By Rabbi Avi Schnall
After 18 months of working on this issue, Agudath Israel of America is pleased to announce that the New Jersey Department of Education (DOE) agreed to change the regulations governing auxiliary services for nonpublic school students. The new policy will allow students to receive auxiliary services during any class, thus allowing nonpublic school children to fully benefit from these programs without compromising their academic success.
Since 1977, New Jersey has funded two nonpublic school programs, referred to as Chapter 192 and 193. These programs provide eligible students enrolled in a nonpublic elementary school with auxiliary services such as compensatory education, English as a Second Language, remedial services, supplementary instruction, and speech-language services. Since its inception, many students throughout New Jersey have benefited greatly from these programs. However, a significant challenge to providing these services was the regulations which did not allow these services to be provided during the class time for which a child is receiving those same services. For example, a child receiving help in math would not be allowed to receive those remedial math services during math class. Instead, the student would sit through a math class she didn’t understand and then have to miss a class of a different subject to receive math help.
With this welcome change in policy, nonpublic school students will now be able to utilize these services in a much more productive way.
We are thankful to Commissioner David Hespe and NJDOE for listening to our concerns. We are thrilled that these programs will now be able to properly fulfill their intention of helping students in the best possible way. The last 18 months also taught us that persistence and perseverance pays off.