The following letter was sent to NJ legislators on December 12, 2018:

Re: Increase in Security Aid for Private Schools

Dear Legislator:

I write to express Education Law Center’s (ELC) serious concerns about A4597/S3080, which would significantly increase the current appropriation of public funds to private schools for expenditures related to security.

All schools must ensure students a safe learning environment. In the FY18 State Budget, the Legislature appropriated $11.3 million to pay for security in private schools. A4597/S3080 would double that amount to $22.6 million.

However, Department of Education data shows that in some communities portions of the allocated funds have gone unused. In FY17, Department data showed that private school security expenditures were $832,000 below the $7.5 million entitlement and refunded to the state.

We are also unaware of any data or evidence demonstrating that private schools have unmet security needs that would support the substantial increase proposed in A4597/S3080. 

As you know, the Legislature faces a significant shortfall in funding our public schools under the School Funding Reform Act (SFRA) in the current FY19 State Budget. Further, under Senate Bill 2 enacted last June, almost 200 public school districts will experience state aid cuts in 2019-20 and beyond. In many districts, the cuts will trigger the loss of essential education resources. At the same time, the total appropriation of public funds to private schools totaled over $100 million in FY18, exclusive of private school transportation.

For these reasons, ELC strongly urges the Legislature to defer action on A4597/S3080 and return these bills to their respective Education Committees. The bills require thorough consideration, including public input, on whether diverting additional taxpayer dollars to private schools is warranted, especially given the urgent need for public school funding.



David G. Sciarra

Executive Director

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Sharon Krengel
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