State makes record investment in nonpublic schools, enhances security amid rising hate crimes

School desks in a Classroom
Governor Kathy Hochul on Monday announced a massive capital investment in funding nonpublic schools in the latest New York State budget.
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The state is set to invest an unprecedented $467 million in nonpublic schools as part of the state’s 2024-2025 budget, Governor Kathy Hochul announced Monday, marking an $88 million increase from the previous year and representing the largest state budget allocation for nonpublic schools in the nation.

A sizable portion of the funds will be used to enhance security measures through the Nonpublic School Safety Equipment (NPSE) program — an effort led by Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris — bringing funding from $45 million to $70 million. Additionally, the Securing Communities Against Hate Crimes Grant saw a $10 million increase from $25 million to $35 million.

The funding comes at a critical time for New York, where hate crimes are on the rise, and where antisemitic incidents have reached troubling historic levels, according to a report released by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).

In its annual audit on antisemitic incidents in New York and across the U.S., the anti-hate organization reported a massive 110% surge in antisemitic incidents in the Empire State last year, including episodes of physical violence. In total, there were 1,218 incidents, the highest number ever recorded by ADL in the state and the second highest number recorded in any state across the country last year. 

Almost 14% of the nation’s antisemitic incidents last year took place in New York. 

Maury Litwack, founder of Teach Coalition, the leading single-issue advocacy network invested in the quality, safety, and accessibility of nonpublic schools, emphasized the importance of the security funding — especially for nonpublic schools centered on Jewish education.

“Our Jewish day schools and yeshivas have seen a 47% increase in security spending in recent months to protect our students during their studies,” Litwack said. “This funding will help us maintain safety without placing an unsustainable burden on our communities.”

Gianaris, who represents western Queens, echoed Litwack.

“With hate crimes on the rise, my proposal to enhance school security funding by $70 million will ensure students have a safe environment to grow and learn, providing peace of mind to families,” he said.

The historic $237 billion budget also introduces a pioneering Arts and Music teacher reimbursement program with a $5 million allocation. This program, similar to the STEM reimbursement program, offers funding for arts and music teachers in nonpublic schools. The budget also includes an increase in STEM programming and teacher reimbursement, now set at $75.5 million.

Funding for the Comprehensive Attendance Program (CAP) and Mandated Services Reimbursement (MSR) will also rise to a combined $241 million, representing an increase of $45 million.

“These transformative funds will have a direct impact on our schools,” said Sydney Altfield, executive director of Teach NYS, a division of Teach Coalition. “The state recognizes the value of investing in education regardless of the type of school students attend, and we’re grateful to our legislative partners and community advocates for making this possible.”

New York State is home to over 550 Jewish day schools and yeshivas, serving an estimated 180,000 students.

Rabbi Dr. Jeffrey Kobrin, Head of School at North Shore Hebrew Academy, also lauded the funding.

“This funding significantly benefits our schools, students, and the wider community,” he said. “With this support from our legislators, we can continue to prioritize providing our children with an enriching educational experience in a safe and secure environment.”

Additional reporting by Barbara Russo