The following is the testimony of the OU’s Josh Pruzansky, New Jersey Director of Political Affairs, before the New Jersey legislature on Monday, March 19.
To the Esteemed Members of the Assembly Budget Committee,
My name is Josh Pruzansky. I am the New Jersey Director of Political Affairs. On behalf of the Orthodox Union, representing more than 1,000 Synagogues and Day Schools in the United States, including 100 here in New Jersey, I would like to thank the Governor for partially restoring the technology funding for non-public schools and for keeping the rest of non-public school funding intact for the coming fiscal year.
However, we need more.
When technology funding was eliminated 3 budget cycles ago, I testified before this committee about the devastating effect it would have on the quality of education at our schools and for our children. At a time of fiscal devastation, in schools funded almost exclusively through tuition payments and fundraising, it was near impossible to find the extra funding to keep their technology updated. In a world where technology expands almost daily, three years is a long time to make up.
In today’s society which is technology driven, we must ensure that funding is available for schools to give their students every opportunity to succeed. Therefore, we ask that the funding be increased to its prior level of $40 per student, if not more.
Nursing aid is another category that our schools have seen slashed. We view the health of our students as a number one priority and we hope that the State does as well. Although, due to the decline in the overall non-public school student population has helped close the gap on the funding, it is still behind where it was 3 years ago.
Today’s horrific incident in France, in which Jewish students were killed outside their school, or the tragic incident a few weeks ago in Ohio, underscores the importance of every school having an experienced nurse on staff able to be the first responder on site. That doesn’t even take into account the everyday medical issues that take place in a school, where children have allergic reactions, diabetes, and other medical issues that require someone skilled to provide the necessary treatment.
We request that you restore the nursing aid to its level of $77.20.
We thank you for your consideration of our request.