OU, Agudath Israel Of New Jersey Lauds Formation Of New Jersey Non-Public Schools Funding Commission


josh-pruzanskyThis follows our earlier report here. Agudath Israel of New Jersey today praised the decision of Governor Jon S. Corzine to establish the Non-Public Education Funding Commission to manage funding for the 1200 non-public schools in New Jersey.  Governor Corzine yesterday signed an Executive Order establishing the Commission to evaluate the needs of non-public school children and how the state might assist in improving their education. Agudath Israel of New Jersey director Josh Pruzansky issued the following statement:

“Non-public schools educate 172,000 students throughout the state.  By educating these children, non-public schools save New Jersey taxpayers more than $2.75 billion each year in education costs, in addition to billions of dollars saved in capital costs that would be necessary if these students were to attend public schools.

“Non-public schools not only educate our children, but also provide employment to more than 20,000 people, making them one of the largest job sectors in the state.

“However, funding for these schools comes primarily from parents who pay significant tuition fees for their children to attend and, in the faith-based schools, from private fundraising.  Due to the state of the economy, income from both of these sources has diminished dramatically.

“It should be noted that the parents of non-public school students not only carry the financial burden of their own children’s education, but also-by living in the highest taxed state in the country-carry the financial burden of public education as well.  Among the Orthodox Jewish community, many people live in municipalities that earmark over 60 percent of their property tax dollars for public education. That can amount to more than $7,000 per family in addition to the $20,000 to $50,000 in after-tax dollars that they pay for their children’s tuition.

“The only funding these families and non-public schools currently receive from the State is $142 in textbook and nursing aid, and some children are provided transportation that can cost up to $885 per child.

“Clearly, the time has come for these families and schools to receive a fairer share, and we hope that the Commission will come back in June with substantive ideas to provide that funding.  As Governor-elect Chris Christie is a strong proponent of school choice, we are hopeful that this is just the beginning of a trend to improve education for all of New Jersey’s children.”

The Non-Public Education Funding Commission was established on Tuesday by Executive Order of the Governor, and is charged with reviewing and recommending how non-public schools can maximize access to and use of increasingly scarce resources.  The 23-member Committee is to be co-chaired by Assemblyman Gary Schaer and the New Jersey Catholic Conference’s director of education, Dr. George Corwell, with members including the State Education Commissioner, Attorney General, Treasurer, and representatives of non-public school organizations.

Agudath Israel of New Jersey is the regional affiliate of Agudath Israel of America.

The following is a release from the Orthodox Union:

Orthodox Union Commends Establishment of NJ Commission to The Orthodox Union (Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America), the nation’s largest Orthodox Jewish umbrella organization, today commended Governor Jon S. Corzine of New Jersey for establishing a Study Commission on New Jersey’s Non-Public Schools. The study commission was first discussed in an Orthodox Union facilitated meeting this past October between Governor Corzine and Orthodox Jewish leadership. While the Governor and those assembled differed on tax credit and similar programs, the Governor agreed more should be done for these struggling schools and for all New Jersey’s students, regardless of where they are educated. At that time, he committed to establish a study commission as a first step in that process.

Howie Beigelman, OU Deputy Director of Public Policy stated:

“We are grateful to the outgoing Governor, Jon Corzine, for keeping his word, as are families across New Jersey, for whom this will be a fitting legacy and capstone to the Governor’s tenure.”

The commission is chaired by Assemblyman Gary S. Schaer (D-36) and Dr. George Corwell, Director of Education for the NJ Catholic Conference and will issue its recommendations in June 2010. It will determine what services and funding the schools and students are entitled to and how to ensure they get them. As well, the commission will recommend to the Governor and the Legislature proposed changes in law or regulation to better serve all of New Jersey’s students.

Howie Beigelman further stated:

“Gary Schaer is a committed advocate and no one knows New Jersey’s education landscape better than George Corwell. Once we have their recommendations, we look forward to partnering with the Governor-elect and the Legislature to implement them.”

{Noam Amdurski-Matzav.com Newscenter}


  1. This legislation came about because of a meeting held by the OU by the Governor while he was running; it was at the suggestion of Rabbi Mencahem Genack. Yaasher Koach to Rabbi Genack and the OU for working tirelessly for our community.