TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senator Jim Beach and Senator Bob Gordon that establishes a State aid program for the provision of security services, equipment, or technology to help ensure a safe and secure school environment for students attending nonpublic schools was approved today by the Senate.
Under the bill (S-754), entitled the “Secure Schools for All Children Act,” the superintendent of schools of each school district in which a nonpublic school is located will confer annually with the chief school administrator of the nonpublic school to agree on the security services, equipment, or technology that will be provided to the students of the nonpublic school within the limits of available funds.
“In today’s changing world, parents and schools are increasingly concerned about the safety of their children while they are at school,” said Senator Beach (D-Burlington, Camden). “This legislation will afford all school students in our communities the safety and security that they deserve by appropriating funds to pay for the necessary services and equipment in nonpublic schools, and will provide families with some peace of mind.”
Beginning in the 2016-2017 school year, the maximum State aid limit per nonpublic school student would be $75 under the bill. This amount would be increased each school year by the consumer price index, and the school district would forward to the Commissioner of Education an estimate of the cost of providing the required security services, equipment, or technology during the next school year 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 safety of school children across New Jersey should be a priority,” said Senator Gordon (D-Bergen, Passaic). “The safeguarding measures that will be taken by schools with the state aid they can receive under this bill will help to create a more secure environment for the students to learn and thrive.”
According to the bill, 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. The State Board of Education would also promulgate rules to effectuate the bill’s provisions, including a list of allowable expenditures for the security services, equipment, and technology.
This bill cleared the Senate by a vote of 39-0. It now heads back to the Assembly for consideration.