Mandated Services Aid (MSA) is the reimbursement the State Education Department provides to non-public schools for complying with state mandates for education such as testing, attendance taking and other services. In excellent news for Yeshivos and Bais Yaakovs, the Division of Budget has authorized the New York State Education Department to issue payment for 80% of the outstanding Mandated Services Aid claims from the 2018-19 school year.
These payments were for schools who’s annual MSA reviews were not completed until this past March. By the time these reviews were completed and presented for payment the COVID-19 pandemic had hit, playing havoc with the state finances which were essentially frozen. Agudath Israel of New York raised the issue of unpaid Mandated Services with the Governor’s office numerous times and is happy that these funds were finally made available. It is anticipated that payments will be issued within the next two weeks with the remaining 20% being paid at a time when the State has the funding available.
For the 2019-20 school year mandated services claims, the Coalition of Religious and Independent Schools, of which Agudath Israel is a member, recently sent a letter to Governor Cuomo, asking him to “hold us harmless” for certain aspects of mandated services such as state testing, which was cancelled this year.
Should the Governor agree to this proposal it would enable nonpublic schools to receive a similar amount of mandated services reimbursement for this past school year as they have received in prior years, despite the fact that nonpublic schools could not perform all the mandates this year due to COVID-19.