BEACH-GORDON BILL ESTABLISHING STATE AID PROGRAM TO ENSURE SAFETY FOR NONPUBLIC SCHOOL STUDENTS NOW LAW

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 signed into law today.

Under the law (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.

“Parents and schools are increasingly concerned about the safety of their children while they are at school,” said Senator Beach (D-Burlington, Camden). “This law will afford families entrusting schools with the safety of their children some peace of mind by providing funds to pay for the necessary services and equipment to keep them safe.”

Beginning in the 2016-2017 school year, the maximum State aid limit per nonpublic school student will be $75 under the bill. This amount will be increased each school year by the consumer price index, and the school district will 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.

“Keeping children safe in school so they can learn successfully in a secure environment is the ultimate goal,” said Senator Gordon (D-Bergen, Passaic). “The aid that schools will receive under this law will enable them to put the most appropriate safeguarding measures and technology in place.”

According to the law, 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 will also promulgate rules to effectuate the law’s provisions, including a list of allowable expenditures for the security services, equipment, and technology.

The law takes effect immediately and will first apply to the 2016-2017 school year.

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