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Schaer Introduces Legislation to Restore Funding for Technology Grants and School Nursing Services in Nonpublic Schools

1 in 8 NJ Children Attend Nonpublic Schools; Saves Taxpayers Nearly $2.8 billion per year

(TRENTON) – Assemblyman Gary S. Schaer (D-Passaic/Bergen) today highlighted two separate bills he has sponsored which would increase long-stagnant funding for technology and nursing services in private and parochial schools.

The first bill (A-238) provides a supplemental appropriation of $7 million to the state Department of Education (DOE) to reinstate nonpublic technology initiative aid.

Prior to 2009, nonpublic school technology aid was appropriated at $40 per student but was eliminated entirely in the FY09-10 budget. Although the governor’s recently proposed budget provides $20 per pupil in this area, it is simply not sufficient to meet the technology demands all New Jersey students deserve. A-238, originally introduced in November 2009 and currently sponsored by eight bi-partisan members of the Assembly, increases total expenditures to the previous level of $40 per pupil

“Over the past few years, this critical funding, which allows private and parochial schools to offer the technology necessary to succeed in today’s world, has been eliminated,” said Schaer. “Our world and New Jersey’s economy depends on the latest technological innovations. All of our state’s students must have access to the technology that will enhance their education and better prepare them to compete as they pursue higher education and eventually enter the workforce.”

The second bill (A-2657), currently sponsored in a bi-partisan manner by ten members of the Assembly, would appropriate $3.963 million from the general fund to the state DOE for nonpublic school nursing services aid. In the 1997-1998 school year, per pupil funding for nursing services was set at $61.44 and was supposed to increase each year at the rate of the consumer price index (CPI). During this time, the CPI has increased 67 percent while this funding has only seen a 6.7 percent rise.

“In 2010, 1 out of 8 or 166,000 New Jersey children attended parochial and private schools saving taxpayers nearly $2.7 billion per year and employing nearly 20,000 people. Providing state funding for technical and nursing services augments the educational experience of these students and affords parents who are paying for their tuition some economic relief,” said Schaer. “In these tough economic times, this is not only welcomed, but vital.”