Assembly Democrats Gary Schaer and Pamela Lampitt have introduced the “Secure Schools for All Children Act,” which would establish a state aid program to provide security services, equipment, or technology to help ensure a safe and secure school environment for students attending nonpublic 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-4288), the superintendent of each school district in which a nonpublic school is located will confer annually with the chief school administrator of the nonpublic school in order to agree upon the security services, equipment, or technology that will be provided to the students of the nonpublic 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.
“As taxpayers, parents deserve the peace of mind of knowing they are sending their children to school in the safest possible environment,” said Lampitt (D-Camden/Burlington). “Whether public, private or parochial, our commitment to school safety must be done so equitably.”
Beginning in the 2015-2016 school year, the maximum amount, or state support limit, which may be appropriated for the purposes of the bill is $25 per nonpublic school student. 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 nonpublic 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 bill has been referred to the Assembly Education Committee.