May 30, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

We Must Insist on Equitable State Security Funding for Schools

At an unfortunate time in our nation’s history, when school shootings have become an all-too-regular occurrence, it seems our state legislature is more concerned with the security needs of public school students than the children who attend private schools.

And by and large, that means our children.

We can let the numbers do the talking.

Public schools will receive in the new state budget over $205 per student, an increase of $60 per individual. For private school students, the allocation by comparison is $75 per individual. Bottom line: public schools are looking at a budget increase of 43 percent, or $287 million for school security. Private schools are getting a zero-dollar increase and will remain at $11.3 million.

The thinking by state legislators on this issue is unacceptable and of great concern. Why is a public school’s security needs given a dramatically higher priority than those of private schools?

Wait, it gets worse. Because last week the governor and legislature passed S-2293, a bond bill that if approved by voters will provide further funding for public school security projects. Private schools get nothing from this bill.

We know that our community is busy preparing for the coming holidays. But if there was ever a time to call your state representatives, you know the same ones who aren’t shy about asking for votes or campaign contributions, let them know. Besides, we pay taxes that support public schools on top of the tuitions for Jewish day schools and yeshivot.

This is one of those issues that places our children at risk. This is no scare tactic; this is the reality of the day.

At a time when the very idea of arming teachers has become part of the national security discussion, the very least our state’s elected officials can do is narrow the severe gap in the disparity between public school security funding and private school security funding.

We need to act with urgency in our voices, emails, letters and any other means of communication. In other words, act as if our children’s lives depend on this.

Please contact Assembly Members Valerie Huttle at 201-541-1118 and Gordon Johnson at 201-530-0469 and urge them to allocate security funding equally, for ALL of our state’s children. Tell them that you demand additional security funding for all children in New Jersey, regardless of what type of school they attend.

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