Thursday, March 28, 2013

Our New Education Transportation Law

I am writing from Albany where we have been working long hours on achieving our final budget but the extra hours in the midst of the holiday season have been well worth it. We’re going to accomplish something extraordinary together!

Thanks to the tireless efforts of many of my fellow Assembly Members and members of the New York State Senate, our great state is now going to accept the responsibility for providing transportation after 4:00 pm for children attending private and parochial schools in grades kindergarten through six. In addition, there is a new safety measure in place; the new law will also ensure that transportation services deliver children as close as possible to their homes.

The new transportation amendment is a huge accomplishment in terms of education, safety and financial relief. I could never understand penalizing children, parents and schools/yeshivas because they wanted more education. That was the wrong message. For many years we worked to get equitable transportation for children with longer school days. This subsidized transportation, which first passed last year, is genuinely an historic breakthrough that will help our yeshivas, parents and our community. Last year we saw the first big step in the direction of being fair and equitable. Today we take an even bigger step.

This education milestone would not have been possible without Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, Assemblywoman Helene Weinstein, and Senator Simcha Felder. The bill also had the passionate support of many of my colleagues, including Assembly Members Steven Cymbrowitz, Phillip Goldfeder, Mike Simanowitz and David Weprin, as well as State Senator Marty Golden.

The many families who will benefit from this new law should be aware of the tireless work that went into the bill from the leaders of Agudath Israel of America who led the charge for these changes in Albany, especially Rabbi Shmuel Lefkowitz, Rabbi Shiya Ostreicher and Rabbi Shimon Ostreicher.

On Saturday evening, April 6, please tune in to the Dov Hikind Show on 570 AM at 11:00pm as many of the players who made this historical bill come alive join us to discuss not only the long, uphill battle that this bill went through but also how it will impact our community.

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