Taking A Stand
The Baltimore Jewish Council, an agency of The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore, last week approved a new policy statement in support of public funding for private and parochial schools. Adopted on Nov. 8, the statement recognizes a need for the schools to receive state funding for ancillary services and instruction, provided that such funding is entirely nonsectarian.
The vote on the statement passed 16-3, with six abstentions.
According to Yehuda Neuberger, BJC assistant treasurer, the policy statement focuses heavily on the role government should play in funding and ensuring the availability of auxiliary services such as school nurses, guidance counseling, testing and academic intervention for all students, as well as psychological, remedial, visual, speech, hearing and similar services for children with special needs.
New to the statement is a piece about the funding of technology, software and energy infrastructure.
The statement differs from the Maryland Education Credit, which did not pass in the legislature after the council lobbied for it last year. The new statement is looking for the governor to assign funding for the private and parochial schools from his general budget.
The council also passed two other policy statements. One, a revision of a statement passed in 2001, updated the council policy on capital punishment. The new statement, said Rabbi Ron Shulman, council president, is more inline with state law that capital punishment be available in the state’s arsenal but that it only be utilized in rare and difficult circumstances.
The wording of that statement was composed by four area rabbis, Rabbi Shulman with Rabbis Moshe Hauer, Avraham Reisner and Steven Schwartz.
The council also approved a new environmental policy, which states its desire to protect and preserve the environment, as a Jewish value. Aleeza Oshry, manager of The Associated’s sustainability initiative, explained the statement only promotes the council’s desire to support sustainability but does not reference any specific legislation at this time.
A full listing of BJC’s policy statements can be found on the organization’s website, baltjc.org.