Monday, February 11, 2013

OU solving the tuition crisis in Nebraska

The most pressing issue facing the American Jewish community is what people call the "tuition crisis."
Study after study has demonstrated that the key to Jewish continuity is Jewish day school education.
The problem is tuition keep getting higher and higher making it more and more difficult for families.  In some cities tuition is upwards of 20,000 per child.  That is quite a burden for a family with 4 children in school.

The Orthodox Union (OU) has committed a great deal of its resources to alleviating this burden and making day school affordable for everyone.

Leading the charge is the OU's Institute for Public affairs (IPA). 

Last week the IPA hosted a summit in Washington DC bringing together all of the Jewish communities in States that have been working on legislation that will help promote school choice.  One of my lay leaders and I attended the one day summit.  We had a chance to hear from the OU professionals as well as from the lay leaders and Jewish professionals from all over the country who have experienced success or challenges.

The entire day was filled with important and practical information and there was not a second of wasted time.

  • We learned how to find government money that is already available for non-public schools.
  • We learned how to identify and build relationships with the important local legislatures who are advocating for school choice.
  • We also learned how to identify and partner with other groups interested in school choice.
  • We learned how to navigate through proposed legislation for school choice and which points affect our community the most.
In the afternoon we broke out into states and met with professionals to discuss the current issues.  
In Nebraska we are currently looking to pass legislative bill 14 (LB14) which would "enable the greatest number of parents to choose among quality educational opportunities for children."

The bill provides tax credits to corporations who give towards scholarship funds for non-public schools.  

Thanks to the OU we have already been in close cooperation with the Catholic community and other partners who want to see this bill passed into law.  

The bill is up for a public hearing on Thursday, February 21 at 1:30pm in Lincoln, Nebraska at the state capital building in room 1524.  

A couple of leaders from the Jewish community and I will be testifying on behalf of the bill and I encourage anyone who can to come out and show support for this legislation that is good for the Jewish community and good for Nebraska.

Much thanks to the OU for taking on this issue and teaching us how we can make our voices heard.

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