Hevesi, Gianaris Secure $70 Million for Security Grants in Nonpublic and Religious Schools

Albany, NY – Following the enactment of the 2024-25 Fiscal Year New York State Budget, State Senator Michael Gianaris and Assemblymember Andrew Hevesi announced the inclusion of $70 million for Nonpublic School Safety Equipment (NPSE) grants, to enhance school safety at religious and independent schools across New York.

“As we continue to see a rise in hate crimes at our religious schools, I am pleased my proposal to fund enhanced school security was enacted to the tune of $70 million,” said Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris. “Students deserve a safe environment to grow and learn, and families deserve the peace of knowing their children are safe while being educated.”

“Last year’s monumental NPSE allocation was a much welcome development. But especially over the course of this past year, there were long ways to go in order to provide a better sense of security, and to make sure we’re tangibly increasing protections,” said Assemblymember Hevesi. “We’re going to continue fighting over-year for more resources and are very fortunate to have such a staunch supporter in Senator Gianaris.”

NPSE has been available in New York since 2013-14; eligible institutions can receive reimbursement for expenditures related to certain school safety and health expenses. Over its first 10 years, the program – initially funded at $5 million – saw incremental increases which led to a $45 million investment in fiscal year 2023-24. Hevesi and Gianaris, however, citing concerns of growing antisemitism and Islamophobia, believed more was needed.

The legislators first partnered in October of 2023 after contacting Governor Kathy Hochul independently. Hevesi and Gianaris later lobbied the support of more than 60 colleagues heading into budget negotiations, via sign-on letters circulated in their respective chambers. The calls included a doubling of NPSE funds – from $45 million to $90 million. The legislature and executive branch eventually came to terms on the $70 million investment for FY 2024-25, a 55% increase on the 2023-24 allocation.

“In the wake of increases in antisemitism and especially post the October 7th terrorist attacks in Israel, school security has become a necessity not a luxury. Many of our schools operate on shoestring budgets and often have to choose between educational enhancements and security.

That’s not a good choice. This allocation will go a long way in allowing schools to fulfill their security needs. We are incredibly grateful to Senator Gianaris and Assemblymember Hevesi for leading the efforts to increase NPSE,” said Rabbi Yeruchim Silber, Director of New York Government Relations, Agudath Israel of America.