A historic feat has been accomplished on behalf of New Jersey’s nonpublic school students, who will together receive nearly $4 million in funding to enhance security at their elementary and high schools.

On Friday June 26th, Governor Chris Christie signed the $36 billion FY2016 budget proposal that allocates $3.75 million in security funding for nonpublic school students. The funds must be spent on expenditures such as surveillance equipment, security guards, fortifying entrances and emergency planning.

This marks the first time in over two decades that New Jersey has implemented
any new funding specifically for nonpublic school students.

Agudath Israel of America’s New Jersey director Rabbi Avi Schnall expressed his gratitude to the members of the Assembly and Senate who helped make this historic day a reality: “No words can adequately thank Assemblyman Gary Schaer (D-Passaic), Chairman of the Assembly Budget Committee, who was the leading sponsor of A4288, the “Secure Schools for All Children Act,” that first proposed this security funding. Assemblyman Schaer has been an indispensable friend to our community throughout his decades of public service.”

“Assemblyman Schaer was helped by the tireless efforts of Assembly members Sean Kean, Patrick Diegnan, and Nancy Pinkin, Senate President Steve Sweeney, Senator Peter Barnes and other supporters of this bill. Thanks to them that our children will be better protected against the growing threat they face from criminals and foreign and domestic terror groups. We also thank Governor Christie for his support of this legislation and prompt signing of the budget bill.”

Agudath Israel of America’s New Jersey office played an integral role in advocating for this funding. Over the last few months, Agudath Israel has actively lobbied individual lawmakers, testified before the Assembly Education Committee, and organized grassroots support in communities across New Jersey.

“As tragic events in Israel, France, Newtown, and, most recently, Charleston, remind us, we can never underestimate the power of hate to harm the innocent,” says Rabbi Avi Schnall, “The State of New Jersey currently provides security aid for each child attending a public school, this new non public allocation sends a statement that all children, regardless of which school they attend need to be protected from harm”.

(Author: Shimmy Blum)