We have seen the devastation that the closing of a Yeshiva has on our families. Parents are under enormous stress finding a new school to educate their children. Rebbeim, Teachers and Staff are left without jobs and the other Mosdos in the community with already overstuffed classrooms are asked to accept more students.
Today we have seen that one such problem was averted by the opening of a new school. That was a piece of great news and we wish the new Yeshiva much Hatzlocha.
However, will this end of the problem of not having enough funding for our Mosdos? After three schools closed in 6 months can we guarantee it won’t happen again? Are the parents of Yeshiva children prepared to increase their tuition payments as costs continue to rise?
Now is the time to do something about it and I am asking you for your help!
Agudath Israel has been working very hard during the past 8 months to create a way to assist our families. Teaming up with others groups who are in the same boat, like the Catholic Conference and Educational Excellence for Everyone (E3), and some Legislators who understand the issue, we have helped produce a piece of Legislation called the Opportunity Scholarship Act. The OSA is a five year Pilot Program and is intended for children living in School Districts with Failing Public School (like Lakewood). OSA if passed into law will provide Corporate Tax Scholarships that will be issued to students from needy families and allow them to attend the school of their choice.
One of the provisions in the OSA is that parents who have already made the sacrifice to send their child to a Non-Public School should have the same ability to receive an OSA scholarship. To that end, children from Lakewood stand to receive upwards of 25 Million dollars worth of OSA scholarships over the five year Pilot Program.
OSA is not a voucher, is State funded, and is revenue neutral which means it will not cost the Lakewood tax payers one cent to fund this program.
So how can we make it happen?
Agudath Israel of New Jersey is a grassroots organization that represents the Frum community in Trenton. In order for us to maximize our effectiveness we need a membership base of constituents. The main opponent to receiving State Funding for our Mosdos and helping our families is the Teachers Union known in New Jersey as the NJEA. Their strength is their membership. They claim to have 200,000 members and that holds a lot of sway over the votes of Legislators.
What do we counter with? We need members too!
Right now we are starting a Membership Campaign in Lakewood to recruit as many members as possible. If we succeed we show our numbers to other groups and ask them to do the same thereby creating a formidable coalition of tax payers who send or want to send their children to the Schools of their choice.
Because we only have 3 months to pass the OSA. After that the members of the Legislature begin their election campaigns. When that happens they will not consider a piece of legislation like the OSA until November 2011.
We now have a Governor in office who is ready to sign OSA into law. We have to push the Legislature to post this Bill now for votes.
How much will it cost?
You can become a member of Agudath Israel of New Jersey for $54. If you are in Kollel there is a discounted rate of $36.
But in reality it won’t cost you anything. There are vendors in Lakewood that understand the importance of this mission and for a limited time offering coupons that will end up saving you far more than it will cost you to become a member.
And these coupons aren’t for items you wouldn’t ordinarily purchase. Simply shopping for food at Kosher West, Bagel Nosh, Pizza Plus, Shloimy’s Kosher World, or for eyeglasses at EyeWear Plus, a hat, suit or shoes at Hat Box, or Seforim at Judaica Plaza, and many more coupons, will provide savings that will make becoming a member of Agudath Israel of New Jersey an investment that will earn you money.
At the same time your membership will allow us to continue our Avodas Hakodesh on your behalf, help our Mosdos survive, and families afford Yeshiva education.
Act now as Membership Brochures are delivered to your door, calls are made to your home or simply click here to become a member TODAY!
Yehoshua “Josh’ Pruzansky