New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s decision on March 15th to eliminate security funding for nonpublic school students has sent shock-waves throughout the private school community. The proposed budget cuts left many observers struggling to comprehend how the governor could leave 150,000 children virtually unprotected during a time when anti-Semitic incidents have skyrocketed to unprecedented levels.
Ironically, Governor Christie’s proposed budget was released just as Rabbi Avi Schnall, director of Agudath Israel of New Jersey, was in an Assembly budget hearing, praising the governor for increasing security funding just a few months earlier. Rabbi Schnall was referencing the Secure Schools for All Children Act which passed the legislature by unanimous vote and was signed by Governor Christie in September. The new law would have raised the per-child allocation from $50 to $75.
Rabbi Schnall also lauded the bill’s sponsor, Assemblyman Gary Schaer of Passaic, for standing up for New Jersey’s private school community by crafting what he described as “monumental” legislation that addressed the critical need to provide all New Jersey schoolchildren with schools that are both safe and secure.
Rabbi Schnall said that he was stunned by Christie’s proposed budget.
“With bomb threats pouring in at JCCs all over the country, acts of anti-Semitism taking place nationwide and Jewish cemeteries being vandalized, there could not be a worse time to cut security funding for schoolchildren,” remarked Rabbi Schnall.
Rabbi Schnall noted that by approving an $11.2 million allowance to protect private school children this past fall, the governor had sent a clear message to Garden State residents that the safety of private school children was no less important than that of their public school counterparts. He asked, “what message is the governor now delivering by eliminating the entire nonpublic school security program?”
With the New Jersey Legislature set to review the newly-released budget, Rabbi Schnall called on the public to express their opposition to Governor Christie’s decision to eliminate security funding for nonpublic school students. Constituents should call their Assembly Members and Senators and ask them to reinstate security funding for nonpublic school students.
Click here to contact your local legislators and urge them to take immediate action to ensure the safety of all New Jersey schoolchildren.