Teach NJ, the leading advocacy organization for New Jersey’s nonpublic school children, hailed the introduction of legislation for security funding aid for nonpublic children and called on the New Jersey Legislature and Governor Murphy to support the measure.
The legislation, Senate bill S.3080 (Lagana/Gopal) and Assembly bill A.4597 (Schaer/Swain/Tully) would increase security funding for nonpublic schools in the current school year and bring New Jersey’s nonpublic school children a greater measure of security while in school.
“Every child deserves to feel safe, regardless of the type of school the child attends,” said Dan Mitzner, Director of State Political Affairs for Teach Advocacy Network. “The Legislature and governor have an opportunity to show that the security of ALL school children in the State is a priority.”
Teach NJ has been on the front lines of the fight to increase security funding for nonpublic schools, many of which are religious and face a disproportionate threat. The nonpublic school community includes Catholic, Jewish, Muslim, Christian, Seventh Day Adventist and other children who would directly benefit from this aid.
“Teach NJ and our community partners thank Senators Lagana and Gopal and Assembly members Schaer, Tully and Swain for recognizing the security needs of children in nonpublic schools and introducing this urgent legislation,” said Mitzner. “We urge its passage and for the governor to sign it into law so nonpublic school children are able to learn in a more secure environment.”
In 2016, Teach NJ led the fight along with our coalition partners, community leaders, schools and activists to create the “Secure Schools for all Children Act”, introduced by Assemblyman Schaer, which enabled security funding for nonpublic schools just as public school students receive. Since then, the per pupil nonpublic school security funding has increased to the current level of $75 per child, while per pupil public school security funding has increased to over $205 per student. New Jersey’s 150,000 nonpublic school students are currently funded at around one third the per pupil level of public school students.
Specifically, the legislation would make a supplemental appropriation of $11.3 million to increase per pupil funding for nonpublic security aid from $75 to $150. This legislation would help meet the security needs of the nonpublic school student population and to help close the growing disparity in how school children’s safety and security are valued.