School Vouchers Emerge As Key Issue in Brooklyn Special Election

Lew Fidler's campaign mail highlights his plan for Jewish private schools.

In a special election competition that had been increasingly marred with negative personal attacks between the two candidates, a substantive issue has finally emerged that the candidates are staking their ground on: tuition relief for private school students, especially those attending yeshivas in the heavily Jewish district.

Earlier this morning, the Republican candidate in the race to replace corrupt former State Senator Carl Kruger, David Storobin, sent out a positive press release touting his support for a voucher system granting money to parents of private school students.

“The voucher issue is a big one in this district,” Mr. Storobin said in the statement. “For the orthodox Jewish, it’s particularly important. Private tuition for yeshivas can be as much as $10,000 or more per high school student, and almost as much for children in primary school. To a family with five or six children, that is a tremendous burden.”

Meanwhile Mr. Storobin’s Democratic opponent, Councilman Lew Fidler, is sending out campaign mail highlighting the work he’s done on behalf of yeshivas, further outlining a five point plan to allocate substantial amounts of state funding to the educational institutions.

This evening, Mr. Storobin sent out another press release announcing Mr. Fidler’s mailing as a wholly insufficient plan to provide for private schools. Mr. Storobin’s campaign spokesman told City & State the difference was between Mr. Fidler’s proposal for an indirect tax credit and Mr. Storobin proposal for direct funding.

“After spending more than 10 years in government, my opponent has just now found motivation in this special election to form what he calls a ‘plan to help yeshiva parents,’” Mr. Storobin said in this evening’s statement. “It’s nice that he’s finally making an effort, but he’s being disingenuous. The bottom line is that Mr. Fidler is against school vouchers, period.”

For many observers following the race, including the major blog in the district, Sheepshead Bites, this new discussion is welcome relief from discussion of neo-Nazis.

Voters head to the polls on March 20th.

School Vouchers Emerge As Key Issue in Brooklyn Special Election