Bill Backed by Teach NJ Doubles Budget to Keep Nonpublic School Children, Educators Safe
Teach NJ, the leading advocacy organization for New Jersey’s nonpublic school children, expresses its appreciation to Gov. Phil Murphy for signing into law today an historic bill that brings security funding for K-12 nonpublic schools to its highest level in the state’s history.
The governor’s adoption of A.4597, passed unanimously by the New Jersey Legislature in December, increases the security allocation for the state’s nonpublic schools to $22.6 million. That’s double the amount of the previous allocation, and six times the amount of the state’s allocation just three years ago. This historic $150 per-student funding will enable the schools to take a multitude of concrete steps, such as providing specialized security equipment and hiring more safety officers, in order to ensure students are protected from potential terror threats and attacks.
“We are extremely grateful to Gov. Murphy for heeding the call of so many and making the well-being and security of all New Jersey’s children a priority,” said Allen Fagin, Executive Vice President of the Orthodox Union, Teach NJ’s parent organization. “This is an enormous win for children and educators at New Jersey’s nonpublic schools and for everyone who cares about safeguarding our school environment ”
Said Dan Mitzner, Director of State Political Affairs for Teach NJ, “We couldn’t have achieved this triumph without the tremendous leadership of lawmakers in both houses including Assemblyman Gary Schaer (D-Bergen/Passaic), who initiated and championed the legislation along with Assembly members Lisa Swain (D-Bergen/Passaic), Christopher Tully (D-Bergen/Passaic) and Benjie Wimberly (D-Bergen/Passaic) as well as Senators Paul Sarlo (D-Bergen/Passaic), Vin Gopal (D-Monmouth), Joseph Lagana (D-Bergen/Passaic) and Steven Oroho (R-Morris/Sussex/Warren).” “We also extend our immense appreciation to the partnership and support of our interfaith partners including: the NJ Catholic Conference, the Council of Islamic Schools in North America, Agudath Israel of America, the Association of Christian Schools International, the NJ State Association of Jewish Federations, and the dozens of Jewish, Catholic, Christian, Islamic and other faith-based schools who joined our fight in Trenton to keep all children safe,” Mitzner said. “To all of these groups, schools and to their dedicated leaders: Thank you for your tireless and steadfast work to achieve our shared goal of keeping our children safe.”
A recent FBI report underscored the need for increased security funding at nonpublic schools, showing that reports of hate crimes nationwide have been increasing, with 20 percent of the incidents involving religious bias. Recent tragic events in faith based schools and institutions emphasized the pressing need for action.
Said Teach NJ Chair Sam Moed, “We don’t need reports or studies, nor do we need to look very far to know that children are vulnerable and need protection, regardless of what school they attend. It behooves all of us, working together, to make that happen. With this bill, our governor and state leaders have demonstrated their commitment to all children in this state.”
Until Gov. Murphy signed the spending bill, security funding for New Jersey’s nonpublic school children amounted to 36 percent of that provided to their public school peers; the new allocation increases that to 73 percent. Teach NJ and its coalition partners will continue to advocate for equitable funding to protect all children.
Teach NJ, a division of the Teach Coalition, was founded in 2015 to advocate for equitable government funding for New Jersey nonpublic schools. It has secured an additional $100 million in funding for nonpublic schools, which is used to increase security, enhance education and defray higher tuition costs. Approximately 170 day schools and yeshivas receive support through Teach NJ’s efforts. For more information, visit https://teachcoalition.org/nj/