It took a government shutdown in New Jersey and two years (and a last minute hazmat scare) in Illinois, but finally, both states passed an operating budget. While Agudath Israel doesn’t take positions on many of the thorny issues at the center of any budget debate, our directors worked tirelessly to ensure that their legislative leaders understood the Orthodox Jewish community’s needs and priorities. These successful efforts entailed missions to the state capitol, countless meetings with elected officials, and grassroots advocacy from our constituents.

Elected officials in Illinois are still negotiating the K-12 education funding formula bill (which may have important ramifications for nonpublic schools), but in the meantime, Agudath Israel was awarded a transportation grant of more than $1 million in the budget. Additionally, a security funding bill which Rabbi Soroka has been working on with several legislators passed on the final day of the legislative session. These successes were a direct result of the organization’s annual  mission to Springfield and many years of building relationships with elected officials.

In New Jersey, Rabbi Schnall sat down with the Lakewood Scoop this week for a video interview to explain what the New Jersey budget means for nonpublic school parents.