On Sept. 6, Gov. Chris Christie signed into law A2689, the “Secure Schools for All Children Act,” establishing a state aid program for security services, equipment, and/or technology to ensure safe and secure environments for students in nonpublic school. The new law makes permanent the annual funding of $75 per student.
The State Association of Jewish Federations supported the advocacy efforts of nonpublic-school interest organizations guided by the NJ Catholic Conference and the Orthodox Union. The State Association, said its president, Gordon Haas, through its support helped “deliver to Gov. Christie and the NJ Legislature a strong message on behalf of the safety concerns of students in our community day schools and yeshivas and all of the state’s nonpublic schools.”
This legislation “represents a historic milestone for our nonpublic schools and will be integral to providing for the safety of our children,” said Nathan J. Lindenbaum, cochair of TeachNJS, a project of the OU that spearheaded the coalition of organizations advocating for its passage.
With approximately 40,000 students in Jewish community schools, enactment of A2689 translates into $3 million for Jewish community schools’ security, to be distributed annually beginning with the 2017-18 school year.
The main sponsors of the legislation are Assemblyman Gary Schaer (D-Dist. 36) and Sen. Jim Beach (D-Dist. 6).
State Association executive director Jacob Toporek expressed gratitude to Christie for enacting the bill and to Schaer and Beach for “championing the effort in their respective legislative chambers. To our community advocacy partners, yashir koach and mazal tov.”