Schaer Introduces Legislation to Meet Security Threats in Non-Public Schools

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New Jersey – Assemblyman Gary Schaer has introduced legislation to boost funding for security services, equipment, and technology to help ensure a safe and secure school environment for students attending non-public schools.

“School security has become a paramount concern in recent years, particularly in light of the many tragedies we’ve witnessed across the country and around the world,” said Schaer (D-Bergen/Passaic).  “While we’ve taken many steps to increase security efforts throughout our public schools, much more needs to be done, and we cannot overlook the needs of students in nonpublic schools in the process.”

Under the provisions of the bill (A-2689), known as the “Secure Schools for All Children Act,” the superintendent of each school district in which a non-public school is located will confer annually with the chief school administrator of the non-public school in order to agree upon the security services, equipment, or technology that will be provided to the students of the non-public school within the limits of available funds.

If the superintendent and the chief school administrator are unable to agree on the security services, equipment, or technology, then the executive county superintendent will make the final determination.

If the superintendent and the chief school administrator are unable to agree on the security services, equipment, or technology, then the executive county superintendent will make the final determination.

Beginning in the 2016-2017 school year, the maximum amount, or state support limit, which may be appropriated for the purposes of the bill is $144.42 per non-public school student, which is the average amount public schools get per pupil for security related concerns and an sizeable increase from the $25 that was appropriated per pupil last year.  Schaer led the effort to ensure that funding was appropriated through the budget process last year, the first time in the state’s history that funding was included for non-public school security.

Under the bill, this amount would be increased each school year by the consumer price index.

Each year the school district will forward to the state Commissioner of Education an estimate of the cost of providing the security services, equipment, or technology required pursuant to the bill and the number for students attending the nonpublic school located within the district as of the last school day of October of the current school year.

The commissioner will provide state aid to the district in an amount equal to the number of non-public school students multiplied by the state support limit.

The State Board of Education would be charged with promulgating rules to carry out the provisions of the bill, including a list of allowable expenditures for the security services, equipment, and technology to help ensure a safe and secure school environment for nonpublic school students.

The measure has been referred to the Assembly Education Committee.

{Matzav.com Newscenter / Photos: Flash 87 Images}

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