Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

14 Sivan 5767 - May 31, 2007 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network











Education Ministry Announces 70 Percent Cut in Funding for Chinuch Atzmai Busing Program

By Betzalel Kahn and Eliezer Rauchberger

The Education Ministry recently gave notice that Chinuch Atzmai must henceforth follow the general Ministry principle of children attending the closest institution to them — totally overlooking its unique character, which has been recognized by every Israeli administration in the past. As such, 70 percent of the transportation budget will be cut for the 5768 school year, dealing a blow to thousands of students around the country who would no longer be eligible for government funding of school buses. Since the Chinuch Atzmai schools draw their students from a generally larger surrounding area than the regular public schools, busing is vital to their operation.

The new announcement came like a bolt of lightning out of a clear, blue sky. For over two years Chinuch Atzmai has had to cope with a severe budget crisis in the area of busing, especially principals of Chinuch Atzmai schools and parents of students in dozens of isolated locations, who view the current degree as an extension of the unjustified, intolerable scheming against the bussing program, which is vital to the education of their sons and daughters in accordance with the Torah legacy handed down to us.

In response to the new decree, Rabbi Avrohom Lazerson, one of the heads of Chinuch Atzmai, said that Chinuch Atzmai cannot accept this unfair decision since it strikes a major blow to the basic infrastructure of the largest educational program of Torah-true Judaism in our day and constitutes collective punishment of thousands of mothers and fathers around the country seeking to provide their children a pure, Torah-based educational system.

Meanwhile, in response to a question posed by MK Rabbi Moshe Gafni, Education Minister Yuli Tamir revealed that of a total budget of NIS 110 million ($27 million) for school renovation around the country only NIS 3.6 million ($890,000) was earmarked for chareidi schools. She also noted that the Ministry has allocated another NIS 20 million ($5 million) to renew school buildings based on exacting reviews of specific requests by local authorities.

In her reply, the Education Minister said that the projects included in the renovation program are based on criteria such as the school's age, size and socioeconomic profile. Schools less than ten years old, with temporary or rented structures or which received at least NIS 500,000 ($125,000) for renovation work in the past five years, were not eligible.

MK Rabbi Gafni said that this distribution is in violation of the law, which requires that Chinuch Atzmai and Maayan HaChinuch HaTorani receive the same funding as government schools.

Degel HaTorah has demanded NIS 6 million ($1.5 million) for renovation of Chinuch Atzmai schools, but this demand has not yet been met.


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