Committees: House Capital Budget Subcommittees and Senate Capital Budget Subcommittees
The Maryland Catholic Conference offers this testimony in SUPPORT of the Nonpublic School Security Improvements Program. The Conference represents the public policy interests of the three (arch)dioceses serving Maryland, the Archdioceses of Baltimore and Washington and the Diocese of Wilmington, which together encompass over one million Marylanders. We offer this testimony on behalf of the families of more than 50,000 students served by over 150 PreK-12 Catholic schools in Maryland.
This school year, 198 schools participated in the Nonpublic School Security Improvements Program, which provided grants to schools specifically for school security improvements. Schools utilized the funding for safety improvements such as auto-locking security doors, locking hardware, security systems with video capabilities, locking safety windows and safety lighting. It is anticipated that this program will make for a safer school day for tens of thousands of children.
Funded at $3.5 million, this program is included in the state Operating Budget as a capital appropriation. It is administered by the Interagency Commission on School Construction, but is a separate fund and does not take any money from the Public School Construction Program.
The State Department of Education allowed for lower-income schools to receive enhanced grant funding to aid their schools. Many of those schools would not have been able to complete the security upgrades without this funding. The program is making an impact statewide and is highly popular with administrators in every jurisdiction.
The safety of the children in every school in Maryland should be a paramount consideration. We thank the State of Maryland for partnering with our Catholic schools in making for an even safer environment for their children to learn in. Maryland’s Catholic school community requests that this committee please continue its support for this program in FY 2022.