compliance with the record keeping do not get any reimbursement and get in trouble with the state in addition. Schools that do do the record keeping do qualify for the reimbursement at whatever rate the state is now using.

The yeshivas screamed bloody murder? They were the least vocal of all the systems affected by the changed regulations. This charge was not lead by the yeshivas but by the Catholic school system. The Jewish/Anglo press didn't pick up on this issue until long after it was already a public concern for the affected schools.

Backdoor implies hidden and out of view. It also implies 'not entitled' which is not the case with CAP. This is hardly a hidden source of monies coming into a school. While not a paltry amount of money, it's also not the make or break point in a school's budget. The yeshivas that had to close did not do so because of missing CAP reimbursements.

Anonymous said...

ProfK - you're so quiet about the Section 7 vouchers. Reading the VIN comments, a commenter says that her brother & sister-in-law are both unemployed, yet they get these childcare vouchers. Care to weigh in on this issue?

ProfK said...

Anonymous,
One of the provisions discussed when the Priority 7 system was being put together was that it would not only be for working parents at or under the Poverty level who couldn't afford the necessary child care expenses for the time period between when school was done for the day and when parents came home. It was also for respite care for families with problems. One of the scenarios mentioned back then was a large family and one child in the family with special needs requirements. A parent at the poverty level might be having trouble meeting the needs of that child and all her other children as well. The "free" care after school hours would benefit all the children of the family.

How do I feel about the program? A decent idea gone bad due to faulty and inefficient bureaucratic organization and administration. There is no provision as I understand it to check whether or not unemployed parents using the program are in fact looking for jobs and just can't find them or they have chosen not to work. There is no real oversight of the programs not under direct ACS supervision at their sites.

Should this free program actually be administered in yeshiva buildings rather than at city-administered sites? Sigh. Putting yeshiva and administration and free money in one sentence gives me the heebie jeebies. I have no doubt that some of the program's money is going towards classes that are part of the regular curriculum and would be offered city money or not.

On the other hand, neither the yeshivas nor the city is particularly forthcoming about where the money goes, for what and who is minding the store. Ask a straightforward question and you get a barrage of political doublespeak.

Yeshiva administrators and city administrators joined hand in hand? The blind leading the blinder.

Abba's Rantings said...

PROFK:

"You don't get to choose if you will follow PAR/CAP. The program is not optional nor voluntary."

i know i must be missing something here, but should schools (public or private) expect extra funding in order to take attendance?

"A decent idea gone bad due to faulty and inefficient bureaucratic organization and administration."

gee, that was hard to predict

DAG said...

Yes CAP is for all schools, but as David implied, removing the mandate and removing the funding should be no loss for the Yeshivas... if they are being honest.

Dave said...

Now, if it were pure reimbursement for the actual cost of the service, there would be no difference between "no record keeping, no payment", and "record keeping, payment". Sorry, but this means what?

It means that there should be no difference in the school budget between taking the attendance and being reimbursed for that cost, and not having to take and report attendence, with no reimbursement.

Remember, the original plan was to remove the mandate, and the funding. That should be revenue neutral to the schools, if it is really "reimbursement" and not a means of funneling public money to private schools.

That got enormous opposition from the private schools (including the Yeshivas).

That tells me that it is in fact a backdoor subsidy. And I consider that term appropriate, since it purports to be strict reimbursement, and clearly is not.

Paying Parent said...

Interesting article about online schooling, yeshiva style: http://www.vosizneias.com/68411/2010/11/10/new-york-kids-of-chabad-shluchim-attending-yeshiva-via-cyber-school

DAG said...

ANOTHER Yeshiva: http://www.theyeshivaworld.com/news/General+News/75276/Financial-Meltdown!-Major-Yeshiva-Evicted-in-Flatbush.html

JS said...

What a bunch of thieves dressed as rabbis:

"According to sources at the NYPD, the 400 plus girl school was over two years late on rent payments and owed over $500,000 in rent. Another source added that the yeshiva was legally evicted by the Marshall in June of this year. However, despite this, the yeshiva illegally returned to take possession of the premises."

"Sources say that that leadership of the yeshiva did not inform parents until the very last minute that their children would have nowhere to go and many children showed up to a closed yeshiva yesterday. Parents of Yeshiva of Bensonhurst students are understandably fraught. One parent asked YWN, “How could the yeshiva take $5,000 in tuition for my daughter this year when they knew that they were being evicted from the yeshiva? I am really upset and don’t understand where my tuition dollars are going if the yeshiva is not even paying its rent.”"

DAG said...

JS Now, now they aren't thieves. They had Bitachon. Its too bad that hashem wanted the parents to lose their tuition money.

Abba's Rantings said...

DAG:

the article notes that, "Local elected officials were unsuccessful in their attempts to stop the eviction. Councilman David Greenfield . . ."

they don't care that a landlord is owed 500k?