Students in Catholic schools need your support

Students in Catholic schools need your support

Christ the King Regional School students at the NJ State House.

It’s Action Alert season in South Jersey Catholic Schools. As long as there are budgets and legislators, students in Catholic schools will need your support to make sure adequate funding is available for services essential to all students, no matter what school they attend.

With guidance from the New Jersey Catholic Conference (NJCC), the primary areas of focus for the 2019-20 school year state budget are:

— Bus transportation, with a requested increase in per-pupil allocation from 1,000 to $1,040. This increase is consistent with the Consumer Price Index.

— Nursing services, with a requested increase in per-pupil allocation from $97 to $125. In 28 years, funding has increased just $37 per pupil. The current allocation is not sufficient to cover nurses’ salaries and ensure every school has a full-time nurse.

— Compensatory Education, with a requested increase in the current statutory limit of $995.33 per eligible student. Because the limit has not been increased for many years, service providers have been forced to increase class sizes and reduce the amount of time spent with students who need remedial services.

As state legislators consider modifications to the Governor’s proposed budget each year, residents in the Diocese of Camden have continued to respond to the call for action. The New Jersey Catholic Conference reports that residents of the Diocese of Camden — more than any other diocese in the state — have used the Voter Voice system to contact legislators. In an interview with the Star Herald last year, Dr. George Corwell, who represents Catholic schools for NJCC, stressed the importance of taking action.

“It absolutely does make a difference. Legislators have told us that flooding their emails gets their attention. The nonpublic school community has had conversations with legislators who are very supportive about restoring funds on behalf of nonpublic school students. Truly, they are listening,” said Corwell. “Ask parents, grandparents, other relatives, neighbors, and friends to get on board, too.”

Corwell further encouraged polite calls to legislators’ offices and even meeting in person, if possible.

The average cost to educate a student in a New Jersey public school is approximately $20,000. With nearly 12,000 enrolled in South Jersey Catholic schools, the savings to New Jersey taxpayers is about $240 million. So the issue of funding for essential services affects all New Jersey taxpayers, not just those who send their children to Catholic or other private schools.

You can learn more and send your message through the Voter Voice system at: https://www.votervoice.net/NJCC/Campaigns/64955/Respond

Thank you for your support.

Mary Beth Peabody is communications and marketing manager, Office of Catholic Schools, Diocese of Camden.

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