WASHINGTON (JTA) — The Orthodox Union praised a New Jersey commission’s recommendations about improving non-public schools in the state.
The Governor's Study Commission on New Jersey's Nonpublic Schools recommended improved aid for textbooks, technology, special education and health for nonpublic schools. The bipartisan and multi-ethnic panel also recommended enacting education-related tax credits and deductions.
The commission was established to determine how to constitutionally provide aid to non-public schools. The findings, delivered to Gov. Chris Christie in June, were released to the public Tuesday.
“For too long, families in New Jersey's nonpublic schools, including Jewish day schools and yeshivas, have been treated as stepchildren,” OU Managing Director Rabbi Steven Burg said in a statement. “This report offers clear, affordable and common sense recommendations to change that and to ensure that every student in New Jersey gets the education they deserve. There can no longer be any question as to whether such aid is constitutional or if it is good policy.”
The commission found that the number of students enrolled in non-public schools in New Jersey, including Jewish day schools and yeshivas, has declined by about 18 percent since 2004. This means that more students are enrolled in public school, increasing the cost of educating students for taxpayers.
Former Gov. Jon Corzine established the commission, which included Jewish, Muslim and Catholic leaders, as well as members of the state's treasury, law and education departments.