The New Jersey office of OU Advocacy, the non-partisan public policy arm of the Orthodox Union, applauds Governor Christie, Senate President Steven Sweeney, Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto, Senate Budget Chairman Paul Sarlo, Assembly Budget Chairman Gary Schaer, and Senator Peter Barnes for the substantial increase in technology and nursing aid available to non-public schools in the state’s Fiscal Year 2015 budget, signed by Gov. Christie yesterday.
With the additional $12 per student for technology—an increase of 60% over last year’s state budget—non-public schools will have the means to provide their students with state-of-the-art instruction and access to the latest equipment, both critical for learning and getting the tools for success. The additional $17 per student for nursing services—an increase of 22% over last year’s budget—will allow non-public schools to finally be able to employ full-time nurses, so that students with serious health conditions can receive the appropriate level of care necessary for their well-being.
“Assembly Budget Chairman Gary Schaer of Passaic was instrumental in bringing these funding areas for non-public schools to the attention of New Jersey’s legislative leadership. In his first year as Assembly Budget Chairman, his devotion to Jewish day school and yeshiva families made this funding one of his signature issues in Trenton—and the results are remarkable,” said Josh Pruzansky, New Jersey Regional Director for OU Advocacy.
“These funding increases will bring technology aid for New Jersey Jewish day schools to within 80% of where it was in 2009 and will—for the first time—more adequately fund nursing services for non-public school students,” added Pruzansky.
“Our children will now have more opportunities for success with greater access to current technology and will feel more secure knowing that their school has a nurse on the premises able to deal with any medical issues that might arise,” said Maury Litwack, Director of State Political Affairs for OU Advocacy.
OU Advocacy-NJ organized several missions during the legislative session, bringing delegations to Trenton from Jewish communities throughout the state. Each group discussed the challenging issues, particularly tuition affordability, that are affecting them on a personal and community level. In addition, OU Advocacy-NJ organized an email campaign to urge Gov. Christie to approve the higher funding levels for the technology and nursing aid in the budget.
Rena Klein, who joined the Edison delegation to Trenton, noted that her daughter, who was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at age 7, attends a school without a full-time nurse. “It was so important to me to be able to express to my legislators that having full-time nursing in every school—public or private—is really an issue of fairness. Why should children have limited access to healthcare because of the school they attend?” Klein said.
With close to 375 students at Rabbi Pesach Raymon Yeshiva in Edison, Principal Rabbi Shraga Gross, said that the increased nursing aid will allow the school to “more appropriately provide additional nursing hours to meet the multiple needs of our students.”
“Gov. Christie’s approval of the increased technology and nursing aid in the state budget really demonstrates how my voice, the voice of the Jewish day school community and the voice of the non-public school community overall can influence our legislators and make a significant impact on our daily lives,” Klein added.