Ending a stalemate that temporarily shut down the New Jersey government, Governor Chris Christie gave his stamp of approval to a new budget that will provide significant benefits to private school children and their families.
Despite the difficult political environment, the total budget allocation earmarked for nonpublic school families includes a $6 million increase from the amount given to nonpublic schools last year.
“Nonpublic school families in New Jersey owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to Senate President Steve Sweeney, Assembly Speaker Vincent Prietto, and Assembly Majority Leader Louis Greenwald for their role in this year’s budget increases,” said Rabbi Avi Schnall, New Jersey Director for Agudath Israel of America. “However, Assemblyman Gary Schaer’s herculean efforts stood out as he tirelessly spearheaded the effort to secure funding that will allow nonpublic schools to provide for the safety and security of their students while continuing to uphold their educational standards”.
With funding allocations for security rising from $7.5 to $11.3 million, the new budget will increase safety spending from $50 to $75 per child. The budget also included nearly $1 million in additional funds for nursing services, totaling $14.3 million. This will allow private schools to provide full time nursing services to enhance students’ health and well-being .Finally, technology funding has been increased by nearly $2 million, for a total allotment of $5.4 million and the budget provided increased funding for transportation services for nonpublic schools.
As in past years, the budget increases for nonpublic schools were legislative priorities for Agudath Israel. Rabbi Schnall testified before Assembly and Senate committees and met with many legislators. Agudath Israel’s New Jersey office also initiated a grassroots campaign, encouraging nonpublic school parents and administrators to contact their elected officials.
Agudath Israel extends its gratitude to its nonpublic school students advocacy partners, including the Catholic Conference of New Jersey and the Orthodox Union’s Teach NJS.