Agudah to NJ Assembly: Increase Funding to Nursing in Nonpublic Schools
“What happens to the child that needs his medicine on a day that the nurse is not there?” queried Rabbi Avi Schnall in his testimony before the New Jersey State Assembly Budget Committee in Trenton on March 27th. “He is forced to stay home. What happens to a child that has an allergic reaction on a day that the nurse is not there? These are the scary realities which many of our schools deal with.”
Rabbi Schnall, Agudath Israel of America’s New Jersey director, emphasized the need to allocate additional funding for nursing services in nonpublic schools throughout the Garden State.
The latest budget introduced by Governor Phil Murphy includes a $97 per child allowance for nursing services. That amount, the same as allocated last year, has left many schools unable to employ a full time registered nurse, creating significant problems for students who need medication during the school day.
New Jersey began allocating funding for nurses in nonpublic schools in 1991 at a rate of $60 per child. Over the past 28 years, salaries have increased at a far greater pace than nonpublic school nursing allocations, leaving some schools only able to afford part-time nursing care. State requirements that schools stock drugs including EpiPens and Narcan place a further financial burden on academic institutions.
The Agudah will continue advocating for New Jersey’s nonpublic school children in the coming weeks, asking the committee to increase funding to $125 per child. Soon to be released action alerts will ask parents to contact their elected officials to request that more funds be allocated for nonpublic school nursing. “We are getting less value for our nursing funding now than when this first began nearly three decades ago,” said Rabbi Schnall. “No child should ever be told that they cannot come to school because they have an allergy and there is no nurse to care for them.”